UnNews:House increases maximum wage from 515 to 725 million dollars per year
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11 January 2007
WASHINGTON, DC -- The House of Representatives passed a largely bipartisan bill on Wednesday that will increase the federal maximum wage from 515 to 725 million dollars per year over the next three years. Earlier efforts to pass such a measure have been met with opposition from Republicans, but the new Democratic-controlled Congress was finally able to gather enough votes. Supporters say the increase is long overdue, the last one being in 1997.
Proponents of the bill say the increase is necessary to help both individual CEOs and the economy as a whole. With the recent boom in the financial sector, Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are running out of incentives to keep their top executives motivated. "Even though our profits were up 25% from last year, we were only able to offer our CEO the same bonus as before, as he already reached the maximum wage for the year," lamented one Goldman board member. Bonuses, stock options, and capital gains all count towards the maximum wage limit, although foreign currency accounts in third world banks are exempted.
Aside from inflation since the last time the maximum was increased in 1997, a decline in the value of the dollar against foreign currencies also contributed to the loss in real terms of the annual 515 million dollar cap. Trips abroad have become increasingly embarrassing for those earning the maximum wage. Microsoft chief Bill Gates solemnly recalled a visit to IKEA's president Ingvar Kamprad in Sweden, during which he was forced to buy a paltry $5000 bottle of Champagne instead of a more refined one in order to save money. "Ingvar looked at me like I was some sort of beggar - I felt so ashamed," a teary-eyed Gates revealed. Google co-founder Sirgay Brin had a similarly sad story, recounting his visit to England's Queen Elizabeth: "The diamond encrusted necklace I gave her as a gift paled in value to presents she received from European guests."
Democratic leaders have always said that the wealthiest need a break and should be entitled to aspire to even greater fortunes. Senator Harry Reid explained, "America is a nation built on capitalism, and denying our citizens the right to achieve greater wealth is a dishonor to our founding fathers." Many Republicans signed onto the legislation, but most warned that it must be accompanied by relief measures for businesses. "We must ensure that a sufficient amount of corporate profits will still be distributed to the majority shareholders in the form 'of dividends - eliminating the capital gains tax is essential at this point," argued House minority leader Steny Hoyer.
President Bush has reluctantly agreed to sign the bill, but only because it comes attached to legislation allowing a surge of troops in Iraq and eleventy billion more dollars for the war. After being signed into law, the legislation will raise the maximum wage in three stages - to 585 million dollars after 60 days, 685 million after a year, and finally 725 million in 2008. The greediest individuals may be eligible for a lump payment of the wage increase immediately.