John Paulson has been defending Wall Street by saying that he has a staff of one hundred people, in high-paying jobs, and pays a lot of taxes. Many on Wall Street have been citing Steve Jobs’ wealth to explain that innovation pays well.
These two are a great example of why people are pissed-off, and also a good example about why the fight isn’t “class warfare,” unless they’re referring to the one-sided war they’ve been waging on the middle-class. We’re fighting about the basic perversion of the core principles of capitalism.
Steve Jobs created the first mass produced personal computer. He went on to commercialize the first mass produced modern operating system, with windows, mice, icons, and everything else we take for granted. He followed that up, after being fired by a Wall Street hack at Apple, by creating a next-generation computer that serves as the foundation for all modern computers. Oh yeah, during his time in exile he knocked out Pixar, breathing life into Woody, Buzz, Shrek, and countless other characters.
That wasn’t enough for Steve though. He came back to Apple, after Wall Street hacks and Wall Street itself had left for dead, and reimagined what computers should look like. He knocked out the iPod and quietly invented iTunes, a new way to sell music. He followed that up with the iPhone and the iPad. That’s a partial list of his inventions. Jobs’ is an innovator, an inventor. He created countless inventions that people buy enthusiastically and entirely voluntarily. His inventions enrich the lives of people worldwide, and he earned a lot of well-deserved money for his work.
Steve Jobs passed away with about $6.5 billion for all his inventions. Apple has about 46,600 well-paid employees. Disney, whom he sold Pixar to and where he remained as their largest shareholder, has about 149,000. It’s probably fair to say they pay more than the 15% capital tax rates — for the non-sheltered income — that Paulson and his cronies pay. If we add in the businesses Apple enables — companies that do things like create the apps — we can safely say Jobs’ creativity and drive has created over 200,000 jobs, supporting families and paying taxes.
So .. Steve Jobs created lots of brilliant stuff, employs about 200,000 people, and died with $6.5 billion.
John Paulson created nothing, employs about 100 people, and has about $15.5 billion. His 2010 pay alone was $4.9 billion.
See the problem Wall Street? Didn’t think so, but the rest of us do, and that’s why we’re livid.