WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY

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Senator Jeff Merkley writes bill to limit corporate pay to their “brass”

Sen. Jeff Merkley
D-Oregon

As the son of a union machinist, I learned at a young age the difference it makes when workers get a fair share of the profits they create. My dad spent his entire career contributing to Oregon’s economy, and thanks to his hard work and the union that fought for his wages, my parents were able to build their savings, buy a modest home, and still have enough for our annual camping trips.

Today, good-paying, reliable jobs like my dad’s are fewer and farther between, while critical costs like housing and medicine continue to rise. Report after report confirms what workers across America already know: While they’re being left behind, companies are giving massive paydays to CEOs and pulling strings to avoid paying their fair share in taxes.

Since the founding of our nation, workers have been the backbone of our economy — and it’s time to make sure they’re getting a fair deal.

That’s why I introduced the Fair Share for Workers Act — legislation that would raise the corporate tax rate on companies where the CEO makes more than 30 times than what the average worker makes. The tax rate would increase in proportion to the level of pay disparity.

For decades, corporate executives have been enriching themselves and leaving everyday workers behind. After the financial crisis — which was fueled by risky corporate greed — I fought to include a provision in the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform bill to require companies to reveal the wage gaps between their CEOs and median workers. Last year, that data showed that the average CEO of an S&P 500 company earns 287 times the pay of their median employee. That makes no sense, and is unacceptable.

The truth is, we all do better when our workers are getting a fair share of the profits they create. Better wages have the power to lift families out of poverty, give children opportunities to thrive, and put retirement in reach for millions of people. And our economy is the strongest when we grow it from the middle out. I’m going to keep fighting to make sure every hard-working American gets the compensation they deserve.

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