Thursday, June 14, 2007


Not all millions contribute to income inequality

If you’re like me, you were surprised – and more than a little bit impressed – when you read just how much money Bill Clinton was making by giving speeches: Bill Clinton Made $10 Million From Speeches

Of course, after listening to his wife decry “rising income inequality”; you might think that former President’s impressive contribution to this rise would be a problem. But I did some investigating, turns out she mainly has a problem with CEOs and the like – you know, people working at full-time jobs, running big corporations, trying to create wealth:

“The fruits of our modern global economy are showing up in the corporate bottom line, not in workers’ paychecks. CEOs have seen their pay go from 24 times the typical worker’s in 1965 to 262 times the typical worker’s in 2005. Last year, the share of national income going to corporate profits was the highest since 1929 – while the share going to the salaries of American workers was the lowest.” - Fact Sheet

See – nothing about speech giving or making movies or anchoring the lowest-rated Network newscast…

Anyway, I was particularly impressed with Mr. Clinton’s haul of $$ in this instance:

“For example, Clinton earned… $450,000 for a single speech in London on Sept. 26 at a gala dinner of the Fortune Forum, a nonprofit group that aids international charities.”

Now I had never heard of Fortune Forum so I went looking online. The forum was founded by one Renu Mehta, doesn’t have much of a history yet (the September 2006 event was kind of like its coming-out party) and much of the web site is focused on the glamorous types Ms. Mehta hangs out with. I couldn’t find any estimate of the actual money raised from this gala but they seemed pretty proud of this factoid:

The Fortune Forum combined advertising equivalent cost and profile generated for each charity equalling that from the event was a staggering £20 million pounds, a massive boost for the life giving projects that the Fortune Forum supports.”

You have to read that a couple times before you realize that they didn’t actually raise “ a staggering £20 million pounds” but instead provided the equivalent in advertising and profile generation. Anyway, I wish them luck in their endeavors although I doubt that I will ever make a significant enough contribution to "rising income inequality" to merit their interest in my donations.

Side Note 1: After looking at the myriad of pictures of Ms. Rehta on the site…well, let’s just say I think she could have gotten Bill Clinton to show up for a hell of a lot less.

Side Note 2:

As well as keynote speeches from Clinton and [Michael] Douglas, the invited guests listened to talks from spiritual guru Deepak Chopra and aristo-environmentalist Zac Goldsmith. Music was provided by Yusaf Islam. The singer, formerly known as Cat Stevens, took to the public stage for the first time in 27 years.” WaterAid attends Fortune Forum

I guess Bill Clinton had to go to Britain if he wanted to see the Cat:

“[September 2004] U.S. authorities diverted a United Airlines London-Washington flight to Bangor, Maine, where the ex-pop singer formerly known as Cat Stevens, now as Yusuf Islam, was questioned by federal security agents, and then ordered deported back to Britain. Yusuf Islam, it turns out, is on the official "no-fly list.

“Yusuf Islam is already well known for his public endorsement of the death sentence issued by Ayatollah Khomeini against Salman Rushdie in February 1989.”
Is Cat Stevens a Terrorist?

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