Abigail Disney on income inequality

120613-N-LE393-021Abigail Disney (yes, of that Disney family) is extremely wealthy (which is not surprising) and thinks the growing gap between rich and poor in America is a problem.

The question Sorkin asked was, “Do you think Bob Iger is overpaid,” noting that later that day the company’s shareholders would be casting a nonbinding vote on the Disney CEO’s proposed compensation package, which included a $3 million base salary, a $12 million bonus, and another $20 million in stock options. (The package was approved.) Disney, who is a granddaughter of Roy O. Disney and a grandniece of Walt, says that while she “had no plan to answer that question, I did what I always do: I said what I thought.”

“If your CEO’s salary is 700, 600, 500 times your median ­worker’s pay,” Disney, who has urged the company to use a living wage calculator, told Sorkin, “then there is nobody on earth—Jesus Christ himself isn’t worth 500 times his median worker’s pay.” (The actual ratio in Iger’s case is 1,424 to 1.) Disney’s comment, which came nine minutes into the 10-and-a-half-minute segment, was picked up by news outlets around the world, with market watchers parsing the numbers, and at least one Baptist theologian considering the scriptural implications.

The article above is from Town & Country, so it’s not surprising that it doesn’t say much about why Disney is a concerned about income inequality – it’s more of a “what people said” piece – but Disney herself covered that in a Washington Post op ed. It is nothing unique to her – she’s observing that the dizzying gap between rich and poor has a corrosive effect on society and politics and that we’re becoming a nation of decreasing social mobility that locks people into generations of poverty.

What is unique is Disney’s name,  and she freely admits that helps her get airtime. So, good for her. At a time when it seems like many of the super-rich have forgotten that their lives are only possible because of the society they operate in, it’s refreshing to see a wealthy person who isn’t imagining she can just disassociate herself from the rest of her country.

Photo credit: By U.S. Naval War College – 120613-N-LE393-021, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62001778

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