Bloomberg News columnist Roger Lowenstein writes, in a column bemoaning "excessive" executive pay: "one of the biggest threats to American democracy is inequality. ...And when executives earn more in a half day than teachers do in a year, talented people don't pursue careers in education."
This is just demonstrably false. Plenty of talented people are pursuing careers in education, notwithstanding the compensation gap between teaching and being a corporate executive. Teach for America, for example, got 46,000 applications for 4,500 spots. Many of the applicants come from Ivy League colleges. The handful of tenure-track jobs in the humanities "are being pursued by thousands of qualified people," according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
Partly this is because some people are motivated by things other than making the most money possible. Partly this is because corporate executives don't get summers and school vacation weeks off. Partly this is because there are millions of teaching jobs and maybe a few thousand super-lucrative corporate executive jobs, and some people would rather choose the security of a teaching job than the risk of competing for one of those few thousand super-lucrative corporate executive jobs.
Mr. Lowenstein's proposed solution to the "excessive" pay problem is that "Shareholders should be able to vote, aye or nay on pay -- and have it count." For what it is worth, Mr. Lowenstein, though identified at the end of the Bloomberg column only as an author, is the chairman of the board of directors of the Sequoia Fund, Inc. According to the proxy voting record on the Sequoia Fund Web site, in a recent yearlong period, the fund voted its shares on compensation issues 14 times, and opposed management only one of those 14 times.