Admittedly, it is an odd analogy, but let's look at the similarities. Pee Wee Herman is a character portrayed by the actor Paul Reubens, whose costume is a gray suit and bow tie, while anti-greed everyman Michael Moore is a character portrayed by the actor of the same name whose costume is a baseball cap, a t-shirt and some dingy jeans.
What a moneymaker.
Michael Moore joined protesters this week in Manhattan to rally against "corporate greed" on behalf of Joe and Julie Lunchbucket, and then appeared on CNN's Piers Morgan to decry Wall Street wealth as "un-Christian."
To Morgan, he complained about the rich, claiming that, "One percent gets nine slices of the pie, and the other 99% are supposed to fight over the last slice". Never mind the fact that the top one percent of wage earners (and yes, this would include you, Mr. Moore) ACTUALLY make 21% of the "pie," (not 90%) – yet, they pay 38% of the federal taxes, as recently reported by the AP.
My suggestion to Michael Moore would be to brush up on his facts and to, perhaps, find a different metaphor than "eating 90% of a pie". But I digress.
This man, in the words of Forrest Gump, is a Go-zillionaire who has successfully branded himself as an anti-rich everyman. As Jeffrey Kuhner wrote in the Washington Times in February of this year, Moore lives a jet-setting life of luxury, traveling in private planes and a fleet of SUV’s. His parents owned a large home, sending their four kids to private school, while his dad regularly played golf at a private club.
Moore himself lives in a swanky mansion and is, himself, a CEO who makes tens of millions of dollars more than your average Wall Street executive. His investment portfolio has included owning significant shares of stock in medical, health, pharmaceutical, defense and big oil companies such as Pfizer, Merck, Eli Lilly, Pharmacia Corporation, Tenet Healthcare, Sunoco, General Electric, and yes, even Halliburton.
When he's booked for a television interview or an appearance, he shows up like any other millionaire celebrity CEO. He puts down his caviar, dons his t-shirt and baseball cap costume, and just as Paul Reubens becomes his alter ego character, Michael Moore becomes the blue collar, anti-greed average Joe.
Just ask yourself, if Moore is really offended by executives making so much money, why does he say nothing about, we'll say, David Letterman and Ellen DeGeneres both making $45 million a year? Or Jay Leno making $32 million, Steven Spielberg making $107 million, James Cameron making $257 million, Oprah Winfrey making $300 million, or for that matter, George Soros' billions.
According to the IRS, the top one percent of wage earners in America has an average annual income of $380,354. These are the people that Moore complained to Piers Morgan this week "take 90% of the pie" (By the way, Morgan makes $14 million a year…LESS than Michael Moore).
The nation's highest-paid, richest, non-entertainment corporate CEO's make between $1 million and $5 million a year. A handful of them can occasionally hit in the tens of millions in a particular year where they cash in stock options. This is a far cry from the entertainment industry celebrities who CONSISTENTLY make $20 million to $100 million a year. Year after year after year. And, I haven't even addressed the worlds of sports and music.
So, for any of you who are falling for the Michael Moore fictional public persona character, be willing to apply a little logic by asking yourself 3 simple questions:
- Who makes more money? Wall Street or Hollywood?
- Who has the widest income disparity, entertainment CEO's or non-entertainment CEO's, when compared to their employees?
- Who provides more jobs?
Don't get me wrong. I don't fault Oprah Winfrey for making $300 million a year or Michael Moore for his tens of millions. They both are taking full advantage of the American Dream and Capitalist System. Who do I fault are those naive enough to believe the guy in the gray suit and bow tie, or the guy in the baseball cap and t-shirt, are real people, instead of fictional characters portrayed by actors.