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The question you are asking actually has several components that would have to be worked out before venturing an opinion.
- When asking if workers are fairly compensated, one must ask, "what is fair compensation?"
- "In today's world" implies that workers were rewarded fairly in "yesterday's world."
- How do you separate these folks who "work hard" from those who do not?
- There is no location set to the question. America is different from Mexico, which is different than North Korea in terms of wages. Likewise, cost of living in different parts of the country and between rural/urban areas is vastly changed.
You can see the dilemma.
The first one is hardest to solve, in my opinion. I'm likely to tell you that you're paid enough but that I am not. It's human nature to have that double standard. What is a fair price for someone's time and skills?
The second one is easir to solve but depends on the first. You'd have to figure out what "fair" is and then do a historical check to see if that level of compensation has changed. You'd need proof one way or the other.
The third is at least measurable by gauging someone's output. If an employee is making widgets, it's possible to see how many he's done in a day and then rank him against others. But what if you're not making widgets but rather being a police officer? How do we know if they are "hard working" or just "average working?"
The fourth is easiest...you'd just have to pick a spot.
All that being said, it is possible to make some subjective statements (especially knowing Charles Sullivan's style.) In my opinion, it's not that most hard working people aren't paid fairly in America (ask any miner in Nigeria if they would like to trade places) it's that a small percentage of individuals are compensated in a grossly inflated manner. Actors, athletes, CEO's, certain medical professionals, upper-rung bureaucrats...there is no real ceiling to their earnings. And it's true: those that have money find it much easier to make more of it. The average "hard working Jane/Joe" has much less potential for upward mobility in a world where many jobs are easily sent overseas and gas is $4 a gallon. That's the real problem, I think: the cost of getting by in Western countries, especially America.
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