Recently there has been an uproar concerning public sector employees earning substantially more than private sector employees. Public workers are not overpaid. Private workers are underpaid.
Since the Reagan administration there has been a very successful Republican push to destroy unions and to convince the middle class that unions are bad. Unions created a substantial American middle class, not only for unionized workers but by setting the tone for salaries and benefits in all businesses. Their destruction over the last 25 years is destroying that middle class. The thriving middle class family of the '50s and '60s, who with one breadwinner was able to buy a home, a new car and send their kids to college, has become extinct. The average middle class family today now struggles to do these things with two incomes, with fewer and fewer being able to do.
So, according to The Institute for Policy Studies, in 1980 the CEO of a major corporation earned 42 times the average worker's salary. By 2008 that figure had grown to 319 times.
When unions were strongest in this country the middle class flourished. Create strong unions once again and a strong economy beneficial to the middle class will follow.