Beyonce, Gates and the working man: underpaid or overpaid

Emily Gibbens, Staff Writer

We’ve all heard the arguments  on whether  minimum wage should be raised or if the leaders of companies make too much money. There’s no denying that the pay gap between entry level workers and CEOs is enormous, but is the huge gap rightfully so?

While browsing the Internet, I recently came across a giant photo that really got me thinking about the reverse side of the argument we are so used to hearing. It read, “Why is it okay for Beyoncé to make $50 million and not okay for a CEO who has 3000 employees and $100 million in profit to make $5 million?”

Don’t get me wrong. I love Beyoncé as much as the next 19-year-old girl, but it really makes me wonder if the debate on the “1 percent” who are being paid “too much” is being analyzed fairly.

There are definitely CEO’s out there who are overpaid, and there are people who are born into their lifestyle. I’m sure it is a lot easier to become a CEO when wealth runs in the family and you have more resources than most, but we can’t forget about the CEO’s who have started from the bottom and the ones who have led their company in massive expansions with their innovative thinking. Some CEO’s are even able to expand their company and increase revenue to such levels that they are essentially paying for themselves.

Just to be clear, I am not talking about CEOs and creators like Donald Trump. I’m talking about the completely self-made business people, like Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and Howard Schultz, the current CEO of Starbucks.

You’d think by the amount of people complaining about CEO salaries that running and managing a huge business would be easy work, but I’m sure we would all be amazed at the hours and dedication they put into their companies.

Take Bill Gates for example. Gates co-founded Microsoft, has partnered with IBM, he has written books and has many other enormous accomplishments. His net worth was at one point over $100 billion. He has rightfully earned all he has and is reaping the benefits of a company that he dropped out of college to put everything he had into.

Gates is not just selfishly basking in this money. He created the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation where they have donated $28 billion of their personal funds. Some of their main focuses include poverty, health and education across the United States and in developing countries across the world.

Their website,, states, “We see individuals, not issues. We are inspired by passion, and compassion for the wellbeing of people.”

Not all CEO’s are thieving monsters. Many of them started off as ordinary people who have earned their way of living and deserve all they have.

I am, by no means, trying to take away from what performers do. I love things like concerts and reality TV shows and I understand singers, actors, athletes and most famous people work extremely hard for what they have too.

But if entertainers can make that much, what is the problem with a hard-working person in the business world who worked their way to the top to be paid a lot as well?

It may seem unfair for us young people at the bottom of the chain, but that’s just how it works. Chances are many of us won’t turn out to be making millions as CEOs of companies, but those same chances say we won’t be the next Beyoncé either, and no one is complaining about that.

As a waitress, I shouldn’t make even remotely the same amount as the CEO, the president, the owner or any of the chairman of the company make. It’s not that I don’t work hard or try my absolute best at my job; it’s just simply that I haven’t invested my time and efforts into moving up the ladder of a company to become such a high figure.

I don’t have the experience or education a CEO has, and I understand that. What I don’t understand is why it’s so preposterous for an innovative, experienced person to make a lot of money, but no one complains or bats an eye about the millions of dollars that famous people are making.

Emily Gibbens is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]