There are a non-trivial number of people at Williams who make more than $100,000 per year. Add all their salaries together, and the total number is in the millions. Why not cut their salaries? The senior administrators at other schools have already taken “voluntary” pay cuts, so there is some precedence. It certainly seems more just to ask Morty to take a $50,000 pay cut then to ask a janitor to lose out on $5,000. Williams is allegedly, an Obama-friendly kind of place and President Obama has certainly suggested that the richest among us ought to take a fair share of the burdens caused by the economic crisis.

The best way to make this work in practice would be to ask for a fixed percentage cut in every salary above X. Call it 50% above $100,000. (Feel free to suggest your own numbers.) So, a professor making $102,000 would only lose $1,000 (50% of the $2,000 excess over the $100,000 cut-off) while Morty would (assuming a salary of $400,000) drop to $250,000. Such a scheme is nice because it is a sliding scale and preserves the rank ordering of salaries. All it does is to compress the top.

UPDATE: Longtime readers will recall our discussions of Morty’s salary. Classic posts in that series include here, here, here, here (one of my all time favorites) and here. The last is by (d)avid who also adds a comment below.

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