| Tue Feb. 10, 2009 4:27 PM EST | Scheduled to publish Tue Feb. 10, 2009 11:50 AM EST

EARNINGS....Via Ezra, Rick Hertzberg asks a question:

Why is that a manual worker gets paid wages and a middle manager or cop or teacher earns a salary, but a corporate boss condescends to accept “compensation”?

This really isn't so hard. "Wages" refers to hourly earnings. "Salary" is typically a fixed yearly amount for exempt employees. "Compensation" is used for corporate honchos because you need a word that encompasses the fact that a big part of their earnings are in stock, deferred salary, capital gains, pension payments, and various perks. There's really nothing very sinister about all this.