The HHS poverty guidelines set $11,170 per annum as the poverty benchmark for a single person. So, if your $20,000 yearly figure for a Wal-Mart worker is correct, it is nearly twice the benchmark. That aside, the fact that Michael Duke earns a large multiple of the average employee's earnings reflects the marginal value of his contribution to running the company, which, un-egalitarian as the economic reality might be, is proportionally greater than the average worker's. People who run corporations the size of Wal-Mart are a _big_ cut above average in intellect, education, work ethic, business acumen, and general ability. They earn the megabucks because they generate equivalent value.