Mr. Romney didn’t “earn” that money; he just collected mostly “carried interest” on his earlier investments without doing any recent work for it. But let’s imagine that Romney, like most Americans, earned this money through a salaried job. If Romney worked 40 hours a week for 50 weeks out of the year that would be 2,000 hours worked a year. $20 million divided by 2,000 comes out to $10,000 an hour. To make as much as Mitt Romney received, a person would need an hourly wage job that paid $10,000 an hour.
For comparison the minimum wage in America is $7.25 an hour. If you were making minimum wage working 2000 hours a year, to earn as much as Romney did last year you would need to work for about 1,400 years.
I find this roughly $10,000 an hour figure particularly interesting because earlier in the Republican campaign Romney famously tried to make a $10,000 bet with Rick Perry. After getting criticized for it Romney defended his $10,000 bet by claiming he was just trying to think of an “outrageous number.”
To Romney, though, a $10,000 bet really isn’t outrageous at all. For Romney a $10,000 bet is roughly the equivalent of a regular American making a bet of 10 or 20 dollars, about one hour’s worth of pay. For most Americans that would be a pretty normal friendly wager.