My featured article was getting too damn long, so I left this chart out of the article. It tells the story of the ruling elite looting and pillaging the middle class of this country. The average CEO’s pay has gone up 300% over a 15 year period, while the average working schmuck’s pay has gone up 4.3% over the same time period. The free market capitalists out there will claim that the CEOs have created more shareholder value and deserve every penny they get.
Did Jeff Immelt increase shareholder value at GE?
Did Angelo Mozilo increase shareholder value at Countrywide?
Did Charlie Prince increase shareholder value at Citicorp?
Did Ken Lewis increase shareholder value at Bank of America?
Did Ken Lay increase sharholder value at Enron?
You get my point. The CEOs of American conglomerates have destroyed wealth in this country, shipped American jobs overseas, and have paid themselves billions for a job well done. Below is a section of William Danhoff’s fantastic article – Who Rules America – http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html.
The median compensation for CEO’s in all industries as of early 2010 is $3.9 million; it’s $10.6 million for the companies listed in Standard and Poor’s 500, and $19.8 million for the companies listed in the Dow-Jones Industrial Average. Since the median worker’s pay is about $36,000, then you can quickly calculate that CEOs in general make 100 times as much as the workers, that CEO’s of S&P 500 firms make almost 300 times as much, and that CEOs at the Dow-Jones companies make 550 times as much.
If you wonder how such a large gap could develop, the proximate, or most immediate, factor involves the way in which CEOs now are able to rig things so that the board of directors, which they help select — and which includes some fellow CEOs on whose boards they sit — gives them the pay they want. The trick is in hiring outside experts, called “compensation consultants,” who give the process a thin veneer of economic respectability.
Figure 9: CEOs’ average pay, production workers’ average pay, the S&P 500 Index, corporate profits, and the federal minimum wage, 1990-2005 (all figures adjusted for inflation)
Source: Executive Excess 2006, the 13th Annual CEO Compensation Survey from the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy.