Monday, April 18, 2011

Narrowing the debate on the National debt and whether to tax the wealthiest.

I sent an email to friends yesterday showing an article on Executive compensation vs. Average workers pay and decided to post it here.The article is titled, WHO RULES AMERICA by Prof. G. William Domhoff, Sociology Dept. Univ. of California, Santa Cruz. It is very worth reading and educating yourself.

For the complete article click this.

"Income Ratios and Power: Executives vs. Laborers

Another way that income can be used as a power indicator is by comparing average CEO annual pay to average factory worker pay, something that has been done for many years byBusiness Week and, later, the Associated Press. The ratio of CEO pay to factory worker pay rose from 42:1 in 1960 to as high as 531:1 in 2000, at the height of the stock market bubble, when CEOs were cashing in big stock options. It was at 411:1 in 2005 and 344:1 in 2007, according to research by United for a Fair Economy. By way of comparison, the same ratio is about 25:1 in Europe. The changes in the American ratio from 1960 to 2007 are displayed in Figure 8, which is based on data from several hundred of the largest corporations.

Figure 8: CEOs' pay as a multiple of the average worker's pay, 1960-2007

Source: Executive Excess 2008, the 15th Annual CEO Compensation Survey from the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy.

It's even more revealing to compare the actual rates of increase of the salaries of CEOs and ordinary workers; from 1990 to 2005, CEOs' pay increased almost 300% (adjusted for inflation), while production workers gained a scant 4.3%. The purchasing power of the federal minimum wage actually declined by 9.3%, when inflation is taken into account. These startling results are illustrated in Figure 9.

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.

Although some of the information I've relied upon to create this section on executives' vs. workers' pay is a few years old now, the AFL/CIO provides up-to-date information on CEO salaries at their Web site. There, you can learn that the median compensation for CEO's in allindustries 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. (For a more recent update on CEOs' pay, see "The Drought Is Over (At Least for CEOs)" at; the article reports that the median compensation for CEOs at 200 major companies was $9.6 million in 2010 -- up by about 12% over 2009 and generally equal to or surpassing pre-recession levels. For specific information about some of the top CEOs, see

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.

The process has been explained in detail by a retired CEO of DuPont, Edgar S. Woolard, Jr., who is now chair of the New York Stock Exchange's executive compensation committee. His experience suggests that he knows whereof he speaks, and he speaks because he's concerned that corporate leaders are losing respect in the public mind. He says that the business page chatter about CEO salaries being set by the competition for their services in the executive labor market is "bull." As to the claim that CEOs deserve ever higher salaries because they "create wealth," he describes that rationale as a "joke," says the New York Times."

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Charles,

I am simply stunned at the way (it seems) the majority of Americans support tax breaks for the rich.

I am shocked when I hear middle class earners defend these breaks by saying that money given to the rich creates jobs for the rest of us.

When was the last time we saw a such blatant fallacy so well defended by the very people it was hurting?!

It is simply crazy!

Wake up folks!


12:51 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Technorati Profile