Executive Pay

Ken AshfordEconomy & Jobs & DeficitLeave a Comment

Probably going to be branded a socialist for saying this, but capitalism — at least as it is practiced today — really ain't worth a damn.

Unless, of course, you are one of the privileged few.

The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) released its annual report on executive compensation today — “CEO Pay and the Great Recession” — and you would think that it would show that CEOs, too, are suffering a little bit during this economic decline.

Not so, my friend.  CEOs are not only doing fine, they're doing better than ever, while the working man suffers.  The report found that “CEOs of the 50 firms that have laid off the most workers since the onset of the economic crisis took home nearly $12 million on average in 2009.” Those CEOs’ combined compensation totaled $598 million, while at the same time, their companies eliminated 531,363 jobs despite reporting a 44 percent average profit increase for 2009.

More staggering is the level of executive pay, according to IPS:

[A]fter adjusting for inflation, CEO pay in 2009 more than doubled the CEO pay average for the decade of the 1990s, more than quadrupled the CEO pay average for the 1980s, and ran approximately eight times the CEO average for all the decades of the mid-20th century.

American workers, by contrast, are taking home less in real weekly wages than they took home in the 1970s.

According to IPS, American CEOs make 263 times the average compensation for American workers, up from the 30 to 1 ratio in the 1970s. For comparison, the average compensation of a Japanese CEO is less than one-sixth that of their American counterpart and 16 times more than the average Japanese worker.

That's just twisted.

But not as twisted as this: There's going to be a conversation in this country soon about raising the taxes of the uber-wealthy a couple of percentage points.  And who will rush to defend the uber-wealthy?  The idiot tea-partiers so mindnumbed by Beck and others that they don't realize they are their own worst enemy.