Monday, June 11, 2007



A recent report by the Congressional Research Service helps to put the executive pay issue into a real-world context. CEOs make, on average, 179 times as much as rank and file workers, double the 90-to-1 ratio in 1994, according to the agency’s calculations.

Options grants and stock awards helped boost CEO pay as much as six-fold during the 1990s economic expansion, according to compensation consultant Donald Delves. Then the stock market bubble burst in 2000 — but CEO pay hasn’t come down since.

By contrast, median household income edged up only 8.6 percent from 1990 to 2005, according to U.S. Census data.

If the minimum wage had risen at the same pace as CEO pay since 1990, it would be worth $22.61 today, according to the Institute for Policy Studies. Instead, the federal minimum wage will increase to $5.85 an hour on July 24, the first increase in a decade.

And to think all it took to get that measly increase in the minimum wage was to put it in on the backs of the soldiers who will die in Iraq thanks to Bush's war as that's all the Dems "won" in the last tangle over war funding.

It's time to discuss a maximum wage law, methinks. And then don't say no one will strive and innovate, for I want the max wage to be a ratio, not a set figure. A CEO can't make more than oh, 75 times what his average worker makes. The more that worker makes, the more the CEO can make. Now go figure out your company's salary scale.

You can't tell me Yahoo's Terry Semel needs $70 mil a year--what in the world do you do with that? If we can boo Alex Rodriguez for making $25 mil a year just because he doesn't homer in every at-bat, what should we do for Semel and his fellow over-compensated CEOs?



Blogger Queen Whackamole said...

Ben & Jerry's used to have a 5-to-1 salary ratio until 1990, bumped to 7-to-1 for awhile... unfortunately they let this idea die when they went on a nationwide search for a CEO in the mid-90s...

7:47 PM  
Blogger Smitty said...

NPR had a good report on this issue yesterday. Essentially, they bashed on CEOs for getting "paid like entrepreneurs." They went on to say that if you're going to be paid like an entrepreneur, then you need to suffer like one if your company takes a hit. If your company loses, you lose. Sounds fair to me.

5:40 AM  
Blogger MCConfrontation said...

Usually when your company loses, you lose your job as CEO. These guys may be making alot of money, but George, when you say noone NEEDS $70 mil and you talk about max wage theory, in the same post, it scares me. Hey I'm just a working stiff like you, and I think we can both envy a payday like these guys experience, but it's folks like you that would put that communist in a perpetual pantsuit in office. She said a few weeks ago that she would "take those profits" from the oil companies and use them to promote renewable energy, or something to that effect. Take them? How?

7:29 AM  
Blogger theaverageman said...

Yes, and usually when these CEOs "lose" their jobs, they end up taking another huge chunk o' change with them.

What exactly "scares" you about George's idea? And what does that have to do with (I'm presuming) Hillary Clinton being president? Amazing how you just jumped from an economic idea to calling someone a "communist". Get that chip off your shoulder, McC.

And "taking" some of the oil companies' ridiculous profit from this year would be simple with a windfall profits tax.

9:06 AM  
Blogger MCConfrontation said...

I'll connect the dots for you. Call me McCarthy but it reeks of communism. Above everything, TAM, communism IS an economic idea. Max wage theory is on that slippery slope toward the big C, and Hillary is on the first sled. The bulk of what we pay for gas already goes to the governments: federal state and local. Isn't the government big enough for you already? I read somewhere that big oil only makes something like 13 cents a gallon. I'll need to research that, but in the meantime thanks for the "amazing" comment. I have to agree with you. I am amazing.

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are not amazing MCConfrontation, you are simply an idiot

10:23 AM  
Blogger Smitty said...

I read somewhere that big oil only makes something like 13 cents a gallon.

Yes, and posted record profits...record profits yet again this quarter. I do understand a pure capitalist economic model, but as a nation, we have already devided that for other "public commodities" like electricity and gas that we will regulate prices. But oil? Something we have decided is as important to life as electricity, is tied to a cartel in the M.E. in collusion with the U.S. oil industry.

So gas goes up to $3.50 per gallon in Michigan and gas companies raise record profits. On a commodity. On what is essentially a public utility. I don't feel bad about controlling their profits when you look at oil like a electricity and gas. If Sony makes record profits...big friggin deal. I have no problem with that. But the price of oil continues to increase without any balance or offset (meaning if more taxes are levied against gas, you'd raise the price as an oil company to simply make the profit margin you are accostomed to), and hits us whether or not you drive a car. I pay at the pump. Or the ticket window. But I don't have to buy a Sony.

As to why I don't feel bad about a max wage: although it pisses me off on a completely different level, I will admit that someone in the NHL, NBA, NFL or MLB has a skill that very very very few other people have. They can do something at a level that the vast majority of the population will never be able to achieve. Is that worth $25 million a year? I'm a sucker enough to watch dickheads like A-Rod, so sure.

But $75 million or a billion a year for running a company, at 179:1 what your average worker makes? Lots of people got skill to run business. To your point:

Usually when your company loses, you lose your job as CEO.

Yes. You do. And in many cases, so do thousands of other workers in your company who make $30,000 a year or less. But they don't get a $1 billion severance package that sets them for life. Hell, for what a CEO makes normally, they could retire and live off of interest, never having to work. Their severance packages...for failure, mind you also set them for life. Pardon me for not shedding a tear.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Marty said...

"Their severance packages...for failure, mind you also set them for life. Pardon me for not shedding a tear."

It also gives them plenty of time and resources to run for and fail in, say, a governorship, or the presidency.

2:15 PM  
Blogger MCConfrontation said...

Yeah Marty, like George Soros, John Kerry, and John Edwards.

Not every CEO gets billion dollar severances. Hey I'm not clapping when they do, believe me! But when you start talking maximum wage you're about three dates away from sleeping with Karl Marx.

4:11 PM  
Anonymous jqb said...

"Usually when your company loses, you lose your job as CEO."

mcconfrontation is an ignorant lying moron. Golden parachutes are the rule, and even if they weren't that still wouldn't justify these obscene executive salaries and benefits. And his red baiting is way beyond moronic. He can't argue on the merits of the idea, so it's Marx blah blah Communism blah blah. He may be too stupid to distinguish between CEO's getting 70 times as much as their employers from Stalinism (which was neither Marxism nor communism), but we aren't. He blathers about "slippery slope", as if one could slide from La Cumbre peak to the moon -- they're as well connected. says, "the slippery slope claim requires independent justification to connect the inevitability of B to an occurrence of A. Otherwise the slippery slope scheme merely serves as a device of sophistry."

Sophistry -- that's all one gets from "mcconfrontation". He's a waste of space.

1:55 PM  
Blogger MCConfrontation said...

If a presidential candidate makes a comment like the pantsuit made a few weeks back about taking the profits from a publicly held company, she's talking about taking the money out of the shareholders pockets to put into a fund of her design to research the market. It sounds alot like communism. I merely INFER that if she were in power and were able to do what she proposed, that it would not stop there. I INFER that she would be on the slippery slope toward something more akin to communism than capitalism. You can revert to the schoolyard name calling all you want, but in the words of The Dude: "That's just, like, your opinion man."

4:00 PM  

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