It pays to be a greedy CEO and screw over your workers

The AFL-CIO is out with their new Executive Pay Watch report – revealing that CEOs at Fortune 500 companies made on average $12 million each in 2011. They’re now getting paid 380-times more than their average worker. That’s a slight increase since 2010 – and a massive increase since 1980 – when, before Reaganomics, CEOs were paid only 42-times more than their average worker.

On top of that – CEO pay increased nearly 14% in 2011 – compared to a meager 2.8% increase in worker pay that same year. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer – creating the largest wealth inequality gap in America since right before the Stock Market crash of 1929. And rather than doing something about it – multi-millionaire Congressman Paul Ryan and the Republicans want to make wealth inequality even worse with a $3 trillion tax cut for the nation’s Romney-rich. We can’t afford to do that – in fact, we need to be doing just the opposite.

We need to roll back the Reagan tax cuts – and make the Romney-super rich pay their fair share in taxes again.


jmanstro's picture
jmanstro 11 years 6 weeks ago

I see parallels here with the core problems we have in America. I think we need a focused effort on restoring an effective and impartial press. The fourth estate is on the ropes and neither voters nor shareholders have reliable information with which to cast their votes. We need to encourage people to reward the unbiased sources of information on what is really going on, and encourage them to reject those sources that provide intellectually dishonest representations, even if they seem like people supporting their existing opinions. If we start reading and watching the objective press and stop reading and watching the infotainment people so much, ad revenues will shift to the people providing real and honest information you can use for better voting. When the opinion poles start to show candidates an informed voter, the candidates with integrity will conclude they can afford to run a campaign and have a chance to win.

The same is true in the board room, with some higher hurdles on voting, but perhaps lower hurdles on information. If we can get these advisory votes recently established to reject the cases where the board has not used the proper quality of compensation analysis, and simply cannot make the case for the pay packages proposed, they'll either have to lower the pay or make a better case.

A top flight CEO with rare skills and rare preparation may find themselves in the right place at the right time and actually be worth tens of millions of dollars to a company for a while. But how often that is the case and how long its true would need to be demonstrated in credible compensation analysis to avoid the rejection of a pay proposal.

Let's hope this keeps moving in the right direction!

FractionallyUnnerved's picture
FractionallyUnnerved 11 years 6 weeks ago

With all the cheap goods the Ceo's bring in from china

our purchasing power is strong no?,where else can you buy $2 laser pointer

or monsanto $4 bread. (the strong shall survive) letting the wise CEO

reinvest will keep us All quiet and content,cowboy Reaganomics knows whos Boss,rite Mr. FED Corp.

Rode the Tec.bubble.into the sunset Reagan did, it was all so good in the 80's, not much Ancient Sunlight left though. Thanks for the warning Mr.Hartmann

TarryFaster 11 years 6 weeks ago

"They" can't wait for Depression2!

Sure, look what happens after a depression. The rich/Republicans, who will then control the bulk of all of the money and therefore can buy any/all of anything they want -- for peanuts ... literally. Chinese peanut butter futures will become the next hot commodity to trade, while the rest of us learn to survive on a par of existence that equals the citizens of China.

mauiman58's picture
mauiman58 11 years 6 weeks ago

There is a rule in capitalism that no one is overpaid. The only reason those CEOs get paid what they do is that the stockholders (or the owners) of the company have determined that they are worth that much. No I am not a CEO.

OldLarry's picture
OldLarry 11 years 6 weeks ago

Please. CEOs are overpaid because their boards of directors control their compensation. Who sits on these boards? Other CEOs and their ilk, of course. You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.

Regarding shareholders: I have voted against executive compensation packages for the corp in which I own a bit of stock and once worked for. My puny number of shares doesn't count for squat compared with the number of shares owned by the executives OR the number owned by shareholders who are too dull, lazy or immoral to vote against what the board proposes. Further, anyone who won't do their CEO duties for only a million or two per year is, IMHO, greedy.

jmacneil's picture
jmacneil 11 years 6 weeks ago

There is another aspect which seems to be overlooked, and that is that the high compensation is to keep all the players in the game so they won't jump ship and turn state's evidence against all the crime that they and their cronies are involved in. And I imagine they all have the threat of death hanging over their heads as well, should they turn, as was evidenced by the secret services spreading deadly toxins around as a warning. And the above-board lobbying money is just the tip of the iceburg when it comes to payouts to politicians, since cash is King as the former prime minister of Canada, Brian Mulroney, proved by his incredibly crass influence peddling.

There is no doubt that the entire criminal capitalist system in the U.S. is so corrupt that it is beyond rescuing, so the only alternative left is for it to crash and burn. And I suspect that all of them know that as well, so it is rather pathetic of them to continue with their leeching wealth from society as they brazenly make a play for corporate autonomy that will see them destroy the U.S. in the vain hope that they can extricate themselves from the abyss toward which they are headed. And in the end, when they finally see the ruin to which they have brought themselves, they will finally understand how worthless is their money when they are faced with imminent extinction.

John Defalque's picture
John Defalque 11 years 6 weeks ago

Everyone should be paid the same and we need to recognize that we all have the same needs.Those with a great education feel they shouold get more, but if everyone were paid the same, then all of those uneducated, would be able to become educated.Let's end all discrimination.Let's have the most people possibe succeed, rather than billionaires and homeless bums.Hoarding is a mental illness-even the hoarding of wealth and power is unhealthy.Land should only be allotted to those who will work it, not to the rich who want lawns and ornamentals.Cars should be banned-so that we have nothing that sets us apart in classes of have and have nots.We all should be on public transit.How about a democracy of needs?

FractionallyUnnerved's picture
FractionallyUnnerved 11 years 6 weeks ago

Constuction has many Codes to follow,tried and true methods, when new techniques arise the method is put to scrutiny.When building any society capital or other, Codes are put in place to protect from disaster decay corruption.when making stainless steal you must have the rite alloys.Ralph Nader uses for auto industries ect.Rockefeller ran for Pres then he hired BUSH/Reagan to force Deregulation.Then all the acquisitions and mergers in the 80's using high powered money.Ceo's pay hikes ect.The farmer keeps the hen house locked, Uncle Sam was tricked by the Fox

Now the capital has gone overseas.bottom line why should Corps make 10% when in China they make laws let them do this,(dereg, League Rules) then you leave buisness no or die. Build to Code, Thanks for site inspection,Hartmann's .Re regulate Build for America or build for Ceo's. Re regulate Thank you

PLSzymeczek's picture
PLSzymeczek 11 years 6 weeks ago

CEO pay should be limited to 50 times that of the lowest-paid worker in the company.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 11 years 6 weeks ago

Let's see, President Obama as CEO of the entire country makes maybe 10 times more than the average worker, which to begin with says something about the cost effective side of public employee pay-scales. So I think this is a good ratio for fair compensation. I'm sure there are many qualified CEO candidates willing to work for around a half mill per year. Just think, a company could expand it's work force by hundreds or better fund retirements and health insurance with the savings equivalent to 370 salaries.

Romney and his tea party republicans say they want to restore the former glory of this country by disregarding the will of the vast majority for the Buffet Rule. They must be referring to that 18-19th century time period where massive profit for the few at the expense of the many was a given in the deep south.

jmacneil's picture
jmacneil 11 years 6 weeks ago

There should also be a limit on how much personal wealth someone should be allowed to own. Anyone with more than a billion dollars in total wealth is clearly in possession of far more than they or their family would require in their lifetimes. And the excess imbues an undue influence that can only be detrimental to the progression of society.

mauiman58's picture
mauiman58 11 years 6 weeks ago

Hey John, this has been tried before, it is called communism, and it doesn't work in the real world. It has failed miserably every time it has been tried.

jmacneil's picture
jmacneil 11 years 6 weeks ago

That is not how communism works in the real world. Clearly, there is a great misunderstanding among people who are raised in the criminal capitalist societies due to them being indoctrinated their whole lives by the lies of the ruling class. The works of Marx, while undoubtably forward looking and meant with good intent, are not to be considered as a bible to be followed blindly. The only way for a country to get to be a communist nation in reality is to do it, and that requires working out what is suitable to a real communist society by the actual implementaion of policies that work, and those aren't always the way that Marx envisioned them. You have to remember that Marx was an idealist and was not working with a system where he could test his theory on a working model. The only truly communist system in the world where communism has been implemented and has then been overwhelmingly successful is in Cuba, therefore Cuba is the prime model of communism and the only one which should be referred to when making comparisons to other systems.

The working model of communism is about ensuring all of the basic needs and safety of all citizens and not about everyone having identical wealth with no distinction between top to bottom. It is about ensuring that every citizen has full rights to healthcare, education, civil defense protection, food and lodging and freedom from persecution. Communism is not about turning people into slaves or automatons, that is for criminal capitalist ruled societies although that truth is well camouflaged under a mountain of lies.

MaryMary's picture
MaryMary 11 years 6 weeks ago

I've been reading these progressive posts for over a year. Most are blame and complain, and the rest want some unseen diety or something to "fix" the "problems". Progressives are good at coming up with idea for others to do, but don't have a clue how to get things done. Actually, this makes sense. If progressives knew how to get things done, they would't be progressives, they would be Republicans.

mauiman58's picture
mauiman58 11 years 6 weeks ago

Hey if you think Cuba is a model for anything good other than cigars, you must live in on a different planet than I do! To say that Cuba has a better system than we do here in the US is ridiculas beyond belief! You don't see Amwericans trying to float from Miami to Cuba, but there sure were a lot of Cubans trying to float to Miami in the late 70's. Why do you think that is?

jmacneil's picture
jmacneil 11 years 6 weeks ago

What you fail to realize is that during the timeframe you are referring to, the U.S. had Cuba under a blockade that restricted the development of their society according to the prerogatives in which the leaders wished to guide it. That blockade, which is the longest in history, made for a great scarcity of ordinary supplies that non-blockaded countries take for granted. Also, the multitude of terrorist actions of the U.S. against Cuba at that time were, besides all of the physical damage to property from the bombs, shootings and biological attacks, causing thousands of deaths and many more thousands of injuries which made life extremely difficult for the Cuban people over a span of decades. So, naturally, those of a weaker spirit wished to be away from there because of the permanent state of low level war which the U.S. employed against the civilian population. And, it must be realized, you are talking of a period that was more than a quarter of a century ago. Since then the Cuban system has evolved in immeasureable ways into the incredible transformation that virtually the whole world now admires, as was evidenced most recently by the summit in Cartegena where the U.S. and it's new vassel Canada were the only countries to veto the inclusion of Cuba into the next summit of the OAS.

mauiman58's picture
mauiman58 11 years 6 weeks ago

Funny how a blockade from just one country is making life on Cuba so tough? What if you can't trade with the US, you can't survive?

On another point, my history book says the Bay of Pigs invasion was in the early 1960's. I don't recall any other attacks on Cuba by the US since then.

Sorry if you hold up Cuba as Utopia, you are smoking some serious weed my friend. I wouldn't move to Miami and and state that opinion, look what happened to Ozzie Guillen whne he defended Fidel Castro recently.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 11 years 6 weeks ago

Communism doesn't work, that's clear. Libertarianism doesn't work as well. These are both extreme ideas that never will work out in reality. Cuba has never been a free country, it has always been a dictatorship and I'd never advocate something like that. Liberal Democrats have much better ideas.

Keynesianism is the best way to organize social and economical policy. Republicans are trying to tag this "marxist", but this is nonsense. I could tag the GOP lesbian as well. Even Marx wasn't a marxist, those marxists obviously already were idiots during the 19th century. Yes, I think so: Marxists and libertarians are idiots. And if you ask me, I give you proof of their relationship, because historically they were related!

I find it funny that the German Keynesianism went on with the conservative Angela Merkel for many years -- and it booms! And this Keynesian system was created under Adenauer, who was even more conservative. It just happened so, that the Germans felt like being somewhat more humane after WW2. And it worked out -- and still works. There you have a model that works in reality!!!

Forget Republican austerity. It only strangles us.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 11 years 5 weeks ago
Quote mauiman58:Hey John, this has been tried before, it is called communism, and it doesn't work in the real world. It has failed miserably every time it has been tried.
You're just mauiing nonsense, as always, but you're not able to define communism. Communism is government-ownership of the whole production and the whole economy. Nothing else.

Back to marxism: Right now it's just a GOP-tag. The GOP is trying to tag anything that is not Republican "marxist" and that's ridiculous. Marxism is actually non-existent. You can define communism via Communistic Manifest ect, but not 'marxism'. Marx was just a philosopher and author who described the problems of his time. He uttered some ideas and tried a prognosis, but during his later years saw himself, this didn't work out. Marx himself was not dogmatic, he just described and criticized and in this he was spot-on. He was right at his time, but today you cannot solve the problems of our world with Karl Marx' ideas.

People who call themseves "marxists" are a small minority. Communism was a threat during the depression of the 30s (FDR prevented America from drifting into communism). Today's threat in America is the GOP. The GOP is extremely dogmatic, they're dominated by libertarians and this is dangerous. The libertarian ideology is just as harmful as communism. Both are extreme ideas of the 19th century and a threat to democracy. Libertarianism is a variation, a form of communism! The GOP is closer to communism than president Obama. Reagan's union policy sounded pretty much like in the Soviet Union of his time.

mauiman58's picture
mauiman58 11 years 5 weeks ago

Hey Clarissa, as soon as the "Progressives" or "Democrats" show that they have any realization at all that by far the biggest threat to this country is the one trillion dollar a year shortfall in revenues, then I might actually take them seriously. But people like you continue to deny that there is a problem and come up with solutions like the "Bufett Rule" which closes the gap by a whopping 5 billion a year. Give me a break!!

Stop smoking weed and realize that this cannot continue very much longer, and tax increases are not the answer. Even the Germans, who you so fondly point at as being the country to aspire to, are forcing austerity measures on overspending EU countries like Ireland, Greece, and Italy. If the Germans could force austerity measures on the US they would.

The party is over, wake up and smell the roses.

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 11 years 5 weeks ago
Quote mauiman58:Stop smoking weed
This is the same nonsense like: "Obama is a marxist." The Republicans are a bunch of swindlers and this stuff here.... just a monkey who faked figures and other facts all the time. My family never smoked anything, as we seldom drink alcohol. We take drugs if a physician tells us to.

The Germans are not ready to pay for countries like Greek and Spain, which actually suffer from austerity. And I understand that perfectly. Greek did insane military overspending. Exact the same mistake as under Bush : shooting out our treasury in Iraq for nothing. South Europe is just as backwards as the south of the U.S. and this goes even for Italy: The Italians saw their Silvio Berlusconi was a crook though elected him again. Why? Because those European southerners are backward conservative Catholics. Same idiots like in our south. A few reasonable liberals, the rest are hicks. How they solve their problems is neither my business, nor the German's. But I don't want the Germans to waste money on them. I want the Germans to go on as good Keynesian example for the U.S. and you people bet they will! Why weren't the Germans ready to follow us to Iraq? Because they're smart.

President Obama's record is swell: The major terrorist is dead -- General Motors still alive. And he did his great work although being handcuffed in the House. From there comes the Republican shortfall, gridlock and filibustering. The Republican crooks try to destroy the economy, to blame it on the president. Dear Americans, if you make a mistake, by voting or non-voting, you might book these Gangsters for 4 years. If you for example blame the gas prices on the president, which are caused by corporations who work for the Republicans. It is a Republican trap. You're not going to fall for that Republican monkey business.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 11 years 5 weeks ago

It's either "wake up and smell the coffee" or "stop and smell the roses".

Clarissa Smith's picture
Clarissa Smith 11 years 5 weeks ago

Mauiman smells himself. His lies stink like rotting carcass. Did you read the malicious lies he spread out about Sandra Fluke? I met quite some bold right-wingers, but sutch impertinence is flat-out unbelievable. He'd better scram here, for I'm going to constantly remind him of that shameless piece of monkey business...

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