How’s your job going – if you even have one? The odds are very, very high that you haven’t seen a raise in a long time. Or maybe you were laid off and found a new job at half your old pay. They say this is the “new normal.”
Meanwhile, CEO pay just keeps climbing and climbing and climbing (and climbing and climbing and climbing and climbing and climbing and climbing). This inequality is destabilizing our economy.
Soaring CEO Pay
The AFL-CIO has released this year’s 2014 Executive PayWatch at www.PayWatch.org, a “comprehensive searchable online database tracking the excessive pay of CEOs of the nation’s largest companies.”
PayWatch.org offers workers the unique ability to compare their own pay to the pay of top executives. According to Executive PayWatch data, U.S. CEOs pocketed, on average, $11.7 million in 2013, compared to the average worker who earned $35,293. That means CEOs were paid 331 times that of the average worker. (CEO pay was 774 times the minimum wage.)
“A Rigged Game”
In The New York Times Tuesday Joe Nocera writes, in “C.E.O. Pay Goes Up, Up and Away!” that,
When the market fell after the financial crisis, many companies gave their chief executives big option grants to “make up for” what they’d lost. When performance measures were toughened, chief executives responded by demanding larger grants because they were taking more “risk.”
It’s a rigged game. When the company’s stock goes up, says Crystal, the chief executive views himself as a hero. And when it goes down, “it’s Janet Yellen’s or Barack Obama’s fault.”
Yes, it’s a rigged game. For CEOs it’s more and more and more pay. For regular people it’s:
Stagnant wages, with Republicans in Congress blocking an increase of the minimum wage.
Laws prohibiting cities and counties from raising the minimum wage in Republican states like Oklahoma.
Republicans in Congress obstructing restoring unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless.
The Paycheck Fairness Act, which addresses unequal pay between men and women, being filibustered by Senate Republicans.