In the recent past, it has come to the attention of a great many Americans that the pay packages of corporate CEOs are a fucking outrage. Now we have an update. And the latest numbers say, ah... yeah, still fucked up.
There are a few different ways to measure total CEO pay (much of which often comes in the form of stock options spread over many years), so the numbers fluctuate somewhat depending on the methodology. But the basic takeaway is always the same: the ratio between the pay of average workers and the pay of CEOs has exploded since the “good old days” to which politicians are always harkening back.
Today, a report from the Economic Policy Institute finds the following:
- “[In] 2016 CEOs in America’s largest firms made an average of $15.6 million in compensation, or 271 times the annual average pay of the typical worker.”
- The same ratio in 1989: 59-1
- The same ratio in 1965: 20-1
You might think, quite stupidly, that due to the fact that the CEO-to-worker pay ratio was much more modest back in The Good Old Days, the people who most often reminisce fondly about The Good Old Days—Republican politicians—would therefore be predisposed to take measures to shrink the ratio from its current grossly inflated state. Silly! Even an Obama-era rule that requires companies to disclose the CEO pay ratio is a target to be undone by the Trump administration. Because what good would it do the hard working American to know how much more than him his god damn boss is getting paid? It would just make him upset. And that’s not what we want for hard working Americans today. What we want for them is a small tax cut and gravely degraded health outcomes.
Fixing in stone the maximum CEO-to-worker pay ratio would be a great item to include in a union contract. Just thinking out loud.