A report by the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute released on Thursday showed that, by one measure—which “includes stock options realized (in addition to salary, bonuses, restricted stock grants, and long-term incentive payouts)”—CEO compensation in 2017 climbed 17.9 percent over 2016, and that the average CEO of the 350 largest companies in the United States made $18.9 million.
By another measure the EPI looked at, which “tracks the value of stock options at the time they are granted,” the average CEO compensation rose to a paltry $13.3 million, up from $13 million in 2016. And in May, the AP—using different methodology—found that the median compensation of 339 executives was $11.7 million.
No matter how you look at it, CEOs are making a metric fuckton of money. Workers? Not so much.
Worker compensation grew just 0.3 percent in 2017, according to the EPI. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said on Wednesday that real average hourly earnings for all employees actually decreased slightly from July 2017 to July 2018. There was a 0.1 percent increase in real average weekly earnings in the same period, but the BLS said that this is only because employees worked 0.3 percent more hours a week. (Putting 0.3 percent more hours in but only getting 0.1 percent more money for it is a pretty good summation of the American economy right now.)
Per the EPI:
The 2017 CEO-to-worker compensation ratio of 312-to-1 was far greater than the 20-to-1 ratio in 1965 and more than five times greater than the 58-to-1 ratio in 1989 (although it was lower than the peak ratio of 344-to-1, reached in 2000). The gap between the compensation of CEOs and other very-high-wage earners is also substantial, with the CEOs in large firms earning 5.5 times as much as the average earner in the top 0.1 percent.
In other words: you are getting robbed. Fleeced. Mugged. And as the Washington Post helpfully notes, this is a choice:
But others say the wide gap is a reflection of U.S. laws that unjustly privilege managers over workers. In many countries in Europe, the salary gap between CEOs and their employees is less than half of what it is in the United States. The CEO-worker pay ratio is about 94 to 1 in the United Kingdom, 91 to 1 in France, 71 to 1 in the Netherlands and 40 to 1 in Sweden, according to a report by the Executive Remuneration Research Center at Vlerick Business School in Belgium.
“They have stronger labor unions over there, which makes a difference,” said Steven Kyle, an economics professor at Cornell University. “Also, when you have socialists governing, they’re going to jump up and down about these things. And, obviously, we don’t have that.”