Thursday, July 14, 2011

Turns out corporate CEOs don't make 431 times the average worker's pay assessed a Leftie bumper sticker making that claim. In their article they determined that it was an exaggeration.  They said it was the product of a liberal think tank comparing S&P 500 CEO wages with average American workers' wages--not average S&P 500 peons' wages. So it's comparing apples and oranges.

I did some back-of-envelope calculations and came up with 100--corporate CEOs make about 100 times what their own peons make. Which means that these CEOs get in less than four days what their grunt workers get in a year.

What is undisputed is the between WWII and the Reagan Revolution, CEOs made about 20 times what their peons made.  Which is still what CEOs make in other industrialized countries. Our current ration has diverged so much from other industrialized countries that it now resembles that of Russia and Mexico.

Put another way, these CEOs have appropriated virtually all the rise in America's GDP over the past 40 years.

But as per my last entry, Republicans treat this as simply the Hand of Fate at work. Especially since this is the answer to the "fact" right wing commentators state hourly over Republican Radio and Republican Television: the statistic that a few percent of Americans pay the bulk of the taxes, and half of Americans pay no taxes.

First, that's a lie. Half of Americans pay plenty of taxes--just not income taxes. So many regressive taxes are built into our overall tax structure that they get soaked disproportionately. Second, the hyper-rich pay more taxes because they're appropriated virtually all of America's increase in GDP for forty years.

So when your conservative friends mention this trope about the rich paying most taxes, ask them what explanation do they have for the fact that they now get 100 times what their peons make instead of 20. Making 20 times as much isn't sufficient incentive? It is in other countries. It was in the 50s, 60s and 70s, which were full of economic increase and job creation.

Even at 20 times what the average worker makes, it means that CEO gets a year's worth of peon salary every 18 days.

Hard to believe that at such a ratio these CEO types would be just too depressed about their poverty to build companies and "create jobs."

One last thing: I was comparing CEO pay to American worker pay at comparable companies. But the average American S&P 500 companies has many of its employees abroad, mostly in third world countries.

So if you add that to figuring the ratio of CEO may find that the original figure of 431 is way too modest. It may be more like 1,000 times or more.

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