income disparity

Sunday suggested reading and open thread

  • Posted on: 3 July 2011
  • By: standingup

Hope everyone is enjoying a pleasant and long 4th of July weekend.

A suggested article from the Sunday edition of the New York Times, We Knew They Got Raises. But This?". The Times is updating an earlier study on executive compensation in the U.S. to reflect companies that had not previously disclosed pay packages on April 1, 2011.

The final figures show that the median pay for top executives at 200 big companies last year was $10.8 million. That works out to a 23 percent gain from 2009. The earlier study had put the median pay at a none-too-shabby $9.6 million, up 12 percent.

Total C.E.O. pay hasn’t quite returned to its heady, prerecession levels — but it certainly seems headed there. Despite the soft economy, weak home prices and persistently high unemployment, some top executives are already making more than they were before the economy soured.

Read and weep.

Most ordinary Americans aren’t getting raises anywhere close to those of these chief executives. Many aren’t getting raises at all — or even regular paychecks. Unemployment is still stuck at more than 9 percent.

In some ways, chief executives seem to live in a world apart when it comes to pay. As long as shareholders think that the top brass is doing a good job, executives tend to be well paid, whatever the state of the broader economy. And some corporate boards were probably particularly generous in 2010 after a few relatively lean years for their top executives. In other words, some of this was makeup pay.

No doubt those executives have little to weep about, outside of the off chance they might see a tax loophole closed.

 

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