By David Walsh in the USA:
US CEO pay reaches new heights
28 January 2012
And they continue to rake it in!
America’s corporate executives, already richer than Croesus, are not satisfied with having looted the economy of trillions of dollars in recent decades. Three and a half years after maneuvering the country to the verge of bankruptcy, the financial elite continues to enrich itself, legally and illegally, at the expense of the population and the general social interest.
The argument that CEOs deserve fabulous salaries because they “grow” the economy was always specious, but now, in the face of the financial meltdown and mass unemployment, such a claim simply generates popular outrage.
Despite nervousness in the media and the political establishment about the vast social inequality, nothing short of social upheaval will stop America’s executives from gorging themselves.
USA Today reported January 23, for example, that 2011 “is shaping up as the year of the $50 million-plus CEO.” The newspaper cited Walt Disney’s Robert Iger as “the latest” member of that exclusive club. Iger received $31.4 million in pay and perks and took in $21.4 million more from exercising previously awarded stock options and shares.
The article noted complaints by “corporate governance experts” that “executive pay is a sore point among rank-and-file workers, politicians and movements such as Occupy Wall Street.” Needless to say, these concerns leave the corporations involved utterly undeterred.
Tornados ripped through central Alabama again this week; hospitals contend with meth-related accident victims and dental emergencies among the uninsured; California jail conditions worsen under prisoner “realignment” program: here.
CEO Pay: Money Well Earned? Salvatore Babones, Truthout: “The idea that corporations should seek to maximize shareholder value – and nothing else – was born in the 1980s and rose to dominance in the 1990s. Before the 1990s, many people believed that corporations existed to produce useful goods, provide important services, generate meaningful employment and support vibrant communities. How quaint that sounds today”: here.
Shareholders Say No to Citigroup CEO Pay: A Model for Fighting Crony Capitalism. Dean Baker, Truthout: “Last week, the country saw one of the fruits of the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill. The bill requires that major corporations offer their shareholders the opportunity to vote on the pay package for their chief executive. The shareholders of Citigroup voted down the $14.9 million pay package for CEO Vikram Pandit by a margin of 55-45 percent. The vote was nonbinding (a very serious problem), but it was nonetheless a huge slap in the face for Pandit and Citigroup’s top management and directors”: here.