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A few years back, I discovered that only one of the major think tanks in D.C. is not subsidized by the Gates Foundation. That is the Economic Policy Institute. Unlike other think tanks, which don’t even bother to disguise their ideological preferences, EPI makes its values clear: it advocates for economic and social justice and it is rigorous in its application of evidence.
In this report, EPI finds that the typical CEO is paid 271 times more than the typical worker.
Want a measure of the growth of inequality in our society, the engorgement of the 1%, and the shrinkage of the middle class? Consider this fact:
“While the 2016 CEO-to-worker compensation ratio of 271-to-1 is down from 299-to-1 in 2014 and 286-to-1 in 2015, it is still light years beyond the 20-to-1 ratio in 1965 and the 59-to-1 ratio in 1989. The average CEO in a large firm now earns 5.33 times the annual earnings of the average very-high-wage earner (earner in the top 0.1 percent)….
“Why it matters: Regardless of how it’s measured, CEO pay continues to be very, very high and has grown far faster in recent decades than typical worker pay. Exorbitant CEO pay means that the fruits of economic growth are not going to ordinary workers, since the higher CEO pay does not reflect correspondingly higher output. CEO compensation has risen by 807 or 937 percent (depending on how it is measured—using stock options granted or stock options realized, respectively) from 1978 to 2016. At 937 percent, that rise is more than 70 percent faster than the rise in the stock market; both measures are substantially greater than the painfully slow 11.2 percent growth in a typical worker’s annual compensation over the same period.”
Although this is not a problem that the Trump administration cares about, EPI has some straightforward fixes that a future administration might enact.