As wages for most American workers continue to steadily decline following the passage of President Donald Trump's massive corporate tax cuts at the end of last year, a new analysis of federal data by Axios found that the pay of some of America's top CEOs is often even higher than the astronomical numbers that typically appear in the headlines.
"The CEOs running S&P 500 companies cumulatively took home $10 billion in 2017, an amount that is 44 percent higher than what is usually reported," notes Axios's Bob Herman. "The big reason: CEOs cashing in their stock."
Annual Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, adds Herman, "bury the fact that many of America's top executives are sometimes paid even more than what headlines suggest, due almost entirely to the huge gains they reap from the stock market. Meanwhile, worker wages are stagnant, the average household is living on $59,000 a year, and income inequality has become one of the most visible political rallying cries."
New analysis: Corporate executives make a lot more than you think. Dive in and explore what we found for the S&P 500 CEOs. https://t.co/icEC2zg6qn
— Bob Herman (@bobjherman) July 26, 2018
One striking example of a CEO who took home a lot more money in 2017 than news stories suggested was Jamie Dimon, chief executive at the Wall Street mega-bank JPMorgan Chase.
In total, "nine CEOs made more than $100 million last year under our calculations, compared with just two CEOs under standard rules," Axios notes. "CEOs in the tech, finance, and healthcare industries often made a lot more in real dollars than what was normally reported."
"The data is out: CEOs are cashing in their huge benefits from the [Trump tax cuts], meanwhile workers' wages are declining and Americans are struggling to afford rising healthcare premiums," wrote the advocacy group Tax March in response to the new analysis.
Between the first and second quarters of 2018—as executives and major corporations cashed in with record stock buybucks—real wages declined by 1.8 percent, as Bloomberg showed in a chart that quickly went viral.