CEO Pay Still Outrageous

Without taxpayer support, the President
of the United States would have no paycheck. Without taxpayer support, the CEOs
of many of America's biggest financial firms would now have no companies.

Both President Barack Obama and
high-finance CEOs, in other words, rely on taxpayers. Yet the compensation of
taxpayer-reliant financial industry CEOs dwarfs the White House paycheck. In
2008, the 20 financial chief executives whose firms have received the most
bailout money received average pay packages worth 34 times the
president's $400,000 annual salary.

Without taxpayer support, the President
of the United States would have no paycheck. Without taxpayer support, the CEOs
of many of America's biggest financial firms would now have no companies.

Both President Barack Obama and
high-finance CEOs, in other words, rely on taxpayers. Yet the compensation of
taxpayer-reliant financial industry CEOs dwarfs the White House paycheck. In
2008, the 20 financial chief executives whose firms have received the most
bailout money received average pay packages worth 34 times the
president's $400,000 annual salary.

Earlier this year, for a brief period, that
contrast struck many members of Congress as extraordinarily odd. Firms relying
on government assistance, these members believed, should not pay their
executives more than the head of our government.

In February, the Senate approved a bill
that included a $400,000 cap on all compensation for employees of bailed-out
firms. But since the House version of the bill did not include that cap, it
never made it into the final legislation.

Much more modest executive pay
restrictions placed on bailout companies apply only to a small number of
executives at these firms. Even then, they do precious little to rein in pay at
the top of the corporate ladder.

In effect, the CEO pay bubble on Wall
Street remains un-popped -- nearly a year after last September's
financial meltdown.

In the "pre-bubble" days of
the 1980s, top corporate executives seldom earned much more than 30 to 40 times
the pay of average American workers. In 2008, amid an economic collapse that
rivaled the early days of the Great Depression, top executives averaged 319
times more than average American workers.

The architects of the country's
collapse, America's top 20 financial industry executives, took home even
more than that. They averaged compensation that outpaced typical American
worker pay by 436 times.

CEO pay clearly remains completely
disconnected from any real underlying value that executives may offer.

President Obama, early in his term,
committed to fixing an executive pay system that in his words had
"contributed to a reckless culture and quarter-by-quarter mentality that
in turn have wrought havoc in our financial system."

This article was distributed by Minuteman Media

Join the Movement: Become Part of the Solution Today

We're optimists who believe in the power of informed and engaged citizens to ignite and enact change to make the world a better place.

We're hundreds of thousands strong, but every single supporter counts.

Your contribution supports this new media model—free, independent, and dedicated to uncovering the truth. Stand with us in the fight for social justice, human rights, and equality. As a people-powered nonprofit news outlet, we cover the issues the corporate media never will. Join with us today!

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.