The AFL-CIO launched a new website on Thursday tracking the excessive pay that corporate CEOs in the United States get and the negative effects the trend has on the economy and working families. CEO Pay and the 99 Percent is loaded with information, much of it presented in brilliant infographics that are optimized to be shared on social media networks. The problem, according to the website, is clear:
The ratio of CEO-to-worker pay between CEOs of the S&P 500 Index companies and U.S. workers widened to 380 times in 2011 from 343 times in 2010. Back in 1980, the average large company CEO only received 42 times the average worker's pay.
CEOs supposedly deserve all this money for increasing shareholder value. However, while the average CEO pay increased 13.9 percent at S&P 500 Index companies in 2011, the S&P 500 Index ended the year at the same level as it started.
This double-digit increase in average CEO pay for the second consecutive year shows just how disconnected the top 1 percent is from the 99 percent. In 2011, average wages increased just 2.8 percent and average worker pay totaled $34,053.
Both workers and shareholders have suffered over the previous decade. On Dec. 31, 2010, the S&P 500 Index closed 19 percent below its high on March 24, 2000. U.S. median household income fell $3,719 between 2000 and 2010.
Runaway CEO pay is one reason why income inequality is growing in the United States. A Congressional Budget Office report found that inequality has risen dramatically, with the top 1 percent receiving most of the income growth between 1979 and 2007.
What's more, a new study by economist Emmanuel Saez at the University of California shows that in 2010—the first year of the economy's recovery from the Great Recession—the top 1 percent captured 93 percent of the growth in income.
The site allows you to search for CEO pay by industry or state and shows the 100 highest paid CEOs, including the top 5:
1. Apple Inc. CEO Timothy D. Cook, who made $377,996,537 in 2011
2. Oracle Corp., Lawrence J. Ellison, $77,556,015
3. Lyondellbasell Industries, James L. Gallogly, $77,061,964
4. CBS, Leslie Moonves, $57,729,020
5. Gamco Investors Inc., Mario J. Gabelli, $56,608,736
Among the many other pages of information on the site:
Most importantly, the site offers visitors a way to take action, asking the Securities and Exchange Commission to propose new rules to increase transparency in CEO and worker pay.
There is also an Executive Paywatch page on Pinterest.