April 5, 2014

The plutocrats must be celebrating today. Another year gone by, another big fat raise.


Median CEO pay rose to $10.5 million last year at America’s largest companies, according to a USA Today analysis that found a 13 percent jump in median compensation from 2012.

The newspaper looked at the 200 members of the S&P 500 that retained the same chief executive from 2012 to 2013. The big raises those top corporate officers scored as a group come primarily from stock market gains. The market’s strong year translated into gigantic wealth and compensation gains for scores of executives who were able to cash in years-old stock options that were worth far less when they were issued during or just after the Great Recession.

Those market gains meant little to nothing for the economic security of the vast majority of the country, however. Median 2013 earnings for the country’s nearly 105 million full-time workers were just $40,872, according to the newspaper, representing a 1.4 percent rise over 2012. That continues a trend of stagnant or even declining earning power for workers that began before the financial crisis and has worsened since.

Wait for them to justify all of this in Very Serious Voices, shaking their fingers at the critics while explaining that it's not really a raise when it's market gains from stock options, right? Except those market gains are at least partly due to companies screwing their employees to fatten their bottom line so their stock price pops.

Freedom means never having to say you're sorry for screwing workers to fatten your own bank account, though. Ask any of them. They'll tell you.

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