Earlier this week, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough was just shocked to learn that ABC is paying his fellow television anchor a whopping $15 million a year when Scarborough makes over $5 million a year himself. This Friday, frequent Morning Joe guest and former "car czar" Steve Rattner was there, surprisingly, to discuss income inequality, and brought along this chart on CEO pay.
Which led to the guy who is making $99,038 a week to ask Rattner how this happened and what we do to get it under control.
SCARBOROUGH: Why is that? Not so long ago, people that ran massive companies like General Motors and Kodak... what did they get, maybe $2, $3 million a year?
RATTNER: They got $2, $3 million a year, but there's a leap frogging aspect. That CEO goes to his compensation committee and says well, Mika made $100K more than I did, so I should get that. And then Richard goes in and says well, Steve made $200K more than I did, so I should get that, and it just keeps going. It's all part of the big picture.
SCARBOROUGH: If you want to fix this, don't we give shareholders a lot more rights?
RATTNER: We have given shareholders a non-binding, so-called vote on pay...
SCARBOROUGH: How about a binding vote on pay? Why don't they get that? Isn't that how we end up,instead of just having people sitting around a board taking care of each other?
RATTNER: I'm not sure you want to completely turn the asylum over to the inmates in the sense of giving shareholders...
SCARBOROUGH: People who own the company are inmates Steve Rattner? (crosstalk)
RATTNER: I don't think you want to completely give ugh.... would you like your viewers to vote on your pay? […]
SCARBOROUGH: I wouldn't mind my advertisers voting on my pay.
How about we give the shareholders at NBC/Comcast a vote on his pay? And his bosses pay for that matter? Of course Scarborough believes his case is completely different than the CEO's and the record income disparity there because he negotiated for his pay. Too bad he doesn't support labor unions and the rest of the population having the same opportunity he did to get paid all he thinks he's worth.
And does anyone think the CEO at his parent company and their salaries are completely detached from what they're paying their television anchors? Naturally the issue of tax rates for the richest among us or for Wall Street never did come up during the conversation. Asking the rich to pay their fair share might go a long way towards solving what we see in this other chart Rattner brought along as well.