In 2005, Executives' Pay +21.9%, everybody else 0%

bumped - Matt

Compensated only by stock options since 1997, Fairbank claimed one of the biggest windfalls among CEOs, exercising 3.6 million options for gains of nearly $250 million. His personal haul exceeded the annual profits of more than 550 Fortune 1000 companies, including Goodyear Tire & Rubber, Reebok and Pier 1

Fairbank, 55, pulled in $56 million from options in 2004. Capital One says Fairbank had to exercise options last year because they were set to expire. The company also noted its 24.6% annual shareholder returns the past decade.

Median 2005 pay among chief executives running most of the nation's 100 largest companies soared 25% to $17.9 million, dwarfing the 3.1% average gain by typical American workers, USA TODAY found in its annual analysis of CEO pay.

Memo to the USA Today:Please adjust your figures for inflation.

Now...onto the show.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, non-supervisory wages (which represent about 80% of the population) increased from $15.88 in January 2005 to $16.35 in December of 2005 for an increase of 2.95%.  Over the same period, the inflation figure increase from 190.7 to 196.8 for an increase of 3.1%.  So using the BLS numbers gives non-supervisory employees a net decrease of .15 in wages and using the UA Today figure gives the average American an increase o 0.  Wow, that's really impressive.

It's not as though corporations don't have the money to spare:

U.S. corporate profits have increased 21.3% in the past year and now account for the largest share of national income in 40 years, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

Strong productivity gains and subdued wage growth boosted before-tax profits to 11.6% of national income in the fourth quarter of 2005, the biggest share since the summer of 1966.

For all of 2005, before-tax profits totaled $1.35 trillion, up from $1.16 trillion in 2004 and just $767 billion in 2001.

Meanwhile, the share of national income going to wage and salary workers has fallen to 56.9%. Except for a brief period in 1997, that's the lowest share for labor income since 1966.

And it's not as though corporations balance sheets are hurting.  According to the Federal Reserve's Flow of Funds report, corporations are the only economic sector to actually increase their savings during this expansion.  Undistributed Corporate have increased from 192 billion in 2001 to 418 billion in the third quarter of 2005.  Clearly, they have the money.

The unemployment rate fell to 5% in June of 2005.  According to standard economic analysis, this is the level of full employment.  This implies that pay increases will soon follow because employers have to bid for labor.  Yet, there aren't any wage gains yet.

Basically, this is an executive's economy.  They are getting the pay increases, benefits and tax cuts.  Everybody else is just getting in....somewhere else.

Tags: Economy (all tags)



Re: In 2005, Executives' Pay +21.9%, everybody els

Thanks for bumping this to the front page.  I am honored to be here.

by Bonddad 2006-04-10 05:57AM | 0 recs
Re: In 2005, Executives' Pay

I'd like to know, seriously, what the Democrats would do about this.

'Cuz I personally would think the honest answer is.....


by redstar66 2006-04-10 06:05AM | 0 recs
Re: In 2005, Executives' Pay

This isn't really the domain of the Democrats...or any politician.  Just because many politicians are "in bed" with corporate America doesn't mean they have influence over how much CEO's pay themselves.  They government doesn't control this.

by dumbledore 2006-04-10 08:21AM | 0 recs
Re: In 2005, Executives' Pay

No, but the tax code does.

And who pushed lowering the tax rate on capital gains? Hint - it wasn't the GOP. Sure, they were for it, they always are for rich people squeezing more from their capital. But they didn't get it done.

The democrats did.

by redstar66 2006-04-10 08:44AM | 0 recs
Re: In 2005, Executives' Pay +21.9%, everybody els

Matt, I don't know if you remember back when we were posting at ISTES I started a series of "worker bee wages", looking at Appendix B-4 from the BLS monthly employment report which tracked hourly wages in constant 1980 dollars.

I recently updated it at Wampum.    Essentially, hourly wages peaked in 2003 at $8.31, and are now down to $8.17.  By comparison, under Clinton, hourly wages in constant dollars went from $7.53 to $8.04.

by MBW 2006-04-10 06:54AM | 0 recs
we need a 'greed index'

Somehow the CEO compensation needs to be tied to the ratio of their lowest paid worker. I don't have figures on the top of my head, but I recall that the 'average' CEO now makes more than 400x, up from 50x or so.

The worst offenders need to be named -- and tied to other 'cost savings' that affect workers, like layoffs and cuts to pensions and health care benefits.

by musicsleuth 2006-04-10 07:02AM | 0 recs
Re: In 2005, Executives' Pay +21.9%


Great post.

"Basically, this is an executive's economy.  They are getting the pay increases, benefits and tax cuts.  Everybody else is just getting in....somewhere else."

Is that a typo? Because "getting IT (reamed, the shaft, etc).... somewhere else." sounds about right.

"I'd like to know, seriously, what the Democrats would do about this.

'Cuz I personally would think the honest answer is.....


by redstar66

There are still 500 reasons unrelated to economic justice to kick Republicans out of D.C. for good, if we can't jail them all.

by Cold Porter 2006-04-10 07:09AM | 0 recs
Re: In 2005, Executives' Pay +21.9%

Yes, that's a typo.

by Bonddad 2006-04-10 07:13AM | 0 recs
Re: In 2005, Executives' Pay +21.9%

Agreed.  Plus, evening out the tax code to tax work at the same rate as stock dividends, cap gains and interest would do a lot to address this issue.  The Clinton Admin did that with its tax policies.  This admin has done nothing but reward the investor class while hammer those who work.

by John Mills 2006-04-10 07:18AM | 0 recs
Re: In 2005, Executives' Pay +21.9%

How did the Clinton admin do that?

First thing he did was modestly increase the marginal rates on the income of the wealthiest taxpayers while at the same time jacking up the gas tax to hammer know who.

Couple of years later, what does he do? He lowers the capital gains tax, something George HW Bush campaigned on but Clinton actually delivered. The Dems voted massively for this btw.

Funny thing, all that - not exactly tax fairness y'know, plus that's where the really wealthy derive most of their income, and it is taxed at aa far lower rate than labor. Small wonder we see the sorts of market distortions we see today, executive pay out of any moral bearing and relation to the inherent value of labor.

You can't just pin that on the GOP.

by redstar66 2006-04-10 08:39AM | 0 recs
Re: In 2005, Executives' Pay +21.9%

Clinton evened out the tax code in a number of ways.  In 1993, he raised the top bracket from 36% to 39.5%.  He also expanded the EITC, a tax credit that helps the working poor.  He also established Child Tax credits for middle class families, something that comes right off your tax owed.  All of this benefited the middle class and most of it has been undone in the last 5 years.  

The decrease in the capital gains rates was part of the 1997 budget bill which included a number of progressive pieces of legislation including expansion of Medicare to cover preventive services and establishment of the Children's Health Insurance Program.  The Repubs controlled Congress and got the cap gains changes as a concession.  Clinton and Dems were not supporters but traded it to achieve other goals.  It is called legislating with a hostile Congress.  It is really a distortion to say they overwhelming voted for the cap gains tax.  They voted for an unamendable bill that included this change and many other things they supported.

I come from the Ted Kennedy school of pushing progressive changes and legislation in the most achievable manner.  In the end, you do more good for people by accomplishing things than waiting for the ideal bill.

by John Mills 2006-04-10 09:48AM | 0 recs
Re: In 2005, Executives' Pay +21.9%

"Clinton evened out the tax code in a number of ways."

You're in some ways right, at least as regards the '93 bill, with the gas tax caveat, which hit the working poor pretty hard. But it's one thing to "even out" the tax code. It's quite another to actually have your tax code be progressive and the simple fact of the matter is that the federal tax burden is essentially flat but slowly sliding towards being regressive, and democrats have been junior partners to the GOP in this.

In fact, the first step away from progressive taxation was by a Democratic president, JFK. Just one step among many made by both Democrats AND Republicans.

And further, if Clinton were "evening out" the tax code, it was to redress the highly regressive aspects of the OASDI payroll tax rates which Democrats like Daniel Patrick Moynahan were more than happy to increase, putting an ever greater share of the Federal tax burden on the backs of the working poor.

And as for the child credit, it is a drop in bucket compared to the "child tax" the US effectively has in place on folks (and especially working families) who have children. Furthermore, it is only applicable to middle-class on up, for the credit is only applicable against one's federal income tax burden, not one's federal payroll tax burden, with the working poor paying proportionally more of this latter, not offsettable by the child credit.

I come from the French school of pushing progressive change, which means you actually get real change and not small incremental changes on the backs of major concessions to capital (ie Clinton's '97 tax bill. Calling that thing progressive is akin to dickering on the definition of what "is" is.) I believe in holding the parties, and in particular the Democrats (who claim to be progressive/left), accountable for what they haven't done over the past 30 years. I grew up in a country with single-payer health care, robust sick and maternity leave protections, labor/syndicalization rights, legalized abortion, equal rights, free education through med school among other things, and watched during the '80's as the government continued to push the envelope, nationalizing large swathes of the economy including the banking and insurance sectors, cutting the work week to 35 hours, adding a 5th week of vacation time per year, civil union legislation and so forth. And I must say, from my vantage point, Clinton is a right-winger, so please spare me this "Clinton the progressive" schtick, it doesn't work, objectively, the argument fails on the merits. Enough talk, we'd like to see your party walk the walk.

Of course, I understand that the neo-cons think of Sistani as a "progressive" and, if you define the term without any core meaning, in a relativist sort of way, you could call Clinton a progressive as well. Is that what you mean by "progressive"?

by redstar66 2006-04-10 12:35PM | 0 recs
Re: In 2005, Executives' Pay +21.9%

It is not realistic place politicians from one country in the political spectrums of another because each country has its own dynamics and culture.  The US is not Canada or France or Spain or Britain and to decide Clinton is a right winger because of where he would fall in France doesn't make a lot of sense.  You have a unique perspective with your dual citizenship.  You need to look at Clinton within the US spectrum whether you like that or not and on that spectrum he is definately left of center.

by John Mills 2006-04-10 01:53PM | 0 recs
Re: In 2005, Executives' Pay +21.9%

Sounds to me like you are agreeing with the neo-cons that Sistani is a progressive.

Put it a different way. What if I were to put one Western country's political spectrum in the same tableau as all the other country's various spectrums?

This is a valid, non-relativist perspective, would you not agree? Unless you mean to admit that the US is not a Western country (and I'm beginning to agree with that thesis).

Every other Western country has comprehensive public health care. Has signed on the spirit AND letter of the charter of Human Rights. Has well developed workers rights. Et c.

Not the US. Something went very drastically wrong in the US, sometime between the time the Dems co-opted the real left parties (Farmer-Labor, Socialists) and the time brown people started getting more full civil rights.

Again, a valid comparison IMHO, unless we're simply making excuses for why the party we're cheering for hasn't done anything significant in decades, and falling back on the "US is a different country, much more conservative" crutch. For France too is an exceptionally conserative country.

And in any event, in 1932, the US was not far different that the rest of the West. You know, the America of "This land is your land, this land is my land..."

What the hell happened to THAT America?

by redstar66 2006-04-10 02:21PM | 0 recs
Re: In 2005, Executives' Pay +21.9%

I really don't know enough on Sistani to comment on the neo-cons theory about him.  Since I generally dislike neo-cons I would probably reflexively disagree.

A couple thoughts about the political realites of America today.

1 - The US system is not a parlimentary system and is designed to be slow, cumbersome and difficult to implement change.  Read the Federalist papers.  This is the way the founders wanted it for better or worse.  There are exceptions like FDRs 100 days but most changes in the US come incrementally.

2 - The Democrats have spent the better part of the last 25 years playing defense.  With the exception of 1993-94, they have not controlled both Congress and the Presidency at the same time since 1980.  For the last six years, we have not controlled anything.  You can't implement programs if you are not in power.  It is that simple.  That is why the Dems need to figure out how to win elections.  That is also why I defend Clinton.  He accomplished a lot of stuff slowly but surely despite facing a Repub Congress for 6 of his 8 years in office.

by John Mills 2006-04-10 03:25PM | 0 recs
Re: In 2005, Executives' Pay +21.9%

That's your right, I respectfully disagree. I think Clinton was at best an opportunist who talked a good game. What he was after was, above all, power and, like most opportunists, was generally ideologically vacant. But he called himself a Democrat and therefore he is lionised by Democrats.

In most countries, these types of folks migrate to permanent ministry positions where their policy prowess can be utilized like good technocrats often are. In the US, these types of folks (Broder being the pundit version) are hailed as "principled Centrists," which is really quite an oxymoron though one hears it applied to such opportunists as Lieberman ("Holy Joe") or Clinton (both of them) or Biden and so forth.

I prefer to hold my elected officials accountable, and as a lefty, I believe the Democrats as a party to be both unworthy of support and unaccountable for their ineffectiveness. They have good people and I will continue to vote for and give money to those good people, but in the main, they are unaccountable and rotten to the core. There's a reason why they've been out of power - it's because they've been out of ideas, real ideas, for three decades, and their party has been sold to the highest donor for the better part of two of them such that the hawking has become second nature. No one likes is inspired by insipid rhetoric, largely empty platforms and three decades of virtually zero achievement, and so it is no small wonder it takes a GOP implosion (which, for all we know may be tactical) for them to have a shot at regaining some smattering of the power they've been so ineffectual at wielding.

I vaguely recall being required to read the Feeralist papers in university 20 years ago, but I note that since the time they were written, indeed the time the US Constitution was penned, was over two centuries ago, and while I'm sure they're real "important" in understanding why the US is so ass-backwards today, has not broken out of the "sacred circle" to this day (to steal Peter Gay's phrase) while most of the rest of the West fought those battles and emerged from them over a century ago.

It's also an open question whether the framers ever intended for the Constitution to be effectively immutable save for cases of extra-ordinary national consensus, a consensus which may have theoretically been possible when the US was 13 newly independant colonies sharing by and large a very similar heritage and political (if not religious) outlook.

But today, in a fractuous and very regionally distinct country, it is quite outdated. In fact, being the  product of an essentially bourgeois revolution, it was relatively conservative even in its day, to say nothing of today. A strict interpretation of it will see the US revert to a polity last seen at the turn of the last century in Europe, and this strict interpretation appears to be in just the direction the SCOTUS is pointed.

In view of this, I am constantly amazed by so-called progressives' attachment to the US constitution (especially as regards Dubya's supposed deprecations of it) and invocation of the Federalist papers. All hopelessly outdated, as if two centuries of political, economic and social history were irrelevant to that exceptional country called America.

Those histories are not irrelevant, and one day, perhaps not so far off, it should become quite clear just how irrelevant to modern society the US constitution is in point of fact. Four judges are lined up to demonstrate this; all we need is a fifth and away we go.

And I suspect the Democrats will go along for the ride, hiding under the benches at the back of the short bus, as they did in for Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito...

by redstar66 2006-04-10 07:35PM | 0 recs
Re: In 2005, Executives' Pay +21.9%
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by liaozhi123 2006-04-25 11:18PM | 0 recs
Re: In 2005, Executives' Pay +21.9%

Oh, I don't disagree, there are definitely 500 reasons to kick the GOP out.

What is less clear is that there are 500 reasons to put the Democrats in. For let's face it, on economic fairness and justice, they're only slightly better than the GOP. A party of the upper middle class, for the upper middle class, by the corporations who employ the upper middle class.

by redstar66 2006-04-10 08:21AM | 0 recs
Re: In 2005, Executives' Pay +21.9%, everybody els

I am all for talented executives being compensated for their grueling schedules.  Executives deserve high pay when they get results, i.e. an increase in stock price.

What confuses me is that the stock market has basically moved nowhere in the past 5 years, yet executive compensation AND severence packages for failed executives have skyrocketed.

I know Exxon Mobil has done well (a 30% return on investment over the past 2 years) but other than the oil companies and a few tech companies, the market has been stagnant.

I know several people, all of whom voted for Bush in 2004, who are losing money on their investments.  They are pissed off, not just at Bush, but at the fact that their financial advisors are still taking the obligatory cut for their "advice."

When I tell them that executives are being compensated at an ever increasing rate, they look at me dumbfounded.

The real culprits, as usual, are the boards of directors who refuse to actually do their jobs.  Honestly if someone offered me 10 million/year to run their company without my compensation being tied to  results, I would accept that offer in a heartbeat.

If the stock market does not improve soon, I think there will be a revolution of sorts by shareholders against the incompetent board members across this country.

by agpc 2006-04-10 08:45AM | 0 recs
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by videoporno 2006-12-18 07:25AM | 0 recs


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