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EDIT: Many people have asked for the sources I used for the data I cite in this dairy.  Here you go.

CNN/Money (August 30, 2005) CEO pay: Sky high gets even higher.
Raise The Floor by Sklar, Mykyta, and Wefald (page 60)  
Z Magazine, Pox Americana, Holly Sklar(page 38)
U.S. Census Bureau, histotical Incoem Tables, People

I have beeen working on a book to explain the economic and social differences between the two primary post WW II eras: the period between 1950 and 1980, and the period between 1980 and 2007.  I discovered that the sharp increases in both CEO pay and corporate profits between 1980 and 2007 (and particularly between 2000 and 2007) were two of the major factors behind the growing gap between the haves (the top 1%, and particularly the top .1%) and everyone else in America.  As a result, the income and wealth gap in America today are the widest since 1929.

We cannot have a democracy if we do not reduce the gap between the haves and everyone else.

The UAW has been given the opportunity of a generation to explain to the American people the real problem with compensation in our society today: the immoral differential between the exorbitant average pay of a CEO of an S&P 500 company, and the pay of an average worker.

The UAW has been given the opportunity of a generation to explain to the American people the real problem with compensation in our society today: the immoral differential between the exorbitant average pay of a CEO of an S&P 500 company, and the pay of an average worker.

In 1950, the average pay of an S&P 500 CEO was less than 30 times that of an average U.S. worker; by 1980, prior to the "Reagan Revolution, the average pay of the S&P 500 CEO was approximately 50 times higher than that of an average U.S worker.  But by 2007, the average pay of an S&P 500 CEO had soared to more than 350 times as much as that of an average U.S. worker.

This is both immoral and unsustainable in a democracy.  By way of comparison, in Europe, an average CEO only makes 22 times as much as an average worker, and in Japan, only 17 times as much.

If America wants to be competitive again, we need to reduce CEO pay to a level comparable to CEO pay in Europe and Japan.  I know exactly how to accomplish this feat.  The UAW should agree to immediately lower U.S. union worker pay to a level equal to the level paid by their non-union, non-American competitors.  In return, auto CEO’s must agree to permanently lower their compensation to only 20 times that of an average union worker.

Once this has been accomplished, Congress must move to apply the same pay standards to AIG and all of the financial institutions that took one penny of taxpayer money from the TARP fund.

rok for dean

Originally posted to rok for dean on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 11:14 AM PST.

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