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Figure with arms raised standing on a pile of dollar signs.
There's something missing from Mother Jones' list of the nation's 10 most overpaid CEOs. Don't get me wrong, it's a great list—put in your bite guard before reading it if you have any kind of problems with grinding your teeth.

This isn't a list of just the highest paid CEOs. Rather, it covers the CEOs who are making too much compared with other CEOs in their industries or if their companies' profits are taken into account. So it does include Apple CEO Tim Cook, "By far the nation's highest paid CEO" with total compensation of $378 million, the bulk of it in Apple shares. But it also includes Ian Cumming of Leucadia National. His $29.3 million in compensation might be peanuts compared with Cook's $378 million, but Apple is at least a profitable company. Leucadia National's profits dropped 99 percent last year and its stock dropped by 21 percent, yet Cumming got a 555 percent raise. The one comfort is that since most of it was in stock options, Cumming's future wealth is at least somewhat tied to his lousy management. But I think most of us, let's say somewhere around 99 percent, would agree that getting a 555 percent raise when your company's profits are plunging counts as being overpaid.

So what's missing? Other than the obvious answer that a list 10 CEOs long necessarily leaves off a lot of overpaid CEOs, what about the Mitt Romneys of the world? Here's a guy who hasn't been a CEO in 10 years (that's right, since 2002), and, call it investments, call it a retirement agreement, call it what you want, he's still pulling in millions every year from Bain. How many Mitt Romneys has our fucked-up economy by and for the 1 percent produced, people who pull in tens of millions a year without doing a damn thing but don't make it on lists of the most overpaid CEOs because they're retired or just ... rich and that's how it works, so shut up about it already, you envious class warrior. But again, 99 percent of us would probably agree that $20 million a year for doing nothing counts as being overpaid.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 08:31 AM PDT.

Also republished by Income Inequality Kos and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Golden parachutes OK (7+ / 0-)

    modest retirement OUT.

    That's what it amounts to.

    Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

    by DRo on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 08:45:28 AM PDT

  •  All those "free things" these CEOs get do (6+ / 0-)

    have a price-and the 99% are the ones paying for it.

    A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. - Greek proverb

    by marleycat on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 09:06:11 AM PDT

  •  The VCA/Antech listing was a surprise! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, llywrch

    As a vet hospital, I generally stay away from VCA due to their high costs. HOWEVER, one of the best vets around sold his practice to VCA and he is the Senior Vet there and boy oh boy, that is great for the animals. I use him for emergencies and hard to handle cases.

    Regarding Antech, I did NOT know they were owned by VCA, but I do know they are a good lab for animal diagnosis, etc. Since labs are unregulated, that's an important thing.

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 09:06:59 AM PDT

  •  Well, rMoney OWNS Bain Capital, so what he (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    receives from Bain is a benefit of ownership. Why he maintained the title of CEO after 1999 is an good question.
    It's the CEOs of publicly traded companies that deserve the most scrutiny in these overpayment examinations.
    Of course, labor is becoming just another word for debt slavery.

    -4.38, -7.64 Voyager 1: proof that what goes up never comes down.

    by pat bunny on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 09:16:39 AM PDT

  •  About CEO compensation (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, ColoTim, muddy boots, llywrch

    What's striking about the list is that none of these people had much to do with establishing the companies that are paying them the big bucks.  (Whatever else you think of Steve Jobs, his big net worth came from equity in the company he built.)

    For the most part, executive pay has become an expensive joke.  CEOs do (for the most part) work more than 40 hours a week but not hugely so.  Furthermore, it's unclear what the correlation is between the CEO selection process and performance: if you had a lottery of the cube people at a company with the winner to become CEO, would such people outperform the current crop of good-hair CEOs in corporate America?

    If you're going to give big-bucks options to CEOs, here's a better way to do it: the CEO gets his 9-digit or whatever stock options award, but those options don't vest until he leaves the job or for five years, whichever is longer.  This pretty much discourages the Bain model (if the company goes under after the CEO retires, he's SOL).

    •  CEO packages are set by the Board of Directors (0+ / 0-)

      with the shareholders electing the Board of Directors. What they get paid has nothing to do with the general public. The pisser is the low corporate tax rate, or rather the loop holes that allow the taxes to be avoided. Now those tax rates and loop holes could be plugged, but personally I don't give a damn what a CEO is paid unless I have shares in the company.

      •  Exactly (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Utahrd, subbob

        This whole exercise is a waste of time.  My life won't change one bit if a CEO takes home 1 million or 10 million.  If I own stock in a company and I don't like the way it's run, I sell the stock and look for a better run company to invest in.  

        The rest is just noise and, quite frankly, jealousy.  People want to see the rich get screwed.  It may make you feel better for a few minutes but, it aint gonna change your life.  Learn to appreciate what you have and not worry about the fact some people have more money, bigger homes, etc, etc. than others.  It will always be that way.  Why let it eat at you?

        •  Because a lot of these rich types are not (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joe wobblie

          paying that much in taxes. (Percentage wise). And every day we are told in the media by our so-called "leaders" that we "can't afford" teachers and cops. THAT"S what makes it relevant.

          Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

          by Dirtandiron on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 03:52:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  dkos gonna liveblog mitt's inverviews ? (0+ / 0-)

    accepting nominees?
    bubba, of course... will do bubba.

    but really: can we, kos, huh, can we, pleeeeeeze?
    we promise to bathe him, and walk him, and feed him...

    you let him OUT ?!?

    Addington's Perpwalk: TRAILHEAD of Accountability for Bush-2 Crimes.
    * Join: OBAMA'S TRUTH TEAM *

    by greenbird on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 02:34:07 PM PDT

  •  Hey, you know, with some people (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    paying them to do nothing is absolutely a win for their organization....

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 02:35:33 PM PDT

  •  spell LIBOR backwards (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    and you almost get "BROIL."

    Addington's Perpwalk: TRAILHEAD of Accountability for Bush-2 Crimes.
    * Join: OBAMA'S TRUTH TEAM *

    by greenbird on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 02:35:47 PM PDT

  •  Rmoney owns Bain Robbery Inc. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 02:36:15 PM PDT

  •  RE: Apple CEO Tim Cook (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster

    In May, he turned down $75 million in dividends to which he was entitled.

  •  Most are overpaid (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dirtandiron, llywrch

    If they are making more than 20 times the pay of their lowest paid employee they are overpaid.

    Studies are starting to show that most (not all, but most) CEO success is actually due to luck, not skill. We see this when CEOs switch companies and can't pull off the same magic - which happens most of the time.

    There is a great book called The Drunkard's Walk which tackles this, among other things, and how we get fooled by not understanding probability.

    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. - JFK

    by taonow on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 02:39:12 PM PDT

  •  Hmmm ... you know when a friend of mine (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    who teachers school in Texas appeared on a list of high earners, they had a different title for the list:

    LISD 2009 "Hogs at The Trough" Vol.21

    I wonder what the authors of that list in Texas would think of this list that Mother Jones just published.

    For me, Mitt reminds me of Jeff Bridges in Starman. He's like an alien that hasn't read the entire manual. You know, he's going, "Nice to be in a place where the trees are the right size. -- Robin Williams on Letterman 26 Apr 2012

    by hungrycoyote on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 02:44:00 PM PDT

    •  "hogs" vs. "job creators" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      llywrch, joe wobblie
      I wonder what the authors of that list in Texas would think of this list that Mother Jones just published.
      If a teacher gets 50k a year, they're a "hog at the trough". But a person who gets paid 20 mil to bankrupt a company is a "job creator". To say any different is "class warfare" and must be severely punished.

      Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

      by Dirtandiron on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 03:54:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mitt Romney's like Clark Kent (0+ / 0-)

    You remember in the comics, how Clark disappeared every time Superman showed up (for obvious reasons that never quite penetrated his Clark's thick-headed co-workers)? Well, Mitt just seems to have the good fortune to be out of the room every time Bain does something that would reflect badly on him. It's uncanny.

    Naturally, he's first at the pay window when all that pretty, pretty money comes rolling in, but that's because, uh, capitalism.

  •  And these are the people... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    our Republican Congress insists on giving a tax break to. Even weirder are my friends (not millionaires) who argue for the cause of the rich. Why is that?

    Why is it that the assumption is that I can afford my taxes on a 5-figure salary, yet these people can't afford their taxes on a 7 or 8-figure salary? What am I missing here?

    Only the weak & defeated are called to account for their crimes.

    by rreabold on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 02:47:17 PM PDT

  •  According to the gospel of Job Creationism (0+ / 0-)

    just by being rich, our Most Holy Fatcats are Job Creatifying by the mysterious Way of the Dow!  Mammon be praised.

    The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges. ~ Anatole France

    by ActivistGuy on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 02:50:40 PM PDT

  •  With a view towards a perfect economic world with (0+ / 0-)

    a rational view of human progress and justice, all CEO's
    are overpaid.

    There are few CEO's like the former CEO of Costco, who deliberately didn't set his salary at too many times that of his lowest employee's. There are other satisfactions besides wealth and perks and status and passing up the other guy.
    Too many people don't know that yet it this world.

    I was seeing what Adam had seen on the morning of his creation - the miracle, moment by moment, of naked existence. --The Doors of Perception, Aldous Huxley

    by Wildthumb on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 02:50:58 PM PDT

  •  Herbalife CEO highest paid in 2011? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Michael Johnson of Herbalife: America's highest paid CEO in 2011

    Johnson's total pay for 2011 was more than $89.4m. He exercised more than 1.8m stock options in 2011 for a profit of almost $77m. Many of these options were awarded from between 2003 and 2005, when Herbalife's shares traded below $10. Total shareholder return at Herbalife is up nearly 292% over the last five years and 870% over the past three-year period.

    This year, the only disappointment for Johnson, a former Disney executive, seems to have been political. Johnson is a former backer of failed Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

    But the firm still has plenty of money invested in Washington. According to tracking site, Herbalife has spent $3.6m on lobbyin

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 02:55:19 PM PDT

  •  Glad to see Greg Cappelli there. I think he (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TAH from SLC, llywrch

    is the most overpaid in the country, since all his income comes from student loans that he extracts through his diploma mill, U. of Phoenix.

    How can the Republicans talk about wasteful universities and then back a guy with a horrendous record like Cappelli?

    There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

    by upstate NY on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 03:01:27 PM PDT

  •  High CEO wouldn't bother me if it weren't (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TAH from SLC, joe wobblie

    for all the lecturing about "shared sacrifice" and "overpaid" teachers, and "cadillac benefits". Not to mention the screaming about "class warfare" that drowns out a lot of serious issues in this country.

    Where are all the jobs, Boehner?

    by Dirtandiron on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 03:49:57 PM PDT

  •  There is something a bit perverse about (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    complaining that tying CEO pay to stock performance is short-sighted, and then dinging the folks on this list because their pay doesn't reflect one year of stock performance or profitability.  Just sayin'.

    Also, Ian Cumming did start Leucadia from scratch.

    Sorry, I did not appreciate this diary.

    Hey, Republicans, the whole world is watching.

    by TAH from SLC on Fri Jul 13, 2012 at 03:57:51 PM PDT

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