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As much economic inequality as there is in the United States overall, CEOs are their own special category of inequality, a new EPI report shows:
  • Over the last three decades, CEO compensation grew far faster than that of other highly paid workers, those earning more than 99.9 percent of other wage earners. CEO compensation in 2012 was 4.75 times greater than that of the top 0.1 percent of wage earners, a ratio 1.5 higher than the 3.25 ratio that prevailed over the 1947–1979 period (this wage gain is equivalent to the wages of 1.5 high wage earners).
  • Also over the last three decades, CEO compensation increased further relative to other very high wage earners than the wages of college graduates grew relative to those of high school graduates.
  • That CEO pay grew far faster than pay of the top 0.1 percent of wage earners indicates that CEO compensation growth does not simply reflect the increased market value of highly paid professionals in a competitive market for skills (the “market for talent”) but reflects the presence of substantial rents embedded in executive pay (meaning CEO pay does not reflect greater productivity of executives). Consequently, if CEOs earned less or were taxed more, there would be no adverse impact on output or employment.
Continue reading below the fold for more of the week's education and labor news.

Education

  • Well, this figures. One of the key statistics that a California judge relied on in striking down teacher tenure laws was a total guess:
    Or a “guesstimate,” as David Berliner, the expert witness Treu quoted, explained to me when I called him on Wednesday. It’s not based on any specific data, or any rigorous research about California schools in particular. “I pulled that out of the air,” says Berliner, an emeritus professor of education at Arizona State University. “There’s no data on that. That’s just a ballpark estimate, based on my visiting lots and lots of classrooms.” He also never used the words “grossly ineffective.”
  • States that spent less on education to begin with have made bigger school cuts.
  • Under Gov. Tom Corbett, Pennsylvania education funding has plummeted by $1.1 billion, with the deepest cuts in the 50 poorest districts. Corbett cut business taxes by more than $1.2 billion.
  • Is there a silver lining to the Vergara decision?

A fair day's wage

  • Unexpected: Target is telling some of its contractors to meet with unions.
  • Where will the minimum wage be on the ballot in November?
  • Low-wage industry lobby groups are gonna oppose higher wages. Wednesday:
    ... the International Franchise Association, a DC-based lobbying organization that protects the interests of beloved local small businesses like McDonald's, Taco Bell, Dunkin' Donuts, and Dairy Queen, filed a lawsuit in US District Court to block Seattle's $15 minimum wage law. They say it "illegally discriminates against franchisees," since any national brand with more than 500 employees is considered a "large business" under the new law, and must scale up to the $15 wage on a faster schedule, in 3 to 4 years.
  • Workers at the newest casino in Atlantic City have unionized.
  • Booming business, but falling wages, in California grocery stores.
  • A fucking good question from Dean Baker: Why do coal mining jobs matter so much more than jobs lost to trade?
  • Nearly $5 million in back pay for 500 workers:
    MDG Design & Construction LLC has reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor that resolves wage violations at the federally assisted Grand Street Guild construction project in New York City's Lower East Side. MDG and other respondents will pay $3.8 million in back wages and fringe benefits to about 200 of MDG's subcontractors' construction workers. Previous, separate investigations led to the repayment of more than $1.1 million in back wages to approximately 300 laborers and mechanics who worked for MDG's subcontractors on the Lower East Side project.

    MDG was the general contractor for the Grand Street Guild project, which involved the refurbishment and rehabilitation of three 26-story apartment towers. The department's Wage and Hour Division found numerous Davis-Bacon and Related Acts violations by MDG subcontractors on the project, including failure to pay required prevailing wages and submitting inaccurate or falsified payroll records to the government.

  • Amazon warehouse worker death sparks OSHA investigation
  • Discussions of human trafficking tend to revolve around sexual trafficking, but trafficking can mean un-sexy things like cheap shrimp, as you'll see in this Benedict Cumberbatch-narrated video.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 10:55 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  American Dream (3+ / 0-)

    Get a job as a CEO. Stack the Board with yes men and sycophants, cha-ching!

    If there were a Liberal Media, there wouldn't be a republican party.

    by ComradeAnon on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 11:05:30 AM PDT

    •  Boards are made up of CEOs. Back rub back. (3+ / 0-)

      In reality, this is a kind of microcosm of the capitalist system itself. Contrary to the brain-dead belief that "the market decides," the folks at the very top have always decided how much we get paid.

      Saying "the market decides" is basically like saying "the stars hold my destiny." It's a copout and mentally lazy to the nth degree.

      Actual humans set those wages and prices, and those actual humans are far too few to hold that kind of power.

      Who should decide? We the people. Democratically. Together. Leaving it up to a tiny fraction at the top, whose goal is to feather their own nest, is completely insane. And it's always been completely insane.

  •  The thing that makes me furious about CEO pay (3+ / 0-)

    is that no one deserves to make so much money. They aren't worth the millions they make!

    They should be limited to 25 times the pay of the lowest-paid worker.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 11:23:50 AM PDT

    •  Should the same limit be imposed on entertainers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sparhawk

      such as Jon Stewart, who makes $25 million/yr on cable tv, movie actors, professional sports players, etc?

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 02:26:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not an accurate comparison (0+ / 0-)

        An entertainer (although still ridiculously overpaid), given your example of Jon Stewart, negotiates with the network for his salary.  A CEO (along with the other board members, most likely CEOs themselves) decides on his own pay.

        As such your argument is illogical and incorrect.

        •  CEOs don't decide own pay. (0+ / 0-)

          In public companies, this is done by a compensation committee, and employees of the company are not on the committee.

          The CEOs of companies owned by private equity are also highly paid, with the burden of overcompensation being on the private equity holders who have a far greater influence than general shareholders.

          There is a matter of talent when it comes to CEOs, just as in sports and entertainment.  The burden of their pay comes out of the stockholders if they are over compensated.

          The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

          by nextstep on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 10:22:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nonsense. (0+ / 0-)

            Who largely makes up the boards of most companies?

            Other CEOs.  They by and large scratch each others backs, and because they overvalue themselves, they overvalue others, because if they de-valued the work of other CEOs, they'd need to come to terms with the reality that they themselves are also overvalued.

            "There was no such thing as a "wealthy" hunter-gatherer. It is the creation of human society that has allowed the wealthy to become wealthy. As such, they have an obligation to pay a bit more to sustain that society than the not-so-wealthy." - Me

            by Darth Stateworker on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 10:52:20 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Well, lets look at it (0+ / 0-)

        from a libertarian perspective:

        Does John Stewart bring $25M of value to Comedy Central?  Based on his ratings, it seems the network and advertisers think so.

        The same can't be said for many CEOs, many of who don't even lead the companies they run to profit.  Leo Apotheker comes to mind as a perfect example of an overpaid (former) CEO, on the other hand.  He's simply one example out of many.

        "There was no such thing as a "wealthy" hunter-gatherer. It is the creation of human society that has allowed the wealthy to become wealthy. As such, they have an obligation to pay a bit more to sustain that society than the not-so-wealthy." - Me

        by Darth Stateworker on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 05:47:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  When buying talent, the talent will sometimes (0+ / 0-)

          not produce the future results expected or hoped for.  This happens with CEOs, just as it happens with actors and sports players.

          The difference a great CEO makes Vs an average or below average CEO is huge.

          You maybe more than happy to take the job of CEO for pay of $200,000/yr, but the board does not see you as qualified or the have demonstrated ability for the job, so they are overwhelming confident that hiring the person with a proven record for $10 million/yr is a far better decision for the company than hiring you for $200,000.

          The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

          by nextstep on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 10:35:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  To try to argue (0+ / 0-)

            that many CEOs aren't overvalued is folly.  Few if any CEOs have any mechanisms in their contracts to tie their earnings to the performance of the company.  That is no mere coincidence.

            On the other hand, the pay of most entertainers is based largely on residuals, which does indeed tie their pay to performance.  If their TV show or movie flops, their income suffers for it.  If it becomes wildly successful, they reap the benefits.

            Bottom line - you made an argument that has little if any real-world support, and it tanked.  Move on.

            "There was no such thing as a "wealthy" hunter-gatherer. It is the creation of human society that has allowed the wealthy to become wealthy. As such, they have an obligation to pay a bit more to sustain that society than the not-so-wealthy." - Me

            by Darth Stateworker on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 10:44:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Extremely incorrect (0+ / 0-)
              Few if any CEOs have any mechanisms in their contracts to tie their earnings to the performance of the company.  That is no mere coincidence.
              The Omnibus Reconciliation Act of 1993, drove executive compensation over $1 million to be performance base either through financial metrics or through stock options increase in stock price.

              See http://www.nber.org/...

              The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

              by nextstep on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 12:48:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Are you that naive? (0+ / 0-)

                How many corporations that have ended up losing millions or billions under the control of their CEOs have we seen the CEO still make millions?  Let me point back to Apotheker again for starters.

                Clearly, you are more concerned with "winning" an argument you've clearly lost with by pointing at an obviously porous - and I'd say almost sieve-like - law than looking objectively at reality.

                Conversation terminated.

                "There was no such thing as a "wealthy" hunter-gatherer. It is the creation of human society that has allowed the wealthy to become wealthy. As such, they have an obligation to pay a bit more to sustain that society than the not-so-wealthy." - Me

                by Darth Stateworker on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 05:05:25 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Apotheker was removed in less than 1 year. (0+ / 0-)

                  beasure of terrible performance.  Which shows the importance of performance.

                  Are you so naive to think that anyone can run a businesses worth tens of billions?  Boards make mistakes in who they pick, just as nations, states and cities do.  Companies are however faster in correcting their mistakes than government.

                  The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

                  by nextstep on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 06:44:42 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  And Apotheker still made millions. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    jbsoul

                    About $12 to be exact.

                    Should we talk about how HP has done before that?  Carly Fiorina was a hoot.  How about after Apotheker under Whitman?

                    Maybe we could discuss Jamie Dimons pay package - like his still huge pay at JPMC after losing billions during the recession?  Or his 75% raise this year - even though the company didn't see a 75% increase in profits or stock price last year.

                    Again - your argument isn't just weak.  It's based on pure fantasy.  You are well aware that I could throw examples at you all day - you just don't seem to give a shit.

                    You really need to re-evaluate why you're here.  Pro-corporate fantasy such as the type you've spewed almost every time I've debated with you belongs on Red State or something.

                    "There was no such thing as a "wealthy" hunter-gatherer. It is the creation of human society that has allowed the wealthy to become wealthy. As such, they have an obligation to pay a bit more to sustain that society than the not-so-wealthy." - Me

                    by Darth Stateworker on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 07:54:04 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

  •  Great CEO Video (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster

    simple, effective.

    Nice scaling.


    thanks!


    Sooner or later were going to have to: Trade in those Carbon Footprints ...

    by jamess on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 11:37:40 AM PDT

  •  It suddenly occured to me just now... (0+ / 0-)

    we need to stop focusing on what CEOs get paid, and start focusing on what they do.

    Because the way I feel about it is I don't care if the CEOs get paid to much or if they get paid obscenely too much. What I care about is that they make decisions and set memes that harm and inhibit the incomes of average people.

    The gap is never going to be closed, and at a certain point the orders of magnitude cease to matter. What does matter is if the vast majority of us can stay afloat in an economy we no longer have any control or influence over.

    Non futuis apud Boston

    by kenlac on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 11:54:51 AM PDT

    •  Where do you think (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      allie4fairness

      that value comes from which they are paid?

      Value is created by the workers and taken by the CEOs.

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 12:17:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We Already Disproved This Once. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Darth Stateworker

      When we applied steep progressive taxation, top incomes dropped like a stone, the wealth disparity shrank to its lowest ever, we created the only middle class we ever had, and they hit their all time economic high water mark, and we became global superpower.

      THere is not enough available in the economy to make a good life for most people if the rich and very rich are allowed to keep all they can arrange for income. There have to be severe brakes on the upper end, it's been demonstrated all across the developed world.

      And yes the gap can be closed because we've done it in the past.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 12:24:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would agree (0+ / 0-)

        but I think crediting taxation alone is too simplistic.  Taxation was a large part of it, but I think we also had a business community that was far more scrupulous back in the heyday of our middle class as well.  Essentially, business valued it's workers at that point and didn't think they were disposable, so they paid them better.

        I think there was more of a sense of community and desire to see a common good work back then.  "I got mine now screw you" seems to govern people from the board rooms right on down.  Many of our fellow citizens no longer have empathy for the plight of others.  Apparently people took Gordon Gekkos "Greed is good" comment far too literally.

        "There was no such thing as a "wealthy" hunter-gatherer. It is the creation of human society that has allowed the wealthy to become wealthy. As such, they have an obligation to pay a bit more to sustain that society than the not-so-wealthy." - Me

        by Darth Stateworker on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 05:52:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks of looking at this EPI report (0+ / 0-)

    I was going to diary it, but now its on the front page.

    CEO pay up by 937% since 1978. That of the typical worker? 10.2%

    "The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations." ~ Thomas Jefferson

    by Lefty Coaster on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 11:55:57 AM PDT

  •  CEOs are stealing the (2+ / 0-)

    value of the productivity created by the workers.

    The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

    by dfarrah on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 12:14:48 PM PDT

    •  It's not just the CEOs. (0+ / 0-)

      It's the board members, the executive team (CFOs, COOs, CIOs, etc - essentially most of upper management at most corporations), and the shareholders as well.

      "There was no such thing as a "wealthy" hunter-gatherer. It is the creation of human society that has allowed the wealthy to become wealthy. As such, they have an obligation to pay a bit more to sustain that society than the not-so-wealthy." - Me

      by Darth Stateworker on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 05:55:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Highly Understated, Remember So Many Jobs of Those (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Darth Stateworker

    average workers got offshored to slave income countries. The CEO average today is closer to 1,000 to 1 if we compare the same set of workers doing the same tasks for the end product goods and services sold.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Jun 14, 2014 at 12:29:21 PM PDT

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