CEO-to-worker wage gap yawns ever wider, hitting 312:1 in 2017, up by 17.6%

The CEO:worker wage ratio was stable in 2015/6, but some unnameable policy or policies, which we can only guess at, were at work in 2017, boosting the gap by 17.6% to 312:1.

It's really hard to imagine what possible explanation there could be for this mysterious rise in the fortunes of the wealthiest financial engineers in America, even as workers saw their fortunes decline. Someone should ask Mitch McConnell. He's good at this stuff.

"With wages for working people barely budging, it's remarkable to see top CEO pay surging again," said Mishel. "It is difficult to believe that Congress passed a tax cut weighted so heavily towards the wealthy when the nation's top CEOs are clearly doing fine."

Over the last several decades, CEO pay has grown much faster than corporate profits, the pay of the top 0.1 percent of wage earners, and the wages of college graduates. CEO pay largely corresponds with the overall stock market; 2017's surge in CEO compensation was driven by stock awards and cashed-in stock options, not to changes in salaries or cash bonuses. Mishel and Schieder argue that this is evidence that CEOs are paid more because of the power to set their pay, not because they are more productive or have special talents or more education. Thus if CEOs earned less or were taxed more, there would be no adverse impact on output or employment.

Top CEOs' compensation increased 17.6 percent in 2017 [Economic Policy Institute]

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(Image: Mosaic 36, CC-BY)