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CEO Pay Went Up 16% Last Year to $15 million -- How Much Did Your Pay Go Up?

In 2012 median CEO pay ranged from between $14.1 to $15.1 million. That's a 16% increase in one year.

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Congratulations CEOs! You've been having a great time of it. Salaries are up, and up in a major way. The Economic Policy Institute says you brought home an average $14.1m in 2012. The New York Times, looking at slightly different numbers, claims the news is even better, saying the median number is $15.1m. That's a 16% increase in one year.

As for the rest of us … well, about that.

The money for our bosses has to come from somewhere, doesn't it? Here's one place it likely originated: us.

According to the Department of Labor Statistics, hourly wages plunged by a record-breaking 3.8% in the first quarter of 2013.

These are more than just numbers. This pay disparity is having an increasingly corrosive effect, leaving us governed by and lectured to by an elite that seems out-of-touch with the lives of everyone else.

No wonder you can turn on Bloomberg Radio, like I did last week, and hear this advice: flying on a private jet was extolled as a budget-conscious option for parties of ten or more who were otherwise planning to fly first-class. According to the good folks at XOJET, if the plane is $20,000 for the trip and the average first class ticket about $2,000 … well, you do the math!

Millennials hanging around their parents' basement, looking for a job online, can remember that "today is the golden age of private jets," as I heard the guest say in that segment. The economics are unbeatable: students can rent a jet for the day for less than their total student debt bill, which averages about $27,000.

Besides, there are other budget benefits too. Just listen to Suze Orman who, when tough times came after the 2008 crash, told Forbes she was cutting back by only flying private planes for work purposes, using commercial airliner Jet Blue for personal travel. "I don't care about money," she said.

This, I admit, might be a sore point with me. I'm flying with my poodle Katiegirl to Los Angeles this week, where my husband is working for the next several weeks. I'd love a private jet, or even just a bit of leg-room where I am not risking stomping my poodle if I attempt to put my feet on the ground, but, hey, I'm paying $400, including a $100 pet fee.

What do I expect for that? A meal? That's an additional $7 on Virgin America for our preferred plate with BumbleBee lemon pepper tuna. My idea of a budget cut: Katiegirl and I can share dinner. She's a prodigious beggar, especially when fish, cheese or steak is involved. (OK, poodle digression over).

More examples from the files of the out-of-touch: resolutely cheerful headlines like " Perhaps the sequester wasn't so bad after all" or " Sequestration was a dud."

Well, maybe that's true if you are an employed blogger, or a CEO. If you're a member of Congress you could promptly pass legislation putting stop to your own inconvenience, even as the cutbacks resulted in furloughs for air traffic controllers and airport delays for all passengers including those in cattle/coach, and those flying private jets.

Progress it's not. Those who have lost their jobs are getting by with less – 16% less, in Ohio, for example, thanks to sequestration-imposed cuts on unemployment checks. But I'm sure they don't think it's so bad, now that they can fly without furlough-caused delays.

Or let's take a minute to discuss the latest in student loans. Rates on government-subsidized loans doubled on July 1 to 6.8%, as Washington pols bickered and dithered over how to get a grip on ballooning student debt, which now stands around $1tn. If you want to know one reason why our economy seems forever stuck at just above stall speed, think about the impact of that debt on the twentysomethings who need to pay it all back.

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