Here’s the first number to know: 331.
That, according to a new report, is the number of times more the average CEO in the United States made in 2013 compared to the average worker.
Here’s the second number: 774.
That’s the number of times more those same CEOs—some of the wealthiest individuals on the planet—made compared to the nation’s minimum wage workers.
“I have proved that under the present circumstances capitalism simply cannot work.” —Thomas Piketty
These two numbers are central to the AFL-CIO’s latest ‘Executive Paywatch’ report, released Wednesday, which shows the astronomical disparity between the annual pay of the nation’s top executives—which continue to rise year after year—and the stagnant wages that middle class and the working poor continue to suffer.
On average, according to the report, U.S. CEOs earned $11.7 million in 2013 while the U.S. worker earned $35,293. That means CEOs were paid 331 times that of the average worker.
“Many of the CEOs highlighted in PayWatch head companies, like Walmart, that are notorious for paying low wages,” said the AFL-CIO in a statement. “In 2013, CEOs made 774 times more than those who work for minimum wage. And while many of these companies argue that they can’t afford to raise wages, the nation’s largest companies are earning higher profits per employee than they did five years ago. In 2013, the S&P 500 Index companies earned $41,249 in profits per employee, a 38% increase.”
The AFL-CIO says its findings are contained in a “comprehensive searchable online database” which allows visitors the unique ability to compare their own pay to the excessive pay of executives at the nation’s top companies.
As Dave Johnson, a fellow at the left-leaning Campaign for America’s Future, points out, the study shows that as workers continue to scrape by in an economy that has left them out of the so-called recovery, “CEO pay just keeps climbing and climbing and climbing (and climbing and climbing and climbing and climbing and climbing and climbing).” It is this very real and growing inequality, says Johnson, which is “destabilizing” the entire U.S. economy.
The PayWatch report, which uses data from 2013, highlights five companies—Walmart, Kellogg’s, Reynolds, Darden Restaurants and T-Mobile— all of which which continue to reap huge profits and pay enormous executive salaries while exploiting a low-wage labor force.
“America’s CEOs—as exemplified by the individuals of these companies—are cannibalizing their own consumer base. It’s wrong. It’s unfair, and it’s bad economics.” —Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO president
“These companies are run by short-sighted business leaders, because people who earn minimum wage, for instance, can’t afford cell phones from T-Mobile or dinner at Red Lobster or the Olive Garden, both of which are owned by Darden Restaurants,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “America’s CEOs—as exemplified by the individuals of these companies—are cannibalizing their own consumer base. It’s wrong. It’s unfair, and it’s bad economics.”
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