Daily Ticker

There's a least one happy worker at McDonalds: Amid wage protests, CEO gets big payday

Welcome to the latest edition of The Excess Files, your one-stop-shop for all the latest news about the 1% and the 0.1%…

McDonald's found itself at the center of the income inequality debate this week as protestors descended on its annual shareholder meeting, demanding higher wages for fast food workers. More than 100 were arrested and McDonald's had to close one of its corporate buildings in suburban Chicago as critics of its pay practices nearly matched the intensity of the blow-back on social networks to its new Happy Meal mascot, Happy.

Meanwhile, an overwhelming majority of shareholders -- 93.5% -- approved the company's executive compensation plan, featuring $9.5 million for CEO Don Thompson. Well, at least somebody is happy working at McDonalds.

Target reported its first-quarter earnings this week. The retailer's profit fell 16% from a year ago and missed analysts estimates as Target continues to struggle with the fallout from last year's data breach and its botched roll-out in Canada -- developments that prompted CEO Gregg Steinhaffel to step down earlier this month.

This week Target also revealed the exit package for Steinhaffel - a whopping $15.8 million. But wait...there's MORE. Steinhaffel, aka the Ginsu knife of CEOs, is staying on at Target as an advisor until August and will continue to be paid his CEO-level base salary of $1.5 million...AND he'll be eligible for a performance bonus this year! Only in America can a CEO fail this badly and come out richer for it.

Related: CEO pay: 'Unbelievably piggish and outrageous,' no matter how you slice it

Jamie Dimon is no failure but it's been a rough couple of years for the JPMorgan chairman and CEO. In 2012, JPMorgan -- and Dimon's reputation as 'the world's best banker' -- suffered after the bank lost more than $6 billion in the infamous London Whale trade. Then came a series of legal settlements — more than $20 Billion worth —  in 2013, which Dimon called "the most painful, difficult and nerve-wracking experience" of his professional career."

Well, $20 million buys a lot of lavender and St. John’s Wort — so I'm guessing Dimon's 2013 pay package, nearly double his 2012 haul, should help sooth those frayed nerves.

Speaking of nerve -- former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has been making the rounds lately, charging fees ranging from $200,000 to $400,000 per speaking appearance. That's some high-priced chit chat...putting a whole new spin on the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street.

Of course, Bernanke has a right to make a living, but this is the guy who orchestrated an unprecedented taxpayer-funded bailout of the financial system - via ZIRP, TARP, TALF and other acronyms. And now he's charging the same Wall Street crowd the same rate Bruno Mars gets for a one night private performance? I mean, Bernanke is entertaining for a wonky-economist, but I can't see him performing at halftime at the Super Blow, can you?

Previously on The Excess Files:

Aaron Task is the host of The Daily Ticker and Editor-in-Chief of Yahoo Finance. You can follow him on Twitter at @aarontask or email him at altask@yahoo.com.

View Comments (337)