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Study Finds That CEO Pay Has Grown 1000% Since 1978

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A new study highlighting the dramatic rise in CEO pay has brought further attention to the ongoing wealth gap debate. Sky High According to a study from the Economic Policy Institute, CEOs at the top 350 companies make 278 times more than the average worker, with the average salary hovering at around $17.2 million a year. While CEO pay has risen 1,000% since 1978, the typical worker’s pay has only risen about 11%. It’s worth noting that even after the stock market crash of 2008, which was caused by unregulated, too-big-to-fail financial institutions, executive salaries still grew by 52%, while the average worker’s salary grew by just 5.3% during the same period, with many workers wages actually declining year to year. Mind The Gap The survey is bringing new attention to the ongoing debate about CEO pay, and just how much is too much? Those in favor of sky-high pay say it is necessary to attract top corporate talent, and to motivate them to deliver results. But the authors of the study noted CEO pay increases with “the overall rise in profits and stocks, not with the better performance of a CEO’s particular firm relative to that firm's competitors.” Say Something The study concludes that the escalation of CEO pay is having a devastating effect on the working class and driving widespread inequality. But what can be done? Well, the study recommends raising tax rates for the richest Americans and putting more workers on company boards. Shareholders who are concerned about the wealth gap also have a role to play, as they can vote down exorbitant pay packages, as companies must have shareholder “say on pay” votes on at least every three years. -Michael Tedder Photo by Adobe