Monday, June 20, 2011

Spotlight On Income Multimillionaires

Source: Washington Post

Prompted by new research, Americans with the highest incomes are receiving unusual, and certainly unsolicited, media coverage:

With executive pay, rich pull away from rest of America. The Washington Post features a study revealing that corporate CEOs are plentiful at the top of the income pyramid. In the 1970s the CEO of a major company might make a million or two in today's dollars. Today a CEO making less than $10 million per annum is the object of sympathy.

Paychecks as Big as Tajikistan. Gretchen Morgenson of the NY Times discusses a study comparing the compensation of CEOs and other top execs at S&P 500 companies to performance benchmarks and other company expenditures.
Total executive pay increased by 13.9 percent in 2010 among the 483 companies where data was available for the analysis. The total pay for those companies’ 2,591 named executives, before taxes, was $14.3 billion. *** …the total is almost equal to the gross domestic product of Tajikistan, which has a population of more than 7 million. 
Why the rich want to get richer. Once you're making a million or two a year (so I'm told) additional millions are almost more burden than boon. "People sometimes ask what CEOs need with all this money," writes The Washington Post's Ezra Klein. "The answer is they don't need it. But they need to not be making less money than other CEOs. If they are making less, then what does that say about them?"

After the Great Depression, conspicuous wealthiness became unseemly. (Never would Merrill Anderson's marketing materials have used such an arriviste term as "wealth management" in the 1960s or '70s.) Then Gordon Gecko declared, "Greed is good."

In the wake of the Great Recession, could attitudes be shifting again?

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