Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Hi folks,

Back from a little break. I hope everyone had a refreshing and happy New Year's season.

Here we go again:

In the wake of the comments from and pending conversation with my friend Charlie, I thought I'd put up some numbers from this year concerning CEO salaries, commissions, and the omissions implied by their relationship to the rest of society.

Here is the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy's annual Injustice Index.


2006 Injustice By the Numbers:
By Elana Levin
Posted on December 28, 2006, Printed on January 2, 2007
http://www.alternet.org/bloggers/levin/46031/

[Every year the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy pulls together some stats and facts we think represent the real state of the union. We call it the Injustice Index. You read AlterNet so I'm sure you've read about Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and his $53 million dollar Christmas bonus but that's just one illustration of the state of inequality in America. Here's some more.]

DMI's 2006 Injustice Index:

Wages that an average CEO earns before lunchtime: more than a full-time minimum wage worker makes in a year

Ratio of the average U.S. CEO's annual pay to a minimum wage worker's: 821:1

Year when this ratio reached its highest so far: 2006

Total compensation in 2005 of Barry Diller of IAC/Interactive, the highest paid CEO in the US today: $469 million

Additional amount that Mr. Diller received in new stock options "to motivate Mr.

Diller for future performance": $7.6 million

Percentage of Americans who feel chronically overworked: 30

Years of unused vacation time that American workers collectively give back to their employers each year: 1.6 million

Percentage of women earning less than $40,000 per year who receive no paid vacation time at all: 37

Payment per episode that Donald Trump receives to host The Apprentice: $3,000,000

Average amount that companies spend to recruit a new CEO from outside the company: $2,000,000

Probability that the newly hired CEO will either quit or be fired within the first eighteen months: 1 in 2

Estimated number of people lined up outside the new M&M store set to open in Times Square responding to ads for "on-the-spot" hiring for 200 jobs, 65 of which were full time: between 5,000 and 6,000

Starting salary that drew them there: $10.75 per hour

Fee Paris Hilton is seeking to host a New Year's Eve party in NYC, Miami, or L.A.: $100,000 plus a private jet

Amount that Ms. Hilton is set to inherit from the Hilton Hotel fortune: $350 million

Number of times that Congress has reduced the estate tax since it last raised the federal minimum wage: 9

Longest period in which the federal minimum wage has not been increased: 1997-2006

Number of workers who would directly benefit from an increase in the minimum wage: 5.6 million

Number of very large estates that would directly benefit from a reduction in the estate tax: 8,200

Highest price per custom-fitted, handmade power suit in Armani's new line, which hopes to respond to what ex-Gucci head designer Tom Ford calls "a lot of pent-up demand for true luxury [from men who] are getting rich first, and they want to deck themselves out before they deck out their wives": $20,000

Number of households using credit to cover basic living expenses: 7 in 10

Amount in tax breaks and subsidies that last year's energy bill paid out to the gas and oil industry during a period of record profits and higher prices at the pump: $6 billion

Campaign donations that Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who voted for the energy bill, received from the oil and gas industry: $500,000, making her the top recipient of oil contributions in the 2006 election cycle

Percentage of U.S. workers who are confident they will be able to live comfortably after retirement: 68

Percentage who have saved less than $25,000 toward their retirement: 53

Percent of African-American and Latino families that have zero or negative net worth, respectively: 31 and 38

Date on which USA Today reported that Dr. Anthony Griffin of the Beverly Hills Cosmetic Surgery Institute, who appears on the ABC program Extreme Makeover, predicted that CEOs will lead a surge in male cosmetic surgery because, he says, "for instance,executives on trial for corporate scandals would improve their chances for acquittal with a makeover just before trial" : November 4, 2006

Date on which the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached its all-time high: October 26, 2006

Decrease in percentage of Americans who own stocks from 2004 to 2006, the first such decline on record: 51.9% to 48.6%

Total Wal-Mart received in government subsidies, sometimes called "corporate welfare" by activists, in 2005: $3.75 billion

Percent of the decline in welfare caseloads that is due to TANF programs failing to serve families that are poor enough to qualify, rather than due to a reduction in the number of families poor enough to qualify for aid, in the ten years since "welfare reform": 57

Percentage of the GDP that went to wages and salaries in the first half of 2006: 51.8

Time when the percentage of GDP belonging to wages and salaries was lower than in 2006, out of the 77 previous years for which these data are available: never

Projected total in Christmas bonuses that investment banks in New York City will pay out in 2006: $23.9billion

Estimated additional amount U.S. workers would receive annually if all employers obeyed workplace laws: $19 billion

Ratio of compensation of CEOs of publicly traded defense companies to privates before September 11th, 2001: 190 to 1

Ratio in 2006: 308 to 1

Percentage increase in out-of-pocket medical expenses for the average American in the past 5 years: 93

Estimated amount the U.S. would save each year on paperwork if it adopted single-payer health care: $161,000,000,000

Date on which incoming Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson announced "Amid this country's strong economic expansion, many Americans simply aren't feeling the benefits. Many aren't seeing significant increases in their take-home pay. Their increases in wages are being eaten up by high energy prices and rising health care costs, among others": August 2, 2006

According to exit polls in the midterm elections, percentage of Americans who think life for the next generation will be about the same or worse respectively: 28, 40

* * *

Want more? For more on the state of the American Dream in 2006 - including a summary of the Best and Worst of public policy this year, a status report on the States, a look at how the think tanks of the conservative Right have been spending their time and money in 2006, and interviews with eight people impacting America through Progressive Public Policy - please check out DMI's Year in Review online.

Elana Levin is the Communications Manager of the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, a progressive think tank in NYC known for its work on the middle class squeeze. She is Managing Editor of DMIBlog.com


I merely note it in passing. There is nothing wrong, per se, with concentrating wealth in the hands of a few people -- as Aristotle, Adam Smith, and John Rawls would attest -- unless society as a whole fails to benefit from that concentration.

Injustice can best be defined as what happens when the system is set up to make one part of society happy at the expense of the whole of society. We've been headed in that direction since Ronald Reagan began cutting taxes on his friends and shifting the burden toward the middle class.

Just something to think about.

hiho
Mpeterson