For most Americans, the sum on paychecks hasn't budged much in the last year. Yet many top CEOs have seen their pay soar to new heights in that time.
In a story aptly headlined "The CEO Got a Huge Raise. You Didn't. Here's Why," The Associated Press examines the pay disparity of top executives and workers and finds that income for CEOs is now 257 times the national average, up from 181 in 2009.
"While pay for the typical CEO of a company in the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index surged 8.8 percent last year to $10.5 million, it rose a scant 1.3 percent for U.S. workers as a whole," the AP reports.
One of the chief reasons for the discrepancy is that CEOs get massive amounts of company stock as part of their pay packages—making them more engaged to (some might argue "enslaved by") the desires of shareholders.
Also at work is a weird sort of anti-meritocracy, where CEO pay isn't set by how amazing the job candidate is but rather what the pay is for leaders at other companies—and outpaying competitors is an important way to imply supremacy.
So companies are vying to overpay their CEOs. Meanwhile, we can't seem to raise the minimum wage for workers who keep the country functioning on a day-to-day basis.
In other news...
- A Woman, Phenomenally: Poet Maya Angelou died Wednesday at 86. Her own words best eulogize her contribution to American letters and the literature of the South: "Nothing can dim the light which shines from within." (via ABC News)
- Military Hospital Deaths: The deaths of two young patients at the Womack Army Medical Center have led to the ousting of the Fort Bragg, N.C., hospital's commander and three top deputies. Along with the changes at Womack, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered a complete review of the military health care system. (via The New York Times)
- From Russia in Exile: In his first interview with American television, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden tells NBC News that he intended to go to Cuba but was trapped in Moscow by the State Department. Secretary of State John Kerry has retorted that he can come back to the U.S. and face justice for revealing the country's domestic spying operations any time he likes.
- Social Issues Are Less of an Issue: When it comes to social and economic issues, the gaps between conservatives and liberals are the smallest they have been since tracking began 14 years ago, according to a new poll from Gallup. (via Politico)
- Afghan Woman's Retribution: A woman who was raped in her home Friday immolated her husband Sunday after he refused to respond to the incident by moving. The case has become a flashpoint in Afghanistan's ever-shifting struggle for human rights. (via The New York Times)
- Holy Matrimony: Pope Francis says the rule mandating the clergy's abstinence from sex is something that is open to discussion. He also says there is zero tolerance for sexual abuse by clerics. (via NBC News)
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