Two items in this morning’s news should have everyone who works for a living gnashing his or her teeth.
Associated Press analyzed executive pay statistics from Equilar, a company that benchmarks and tracks executive compensation, board compensation and compensation practices.
The conclusion: “In the boardroom, it’s as if the Great Recession never happened. CEOs at the nation’s largest companies were paid better last year than they were in 2007, when the economy was booming, the stock market set a record high and unemployment was roughly half what it is today.”
The AP analysis revealed, “Companies analyzed by AP granted their CEOs about $1.3 billion in stock in 2010, up about $300 million from the year before. They awarded stock options worth $702 million, or about $27 million more than the year before.” Remember, when CEOs sell their stock after one year, the “compensation is not taxed as income but, rather long term capital gain–15%.
The article also stated, “For companies that the AP analyzed, revenue grew about 12 percent, according to data provider CapitalIQ. That helped lift earnings, as did companies’ ability to hold down costs. Companies could limit raises for rank-and-file workers because of the weak labor market.”
Of course, one of the reasons the labor market is weak precisely because companies lay off workers to cut costs.
Which leads to the second revelation of the day: The unemployment rate rose to 9% in April.
Yet the doublespeak goes like this: “U.S. employment increased more than expected in April as private companies created jobs at the fastest pace in five years, pointing to underlying strength in the economy, even though the jobless rate rose to 9.0 percent.”
Meanwhile, profits and executive pay packages skyrocket.
Private companies, if they are creating jobs at all, are creating low-paying positions designed to keep the profits up. The so-called underlying strength in the economy simply does not have a place for for good jobs that could sustain any recovery.
If there is going to be an economic recovery it will not include people who work for a living. Instead, they will continue to subsidize corporate profit and CEO pay with increased taxes to help those laid off to increase the bottom line. Will CEOs bear much of that tax burden? Fuck no. They’ll sell their stock and pay a maximum 15% tax.
Another day in Griftopia.
UPDATE, May 9, 2011
In his Salon.com article, “McDonald’s is killing the middle class,” Andy Kroll asks the salient questions: “Under this somewhat sunnier news [that private companies created jobs at the fastest pace in five years], however, runs a far darker undercurrent. Yes, jobs are being created, but what kinds of jobs paying what kinds of wages? Can those jobs sustain a modest lifestyle and pay the bills? Or are we living through a McJobs recovery?”