This Is a Stick-up


Gimme all your money, say the CEOs

One last word from Boston. But this is not an echo from the corporatist Democratic National Convention. It’s an alarm raised by United for a Fair Economy, a think tank just east of the Boston Common aimed at raising awareness “that concentrated wealth and power undermine the economy, corrupt democracy, deepen the racial divide, and tear communities apart.”

The current corporate scandals didn’t exactly get big play at the very proper Boston Tea, but those are the things UFE is eager to publicize. It recently pointed out that the ratio of pay between large-company CEOs and average workers has now broken the 300-to-1 barrier. In 1982, early in the Reagan-Bush era, the ratio was “only” 42-to-1.

UFE does a lot of its own digging, but it decided to glean this information from Business Week‘s annual study of CEO pay. UFE noted that from 1990 to 2003:

  • CEO pay rose 31.3 percent.
  • Corporate profits rose 128 percent.
  • Average worker pay rose 49 percent.
  • Inflation rose 41 percent.OK, but what has happened during George W. Bush‘s rule? Here are a few other factoids:
  • Large-company CEO pay rose 9.1 percent from 2002 to 2003.
  • Production-worker pay rose 2.1 percent from 2002 to 2003.
  • The average worker took home $517 a week in 2003.
  • The average large-company CEO took home $155,769 a week in 2003.The details of that Business Week report (free registration; search “executive pay”) are more staggering and even more interesting. Here are two crumbs of information for you commoners from the magazine’s analysis:
  • The average annual pay of the nation’s 25 best-paid CEOs is $32.7 million, “more than 900 times the annual salary of the typical U.S. worker”—and more than four times the average pay of all the CEOs studied by the magazine.
  • Six of the 25, or 24 percent, were born in New York City, which has only 3 percent of the U.S. population.We hope those native New Yorkers can join us late next month, either at the convention or on Wall Street. Thousands of people will be happy to shout out those success stories to the rest of the country.

    You know the Bush regime will be ready, having immersed itself in the practical application of territorial grabs and riot control around the globe. (A less expensive version of Risk: Global Domination is available for only $29.99 here.) A few months ago, noting the difficulty of rounding up enough actual infantrymen (who make up only 4 percent of military personnel) for America’s new planetary duties, retired army Major General Robert Scales Jr. lamented to David Wood of Newhouse News Service, “We’re trying to defend the empire with a force about the size of the New York City Police Department.”

    The protesters have already thought about the general’s observations. See this site for details.