Is Europe dancing to Mark J’s tune?
Note from Dan: Back in January Mark Jurkevich weighed in with the column below. It’s aimed at American corporations, but the same issue is rather suddenly rankling Europeans. Voters in Switzerland have overwhelmingly approved a recent law that (gasp!) gives corporate shareholders at least some limited control over executive compensation, and the European Union seems headed in that direction to a lesser extent, with bankers. Mark called me Monday from Poland to tell me about those, and we decided to recycle this one, below. Could the U.S. be next?
Executive pay in public U.S. corporations has evolved into an out-of-control racket. Left unchecked, the resulting huge and growing income gap between the elites and the shrinking middle class will soon resemble typical third-world patterns.
According to a widely referenced Congressional Budget Office statistic, since 1979 the income of the top 1 percent grew 275 percent, while that of the middle 60 percent grew only 40 percent. The U.S. owns the highest gap in the developed world, according to New Republic.
The trend is continuing unabated. In 2011 the top 500 CEOs of publicly traded companies received 16 percent increases in compensation, while the average American worker received 3 percent, according to Forbes Magazine. Read more »