Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pay Ratios

Since we DO talk about workers and the Captains of Industry once in a while, there's this.

CEO Pay 1,795-to-1 Multiple of Wages Skirts U.S. Law

Across the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of companies, the average multiple of CEO compensation to that of rank-and-file workers is 204, up 20 percent since 2009, the data show. The numbers are based on industry-specific estimates for worker compensation.

Almost three years after Congress ordered public companies to reveal actual CEO-to-worker pay ratios under the Dodd-Frank law, the numbers remain unknown. As the Occupy Wall Street movement and 2012 election made income inequality a social flashpoint, mandatory disclosure of the ratios remained bottled up at the Securities and Exchange Commission, which hasn’t yet drawn up the rules to implement it. Some of America’s biggest companies are lobbying against the requirement. ...

“We don’t believe the information would be material to investors,” said Tim Bartl, president of the group’s advocacy arm, the Center on Executive Compensation. Accounting for country-to-country differences in wages and benefits at global companies would be costly, time-consuming and all but impossible, he said in an interview. ...

Call me a Commie (even though I served in our glorious Southeast Asian war against the Commies), but I believe it's a fine thing for companies to tell their shareholders and the general public what their chieftans are pulling down, salary-wise.

Tim Bartl thinks it wouldn't be useful, maybe because these things would happen:

... Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (ANF), the clothing retailer, and Simon Property Group Inc., the real estate investment trust that owns and manages shopping malls, ... lost say-on-pay votes last year, getting 24 percent and 26 percent of voting shareholders’ support respectively, according to proxy solicitor Georgeson Inc. Typically, more than 90 percent of voting shareholders back the non-binding resolutions at S&P 500 corporations.

Naturally enough, the people pushing to get rid of requirements to disclose pay and pay-ratios are following an old, honored playbook. Keep people in the dark about what our fine, corporate leaders are making, and they'll be less likely to get exercised over the generous wage offerings and bountiful stock options.

Because the troops down in the company trenches? They just don't realize how deserving and valuable their golden generals actually are.


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