FINDING WAYS TO PERK UP CEO PAY – by Jim Hightower

moneyAs we’re learning the hard way, CEOs are not quite the brilliant cockadoodledoos they wanted you and me to think they were. 

To be fair, however, let’s admit that the top honchos are astonishingly creative and bold, in one special aspect of big business leadership: goosing up their own paychecks. Yeah, yeah, I know that the salary and bonuses of corporate chieftains actually dropped 6 percent last year, now averaging a mere $10 million. But, hey, these people are nothing if not clever, so while their pay sagged, they quietly reached into the goodie bag and increased the number and value of perks they receive by 7 percent.

The Associated Press surveyed some 300 major corporations and found that the median value of such executive perks as chauffeured limousines, free personal use of the corporate jet, and memberships in exclusive clubs rose to $170,000 last year. That’s more than three times the income of most families! 

And chauffeurs and jets turn out to be the least of it. Take Ray Irani, CEO of Occidental Petroleum. Not only was he paid $30 million last year, but he also was given $400,000 to cover the cost of his financial planners. An Occidental spokesperson explained that this perk was beneficial to the corporation because it helped Irani “keep his complete attention on the company’s business.” What, is Irani so flighty that he can’t focus on his job without worrying about his personal money? Maybe so, but – come on – with a $30 million paycheck, couldn’t he afford to cover the financial planners out of his own pocket?

Meanwhile, some corporations are concerned that these pricey and princely bennies look bad to the public. Not to worry, though – another executive perk that’s increasingly popular with CEOs can handle that problem: bodyguards.

8 Comments

Filed under Economics, Populists

8 responses to “FINDING WAYS TO PERK UP CEO PAY – by Jim Hightower

  1. lilacluvr

    And the average middle class worker is constantly berated by the Republicans as the root of all evil incarnate.

  2. David B

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/07/opinion/07cohanWEB.html

    These experts recommend the big boys be forced to eat what they cook up:

    As a start, the best-compensated executives at the top of these big banks, hedge funds and private-equity firms should be treated like general partners of yore. If a firm takes prudent risks that pay off, this top layer of management should be well compensated. But if the risks these people take are imprudent and the losses grave, they should expect to lose their jobs. Instead of getting guaranteed salaries or huge bonuses, they should have the bulk of their net worth completely at risk for a long stretch of time — 10 years come to mind — for the decisions they make while in charge.
    This would go a long way toward re-aligning the interests of these firms with those of their shareholders and clients and the American people, who have been saddled with their risks and mistakes.

  3. lilacluvr

    But that would not be in line with the corporate thinking that anything the wealthy do is okay and the average guy should just take the crumbs off the table and thankful for them.

    Isn’t that how the Republicans always play this game – without these wealthy people there would be no jobs?

    But, yet, the Republicans can not explain how we still have wealthy people but we are losing more jobs every day.

    • frigginloon

      Hmm, Lilac could that because they are finding cheaper labor elsewhere? How many companies in America are taking their business offshore. I can tell you in Australia just about every major corporation has hired staff in India….and pray tell who is now leading the way in IT technology and communications…India. It’s good to know our Government cares!

      • The sad part is the boatloads of money that the USA gave India to set up this infrastucture for them! Now when americans need tech support that they can understand, it costs more to get in-country phone support.

  4. frigginloon

    Urgh, don’t get me started on CEO’s. Australia paid one American by the name of Sol Trujillo $30 million a year to run TELSTRA a one-time taxpayer-owned telecommunications giant. Well he ran that into the ground…still taking his exorbitant fee. When he resigned a few months ago, taking with him a huge chunk of money, the Prime Minister said “Adios”. Well Mr Trujillo carried on like a pork chop calling Australia racist and backward. Hmm, not backward enough to pay him all that money…for what? Now we are left to pick up the pieces of his mess! He should be lucky “adios” was all that was said!

    • Also in the 1980 when we had the Savings & Loan scandal and resulting bailouts, the Bush boys (shrubs) alone were into the govt for a billion.
      Didn’t hear about this during George II’s campaign, huh?