The CEOs Who Suffered The Most Massive Pay Cuts Last Year

There are pay freezes and then there is the CEO Paycheck Shrink Ray. CNN lists the CEOs who were the biggest victims of the latter.

Topping the list: Goldman Sachs Group chief Lloyd C. Blankfein, whose total pay — including bonuses and other perks — was slashed by $40.1 million to $862,657 in 2009 from nearly $41 million in 2008.

Check out the article for the top 20 CEO pay cuts and laugh at the poor suckers who lost more money last year than entire families will make in a lifetime.

Biggest CEO pay cuts [CNN]

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  1. hypnotik_jello says:

    Boo fucking hoo.

    • Psychicsword says:

      Well for one this means less taxable income(am I really the only one who thought of that?)

      • Conformist138 says:

        Um, but why should one guy get it all? How about raising the pay of middle and lower income workers, that’s taxed, too. And, it would get more bills paid and more disposable income into the hands of more consumers.

        Did you really not think of that?

        • Jevia says:

          Not to mention that if there was more money in middle-class worker hands, chances are they’d spend it a lot more, especially in the US, which in turn could lead to more jobs for other workers. Seriously how can one spend tens of millions of dollars? I bet a lot of that sits in a bank, or is used to further prop up stock prices, or gets spent outside the US.

        • operator207 says:

          He is talking about a fact, your talking about something that you would like to see happen.

          Different.

          If that $40mil was not given to the CEO, it was left in the company to keep it afloat. It was not dispersed to the other employees as a bonus or pay raise.

          Which means it was technically less money in the marketplace.

  2. Dinhilion says:

    Wow- what did the Disney CEO do?

    • teke367 says:

      I still think Disney is used to hating their CEO form the Eisner days

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      He actually got a raise. It was the stock that killed his value:

      Robert A. Iger, -$29.5 million

      Company:
      Walt Disney (DIS)

      2009 salary:
      $2,038,462* (up $38,462 from 2008)

      2009 bonus, options and other comp:
      $19.5 million (down $29.5 million from 2008)

      Source: Equilar Inc.

  3. Knossos says:

    I’d like to see a top 20 list of CEO’s who didn’t take a pay cut and at the same time laid off the most employees.

    • working class Zer0 says:

      I’d like to see that too.

    • Robert Nagel says:

      CEO’s get paid to make money for the company, not keep people employed. Sorry, but most businesses are not charities. Businesses run for the benefit of their employees rarely do well. Examples are Chrysler, GM, most school systems, the government, previously most airlines, and, well, you get the idea. At least the surviving employees have a job after layoffs.

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        Its obvious these companies are making money, look at the egregious amounts they’re paying their executives. They would do well to cut their profit margins (seriously, who the hell needs multi-hundreds-of millions in the bank? SERIOUSLY?) and pay the employees they have and keep the ones they are trying to lay off. Granted, there’s a case to be made for workforce efficiency, but laying off because you don’t want to tweak your profits is greedy and stupid.

        • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

          Moreover, “workplace efficiency” is all about firing workers and overloading the remaining employees with more work they can handle and keep them in a perpetual state of fear that they too will be axed if they can’t measure up to unreasonable expectations. Then, when the income starts dropping, hire some cheap bodies to pick up the slack while hoping the economy is so bad the veterans hadn’t jumped ship to your competitors.

          • Dallas_shopper says:

            That’s exactly what is happening where I work. I have been looking for a new job for 18 months, mostly because I won’t give up permanent employment with full health benefits for a shitty 3 month contract that pays less and has no benefits. So I stay here at this miserable job just to keep my bennies. Hopefully eventually I will find a permanent job that has benefits and comparable pay to my current position, but I’ll take a pay cut to get out of here.

      • Conformist138 says:

        So… like, it’s better if a company treats employees (ie- all of us) like dirt because they’ll make more money. And money is the only thing that is important. It doesn’t matter if all that money is sucked away from people with a real need for it or if it means people lose everything they’ve worked for. Profits are our almighty god. We worship at the feet of our golden idol, humans be damned.

        Not being a charity =/= being total jackasses without concern for the well-being of employees

      • kmw2 says:

        Yeah, I mean, god. Look how reducing their workforce from a cadre of skilled, experienced and knowledgeable long-term sales staff to a handful of high-schoolers that didn’t get away fast enough worked for Circuit City! It sure cut their labor costs down. That CEO was great!

  4. nodaybuttoday says:

    zomg how does someone live on only $860,000?! My sympathies go out to his maid and butler who likely had to take a salary cut as well. :(

    • tungstencoil says:

      I realize your comment is in jest, and meant to be sarcastic toward the wealthy (of which I am not, btw), but seriously:

      What do you think rich people do with their money? If they were stuffing it in a mattress, they’d be more worthy of such derision. But the reality is that they do two things with it:

      Spend and invest.

      The former is important: it gives people jobs (like the maid and butler you reference). The second is more important: it creates new jobs where non existed before.

      Just sayin’.

      • Sol Collins says:

        Investing isn’t as great as you make it sound. Investing takes money out of the economic systems.
        Assets don’t run the marketplace, currency does. The more currency is in the open marketplace, the more consumption there is: the more production there is: the more money there is going around.

        Investments, assets, and non-tangible capital may help the individual gain wealth, but it also prevents the marketplace from being buoyant.

        • tungstencoil says:

          I should clarify:

          By investing, I meant back into the marketplace, e.g. not letting it sit into a bank.

          Bill Gates’ money – the stuff he doesn’t give to charity – is doing work in the world. It is not a static asset.

          • RvLeshrac says:

            That still doesn’t do anything for the market.

            Yes, Gates’s money is helping people, but it isn’t generating economic activity.

            Economic activity is generated by people who don’t make six and seven figures. Six and Seven-figure management put money in the bank, stocks, and a few expensive items.

            The 90% of the US that are five-figure employees put money into lots of consumer goods. That consumption increases production, which increases the number of jobs.

            Those 10% that make fortunes from the *actual* work of their employees are, from a developmental standpoint, utterly worthless. Only the barest fraction of them (the Gates, Buffets, Jobs, and Wozniaks) contribute anything to society and our economy.

            • Conformist138 says:

              I’ve often wondered why people defend the “right” for people to take vomit-inducing amounts of money with the argument of their spending and investing.

              Putting money into the hands of more people will stimulate far far more activity. Think about it, while a millionaire may buy several computers for his home, the millions of middle class workers will buy so many more that the populace blows the elite out of the water every time. It makes way more sense to let the majority of workers have stable lives and give them incentive to spend (wisely, not rip them off all over again). Right now, all the guys at the top are crying big ol’ crocodile tears about how they got so much cash stuffed at the top that the entire pipe is clogged. This goes beyond a right to profit, it’s hurting the entire system to have 90% of the nation’s wealth hoarded and/or controlled by 5% of the population.

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      Stupid maids and butlers, getting paid. It would be better if the rich were also poor, so that they could lose their jobs.

      We’ll all be so much happier when we’re all equally poor!

  5. teke367 says:

    I see Mark Hurd made about $25 million in 2009, looks like his 2010 is already higher with that $40 million severence.

  6. Jevia says:

    Most of those salaries are still pretty huge. I bet most of the reduction in the “bonus, options and other compensation” is a lot of stock options that went belly up with the rest of the stock market.

    • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

      Ding ding ding! From TFA:

      1. Lloyd C. Blankfein, -$40.1 million

      Company:
      Goldman Sachs Group (GS)

      2009 salary:
      $600,000 (same as 2008)

      2009 bonus, options and other comp:
      $262,657 (down $40.1 million from 2008)

  7. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    OH don’t worry, some of them will get back pay. NPR said that the Ford (it may not have been Ford, but it was a motor company – not GM either) CEO agreed to not take pay until their company was profitable, but he’s getting all the pay he missed out on this year to the tune of several MILLION dollars over his regular pay. Boo Hoo.

    I can’t even comprehend a million dollars.

  8. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Oh also, it pains me to think of how much progress we could make if companies would cut down on these huge profit margins and start 1) Paying their employees more 2) Improving their work flows instead of just outsourcing 3) innovating!

    • moorie679 says:

      I have no problems with outsourcing as a principle to be honest, because places that these jobs get outsourced to have people that are trying to feed their families as well. Problem is that a$$holes use this discrepancy (lower cost of living etc) to leverage and cut wages here, the poor get poorer (India, US, China etc) while the rich get richer…….I am just wondering when enough is enough for these people…..

      • jurupa says:

        And yet US legal labor cost more than almost any place else in the world. No wonder companies move jobs to China or India or give local jobs to illegals and or legal mexicans that are willing to work for less.

        • ARP says:

          Part of that is due to health care costs (many other countries have unions). Most industrialized nations have UHC or at least single payer and there is less of a burden on employers. That’s why a fair amount of auto production has moved to Canada, they have goverment sponsored health care.

        • RvLeshrac says:

          I think you mean that US labour costs more than any *third-world country.*

          That’s partially because US employers pay out a fortune in medical and retirement benefits that other countries deal with at the governmental level.

          Oh, and the countries these employers move to (China, India) don’t have laws governing minimum wages, so they’re free to pay less than is actually necessary for their employees to eat.

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      Umm… ignoring the banks, where do you think the money to do innovation will come from, if not EBITDA? Faerie wishes? Magic dust?

      Profit is what allows for innovation.

      And you’re really going to bitch about the salaries at those 20 companies, whose employees are often amongst the best paid in their respective industries?

      • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

        Did I say break even? No.

        But Hundreds of Millions of Dollars sitting in their coffers just ‘cuz is a bit much. You and me and all the little guys are trying to get buy buying their overpriced products while they rake in egregious profit and lay people off. Its not right.

        • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

          It’s not sitting there “just ‘cuz.” It’s sitting there as a buffer.

          You think layoffs are bad now? Imagine what would happen if companies were cash-strapped in another downturn. And imagine if those companies continued to maintain output and labor at similar levels from before the downturn, while paying uncompetitive wages compared to their international competitors.

          Oh wait, that happened. We called it “GM” and “Chrysler.”

          • Orv says:

            Part of GM’s problem is they were in a blue-collar industry. If GM had been a bank, they would have been bailed out with no concessions and no questions asked, because society just assumes that white collar workers deserve a living wage no matter how badly their employers are run. Blue collar people who work with their hands are seen as somehow undeserving.

            • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

              Yes, that’s it. It’s simply because GM was blue-collar and the American government hates those stupid dumb-dumb workers.

              It has nothing to do with the fact that, following Lehman’s collapse, the government saw that a collapse of other major banks could have crippled the economy in ways worse than we had already seen. It had nothing to do with the fact that further injections of cash into GM and Chrysler would have likely done nothing to fix th structural issues and long-term leverage and costs that the two firms faced.

              Nope.

              Never mind that the VEBA was too costly to maintain in its then-current form. That wasn’t it.

              It was the evil sneering bankers and their government! Sneer sneer.

              And no concessions? Uhh… last I checked, GS and Morgan Stanley became bank holding companies. I know it may not seem like a big deal, but it sure as hell was.

              Look, let me make something clear: I did not shed a single tear for Lehman or Bear. And I feel like the Chris Hitchens Rule is in effect here now, because I’m defending banks. Ugh.

              • Orv says:

                I recall that when GM was in trouble everyone, from Congress on down, blasted autoworkers for being overpaid and demanded they tear up their contracts.

                I don’t remember anyone asking bankers to make salary concessions, do you?

      • Conformist138 says:

        But this isn’t about just the profit of the company, it’s about so much profit walking out in the wallet of one guy. That guy having so much is useless to us in terms of greater wages for middle and low income workers, useless for innovation, and useless for stimulating the economy. The company doesn’t have to do much different, just say “No, instead of you getting $40 million, that’s gonna head down to people who actually need it” Still making a million bucks sounds fine, anyone whining about that salary would be rightfully labeled a total asshole.

        of course, these “pay cuts” are pretty much in the form of “our stock isn’t worth as much, so let’s just sweep that away for a bit”

  9. moorie679 says:

    I really do not like stories like these when I am making 2500 a month. Hurray for Capitalism, for being a totally incompetent figurehead they make millions….

    Dumbest argument anyone can make: They wouldn’t get paid that well if it was not for the market and demand………

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      I agree with you. How many of us plebes can even comprehend the amount of money they rake in while shitting on the little guys?

      • jurupa says:

        How much do you think CEO’s should make then? 100k? 500k? 1M?

        • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

          5 times as much as the lowest paid employee.

          Gives them incentive to raise wages for the people who do actual work, while improving profit margins. Works for me.

    • Dean says:

      Well, it is the market and demand. If you don’t support it, you should reject capitalism and/or the free market in general.

      And, strictly speaking, CEOs ARE employees.

      • moorie679 says:

        You are delusional if you think we live in a free market……..risks get socialized, profits are privatized. Just because you bought into the idea of “Hey one day if I play my cards right, I might get a seat at the big boys table and make millions”.

        Look you want to believe in pure capitalism that is fine, but this is not pure capitalism. Getting sick of this free market argument. Justify how a CEO on average can make 362 times what the average worker makes (median is 179 times) ?

        Nah, they fooled us all…..we are all chasing after the pie in the sky. Back in the day you could lift yourself up by the bootstraps, now we got another 40 acres and a mule scheme going.

        • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

          Um… a regulated or uncompetitive market and supply and demand in labor aren’t exactly mutually inclusive concepts. And I don’t buy into the idea that I’ll be one of the big boys because I have neither the necessary abilities nor the requisite characteristics (desire to work non-stop, etc.)

          And guess what, it’s NOT fair that CEOs get paid more than I do. It’s also not fair that most of them are a helluva lot smarter than I am, that most of them work much harder than I ever will, and that some people are born prettier, smarter, and more likable than others. But them’s the cards we’re dealt.

          That said, we can certainly see fit to tax income more at the higher end.

          • Dean says:

            What makes you think they’re smarter than you? Sounds like you’re buying into the meritocratic myth of market phenomena. The purveyors of capitalist ideology can’t even prove that economic activity is rational.

            • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

              In my former career I was a business journalist for a major international outlet and I met quite a few major execs at top firms, including a few of those 20 firms.

              I can safely say that most of them were smarter, harder working, or both.

              And let’s face it: it’s not simply a myth. A lot of the guys leading the top firms got there by being smarter and working harder.

              Also, you don’t have to buy into rational choice theory to believe that it’s likely that the top guys at most firms got there by being really good at what they do. They may not all be the smartest or the best, but they’re by and large really smart and really good at what they do.

              But hey, it’s so much easier to just blame it on the capitalist boogeyman. Absolution of any responsibility whatsoever for your lot in life is awfully nice. It’s the system, man!

        • Dean says:

          We do live in a free market – perhaps “fettered,” but driven explicitly by market forces nonetheless. Just because the “free market” sounds like a great ideal doesn’t mean it is, nor that it has good consequences.

          I hate it when people bitch and moan about income inequality but start lauding “free markets.” They’re precisely the model which allows this kind of inequality.

          You’ll have to get out of your ridiculous liberal ghetto and come to the realization that capitalism and the free market are antagonistic to our interests as workers and consumers.

    • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

      Two things.

      1. The guy who can actually command the salaries on the CNN list are incredibly rare people in a labor market. They get paid so much because they do things that most of us cannot or do not want to do. Bitch all you want about Blankfein and Dimon, but they have led their respective firms to incredible profitability and success.

      I can see disliking Pandit, given how Citi’s leadership has killed shareholder value. But Dimon has led JPM through one of the most difficult periods in financial history relatively unscathed. How that makes him anything less than valuable is beyond me.

      2. There is supply and demand in labor markets. It’s not a stupid argument in and of itself, but it’s often oversimplified. The fact is that there are plenty of reasons to believe that they get paid what they get paid because they are scarce resources.

      The more talented people generally get paid more than the less talented. That’s just how life works.

      • Orv says:

        They get paid that much for one reason: Because their rich friends on the board of directors look out for them. This is also why they get massive golden parachutes no matter how badly they screw up.

        The fact is the wealthy protect their own in this country. They don’t give a rip about the rest of us who aren’t in the club, but once you’re rich, they make sure you stay that way.

        • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

          Right. Because none of those guys started at the bottom and worked their way up, earning their positions.

          None of them. It’s all magical voodoo old boy’s club magicks at work!

          • Orv says:

            I’d guess most of them were either members of the “lucky sperm club” or were given substantial help by someone who was. The reason stories of people who worked their way up to lofty positions from humble beginnings are so noteworthy is because they’re rare.

            • tungstencoil says:

              Kind of like you’re a member of a lucky sperm club, living in a Westernized nation, likely the US, with access to a computer, probably your own, and square meals and shelter? This puts you wealthier than the overwhelming majority of the rest of the worlds and, to them, the difference between you and a wealthy CEO is marginal compared to the difference between you and them.

              • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

                Hell, even with my salary, according to http://www.globalrichlist.com/, I’m in the top 1% in the world.

                Awesome.

              • Orv says:

                The average American CEO of a major American corporation makes 531 times the average American worker’s compensation. So for your comparison to be true, we’d have to be talking about a country where the average worker makes $94 per year.

                • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

                  So what if the average CEO makes that much more than me? I make more than enough to live a happy, fulfilling life with enough toys to have fun, and enough money to travel all over the world.

                  What difference does it make if Lloyd Blankfein makes more than me? Other than abject jealousy, what do I gain by harping on it? I’d rather just keep working hard and increasing my salary so that I make enough to send my kids to fancy private universities and they can go on to be a CEO of a major corporation and give me a great retirement.

                  Also, average workers at major corporations tend to make pretty good money themselves. Comparing the salary of Lloyd Blankfein to Mr. Burgerflipper at a burger joint is disingenuous. Blankfein may make a lot, but most other people in banks, including the peons, make pretty livable salaries.

                  • RandomHookup says:

                    It really depends on what Mr. CEO does to make the numbers. Is he willing to sacrifice the long term future of the company to make a quarterly number? Sell the company to make a higher return? Not always bad things, but ones that do have an impact. Short term, quarter to quarter thinking can have a huge impact on the economy and the country and sometimes even you.

                  • Orv says:

                    Because on some level their gain is our loss. CEO pay keeps increasing; wages for the middle class are flat, even declining in inflation-adjusted terms. At the rate things are going someone making a middle class salary has basically no hope of accumulating enough wealth to comfortably retire, much less become wealthy.

                • tungstencoil says:

                  No, not quite – in fact, that is partly my point.

                  First, to your immediate point, there are plenty of people living in abject poverty. So I think even your straight-up interpretation has merit.

                  However, my point is that when you’re living in poverty (abject or relative), the difference between “them” and “you” – probably some flavor of middle class, posting here on Consumerist – is far wider than the delta (in terms of Quality of Life) than the difference between “you” and the “CEO-type”.

                  I’ve always maintained – someone “rich” is someone who has more than a little bit more than you. That, my friends, is relative. All of the CEO-wage-haters don’t often think about how the analogy applies even more so to them when compared to folks living in third-world countries on less than $10/month.

                  I stand by my comments that everyone posting here won the freaking biology craps toss, and past that it is just a matter of degree.

            • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

              I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but most people who are awesome simply lucked out. The idea that all people are created equal is bollocks: some people have it, some people don’t.

              Looking at that list, I know at least that Jamie Dimon came from a pretty normal background, Lloyd Blankfein grew up in Da Bronx, Igers folks were normies, David Cote graduated from a public university and worked his way up, etc. etc.

              And if they did indeed luck out by meeting successful people who guided them, so what? We should all be appointed a successful benefactor at birth in order to make life fair?

          • shepd says:

            Actually, every single rich person I’ve ever read about who claims they, at some point, were just like everyone else *always* had a silver spoon shoved right up their ass.

            My most favourite case in point: Jack Tramiel, president of Commodore Computers. Claims abound that he came from the concentration camps in Germany to the US and started his business with nothing. While it’s somewhat true (the former part), the fact is that his business was started with $25,000 of the US Government’s money in 1953 (the equivalent of a $200,000 silver spoon today), and that’s why he left the taxi business. If I were given $200,000 I think I could make a pretty good run of a business too (In fact, I started mine on a silver spoon of about $15,000 from my parents–ended up happily selling it to the business partner for the original amount when I decided the direction of business wasn’t where I wanted to go–I gave my parents back their money, of course).

            Bill Gates is another good one. He was rich beyond most people’s wildest dreams before he started Microsoft. He couldn’t lose, either. He had a million dollar trust fund given to him by his parents in the 70′s. His parents were also wildly rich. Anyone would take crazy risks with their company if they knew it didn’t matter if it lived or died.

            Another claimant of the DIY title is Michael Dell. Like Bill Gates, yes, he did DIY. He also had no fear, because he also had rich parents (One being a stockbroker and the other one being an orthodontist) that were quite giving that he didn’t have to worry about things going badly for him.

            It is extremely rare for me to find a rich person that didn’t get a silver spoon that a normal person wouldn’t every get a chance at. I appreciate that it takes some hard work to get a decent business going (I should know, I’ve done it myself) the fact is that when you don’t have any fear of ruining your life, you are willing to take the sorts of risks that could bring in the big bucks. If the playing field were level, I bet we’d find 95% of the CEOs out there are no better at the job than any of us.

        • jurupa says:

          Ya because we all know CEO’s are friends with the people on the board of directors at the company they work at. Give be a freaking break. Do you think you can be a CEO of a big company? I would love to see you try.

          Tho I give you a little insight to how these people become CEO’s tho. They network with people to get these positions. I know what a shocker.

          • Orv says:

            Ken Lay and Kerry Killinger apparently weren’t too good at it either — their companies imploded — but they still walked away with huge piles of cash. Skill does not appear to be a requirement here.

      • moorie679 says:

        “Arguments offered to justify this rampant greedy behavior include: the market dictates it, it is a matter of supply and demand, and the talent pool is thin. The rules of supply and demand do not control CEO or presidential salaries. It is what their peers are making revealed by salary surveys and who is on the compensation committee that determines salaries. Unlike other workers, there is no free market for top bosses.” (American Journal of Business)

        “THE financial industry, however, may be an exception. A money manager’s pay depends primarily on the amount of money managed, which in turn depends on the fund’s rate of return relative to other funds. This provides strong incentives to invest in highly leveraged risky assets, which yield higher average returns. But as recent events have shown, these complex assets also expose the rest of us to considerable systemic risk.

        On balance, then, the high pay that lures talent to the financial industry may actually cause harm.” ( NY TIMES)

        Nope…..

    • jurupa says:

      Do you think you can replace any of these CEO’s?

      • Jevia says:

        I bet you could take almost anyone who knows a little bit about business in general, is a little bit of a salesman, and has an overall good general knowledge and common sense, teach them the basics of whatever product/service said company provides and viola, new CEO. So yeah, I bet I could do it.

  10. dr_drift says:

    Something about how the BoA CEO has been paid such a ludicrous amount of money that he can just go without pay for 2009 kills me.

  11. dosdelon says:

    What about a list of the top cuts as a percentage, not a dollar amount?

  12. brinks says:

    You make millions less this year, and yet you STILL make millions?

    Cry me a river.

  13. Tracer Bullet says:

    I have no problem with rewarding CEO’s who make the company not only a valuable commodity but a worthwhile place for employees to work making millions of dollars, but these corporate fat cats who are making millions simply because they are used to the lifestyle has got to go.

    Fuck the banks, the airlines, and wall street. Oh yeah if you want to make a difference go on strike against your lousy employer.

    • oloranya says:

      You can’t go on strike against an employer who has a policy of terminating anyone who so much as talks about forming a labor union.

  14. ArcanaJ says:

    Victims? Wait, are we supposed to feel sorry for these guys? Because I don’t feel a bit sorry. In fact, this is some seriously happy-making news.

    • Orv says:

      I can’t get too excited about the fact that many of them still make more money in a year than I’m likely to make in my entire life.

      • ArcanaJ says:

        Yeah, I know. But considering the news I’ve read so far today, I’m trying to be optimistic.

        Just the thought of these CEOs weeping bitter tears over having to switch to domestic caviar, or having to keep the old trophy wife rather than paying the divorce fee and upgrading to a younger model… well, that’s a step in the right direction.

        • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

          Sounds to me like you and Orv are the bitter ones, while the big bad CEOs keep plugging away.

          • ArcanaJ says:

            And your point?

            • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

              Just that while we’re sitting here on Consumerist, the really successful types are working hard to make a lot of money.

              I know if I worked harder I could probably rise faster, but eff it. I like my time wasters.

          • Orv says:

            I’m bitter about the fact that we live in a country where a small percentage of the population controls the majority of the wealth. I’m bitter that, thanks to the heavy influence of money in our political system, this group can manipulate government to look out for its own interests at the cost of the rest of us — both by slashing programs for the middle class in order to reduce their own taxes, and by funneling taxpayer money to themselves directly in the form of bank bailouts.

            If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.

            • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

              Oh, I’m angry enough about plenty. I wasn’t thrilled with TARP in its current form, and I sure as hell didn’t enjoy watching GS wriggle out of the SEC’s grip.

              But so what? In an increasingly international economy, salaries will remain high in order to compete internationally. As talent internationalizes and we see more companies seeking the best talent in the world, salaries will not come down. We can whine and talk about the inequity of it all, but that’s just what’s going to continue happening.

              Furthermore, paying people less won’t keep money out of the system. Campaign finance reform, better regulation of political spending, etc. is what will change things.

              Do you really think that moaning about CEO salaries in the US will do anything to change the fact that CEO salaries are pretty damn high everywhere? Ghosn of Nissan makes $10m a year. European CEOs are rapidly making more than ever before.

              In the long run, salaries are going to stay high as companies compete for talent. We need to find ways to restrict spending more than anything.

              • Orv says:

                This is exactly the sort of thing I’m complaining about, though. Why is it international trade and competition justifies higher CEO pay, at the same time it justifies lower pay for everyone else? Why are we all supposed to suffer so the top few percent can benefit?

              • kmw2 says:

                Actually, no. If the US is going to compete in an international CEO market, wages are going to drop dramatically, because CEOs of other countries are paid substantially less. America really is out here all alone on the hypercapitalist frontier, no other country in the world is as batshit as we are.

  15. chaesar says:

    News Flash: World Still not a Fair Place

  16. OnePumpChump says:

    Come get me when the article is “the CEOs who suffered the most massive gunshot wounds”

  17. SalParadise says:

    In what sense does investing money in the stock market create jobs? Perhaps it creates jobs for stock traders, but how does it create jobs back at the factory? Seriously, I want to know.

    • Orv says:

      The theory is that by buying stock, you provide money to the company whose stock it is. The company can then use that money to expand and hire new workers.

      However, the smart money now is playing in synthetic instruments like CDOs that bear little connection to reality. I’m not convinced that helps at all.

  18. Buckus says:

    I’d like to point out that one cannot “Lose” what they never had. A paycut is not losing money, it’s just not earning as much. If the company instead said “Pay us back half of what we paid you last year” that would be “losing.” /rant

  19. Torchwood says:

    It should be noted that some of these companies are making profits these days by cutting expenses to the bone. What bothers me is that you see all these millions in bonus paid out, yet you say, with a million or two, you could:

    * Replace WEP-only WiFi equipment with WPA2 (more secure)
    * Upgrade Intranet web pages so that they don’t only work with Internet Explorer 6 (because IE6 is facing End-Of-Life in 2014, not to mention that it is badly obsolete)
    * Refresh equipment and OS as well as associated training for products that are approaching End-Of-Life (like XP SP2 and Office 2003)
    * Replace office equipment that is currently held together by duct tape, paper clips, and a guy name MacGyver
    * Upgrade network equipment for better security

    These are not nice-to-have “wish list” items, but badly-needed items that are necessary for continued, uninterrupted operation of your enterprise. Yet, IT is considered an expense that has to be controlled, and since things “are working fine now”, we don’t get the money.I can understand late-2008 when we hit the panic button and started putting stuff off. You can only put stuff off for so long. I just can’t hardly wait until one of these expense-cutting companies experiences a multi-hundred-million hit because of putting off the needful.

    • Sparkstalker says:

      That’s always the IT cycle though…do more with less..and work overtime without getting paid for it.

  20. Destron says:

    Funny. Several of those people are also in the top 20 highest paid CEO list

  21. Minj says:

    Gotta love class envy posts. Lets get one about people who are better looking than you or more athletic, or how about those evil people who are simply happier than you.

  22. divedeep says:

    Yay! Another class / wealth based post where the little guy can biatch about CEO greed! Put it in perspective – this group includes a whopping 20 people. In other news, some people make a boatload more money than the rest of us.

    Why don’t people on this board biatch about P. Diddy or Tiger Woods getting paid millions for making music / playing sports, and not generally providing jobs or economic growth?

    • RandomHookup says:

      Yet, many of us work for these guys or own stock in these companies, so, unlike Tiger Woods, what they make can impact our lives. Paying good CEOs lots of money is a good idea; paying them ridiculous amounts when things aren’t going well doesn’t make sense. When you get the “times are tough so no pay raises this year” speech, but the CEO gets his $20M a year — it hurts — even if just symbolically.

      High salaries at the top can also make American firms uncompetitive. The massive salaries at Chrysler caused lots of problems when Daimler bought them (German compensation philosophies are quite different). Check out the CEO of Costco whose total package is about $4.9 million annually (on a $350k salary). His philosophy is to focus on the employees, not himself. He’s rich and he’ll be well taken care of when he leaves, but he’s in it for the long haul.

    • kmw2 says:

      Why “Class envy”?

      Because layoffs reduce disposable income, thereby reducing profits in the long run, while increasing the burden on the social safety net.
      Because high CEO salaries are not correlated with CEO performance, but efficiency wages are.
      Because the US has a higher Gini coefficient than the entirety of the developed world, and a high income disparity means less spending and less social welfare.
      Because companies are gaining “profit” through operational efficiency, they’re not selling anymore. Why? They laid off their workers, no one can buy their shit.
      Because bootstraps don’t actually exist – people that are born poor, stay poor. People that are born middle class may slip into poverty, but it’s much less likely they’re going to become rich.
      Because there are little kids reading this thinking they, too, will someday earn a million dollars a year, and that’s never going to happen.
      It’s not “class envy”. It’s “enough is as good as a feast”. Problem: In the United States, many people do not have enough, while only a few are feasting. It is eroding our strength, our reputation, and our future. If you have resigned yourself to such a degree that rejecting the idea that a CEO deserves $40 million a year for doing no more than than your average middle-class professional looks like class warfare, then I feel very sorry for you.

  23. suepw says:

    I don’t consider those CEO’s to be victims. They are either hero’s – having done the right thing by their businesses and/or employees, or if they were forced to downgrade their pay, they can be considered to have been right sized since they should never have been paid that much to begin with.

  24. aleck says:

    Don’t forget that a CEO salary is a small part of the overall compensation. Bonuses and stock options is what’s important.