Cleveland Plain Dealer Editorial, CEO Pay and the Minimum Wage

Cleveland Plain Dealer Editorial, 8/6/07

Note: Cites commentary and data from Holly Sklar, "Pay CEOs Less, Minimum Wage Workers More."

WHAT WE EARN

Overpaying CEOs and underpaying workers is bad for business. Studies show that showering stock options on chief executives lowers shareholder returns and increases the likelihood that companies will cook their books, default on debt and go bankrupt. On the other hand, higher wages for workers benefit business by increasing consumer spending, reducing costly employee turnover, raising worker morale and productivity and improving product quality and company reputation. It's a no-brainer: Paying workers enough to live on is the minimum employers should do. � Holly Sklar, co-author of "A Just Minimum Wage: Good for Workers, Business and Our Future" (McClatchy-Tribune)

THEN

$7.8 million

Average CEO pay in 1997.

$5.15

Hourly federal minimum wage in 1997.

728

Number of minimum-wage workers it took to earn as much as the average CEO earned in 1997.

NOW

$15.2 million

Average CEO pay at the top 500 U.S. companies.

$5.85

Current federal minimum wage (increased on July 24).

1,419

Number of minimum-wage workers it took to earn as much as the average CEO earned in 2006.

256%

Rise in corporate profits between 1980 and 2006.

ALONG THE WAY

70%

Increase in worker productivity between 1980 and 2006.

32%

Decrease in the buying power of the minimum wage between 1980 and 2006.

cleveland.com

See what Northeast Ohio CEOs earn at: http://www.cleveland.com/ceopay/

Caption:
PAUL LACHINE NEWSART

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