The average CEO of a Standard & Poor's 500 company made $11.75 million in
total compensation in 2005, according to a preliminary analysis by The Corporate
Library. And that's just their annual take. At a time when most working families
are looking at shrinking retirement nest eggs, many CEOs also have negotiated
golden retirements for themselves. Here are the biggest CEO pensions:
Your Retirement Security Is at Risk. Not so for These CEOs.
Top 25 Largest CEO Pensions
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is proposing a new rule to require
companies to disclose a dollar estimate of their CEOs retirement benefits. While
this rule will not go into effect until 2007, here is a sneak peek of what shareholders
CEO Golden Years: The Top 25 Largest CEO Pensions
|. Company Name
||CEO Full Name
||Henry A. McKinnell
|Exxon Mobil Corp.
||Lee R. Raymond
||Edward E. Whitacre
|UnitedHealth Group Inc.
||William W. McGuire
||Samuel J. Palmisano
|Home Depot Inc.
||Robert L. Nardelli
||Brian L. Roberts
|Bank of America Corp.
||Kenneth D. Lewis
|Union Pacific Corp.
||Richard K. Davidson
||John W. Rowe
||James J. Mulva
|Lockheed Martin Corp.
||Vance D. Coffman
|Robert Half International Inc.
||Harold M. Messmer
||F. Duane Ackerman
|Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc.
||Patrick T. Stokes
||Robert A. Eckert
||E. Neville Isdell
|Prudential Financial Inc.
||Arthur F. Ryan
|FPL Group Inc.
|Eli Lilly and Co.
|General Electric Co.
||Jeffrey R. Immelt
|Valero Energy Corp.
||William E. Greehey
|Countrywide Financial Corp.
||Angelo R. Mozilo
||Steven S. Reinemund
The 6 Most Highly Paid Ceos on Executive PayWatch
T & T
Health Group Inc.
Home Depot Inc.
$13,700 an Hour
Katrina vanden Heuvel
Last Sunday, the New York Times reported that--for the first time--a full-time
worker earning minimum wage cannot afford a one-bedroom apartment anywhere in
America at market rates. That means more and more people like Michelle Kennedy--a
former Senate page and author of Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (with
Kids) in America--are finding themselves homeless and living out of their cars.
At a town hall meeting in Ohio last Saturday, Representative Sherrod Brown
of Ohio, a staunch advocate for social and economic rights--he and Bernie Sanders
are the two best candidates running for Senate in 2006--railed against stagnant
wages' contribution to economic hardship. "It is unacceptable that someone
can work full-time--and work hard--and not be able to lift their family out
of poverty." He blasted a system where a full-time worker making
the minimum wage earns $10,500 annually, while "last year the CEO of Wal-Mart
earned $3,500 an hour. The CEO of Halliburton earned about $8,300 an hour. And
the CEO of ExxonMobil earned about $13,700 an hour."
This past weekend Robert Kuttner argued in the Boston Globe that while people
are blaming undocumented workers for driving down wages, the real villains are
"the people running the government, who have made sure that the lions'
share of the productivity gains go to the richest 1 percent of Americans. With
different tax, labor, health, and housing policies, native-born workers and
immigrants alike could get a fairer share of our productive economy."
Kuttner points to Census data showing that "median household income fell
3.8 percent, or $1,700, from 1999 to 2004...during a period when average productivity
rose 3 percent per year." And while income is falling, working people are
increasingly squeezed. Costs for housing, healthcare, education and childcare
rose 46 percent between 1991 and 2002, according to economist Jared Bernstein
of the Economic Policy Institute.
And the situation is getting worse. Look at the Delphi Corporation's moves
as reported in the Washington Post on Saturday. The company asked a bankruptcy
judge to void its union contracts so it could lower worker wages and benefits.
CEO Steve Miller played the ever-reliable global competition card saying, "At
the end of the day, Delphi must be competitive in the global marketplace."
But as Kate Bronfenbrenner, director of labor education research at Cornell
University, makes clear, this new tactic will further erode labor's power in
the workplace. "What in our laws and in our democracy gives a bankruptcy
judge the right to take away freedom of association and collective bargaining?"
Bronfenbrenner asked. "Bankruptcy judges should not have that power. Now
In the current climate--with tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans; a minimum
wage frozen for eight years and a GOP-dominated Congress; deterioration of labor's
power in the workplace; and corporate-authored free-trade agreements that exacerbate
these trends--it is heartening to hear Sherrod Brown make the case that "a
hard day's work should mean a fair day's pay." But where are the other
Democratic leaders who should be standing by his side?
The Democratic Party needs to regain its moral compass, its heart and soul.
Sounding an alarm on this economic catastrophe befalling so many Americans is
what heart and soul is all about.
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