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The AFL-CIO is out with its Executive Paywatch. Here's how some of the numbers break down:
In 2012, CEOs of S&P 500 Index companies averaged $12.3 million in total compensation, while rank-and-file worker wages averaged $34,645, for a ratio of 354 to one.
CEO pay fell five percent from 2011 to 2012, but that's mostly because of Apple CEO Tim Cook. The stock he got in 2011 vests over 10 years, but was counted all at once, skewing 2011 CEO pay data. If you take Cook out, average CEO pay increased five percent in 2012.
In Germany, the CEO-to-worker pay ratio is a relatively modest 147 to one. Workers make more—$40,223—and CEOs make less—$5,912,781. In Canada, it's 206 to one. In Sweden, Australia, Japan, Norway, Poland, the United Kingdom, and other countries, the ratio is below 100 to one.
The comparisons with other nations and with our own past are a powerful reminder that how things are in this country right now is not how things have to be to have a healthy economy. The growing inequality in the United States that goes beyond a few CEOs isn't good for our economy or our politics. But when you consider that 354 to one ratio, you understand the power that's lined up against changing things for the better.