It’s true that America’s working stiffs are mostly stuck in the muck of depression these days, spinning their economic wheels with low wages that can’t even keep pace with inflation. Still, though, there are some good news stories about some who’re doing well — such as David Simon.
Through good ol’ American ingenuity and hard work, Dave quintupled his pay last year, pocketing $68,500! An hour. In the previous year, poor Dave was only paid about $13,000 an hour, but apparently he really applied himself in 2011 and was rewarded with an annual paycheck of $137 million. See, the American dream is still alive for those who believe in it (and who happen to be CEOs of corporations with compliant boards of directors that lavish shareholder money on the chief).
David is honcho of Simon Properties, a shopping mall operator, and he topped the list of last year’s most richly rewarded executives. While typical American workers saw their pay barely inch up by a meager 1 percent in 2011 — a sum totally eaten up (and them some) by the price increases for gasoline, groceries, rent and other essentials — the typical corporate chieftain socked away $9.6 million. It would take 244 years on the job for a typical employee to make what those bosses hauled off in one year.
Especially galling is the sight of such CEOs as Brian Moynihan cashing in. The boss of Bank of America, Moynihan’s pay jumped by 600 percent last year, even as his bank was foundering. BOA’s stock value has plummeted by 81 percent on his watch, some 36,000 employees are getting pink slips, and the bailed-out behemoth has become widely despised for ruthlessly (and often illegally) foreclosing on people’s homes.
Such gross inequities, caused by CEO greed and narcissism, are why more and more Americans spell “boss” backwards: Double-S.O.B.
This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.