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High CEO Pay and Inflation / Dean Baker

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It's not just that I don't like that CEOs get twenty, thirty, fifty million a year -- I don't, let me be honest -- but the point is that's actually not what they're contributing to the company. So there's a lot of people that look at that and go 'Oh they pay them too much: we should tell them they can't pay them that much.' What I'm saying is yes, they pay them too much but they're being ripped off! So if you go back forty, fifty years ago, CEO's got paid twenty, thirty times the pay of a typical worker. Now they're getting paid two to three hundred times the pay of a typical worker. Their productivity for the company has not increased that much. And the reason that this has happened, this is the idea of a corrupt corporate government structure, the sort of classic economic story is that 'Oh, the boards of directors that represent the shareholders: they're like hawks over the CEO's' and they're saying 'Oh if you're not worth twenty million, we're not going to pay them twenty million.' Well, in fact, that's not what happens. The Boards of Directors are largely appointed by the CEO and other top management. They want to stay there. And the way to stay there isn't to say 'Hey, couldn't we get a better CEO for half the pay?' ... They don't raise that question, because they want to stay on the board: Why would they ever do that?

The return of economist Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic Policy and Research. Dean is on to discuss his most recent writing, including, “Structuring the Economy to Give Money to the Rich Is Inflationary.”

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Dean Baker

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.


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