American chief executives saw their overall compensation increase by 15 percent in 2011, part of a larger trend that has seen CEO pay skyrocket at a rate 127 times faster than worker pay in the past three decades. Chief executive pay jumped by more than 725 percent between 1978 and 2011, according to a new report from the non-partisan Economic Policy Institute, compared to just 5.7 percent growth in worker compensation during the same period. The pattern contributes to the widening wage gap between the nation’s highest earners and other earners — something the report says is a driving factor of income inequality in the U.S. Last year, CEOs earned about 209 times more than workers, compared to just 26.5 times more in 1978 — meaning CEOs are taking home a larger share of company profits. The trend persists despite the fact that worker productivity has increased by approximately 93 percent between 1978 and 2011 on a per-hour basis — in other words, their output for each hour of work spiked — according to an analysis from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
"A recent report from the Federal Reserve documents the collapse of the middle class. Between 2007 and 2010 median wealth dropped a staggering 40 percent. As ever, the rich did fine, actually seeing their wealth increase as everyone else’s disappeared. That’s because those on top have less of their wealth tied up in real estate and more in investments like stocks and bonds, which have done better in the Bush Depression than home prices… .Turns out that investing in middle-class consumers makes rich people even richer. That’s what President Clinton thought. He raised taxes (modestly) on the rich—up to 39.6 percent—trimmed the federal workforce and invested in middle-class education, emerging technologies, and biomedical research. Once again, a middle class–focused economic policy lifted all boats, including the yachts."
"The median net worth of American families was lower in 2010 than in 1989, according to a Bloomberg Businessweek calculation from the Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances. [That said, from 2001-2010] the top 10th of families by income fought the trend and posted an increase in net worth. The rich got richer."
"The U.S. imposes the highest corporate rate in the world now, but companies like GE don’t pay any taxes because they exploit provisions in the tax code, such as credits for energy-saving equipment, to such a degree that they owe Uncle Sam nothing. Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke says that the complexity of our tax code is a major reason why the U.S. is not growing the way it should. People and companies make decisions based on the tax implications, not on what is in their best economic interest. He advocates pairing lower rates with many fewer deductions. (President Obama has said the same thing at times, but he never sticks to that position.) In that kind of world, Mitt Romney might still pay 15%, but it would add up to a much larger amount of money. Less wealthy people would pay less. GE would have to pay taxes."