Editorial: CEO salaries, raises show wage gap | TribLIVE.com
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Editorial: CEO salaries, raises show wage gap

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AP
Elon Musk was the top paid CEO in California for 2018, as calculated by The Associated Press and Equilar, an executive data firm. The survey includes only CEOs who have been in place for at least two years. Musk earned $2.28 Billion in 2018.

Pay raises: they’re not just for political employees anymore.

Yes, it was just a week ago that we were questioning the salary bumps for members of Gov. Tom Wolf’s staff. Those annual numbers jumped from $9,000 to $33,000.

But for some, that’s chump change.

We all know the guys at the top get the most coin, but new data from executive data firm Equilar and the Associated Press show that it’s not just more. It’s growing, and it’s rising at a rate much faster than the people at the bottom of the ladder.

The median salary for CEOs in 2018 was $12 million. That was up $800,000 over 2017 — about a 7% jump when the median increase for workers was just 3%.

Leadership has its pros and cons. It has a big payday but it has more responsibility. But wouldn’t a pay raise more in line with the little guy be enough? A 3% raise on a $12 million salary would be $360,000. That’s 11 times the median income in Pennsylvania.

Some people bristle at recommendations of curtailing salaries and bonuses. It smacks of socialism, and that’s a very politically charged idea. Others — including Mickey Mouse heiress Abigail Disney — suggests salaries like Bob Iger’s $65 million for running the company her grandfather and great-uncle started is immoral.

But this isn’t about politics. It’s about how to run a good operation. Think of it like a family, and think of the CEO like your mom.

Yes, Mom did a lot of work on any given day, and she capped it by making dinner. She probably didn’t reward her responsibility by cutting herself the lion’s share of the meatloaf and taking half the mashed potatoes before she started dishing up plates for Dad and the kids. In fact, plenty of moms serve themselves last, just like lots of small- business owners who might get a salary only after their employees.

In Pennsylvania, the highest paid CEO is Brian Roberts, who nets $35 million for helming Comcast. According to job site Indeed.com, Comcast’s lowest paid employees are the communications technicians, who make about $14 an hour. A 3% raise for them would equal about $886 a year before taxes, spread across months of paychecks.

For Roberts, it would be $1.05 million — the equivalent of 35 technicians’ annual salaries.

High salaries aren’t a bad thing. But there’s something to be said for a fair wage at the bottom and the top of the ladder.

Categories: Opinion | Editorials
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