Wednesday, December 27, 2006



You probably have noticed me using the DMI grades when I talk about congressmen. The policy institute uses a diverse basket of legislative bills to analyze how friendly or unfriendly our solons have been to middle class interests. Yesterday, for example, I was trying to demonstrate how reactionary Charlie Melancon (D-LA) has been. I'm also on a DMI bloggers advisory board. Today they published the 2006 Injustice Index and I thought I'd share some quick facts and figures from the report with you, you know-- the kinds of stuff you can throw out an a New Year's Eve Party.

Wages that an average CEO earns before lunchtime: more than a full-time minimum wage worker makes in a year. The ratio of the average U.S. CEO’s annual pay to a minimum wage worker’s is now 821:1. [Nobody beats the U.S. when it comes to the difference in pay between CEOs and the average worker. In 2000, on average, CEOs at 365 of the largest publicly traded U.S. companies earned $13.1 million, or 531 times what the typical hourly employee took home. The corresponding ratio in 1980 was only 42, and in 1990 it was 85.  As one source has put it, "in 2000 a CEO earned more in one workday (there
are 260 in a year) than what the average worker earned in 52 weeks. In 1965, by contrast, it took a CEO two weeks to earn a worker's annual pay". US CEOs' pay rose 313 percent from 1990 to 2003, an advocacy group UFE said. By contrast, the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index rose 242 percent and corporate profits gained 128 percent.]

The total compensation in 2005 of Barry Diller of IAC/Interactive, the highest paid CEO in the US today: $469 million. Additional amount that Mr. Diller received in new stock options “to motivate Mr. Diller for future performance”: $7.6 million. [The bright side of that coin is that at least there doesn't appear to me any anti-gay discrimination way at the top of the corporate food chain.]

Percentage of Americans who feel chronically overworked: 30

Years of unused vacation time that American workers collectively give back to their employers each year: 1.6 million. [Ken, are you paying attention?]

Percentage of women earning less than $40,000 per year who receive no paid vacation time at all: 37

Payment per episode that Donald Trump receives to host The Apprentice: $3,000,000

Average amount that companies spend to recruit a new CEO from outside the company: $2,000,000

Probability that the newly hired CEO will either quit or be fired within the first eighteen months: 1 in 2

Estimated number of people lined up outside the new M&M store set to open in Times Square responding to ads for “on-the-spot” hiring for 200 jobs, 65 of which were fulltime: between 5,000 and 6,000

Starting salary that drew them there: $10.75 per hour

Fee Paris Hilton is seeking to host a New Year’s Eve party in NYC, Miami, or L.A.: $100,000 plus a private jet. [DWT one-time art director, Adam Fox, once begged me for tickets to see Paris host a promotional party in Miami. I warned him that she messes up worse than Bush but he was trying to seduce and impress someone and felt a Paris Hilton party was just what the doctor ordered. Of course he was furious after the fact, when she was rude, drunk and disorderly, arrived late and left early, cursing out the attendees and calling them losers. What did she expect? I mean, really, who but a terminal loser would actually voluntarily go to a Paris Hilton party? Even for free.]

Amount that Ms. Hilton is set to inherit from the Hilton Hotel fortune: $350 million.

Number of times that Congress has reduced the estate tax since it last raised the federal minimum wage: 9.

Longest period in which the federal minimum wage has not been increased: 1997–2006. [Do you know anyone who has ever voted for a Republican member of Congress?]

Number of workers who would directly benefit from an increase in the minimum wage: 5.6 million.

Number of very large estates that would directly benefit from a reduction in the estate tax: 8,200.

Highest price per custom-fitted, handmade power suit in Armani’s new line, which hopes to respond to what ex-Gucci head designer Tom Ford calls “a lot of pent-up demand for true luxury [from men who] are getting rich first, and they want to deck themselves out before they deck out their wives”: $20,000.

Number of households using credit to cover basic living expenses: 7 in 10.

Amount in tax breaks and subsidies that last year’s energy bill paid out to the gas and oil industry during a period of record profits and higher prices at the pump: $6 billion.

Campaign donations that Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who voted for the energy bill, received from the oil and gas industry: $500,000, making her the top recipient of oil contributions in the 2006 election cycle.

Percentage of U.S. workers who are confident they will be able to live comfortably after retirement: 68.

Percentage who have saved less than $25,000 toward their retirement: 53. [Yes, you are meant to try to correlate this percentage with the percenatge preceding it. Let us know if you get anywhere.]

Percent of African-American and Latino families that have zero or negative net worth, respectively: 31 and 38.

Date on which USA Today reported that Dr. Anthony Griffin of the Beverly HillsCosmetic Surgery Institute, who appears on the ABC program Extreme Makeover, predicted that CEOs will lead a surge in male cosmetic surgery because, he says, "for instance,executives on trial for corporate scandals would improve their chances for acquittal with a makeover just before trial": November 4, 2006.

Date on which the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached its all-time high: October 26, 2006. (Umm... until today when it closed over 12,500 for the first time ever.)

Decrease in percentage of Americans who own stocks from 2004 to 2006, the first such decline on record: 51.9% to 48.6%.

Total Wal-Mart received in government subsidies, sometimes called “corporate welfare” by activists, in 2005: $3.75 billion.

Percent of the decline in welfare caseloads that is due to TANF programs failing to serve families that are poor enough to qualify, rather than due to a reduction in the number of families poor enough to qualify for aid, in the ten years since "welfare reform": 57 [Bill Clinton, there was a lot worse about him than Monica whateverhernamewas.]

Projected total in Christmas bonuses that investment banks in New York City will pay out in 2006: $23.9 billion.

Estimated additional amount U.S. workers would receive annually if all employers obeyed workplace laws: $19 billion.

Ratio of compensation of CEOs of publicly traded defense companies to privates before September 11th, 2001: 190 to 1.

Ratio in 2006: 308 to 1. (So this is what Bush was talking about when he said the economy was growning!]

Percentage increase in out-of-pocket medical expenses for the average American in the past 5 years: 93

Estimated amount the U.S. would save each year on paperwork if it adopted single-payer health care: $161,000,000,000. [What what about Doctorbill Frists' family? Don'y you want them to be billionaires?]

Date on which incoming Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson announced “Amid this country’s strong economic expansion, many Americans simply aren’t feeling the benefits. Many aren’t seeing significant increases in their take-home pay. Their increases in wages are being eaten up by high energy prices and rising health care costs, among others”: August 2, 2006.

According to exit polls in the midterm elections, percentage of Americans who think life for the next generation will be about the same or worse respectively: 28, 40.


At 7:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Love You. I am in the middle of deciding my new career and I am now convinced it will be in uncovering CEO pay abuses.

Nice post.

At 7:33 PM, Anonymous jerryb said...

This should be required reading for every citizen of this country. I'm tired of so many Americans having their heads up their asses. Think about all those blue collar voters in the mid-west who have for years re-elected men and women intent on screwing them out of every penny they could. Flagrantly and without remorse or repercussion.


p.s. it may be my computer but the graphics at the top of the comments page always covers the first few lines of the first post.

At 10:50 PM, Blogger Bil said...

Yes, Thank you jerryb, I thought it was just my computer config...

At 12:44 PM, Anonymous Texas T said...

I don't udnerstand where you people think money and jobs come from. Walmart has created more wealth for more people than any other business i know of. As for the dig on Senator Hutchison, she should be applauded for all she has done for the energy industry. In Texas, energy means jobs. I am surprised that the industry doesn't support her work more!

At 12:58 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Don't worry about Big Oil not supporting Hutchison enough. The $500,000 is just the legally reported stuff. I'm sure, like all political hacks, she's getting plenty from the industry that doesn't get reported.

As for Walmart creating more wealth for more people, I have to admit that I'm perplexed. If you are, as you come off, a junior high school student subsisting on a barebones allowance from your parents, what Walmart pays its employees in terms of wages and benefits might seem somehow like "wealth." Please allow me, though, to call your attention to the real and full story behind Walmart. Maybe you will have learned something from your drift over to the reality side of the blogosphere.


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