The medium compensation in 2015 for the 200 highest-paid executives at publicly-held companies in the U.S. was $19.3 million; five years earlier, the figure was $9.6 million. CEO pay compared with the earnings of average workers surged from a multiple of 20 in 1965 to almost 300 in 2013. “Income inequality is real, it is a national problem and the federal government isn’t doing anything about it,” said Charlie Hales, the mayor of Portland, Oregon in 2016 when that city passed a surtax on companies whose CEO’s earn more than 100 times the medium pay of their rank-and-file workers. According to the law, set to take effect in 2017, companies whose ratios are between 100 and 249 would pay an additional 10 percent in taxes; companies with higher ratios would face a 25 percent surtax on the city’s business-license tax. Whether the new law would make a dent in reversing the increasing income-inequality was less than clear.
The full essay is at "A Business Surtax on Income Inequality."
1. Gretchen Morgenson, “Portland Adopts Surcharge on C.E.O. Pay in Move vs. Income Inequality,” The New York Times, December 7, 2016.