HOW CEO PAY GOT AWAY

LINKING THE BOSS'S CHECK TO THE FIRM'S STOCK PRICE SEEMED REASONABLE. THEN THE MARKET WENT WILD

It's springtime, which means shareholder activists and Big Labor have taken up their favorite pastime: railing against runaway CEO pay. This year's batch of proxy statements provides plenty of ammunition. The corner office of a typical Fortune 500 company comes with annual total compensation of $7.8 million, an increase of roughly 50% over last year. CEOs make a good 200 times more than the average factory worker, even if you throw in the 3% raise that working stiffs gained in 1996. The pay disparity is five times greater than it was 30 years ago--and it's growing. You can almost hear the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!