The Rich Get Richer Again

From People’s Voice

Welcome to 2015. Unless you are Gerry Schwartz or another one of Canada’s 100 highest paid CEOs, you actually have to work for a living. Or perhaps you are retired or a student, having worked all your life or hoping to land a decent job. In either case, Mr. Schwartz and his pals earned more before lunchtime on the first working day of January than you will during this entire year… on average, of course. If you have a higher‑paying job than most, it could take one of the top 100 until quitting time to match your 2015 income. On the other hand, a minimum wage earner was left in the dust by morning coffee break.

The annual CEO pay review published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) drives the corporate elite bonkers. It’s not fair, whines the Fraser Institute: the CCPA counts stock options and other perks as compensation! Even worse, the CCPA leaves out lower-paid executives, who would drag the CEO average figures down to “reasonable” levels.

Oh, boo hoo. Mr. Schwartz was paid $87.9 million in 2013, but even Number 100 took home $4.14 million, an increase of 30% over the 2008 figure. Working people were smacked hard by the capitalist crisis of 2007‑08. But after an initial drop, pay for the top 100 soon rebounded to pre-crisis glory days, to an average $9.2 million, or 195 times the average Canadian income of $47,358. These big bosses “earned” 237 times the average salary of women employees, showing that some things really never change.

And here’s another nugget to consider: 43 of the top 100 CEOs have a defined benefit pension plan worth an average of $1.39 million a year, and 75 received stock options as part of their 2013 pay package, worth an average of $3.16 million.

Yes, it’s tough for the ultra‑rich when their wealth is exposed for the world to see. Before long, people will start talking about taxing the greedy, not the needy. Will the horror never end?

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