PHILADELPHIA – Wage workers across the country are congratulating American CEOs on earning more money than they ever have before. First reported by the Associated Press Tuesday, the news that median pay for CEOs rose above $10 million for the first time in 2013 was greeted with enthusiasm and glee by most low-paid Americans, who say that “capitalism is definitely working” and that they’re “just glad the people who deserve the money are getting so much of it.”
“I think it’s just lovely,” said Evelyn Waters, a grandmother of ten who works part time at Walmart to supplement her Social Security checks. “It was shameful that they ever had to suffer the embarrassment of seven-figure salaries in the first place.”
Workers gathered outside the Comcast Center in Philadelphia this afternoon to throw an impromptu party celebrating the success of the media conglomerate’s CEO, Brian Roberts, who made $31.4 million in 2013. The crowd, composed mostly of Comcast field technicians—who on average earn about $30 thousand a year—waved signs saying “Go get ‘em Brian!” and “Wave to me from your yacht this summer!!”
“I never met him myself,” said Jake Benson, a sales representative at Comcast. “But I did pass him in the hall one time a couple years ago, and you could just tell he wasn’t being paid enough—so I’m happy to see that he’s doing better, even if it means I have to wait on that raise I’d been hoping for.”
Because CEOs are now more often paid in stock shares, the surge in compensation is largely fueled by soaring stock markets, as well as the increasing prevalence of “performance cash bonuses” rewarded to chief executives. Both practices, initially meant to address stockholders’ concerns about excessive CEO compensation, have resulted in even higher total pay for average executives.
A normal CEO now earns 257 times the average worker’s salary, an increase from 181 times in 2009.
Despite this trend, many workers say they’re pleased with the way things are. “It’s only right that I make less than one half of one percent of my boss’s pay,” said Ben Turner, a cashier at Chipotle Mexican Grill in Columbus, Ohio. “I may be the on the front lines when it comes to giving America gas pains and diarrhea, but [Chipotle CEO Montgomery Moran] is the guy who made it all possible—and $24 million a year is a small reward for that.”