The second-highest-paid CEO in the bunch is Estee Lauder CEO Fabrizio Freda, who received a 258 percent pay raise in 2021, totaling $66 million. That amounts to 1,965 times the median pay of $33,586 among the company’s roughly 62,000 workers worldwide. None of the firm’s US workers are unionized. Coming in third is Penn National Gaming head Jay Snowden, who received a $65.9 million payout, equal to 1,943 times the company’s median pay of $33,930. Penn National currently employs 21,973 people at hotels and casinos; under 20 percent of the company’s staff are unionized.
As for near-term policy solutions to the CEO-to-worker pay gap, the IPS notes that a recent poll finds that 62 percent of Republicans and 75 percent of Democrats support capping CEO pay relative to worker pay regardless of company performance. The executive branch could grant preferential treatment to companies with lower CEO-to-worker pay ratios (not to mention refusing to work with companies that are engaged in violations of labor law). Corporate taxes could target those companies with the widest CEO-to-worker pay gaps, and the possibility of banning top executives from selling their personal stock for a multi-year period after a buyback could be explored.
Those reforms don’t address the cause of such mind-boggling inequality — i.e., the existence of those who buy labor and those who must sell it — but they would help redistribute wealth downward, adding pressure on firms to pay workers more and CEOs less.
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