Author’s Note: Please take a few minutes and Join the Firedoglake Membership Program today. FDL provides the tools that help me and others extend our reach with our rants so we need to support FDL when we can.
In addition, while the economy has been expanding for nearly three years and hiring is picking up, Reich notes, “we also see some major declines in terms of median wage. And that’s particularly true for the bottom 90 percent.”
In the past, economists argued that wage growth lagged in part because employers were spending more on benefits like health care and pensions. But that hasn’t been the case in the past few years. A recently released study from the National Institute for Health Care Reform shows that in 2010, the percentage of Americans with insurance who got insurance from employers fell to 53.5 percent, down sharply from 63.6 percent in 2007. “At the top of the talent chain, employers are providing very generous health insurance, deferred compensation, and everything you can imagine,” notes Reich. “But as you go down the job ladder, particularly to people who are doing routine jobs, they’re getting less and less. There has been a substantial erosion of health care benefits for the bottom 90 percent.
As I surfed the various news sites this morning though, I did find a couple of articles pointing out that some groups are still seeing their salaries and benefits go up, so all is not lost.
In the “No CEOs Left Behind” category, we have this article from today’s (April 4) USA Today, “CEO pay soars while workers’ pay stalls”:
At a time most employees can barely remember their last substantial raise, median CEO pay jumped 27% in 2010 as the executives’ compensation started working its way back to prerecession levels, a USA TODAY analysis of data from GovernanceMetrics International found. Workers in private industry, meanwhile, saw their compensation grow just 2.1% in the 12 months ended December 2010, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Two years of scaling back amid tough economic times proved temporary as three-quarters of CEOs got raises in 2010 — and, in many cases, the increases were substantial.
This blog post from Reuters written by a corporate board member points out a few of the problems with executive pay:
There are several factors at play as the remunerations committee and the board as a whole try to weave together pay packages.
A disconnect from today’s reality.
A lack of direct accountability.
I especially like that third point. A disconnect from today’s reality indeed. And speaking of disconnects from today’s reality, we have this from Bloomberg today on rising Wall Street salaries for most:
Most Wall Street (S5FINL) employees got higher salaries in 2011, with the biggest bumps going to those at boutique banks and alternative asset managers, according to a survey by eFinancialCareers.com.
The online survey of 2,860 financial professionals found that 54 percent received salary increases — excluding bonus — and 40 percent reported no change from 2010, according to an e- mailed description of the survey’s findings. Workers at so- called bulge-bracket banks got an average increase of 3 percent, compared with a 14 percent gain for people at boutique banks and a 13 percent raise for those at fund managers.
When year-end bonuses were included, average pay last year fell for workers at companies including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM)’s investment bank amid declining revenue. As year-end bonuses dropped, some banks raised base salaries that in past years contributed just a fraction of pay for senior employees.
But no matter what happens, we can be assured that Jamie Dimon will find something to whine about. Why just this morning, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission has fined JPMorgan the astronomical sum of $20M to settle charges related to the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. TWENTY MILLION DOLLARS! (/Dr Evil voice) Why based on JPMorgan’s reported profit from 2011 of $19B, that’s a whopping .1%. By my rough math, that is less than a half day’s worth of profits.
And because I can:
Cross posted from Just A Small Town Country Boy by Richard Taylor