The "Real Deal" Revolution.

On June 29, 2015, Michael Byron writes on OpEd News:

Bernie Sanders‘ 2016 Presidential campaign is the vehicle for long overdue revolution in America.

Consider the circumstances in which we find ourselves:

1) Decades of neoliberal economic policies have eviscerated the once flourishing American middle class. In fact, the wealthiest 400 Americans now possess more wealth than the bottom fifty percent combined! (1) Globally, these policies have so concentrated wealth that the richest EIGHTY FIVE persons possess more wealth than the bottom three and one half BILLION persons combined! (2) This means that inequality in today’s America exceeds that of ANCIENT ROME! (3), (4). As this process of increasing inequality is actually accelerating, the need for revolutionary restructuring of the political and economic system of the USA exceeds comprehension. Metaphorically put, the red alert alarms of impending catastrophe are, and have been ringing for some time.

2) The planetary environment is beginning to spiral out of control. This will lead to, at best, mass deaths and civilizational collapse; at worst, human extinction. (5) The Pacific Ocean is overheating. (6) This is because about ninety five percent of all anthropogenic (human caused) planetary warming is sequestered in the oceans”until it reemerges into the atmosphere as is happening now. This stored warming is now emerging from the Atlantic Ocean as well. (7) Any system will fail at its weakest link. By far, the most rapid warming is occurring in the Arctic. This is destabilizing trillions of tons of underwater methane ices (hydrates and clathrates), as well as up to a trillion tons of surrounding permafrost. Methane, in the short term (10 years or less) is up to 100 times more powerful of a heat trapping gas, than is carbon dioxide. Rapid release of this frozen methane will doom us to a fast extinction–5 to 30 years until humanity is no more forever. (8)

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I could go on and on and on listing the various ways in which doom is accelerating towards us all. Instead, however, I will move on towards a SOLUTION to ALL of these problems.

Global change must begin in America. We are central to the planetary economy, and are the planet’s largest polluter–worse yet when the effects of off-shored production by American flagged multinational corporations are taken into account.

The difficulty with implementing needed change lies in the reality that BOTH major US political parties have been effectively captured by large multinational business and financial corporations. This is empirically proved by well-known American political scientists Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page in their seminal study “Testing Theories of American Politics.” Their research demonstrated conclusively that the US Congress ONLY responds to business-oriented interest groups–that the USA is an oligarchy–in plainer words. (9)

All probable Republican presidential nominees are neoliberals. They will always act to serve the interests of the wealthy corporate elites. Politically speaking, that is the SOLE reason that they exist. For the Democrats, the only two plausible candidates are Hillary Clinton andBernie Sanders. Clinton has a lifetime track record of being a shill for the elite corporatists. If elected, Clinton can be anticipated, with precisely ONE HUNDRED PERCENT certainty, to use her Presidency to serve those interests to the exclusion of all else. Therefore, where it counts for elites, which is utter, craven subservience to elite interests, she is a Republican.

Sanders alone is different. He has consistently espoused both political and economic democracy. Sanders has been absolutely consistent throughout his adult life in espousing these principles of democracy and equality. He is on record as supporting full equality for gays FORTY YEARS AGO! (10) Clinton was not for marriage equality until AFTER the majority of Americans were. Clinton is a follower. Sanders is a LEADER.

At this moment, oligarchy is being locked into place in America and across much of the planet. So called “free trade” agreements such as TPP, TAAP and TTIP will serve to lock into place neoliberal serfdom across the US and much of the planet. The Investor-State Dispute Resolution provision of these agreements will, effectively nullify governmental authority to do anything which business finds to be a constraint upon their present and future (i.e., imaginary) profits. (11)

All of these agreements are likely to be in place by January 2017 when the next President takes office. If that president is a neoliberal, modern feudalism, binding us all to an economic system which is rapidly making the planet unlivable will be locked in. At that point, we can expect only misery and likely eventual unpleasant death amid an ever worsening economy, in the context of rapid environmental disruption. Actual revolution, to take down the American government and all those who control it, will then be the ONLY remaining option.

That is, unless the next President is Bernie Sanders. Sanders CAN win the Democratic nomination. (12) A people-powered, people-funded mass campaign, taking full advantage of all caucus states and the varying rules of each state’s primaries or caucuses, can be used to great effect–just ask Obama–that is how he defeated Clinton in 2008.

Here without further ado is the core idea: Sanders’ 2016 campaign must BE the revolution. WE must provide the financial and campaign support required. Sanders needs our enthusiastic support. We need him–he is that rarest of American politicians–a principled LEADER. We must realize that, actual revolution excepted, it’s now do-or-die time. The 2016 Democratic primaries and caucuses ARE the revolution. WE as well as Bernie Sanders, are the revolution. The future of the nation, indeed of the planet, is at stake. Time has run out. ACT! NOW!


Top CEOs Make 300 Times More Than Typical Workers

On June 21, 2015, Lawrence Mishel and Alyssa Davis write on the Economic Policy Institute Web site:

The chief executive officers of America’s largest firms earn three times more than they did 20 years ago and at least 10 times more than 30 years ago, big gains even relative to other very-high-wage earners. These extraordinary pay increases have had spillover effects in pulling up the pay of other executives and managers, who constitute a larger group of workers than is commonly recognized.1 Consequently, the growth of CEO and executive compensation overall was a major factor driving the doubling of the income shares of the top 1 percent and top 0.1 percent of U.S. households from 1979 to 2007 (Bivens and Mishel 2013; Bakija, Cole, and Heim 2012). Since then, income growth has remained unbalanced: as profits have reached record highs and the stock market has boomed, the wages of most workers, stagnant over the last dozen years, including during the prior recovery, have declined during this one (Bivens et al. 2014; Gould 2015) .

In examining trends in CEO compensation to determine how well the top 1 and 0.1 percent are faring through 2014, this paper finds:

  • Average CEO compensation for the largest firms was $16.3 million in 2014. This estimate uses a comprehensive measure of CEO pay that covers chief executives of the top 350 U.S. firms and includes the value of stock options exercised in a given year. Compensation is up 3.9 percent since 2013 and 54.3 percent since the recovery began in 2009.
  • From 1978 to 2014, inflation-adjusted CEO compensation increased 997 percent, a rise almost double stock market growth and substantially greater than the painfully slow 10.9 percent growth in a typical worker’s annual compensation over the same period.
  • The CEO-to-worker compensation ratio, 20-to-1 in 1965, peaked at 376-to-1 in 2000 and was 303-to-1 in 2014, far higher than in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, or 1990s.

In examining CEO compensation relative to that of other high earners, we find:

  • Over the last three decades, compensation for CEOs grew far faster than that of other highly paid workers, i.e., those earning more than 99.9 percent of wage earners. CEO compensation in 2013 (the latest year for data on top wage earners) was 5.84 times greater than wages of the top 0.1 percent of wage earners, a ratio 2.66 points higher than the 3.18 ratio that prevailed over the 1947–1979 period. This wage gain alone is equivalent to the wages of 2.66 very-high-wage earners.
  • Also over the last three decades, CEO compensation increased more relative to the pay of other very-high-wage earners than the wages of college graduates rose relative to the wages of high school graduates.
  • That CEO pay grew far faster than pay of the top 0.1 percent of wage earners indicates that CEO compensation growth does not simply reflect the increased value of highly paid professionals in a competitive race for skills (the “market for talent”), but rather reflects the presence of substantial “rents” embedded in executive pay (meaning CEO pay does not reflect greater productivity of executives but rather the power of CEOs to extract concessions). Consequently, if CEOs earned less or were taxed more, there would be no adverse impact on output or employment.
  • Critics of examining these trends suggest looking at the pay of the average CEO, not CEOs of the largest firms. However, the average firm is very small, employing just 20 workers, and does not represent a useful comparison to the pay of a typical worker who works in a firm with roughly 1,000 workers. Half (52 percent) of employment and 58 percent of total payroll are in firms with more than 500 or more employees. Firms with at least 10,000 workers provide 27.9 percent of all employment and 31.4 percent of all payroll.

CEO compensation trends

Table 1 presents trends in CEO compensation from 1965 to 2014.2 The data measure the compensation of CEOs in the largest firms and incorporate stock options according to how much the CEO realized in that particular year by exercising stock options available. The options-realized measure reflects what CEOs report as their Form W-2 wages for tax reporting purposes and is what they actually earned in a given year. This is the measure most frequently used by economists.3 In addition to stock options, the compensation measure includes salary, bonuses, restricted stock grants, and long-term incentive payouts. Full methodological details for the construction of this CEO compensation measure and benchmarking to other studies can be found in Mishel and Sabadish (2013).


CEO compensation, CEO-to-worker compensation ratio, and stock prices, 1965–2014 (2014 dollars)

CEO annual compensation (thousands)* Worker annual compensation (thousands) Stock market (adjusted to 2014) CEO-to-worker compensation ratio***
Private-sector production/nonsupervisory workers Firms’ industry** S&P 500 Dow Jones
1965 $832 $40.2 n/a 579 5,986 20.0
1973 $1,087 $47.2 n/a 512 4,401 22.3
1978 $1,487 $48.0 n/a 320 2,735 29.9
1989 $2,769 $45.4 n/a 596 4,628 58.7
1995 $5,862 $46.0 $52.4 836 6,941 122.6
2000 $20,384 $48.7 $55.2 1,962 14,744 376.1
2007 $18,786 $51.1 $55.4 1,687 15,048 345.3
2009 $10,575 $53.2 $57.4 1,046 9,808 195.8
2010 $12,662 $53.7 $57.8 1,238 11,585 229.7
2011 $12,863 $53.0 $56.9 1,334 12,584 235.5
2012 $14,998 $52.6 $56.3 1,422 13,371 285.3
2013 $15,711 $52.8 $56.4 1,671 15,255 303.1
2014 $16,316 $53.2 $56.4 1,931 16,778 303.4
Percent change Change in ratio
1965–1978 78.7% 19.5% n/a -44.8% -54.3% 9.9
1978–2000 1,270.8% 1.4% n/a 513.0% 439.1% 346.2
2000–2014 -20.0% 9.4% 2.2% -1.6% 13.8% -72.7
2009–2014 54.3% 0.0% -1.7% 84.6% 71.1% 107.6
1978–2014 997.2% 10.9% n/a 503.4% 513.5% 244.7

* CEO annual compensation is computed using the “options realized” compensation series, which includes salary, bonus, restricted stock grants, options exercised, and long-term incentive payouts for CEOs at the top 350 U.S. firms ranked by sales.
** Annual compensation of the workers in the key industry of the firms in the sample
*** Based on averaging specific firm ratios and not the ratio of averages of CEO and worker compensation

Source: Authors’ analysis of data from Compustat’s ExecuComp database, Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, the Current Employment Statistics program, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis NIPA tables

CEO compensation reported in Table 1, as well as throughout the rest of the report, is the average compensation of the CEOs in the 350 publicly owned U.S. firms (i.e., firms that sell stock on the open market) with the largest revenue each year. Our sample each year will be fewer than 350 firms to the extent that these large firms did not have the same CEO for most of or all of the year or the compensation data are not yet available. For comparison, Table 1 also presents the annual compensation (wages and benefits of a full-time, full-year worker) of a private-sector production/nonsupervisory worker (a group covering more than 80 percent of payroll employment), allowing us to compare CEO compensation with that of a “typical” worker. From 1995 onward, the table identifies the average annual compensation of the production/nonsupervisory workers in the key industries of the firms included in the sample. We take this compensation as a proxy for the pay of typical workers in these particular firms.

The modern history of CEO compensation (starting in the 1960s) is as follows. Even though the stock market, as measured by the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 index, and shown in Table 1, fell by roughly half between 1965 and 1978, CEO pay increased by 78.7 percent. Average worker pay saw relatively strong growth over that period (relative to subsequent periods, not relative to CEO pay or pay for others at the top of the wage distribution). Annual worker compensation grew by 19.5 percent from 1965 to 1978, only about a fourth as fast as CEO compensation growth over that period.

CEO compensation grew strongly throughout the 1980s but exploded in the 1990s and peaked in 2000 at around $20 million, an increase of more than 200 percent just from 1995 and 1,271 percent from 1978. This latter increase even exceeded the growth of the booming stock market—513 percent for the S&P 500 and 439 percent for the Dow. In stark contrast to both the stock market and CEO compensation, private-sector worker compensation increased just 1.4 percent over the same period.

The fall in the stock market in the early 2000s led to a substantial paring back of CEO compensation, but by 2007 (when the stock market had mostly recovered) CEO compensation returned close to its 2000 level. Figure A shows how CEO pay fluctuates in tandem with the stock market as measured by the S&P 500 index, confirming that CEOs tend to cash in their options when stock prices are high. The financial crisis in 2008 and the accompanying stock market tumble knocked CEO compensation down 44 percent by 2009. By 2014, the stock market had recouped all of the ground lost in the downturn and, not surprisingly, CEO compensation had also made a strong recovery. In 2014, average CEO compensation was $16.3 million, up 3.9 percent since 2013 and 54.3 percent since 2009. CEO compensation in 2014 remained below the peak earning years of 2000 and 2007 but far above the pay levels of the mid-1990s and much further above CEO compensation in preceding decades.


CEO compensation and the S&P 500 Index (in 2014 dollars), 1965–2014

Year CEO compensation (in millions of 2014 dollars) S&P 500 Index (adjusted to 2014 dollars)
1965/01/01 0.83191 579.3905
1966/01/01 0.832076 544.4317
1967/01/01 0.832242 569.9553
1968/01/01 1.035328 586.6767
1969/01/01 1.035355 558.2041
1970/01/01 1.035383 452.5541
1971/01/01 1.03541 512.5317
1972/01/01 1.035438 552.3217
1973/01/01 1.086788 511.7382
1974/01/01 1.086975 358.4384
1975/01/01 1.087162 344.8192
1976/01/01 1.087348 386.0265
1977/01/01 1.087535 349.4082
1978/01/01 1.486966 320.0905
1979/01/01 1.487196 313.0516
1980/01/01 1.487427 324.748
1981/01/01 1.487657 319.8241
1982/01/01 1.487887 281.9998
1983/01/01 1.488117 362.5433
1984/01/01 1.488348 348.2643
1985/01/01 1.488578 391.9966
1986/01/01 1.488808 487.2128
1987/01/01 1.489039 572.1898
1988/01/01 1.489269 511.319
1989/01/01 2.769045 595.5699
1990/01/01 2.770492 587.6306
1991/01/01 2.771939 637.7438
1992/01/01 4.905754 687.3812
1993/01/01 5.501263 728.6534
1994/01/01 4.35423 727.3423
1995/01/01 5.862171 835.6524
1996/01/01 7.456101 1007.489
1997/01/01 11.34543 1284.651
1998/01/01 16.90274 1574.586
1999/01/01 14.93373 1886.034
2000/01/01 20.38361 1962.216
2001/01/01 11.42832 1596.986
2002/01/01 10.09622 1308.073
2003/01/01 12.91146 1242.542
2004/01/01 14.18892 1417.185
2005/01/01 16.61245 1464.087
2006/01/01 18.50301 1538.828
2007/01/01 18.78553 1686.762
2008/01/01 13.26949 1341.581
2009/01/01 10.57487 1046.467
2010/01/01 12.66208 1237.875
2011/01/01 12.86322 1334.015
2012/01/01 14.99809 1422.473
2013/01/01 15.71064 1670.708
2014/01/01 16.31562 1931.38


CEO compensation (in millions of 2014 dollars)S&P 500 Index (adjusted to 2014 dollars)S&P 500 Index (adjusted to 2014 dollars)CEO compensation (in millions of 2014 dollars)19701980199020002010051015202505001,0001,5002,0002,500

Note: CEO annual compensation is computed using the “options realized” compensation series, which includes salary, bonus, restricted stock grants, options exercised, and long-term incentive payouts for CEOs at the top 350 U.S. firms ranked by sales.

Source: Authors’ analysis of data from Compustat’s ExecuComp database and Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

The alignment of CEO compensation to the ups and downs of the stock market casts doubt on any explanation of high and rising CEO pay that relies on the rising individual productivity of executives, either because they head larger firms, have adopted new technology, or other reasons. CEO compensation often grows strongly simply when the overall stock market rises and individual firms’ stock values rise along with it (Figure A). This is a marketwide phenomenon and not one of improved performance of individual firms: most CEO pay packages allow pay to rise whenever the firm’s stock value rises and permit CEOs to cash out stock options regardless of whether or not the rise in the firm’s stock value was exceptional relative to comparable firms. Over the entire period from 1978 to 2014, CEO compensation increased about 997 percent, a rise almost double stock market growth and substantially greater than the painfully slow 10.9 percent growth in a typical worker’s compensation over the same period.

It is interesting to note that growth in CEO pay in 2014 was not driven by large increases in pay for just a few executives or just those with the highest pay. Figure B shows the growth in CEO pay when compensation is ranked and computed by CEO compensation fifths. CEO compensation rose across the board, and in fact grew the most in the bottom and second fifth—11.1 and 7.9 percent, respectively—between 2013 and 2014.


Real CEO compensation growth, by CEO pay fifth, 2013–2014

Quintile Percent change
Bottom 11.1%
Second 7.9%
Middle 4.5%
Fourth 5.6%
Top 1.5%



Note: CEO annual compensation is computed using the “options realized” compensation series, which includes salary, bonus, restricted stock grants, options exercised, and long-term incentive payouts for CEOs at the top 350 U.S. firms ranked by sales.

Source: Authors’ analysis of data from Compustat’s ExecuComp database

The increase in CEO pay over the past few years reflects improving market conditions driven by macroeconomic developments and a general rise in profitability. For most firms, corporate profits continue to improve, and corporate stock prices move accordingly. It seems evident that individual CEOs are not responsible for this broad improvement in profits in the past few years, but they clearly are benefiting from it.

This analysis makes clear that the economy is recovering for some Americans, but not for most. The stock market and corporate profits have rebounded following the Great Recession, but the labor market remains sluggish. Those at the top of the income distribution, including many CEOs, are seeing a strong recovery—compensation up 54.3 percent— while the typical worker is still experiencing the detrimental effects of a stagnant labor market: compensation for private-sector workers in the main industries of the CEOs in our sample has fallen 1.7 percent since 2009.

Trends in the CEO-to-worker compensation ratio

Table 1 also presents the trend in the ratio of CEO-to-worker compensation to illustrate the increased divergence between CEO and worker pay over time. This overall ratio is computed in two steps. The first step is to construct, for each of the largest 350 firms, the ratio of the CEO’s compensation to the annual compensation of workers in the key industry of the firm (data on the pay of workers in any particular firm are not available). The second step is to average that ratio across all the firms. The last column in Table 1 is the resulting ratio in select years. The trends prior to 1995 are based on the changes in average CEO and economywide private-sector production/nonsupervisory worker compensation. The year-by-year trend is presented in Figure C.


CEO-to-worker compensation ratio, 1965–2014

Year CEO-to-worker compensation ratio
1965/01/01 20.0
1966/01/01 21.2
1967/01/01 22.4
1968/01/01 23.7
1969/01/01 23.4
1970/01/01 23.2
1971/01/01 22.9
1972/01/01 22.6
1973/01/01 22.3
1974/01/01 23.7
1975/01/01 25.1
1976/01/01 26.6
1977/01/01 28.2
1978/01/01 29.9
1979/01/01 31.8
1980/01/01 33.8
1981/01/01 35.9
1982/01/01 38.2
1983/01/01 40.6
1984/01/01 43.2
1985/01/01 45.9
1986/01/01 48.9
1987/01/01 51.9
1988/01/01 55.2
1989/01/01 58.7
1990/01/01 71.2
1991/01/01 86.2
1992/01/01 104.4
1993/01/01 111.8
1994/01/01 87.3
1995/01/01 122.6
1996/01/01 153.8
1997/01/01 233.0
1998/01/01 321.8
1999/01/01 286.7
2000/01/01 376.1
2001/01/01 214.2
2002/01/01 188.5
2003/01/01 227.5
2004/01/01 256.6
2005/01/01 308.0
2006/01/01 341.4
2007/01/01 345.3
2008/01/01 239.3
2009/01/01 195.8
2010/01/01 229.7
2011/01/01 235.5
2012/01/01 285.3
2013/01/01 303.1
2014/01/01 303.4



Note: CEO annual compensation is computed using the “options realized” compensation series, which includes salary, bonus, restricted stock grants, options exercised, and long-term incentive payouts for CEOs at the top 350 U.S. firms ranked by sales.

Source: Authors’ analysis of data from Compustat’s ExecuComp database, Current Employment Statistics program, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis NIPA tables

U.S. CEOs of major companies earned 20 times more than a typical worker in 1965; this ratio grew to 29.9-to-1 in 1978 and 58.7-to-1 by 1989, and then it surged in the 1990s to hit 376.1-to-1 by the end of the 1990s recovery in 2000. The fall in the stock market after 2000 reduced CEO stock-related pay (e.g., options) and caused CEO compensation to tumble until 2002 and 2003. CEO compensation recovered to a level of 345.3 times worker pay by 2007, almost back to its 2000 level. The financial crisis in 2008 and accompanying stock market decline reduced CEO compensation after 2007–2008, as discussed above, and the CEO-to-worker compensation ratio fell in tandem. By 2014, the stock market had recouped all of the value it lost following the financial crisis. Similarly, CEO compensation had grown from its 2009 low, and the CEO-to-worker compensation ratio in 2014 had recovered to 303.4-to-1, a rise of 107.6 since 2009. Though the CEO-to-worker compensation ratio remains below the peak values achieved earlier in the 2000s, it is far higher than what prevailed through the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

Does rising CEO pay simply reflect the market for skills?

CEO compensation has grown a great deal, but so has pay of other high-wage earners. To some analysts this suggests that the dramatic rise in CEO compensation was driven largely by the demand for the skills of CEOs and other highly paid professionals. In this interpretation CEO compensation is being set by the market for “skills,” and rising CEO compensation is not due to managerial power and rent-seeking behavior (Bebchuk and Fried 2004). One prominent example of the “it’s other professions, too” argument comes from Kaplan (2012a, 2012b). For instance, in the prestigious 2012 Martin Feldstein Lecture, Kaplan (2012a, 4) claimed:

Over the last 20 years, then, public company CEO pay relative to the top 0.1 percent has remained relatively constant or declined. These patterns are consistent with a competitive market for talent. They are less consistent with managerial power. Other top income groups, not subject to managerial power forces, have seen similar growth in pay.

And in a followup paper for the CATO Institute, published as a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, Kaplan (2012b, 21) expanded this point further:

The point of these comparisons is to confirm that while public company CEOs earn a great deal, they are not unique. Other groups with similar backgrounds—private company executives, corporate lawyers, hedge fund investors, private equity investors and others—have seen significant pay increases where there is a competitive market for talent and managerial power problems are absent. Again, if one uses evidence of higher CEO pay as evidence of managerial power or capture, one must also explain why these professional groups have had a similar or even higher growth in pay. It seems more likely that a meaningful portion of the increase in CEO pay has been driven by market forces as well.

Bivens and Mishel (2013) address the larger issue of the role of CEO compensation in generating income gains at the very top and conclude that there are substantial rents embedded in executive pay, meaning that CEO pay gains are not simply the result of a competitive market for talent. We draw on and update that analysis to show that CEO compensation grew far faster than compensation of other highly paid workers over the last few decades, which suggests that the market for skills was not responsible for the rapid growth of CEO compensation. To reach this finding we employ Kaplan’s own series on CEO compensation and compare it to the incomes of top households, as he does, but also compare it to a better standard, the wages of top wage earners, rather than the household income of the top 0.1 percent.4 We update Kaplan’s series beyond 2010 using the growth of CEO compensation in our own series. This analysis finds, contrary to Kaplan, that compensation of CEOs has far outpaced that of very highly paid workers, the top 0.1 percent of earners.

Table 2 presents the ratio of the average compensation of chief executive officers of large firms, the series developed by Kaplan, to two benchmarks. The first benchmark is the one Kaplan employs: the average household income of those in the top 0.1 percent, data developed by Piketty and Saez (2015). The second is the average annual earnings of the top 0.1 percent of wage earners based on a series developed by Kopczuk, Saez, and Song (2010) and updated in Mishel et al. (2012) and Mishel and Kimball (2014). Each ratio is presented as a simple ratio and logged (to convert to a “premium,” the relative pay differential between one group and another). The wage benchmark seems the most appropriate one since it avoids issues of household demographics—changes in two-earner couples, for instance—and limits the income to labor income (i.e., excluding capital income). Both the ratios and log ratios clearly understate the relative wage of CEOs since executive pay is a nontrivial share of the denominator, a bias that has probably grown over time simply because CEO relative pay has grown.5 For comparison purposes Table 2 also shows the changes in the gross (not regression-adjusted) college-to-high-school wage premium. This is also useful because some commentators, such as Mankiw (2013) have simply asserted that the top 1 percent wage and income growth reflects the general rise of the returns to skills, such as a higher college-high school wage premium. The comparisons end in 2013 because 2014 data for top 0.1 percent wages are not yet available.


Growth of relative CEO compensation and college wages, 1979–2013

Ratio Log ratio
CEO compensation to: College wages to: CEO compensation to: College wages to:
Top 0.1% households Top 0.1% wage earners High school hourly wages Top 0.1% households Top 0.1% wage earners High school hourly wages
1979 1.18 3.26 1.40 0.164 1.183 0.338
1989 1.14 2.63 1.57 0.129 0.967 0.454
1993 1.56 3.05 1.63 0.443 1.115 0.488
2000 2.90 7.77 1.75 1.064 2.050 0.557
2007 1.49 4.36 1.76 0.397 1.473 0.568
2010 2.04 4.85 1.77 0.712 1.579 0.574
2013 2.54 5.84 1.82 0.933 1.765 0.598
1979–2007 0.31 1.10 0.36 0.23 0.29 0.23
1979–2013 1.36 2.58 0.42 0.77 0.58 0.26
1989–2013 1.41 3.21 0.24 0.80 0.80 0.14


Source: Authors’ analysis of Kaplan (2012b) and Mishel et al. (2012, Table 4.8)

CEO compensation grew from 1.14 times the income of the top 0.1 percent of households in 1989 to 2.54 times in 2013. CEO pay relative to the pay of the top 0.1 percent of wage earners grew even more, from a ratio of 2.63 in 1989 to 5.84 in 2013, a rise (3.21) equal to the pay of more than three very high earners. The log ratio of CEO relative pay grew 80 log points from 1989 to 2013 using top 0.1 percent household incomes or wages earners as the comparison.

Is this a large increase? Kaplan (2012a, 4) concluded that CEO relative pay “has remained relatively constant or declined.” Kaplan (2012b, 14) finds that the ratio “remains above its historical average and the level in the mid-1980s.” Figure D puts this in historical context by presenting the ratios displayed in Table 2 back to 1947. The ratio of CEO pay to top (0.1 percent) household incomes in 2013 (2.54) was more than double the historical (1947–1979) average of 1.11. The ratio of CEO pay relative to top wage earners in 2013 was 5.84, 2.66 points higher than the historical average of 3.18 (a relative gain of the wages earned by 2.66 high-wage earners). As the data in Table 2 show, the increase in the logged CEO pay premium since 1979, and particularly since 1989, far exceeded the rise in the college-to-high-school wage premium that is widely and appropriately considered substantial growth. Mankiw’s claim that top 1 percent pay or top executive pay simply corresponds to the rise of the college–high school wage premium is unfounded (Mishel 2013a, 2013b). Moreover, the data would show an even faster growth of CEO relative pay if Kaplan had built his historical series using the Frydman and Saks (2010) series for the 1980–1994 period rather than the Hall and Leibman (1997) data.6


Comparison of CEO compensation to top incomes and wages, 1947–2013

Year 0.1% household income ratio 0.1% wage earners ratio 1947–1979 average: 1.11 1947–1979 average: 3.18
1947/01/01 1.21 3.54 1.11 3.18
1948/01/01 1.11 3.14 1.11 3.18
1949/01/01 1.25 3.55 1.11 3.18
1950/01/01 1.05 3.02 1.11 3.18
1951/01/01 1.14 3.02 1.11 3.18
1952/01/01 1.19 2.95 1.11 3.18
1953/01/01 1.34 3.29 1.11 3.18
1954/01/01 1.20 3.42 1.11 3.18
1955/01/01 1.17 3.44 1.11 3.18
1956/01/01 1.20 3.40 1.11 3.18
1957/01/01 1.31 3.79 1.11 3.18
1958/01/01 1.28 3.79 1.11 3.18
1959/01/01 1.26 4.23 1.11 3.18
1960/01/01 1.07 3.26 1.11 3.18
1961/01/01 0.99 3.54 1.11 3.18
1962/01/01 1.08 3.55 1.11 3.18
1963/01/01 1.12 3.65 1.11 3.18
1964/01/01 1.00 3.41 1.11 3.18
1965/01/01 0.91 3.32 1.11 3.18
1966/01/01 0.98 3.14 1.11 3.18
1967/01/01 0.84 3.09 1.11 3.18
1968/01/01 0.75 3.02 1.11 3.18
1969/01/01 0.84 3.10 1.11 3.18
1970/01/01 1.06 3.00 1.11 3.18
1971/01/01 0.91 2.85 1.11 3.18
1972/01/01 0.95 2.93 1.11 3.18
1973/01/01 1.05 2.72 1.11 3.18
1974/01/01 1.19 2.70 1.11 3.18
1975/01/01 1.19 2.29 1.11 3.18
1976/01/01 1.14 2.33 1.11 3.18
1977/01/01 1.25 2.44 1.11 3.18
1978/01/01 1.35 2.82 1.11 3.18
1979/01/01 1.18 3.26 1.11 3.18
1980/01/01 1.09 2.76 1.11 3.18
1981/01/01 1.16 2.98 1.11 3.18
1982/01/01 1.03 2.79 1.11 3.18
1983/01/01 1.02 2.79 1.11 3.18
1984/01/01 0.94 2.57 1.11 3.18
1985/01/01 1.05 3.12 1.11 3.18
1986/01/01 0.73 2.92 1.11 3.18
1987/01/01 1.33 2.62 1.11 3.18
1988/01/01 0.97 2.38 1.11 3.18
1989/01/01 1.14 2.63 1.11 3.18
1990/01/01 1.28 2.75 1.11 3.18
1991/01/01 1.52 3.12 1.11 3.18
1992/01/01 1.46 2.84 1.11 3.18
1993/01/01 1.56 3.05 1.11 3.18
1994/01/01 1.90 3.99 1.11 3.18
1995/01/01 1.82 4.11 1.11 3.18
1996/01/01 2.18 5.50 1.11 3.18
1997/01/01 2.22 5.28 1.11 3.18
1998/01/01 2.32 5.91 1.11 3.18
1999/01/01 2.39 6.03 1.11 3.18
2000/01/01 2.90 7.77 1.11 3.18
2001/01/01 3.28 6.88 1.11 3.18
2002/01/01 2.96 6.10 1.11 3.18
2003/01/01 2.54 5.40 1.11 3.18
2004/01/01 2.17 5.28 1.11 3.18
2005/01/01 1.78 5.00 1.11 3.18
2006/01/01 1.78 5.18 1.11 3.18
2007/01/01 1.49 4.36 1.11 3.18
2008/01/01 1.80 4.56 1.11 3.18
2009/01/01 2.08 4.61 1.11 3.18
2010/01/01 2.04 4.85 1.11 3.18
2011/01/01 2.17 4.92 1.11 3.18
2012/01/01 1.90 5.08 1.11 3.18
2013/01/01 2.54 5.84 1.11 3.18


Ratio of CEO compensation to top incomes and wages5.842.540.1% wage earners ratio1947–1979 average: 3.180.1% household income ratio1947–1979 average: 1.111960198020000246810

Source: Authors’ analysis of Kaplan (2012b) and Mishel et al. (2012, Table 4.8)

Presumably, CEO relative pay has grown further since 2013. The data in Table 1 show that CEO compensation rose 3.9 percent between 2013 and 2014. (Unfortunately, data on the earnings of top wage earners for 2014 are not yet available for a comparison to CEO compensation trends.) If CEO pay growing far faster than that of other high earners is a test of the presence of rents, as Kaplan has suggested, then we would conclude that today’s executives receive substantial rents, meaning that if they were paid less there would be no loss of productivity or output. The large discrepancy between the pay of CEOs and other very-high-wage earners also casts doubt on the claim that CEOs are being paid these extraordinary amounts because of their special skills and the market for those skills. Is it likely that the skills of CEOs in very large firms are so outsized and disconnected from the skills of others that they propel CEOs past most of their cohorts in the top tenth of a percent? For everyone else the distribution of skills, as reflected in the overall wage distribution, tends to be much more continuous.

What about the average CEO?

A relatively new critique of examining the pay of CEOs in the largest firms, as we do, is that such efforts are misleading. For instance, American Enterprise Institute scholar Mark Perry (2015) says the samples of CEOs examined by the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, or our earlier work “aren’t very representative of the average U.S. company or the average U.S. CEO,” because “the samples of 300–350 firms for CEO pay represent only one of about every 21,500 private firms in the U.S., or about 1/200 of 1% of the total number of U.S. firms.” Perry notes, “According to both the BLS and the Census Bureau, there are more than 7 million private firms in the U.S.” Perry considers the pay of the average CEO, $187,000, to be a much more important indicator.

This is a clever but misguided critique. Amazingly, roughly sixteen percent of the CEOs in Perry’s preferred measure are in the public sector. Those in the private sector include CEOs of religious organizations, advocacy groups, and unions. One wonders why Perry is not critical of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ measure of CEO pay, since BLS reports that there are only 207,660 private-sector CEOs, far short of the 7.4 million there would be if each private firm had one. The shortfall of CEOs in the BLS data is understandable, however, once one recognizes that the average firm has only 20.2 workers (Caruso 2015, Appendix Table 1). The 5.2 million firms with fewer than 19 employees, averaging four employees per firm, probably do not have a CEO, nor probably do 2 million of the 2.4 million firms with more than 19 employees.

The reason to focus on the CEO pay of the largest firms is that they employ a large number of workers, are the leaders of the business community, and set the standards for pay in the executive pay market and probably do so in the nonprofit sector as well (e.g., hospitals, universities). No agency reports how many workers work for very large firms. We do know from Census data (Caruso 2015, Appendix Table 1) that the 18,219 firms in 2012 with at least 500 employees employed 51.6 percent of all employees and their payrolls accounted for 58.1 percent of total payroll (wages times employment). County Business Patterns data provide a breakout of the 964 firms (just 0.017 percent of all firms) with at least 10,000 employees; these large firms provide 27.9 percent of all employment and 31.4 percent of all payroll. In other words, the CEO of the “average U.S. company” about which Perry purports to be interested does not correspond to the CEO of the firm where the “average” or median worker works. This is further confirmed by a new study that reports that the median firm, ranked by employment, has roughly 1,000 workers while the average firm has about 20 (Song et al. 2015).

Executives and managers comprise a large portion of those in the top 1 percent of income and the top 1 percent of wage earners. The analysis of tax returns in Bakija et al. (2012) shows the composition of executives in the households with the highest incomes; our tabulation of American Community Survey data for 2009–2011 shows that 41.2 percent (the largest group) of those heading a household in the top 1 percent of incomes were executives or managers. Thus, we know that highly paid managers are the largest group in the top 1 percent and the top 0.1 percent, measured in terms of either wages or household income, and so there are plenty of good reasons to be interested in the pay of executives of large firms. Moreover, the pay of CEOs in the largest firms has grown multiples faster than the wages of other very high earners and hundreds of times faster than the wages these CEOs provide to their workers.


It is sometimes argued that rising CEO compensation is a symbolic issue with no consequences for the vast majority. However, the escalation of CEO compensation and executive compensation more generally has fueled the growth of top 1 percent incomes. In a study of tax returns from 1979 to 2005, Bakija, Cole, and Heim (2010), studying tax returns from 1979 to 2005, established that the increases in income among the top 1 and 0.1 percent of households were disproportionately driven by households headed by someone who was either a nonfinancial-sector “executive” (including managers and supervisors and hereafter referred to as nonfinance executives) or a financial-sector executive or other worker. Forty-four percent of the growth of the top 0.1 percent’s income share and 36 percent of the top 1 percent’s income share accrued to households headed by a nonfinance executive; another 23 percent for each group accrued to financial-sector households. Together, finance workers and nonfinance executives accounted for 58 percent of the expansion of income for the top 1 percent of households and 67 percent of the income growth of the top 0.1 percent. Relative to others in the top 1 percent, households headed by nonfinance executives had roughly average income growth, those headed by someone in the financial sector had above-average income growth, and the remaining households (nonexecutive, nonfinance) had slower-than-average income growth. These shares may actually understate the role of nonfinance executives and the financial sector since they do not account for the increased spousal income from these sources.7

We have argued above that high CEO pay reflects rents, concessions CEOs can draw from the economy not by virtue of their contribution to economic output but by virtue of their position. Consequently, CEO pay could be reduced and the economy would not suffer any loss of output. Another implication of rising executive pay is that it reflects income that otherwise would have accrued to others: what the executives earned was not available for broader-based wage growth for other workers. (Bivens and Mishel 2013 explore this issue in depth.)

There are policy options for curtailing escalating executive pay and broadening wage growth. Some involve taxes. Implementing higher marginal income tax rates at the very top would limit rent-seeking behavior and reduce the incentives for executives to push for such high pay. Legislation has also been proposed that would remove the tax break for executive performance pay that was established early in the Clinton administration; by allowing the deductibility of performance pay, this tax change helped fuel the growth of stock options and other forms of such compensation. Another option is to set corporate tax rates higher for firms that have higher ratios of CEO-to-worker compensation. Other policies that can potentially limit executive pay growth are changes in corporate governance, such as greater use of “say on pay,” which allows a firm’s shareholders to vote on top executives’ compensation.

– The authors thank the Stephen Silberstein Foundation for their generous support of this research.

About the authors

Lawrence Mishel is president of the Economic Policy Institute and was formerly its research director and then vice president. He is the co-author of all 12 editions of The State of Working America. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and his articles have appeared in a variety of academic and nonacademic journals. His areas of research are labor economics, wage and income distribution, industrial relations, productivity growth, and the economics of education.

Alyssa Davis joined EPI in 2013 as the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Fellow. She assists EPI’s researchers in their ongoing analysis of the labor force, labor standards, and other aspects of the economy. Davis aids in the design and execution of research projects in areas such as poverty, education, health care, and immigration. She also works with the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN) to provide research support to various state advocacy organizations. Davis has previously worked in the Texas House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. She holds a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin.


1. In 2007, according to the Capital IQ database, there were 38,824 executives in publicly held firms (tabulations provided by Temple University Professor Steve Balsam). There were 9,692 in the top 0.1 percent of wage earners.

2. The years chosen are based on data availability, though where possible we chose cyclical peaks (years of low unemployment).

3. For instance, all of the papers prepared for the symposium on the top 1 percent, published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives (summer 2013), used CEO pay measures with realized options. Bivens and Mishel (2013) follow this approach because the editors asked them to drop references to the options-granted measure.

4. We thank Steve Kaplan for sharing his series with us.

5. Temple University Professor Steve Balsam provided tabulations of annual W-2 wages of executives in the top 0.1 percent from the Capital IQ database. The 9,692 executives in publicly held firms who were in the top 0.1 percent of wage earners had average W-2 earnings of $4,400,028. Using Mishel et al. (2012) estimates of top 0.1 percent wages, executive wages make up 13.3 percent of total top 0.1 percent wages. One can gauge the bias of including executives in the denominator by noting that the ratio of executive wages to all top 0.1 percent wages in 2007 was 2.14, but the ratio of executive wages to nonexecutive wages was 2.32. Unfortunately, we do not have data that permit an assessment of the bias in 1979 or 1989. We also do not have information on the number and wages of executives in privately held firms; their inclusion would clearly indicate an even larger bias. The IRS reports there were nearly 15,000 corporate tax returns in 2007 of firms with assets exceeding $250 million, indicating there are many more executives of large firms than just those in publicly held firms.

6. Kaplan (2012b, 14) notes that the Frydman and Saks series grew 289 percent, while the Hall and Leibman series grew 209 percent. He also notes that the Frydman and Saks series grows faster than that reported by Murphy (2012).

7. The discussion in this paragraph is taken from Bivens and Mishel (2013).


Bakija, Jon, Adam Cole, and Bradley Heim. 2010. “Job and Income Growth of Top Earners and the Causes of Changing Income Inequality: Evidence From U.S. Tax Return Data.” Department of Economics Working Paper 2010-24, Williams College.

Bakija, Jon, Adam Cole, and Bradley Heim. 2012. “Job and Income Growth of Top Earners and the Causes of Changing Income Inequality: Evidence From U.S. Tax Return Data.”

Balsam, Steven. 2013. Equity Compensation: Motivations and Implications. Washington, DC: WorldatWork Press.

Bebchuk, Lucian, and Jesse Fried. 2004. Pay Without Performance: The Unfulfilled Promise of Executive Remuneration. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Bivens, Josh, Elise Gould, Lawrence Mishel, and Heidi Shierholz. 2014. “Raising America’s Pay: Why It’s Our Central Economic Policy Challenge.” Economic Policy Institute, Briefing Paper #378.

Bivens, Josh, and Lawrence Mishel. 2013. “The Pay of Corporate Executives and Financial Professionals as Evidence of Rents in Top 1 Percent Incomes.” Economic Policy Institute, Working Paper #296.

Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2015. “Occupational Employment and Wages–May 2014.”

Bureau of Labor Statistics. Various years. Business Employment Dynamics. Public data series.

Bureau of Labor Statistics. Various years. Current Employment Statistics. Public data series. Employment, Hours and Earnings-National [database].

Bureau of Economic Analysis. Various years. National Income and Product Accounts Tables [online data tables]. Tables 6.2C, 6.2D, 6.3C, and 6.3D.

Caruso, Anthony. 2015. “Statistics of U.S. Businesses Employment and Payroll Summary: 2012.” U.S. Census Bureau.

Compustat. Various years. ExecuComp database [commercial database product accessible by purchase].

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Various years. Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) [database].

Frydman, Carola, and Raven E. Saks. 2010. Executive Compensation: A New View From a Long-Term Perspective, 1936–2005.” Review of Financial Studies 23, 2099–138.

Gould, Elise. 2015. “2014 Continues a 35-Year Trend of Broad-Based Wage Stagnation.” Economic Policy Institute, Issue Brief #393.

Hall, Brian J., and Jeffrey B. Liebman. 1997. “Are CEOs Really Paid Like Bureaucrats?” National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper #6213.

Kaplan, Steven N. 2012a. “Executive Compensation and Corporate Governance in the U.S.: Perceptions, Facts, and Challenges.” Martin Feldstein Lecture. National Bureau of Economic Research, Washington, DC, July 10.

Kaplan, Steven N. 2012b. “Executive Compensation and Corporate Governance in the U.S.: Perceptions, Facts, and Challenges.” National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper # w18395.

Kopczuk, Wojciech, Emmanuel Saez, and Jae Song. 2010. “Earnings Inequality and Mobility in the United States: Evidence From Social Security Data Since 1937.”  Quarterly Journal of Economics 125, no. 1: 91–128.

Mankiw, N. Gregory. 2013. “Defending the One Percent.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 27, no. 3: p. 21-24.

Mishel, Lawrence. 2013a. “Greg Mankiw Forgets to Offer Data for His Biggest Claim.” Working Economics(Economic Policy Institute blog), June 25.

Mishel, Lawrence. 2013b. “Working as Designed: High Profits and Stagnant Wages.” Working Economics (Economic Policy Institute blog), March 28.

Mishel, Lawrence, Josh Bivens, Elise Gould, and Heidi Shierholz. 2012. The State of Working America, 12th Edition. An Economic Policy Institute book. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Mishel, Lawrence, and Will Kimball. 2014. “The Top 1 Percent of Wage Earners Falters in 2013: Was It a Temporary Event?Working Economics (Economic Policy Institute blog), October 24.

Mishel, Lawrence, and Natalie Sabadish. 2013. “Methodology for Measuring CEO Compensation and the Ratio of CEO-to-Worker Compensation.” Economic Policy Institute Working Paper #298.

Murphy, Kevin. 2012. “The Politics of Pay: A Legislative History of Executive Compensation.” University of Southern California Marshall School of Business Working Paper #FBE 01.11.

Perry, Mark. 2015. “When We Consider All US ‘Chief Executives,’ the ‘CEO-to-Worker Pay Ratio’ Falls From 331:1 to Below 4:1.AEI Ideas (American Enterprise Institute blog), May 1.

Piketty, Thomas, and Emmanuel Saez. 2015. “Income Inequality in the United States, 1913–1998” Quarterly Journal of Economics 118, no. 1, 1–39, tables and figures updated to 2013 in Excel format, January 2015.

Reich, Robert. 2014. “Raising Taxes on Corporations That Pay Their CEOs Royally and Treat Their Workers Like Serfs.” April 21.

Song, Jae, David J. Price, Faith Guvenen, and Nicholas Bloom. 2015. “Firming Up Inequality.” National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper #21199.

U.S. Census Bureau. 2012. “Number of Firms, Number of Establishments, Employment, and Annual Payroll by Large Enterprise Employment Sizes for the United States, NAICS Sectors: 2012.” County Business Patterns.

What this is really about in terms of net income gains for top CEOs is the value of stock options exercised in a given year. CEO stock option incentives are offered to reward profit earnings performance. It’s really all about CEO sharing in the OWNERSHIP of the corporations they work for. Granted their wage salaries are high, but the real payoff is the stock issues that they can cash in on by selling them on the secondary stock market.

What we need is to prevent concentrated capital asset OWNERSHIP, which is valued in terms of corporate stock, and ensure that as the economy grows we simultaneously broaden personal stock ownership by financing the companies growing the economy in way that create and provide for EVERY child, woman and man OWNERSHIP shares that produce a new source of income from dividend earnings to support their consumption needs, which in turn creates more demand and growth, while creating new capital OWNERS.


On June 23, 2015, Paola Casale writes on Op-Ed News and

Many think our government is for sale. However, by taking a look at the facts below provided by Open Secrets, it is easy to understand where they are coming from.

Looking back at Friday the 12th, the House voted on Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), the controversial bill that gives power to the executive branch to negotiate treaties. TPA limits Congress’ ability to better a trade deal by subjecting members of Congress to 90 days of reviewing the trade agreement, prohibiting any amendments on the implementing legislation, and giving them an up or down vote.

TPA passed with a mere 219-211 vote with only 218 needed to pass. The real shocker comes from the amount of money each Representative received for a yes vote. In total, $197,869,145 was given to Representatives for a yes vote where as $23,065,231 was given in opposition.

  • John Boehner (R-OH) received $5.3 million for a “yea” vote and was the highest paid legislator.
  • Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) received $2.4 million for his “yea” vote.
  • Paul Ryan (R-WI) received $2.4 million for a “yea” vote and came in at the third highest paid legislator.
  • Pat Tiberi (R-OH) follows Paul Ryan, coming in the fourth spot having received $1.6 million for his “yea” vote.

The fifth highest paid legislator is somewhat of a “hero” in comparison to others. Representative Steny Hoyer (D-MD) received $1.6 million for a yes vote and only $282,710 for a no vote. Despite his high contribution from those in favor of TPA, he still voted a solid nay.

We also have other hero stories.

  • Joe Crowley (D-NY) received 1.3 million for a “yea” vote and only $72,550 for a “nay” vote and he still voted against TPA.
  • Patrick Murphy (D-FL) received 1.1 million for a “yea” vote and only $213,360 for a “nay” vote and still voted against it.
  • Richard Neal D(MA) received $1.1 million for a “yea” vote and a mere $47,625 for a “nay” vote and still voted against it.

Democrats are not the only heroes in this voting session. GOP members spoke very loud and clear.

  • Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) received $541,746 for a “yea” vote and no money at all for a “nay” vote and he still voted “nay!”
  • Andy Harris (R-MD) received $254,803 for a “yea” vote and no money at all for a “nay” vote and he still voted “nay”.
  • Thomas Massie (R-KY) received $250,328 for a “yea” vote and no money at all for a “nay” vote and he still voted “nay.”
  • Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) received $180,832 for a “yea” vote and no money at all for a “nay vote” and she still voted “nay.”

Where did this kind of money come from? Those in favor of TPA were security brokers and investment companies who donated a whopping $11.3 million dollars for a “yea” vote. Big banking companies donated $10.1 million dollars. In other words, Wall Street hashed out millions and millions of dollars to push for the passage of TPA.

Take a look at these payoffs to the political hacks running our so-called representative government. They should be made to pay for EVERY CENT they received.

Wall Street and Big Corporations Got What They Wanted—This Time


Fast track passed through Congress and democracy was pushed out of the way. So this is how business will be done in the 21st century until the people start winning.

On June 24, 2015, Dave Johnson of Campaign for America’s Future writes on Nation Of Change:

Fast track passes. Our Congress – the supposed representatives of We the People – voted to cut themselves and us out of the process of deciding what “the rules” for doing business “in the 21st Century” will be.

How do the plutocrats and oligarchs and their giant multinational corporations get what they want when a pesky democracy is in their way? They push that pesky democracy out of their way.

Because of fast track, when the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and any other secretly negotiated “trade” agreements are completed Congress must vote in a hurry with only limited debate, cannot make any amendments no matter what is in the agreement, and they can’t be filibustered. Nothing else coming before our Congress gets that kind of skid-greasing, only corporate-written “trade” agreements – and it doesn’t matter how far the contents go beyond actual “trade.”

Fast track takes Congress out of the picture, just in case the checks arrive late and our Congress decides to act like it is supposed to. Fast track means that representatives of Wall Street and giant corporations and our plutocrats negotiate with the plutocrats and corporate interests of other countries to divide up the economic pie, and Congress agrees not to “meddle” with the result, only to rubber-stamp it.

Public Rising Up

In spite of a near-blackout of information in the major media, majorities of the public opposed fast track. Word got out anyway and “left” and “right” activists and grassroots and media were against it. Calls and letters to the offices of representatives and senators were running heavily, heavily against it. People were appealing to representatives and senators with petition after petition containing hundreds of thousands of names each. People were even showing up and protesting at the offices of representatives and senators all around the country.

Wall Street and giant, multinational corporations and the big business lobbying organizations were for it. Every single labor union and literallythousands of other organizations representing the interests of citizens were against it.

Companies that don’t make things in the U.S. were for it. Companies that still try to make things in the U.S. were against it.

It almost didn’t make it through and this was a sea change. Those opposed to this corporate takeover rallied and won battles. Each time The Money pushed back and forced it onward.

It passed.

Fast Track Vote Marks A Change

This vote marks another change in the relationship between We the People of the United States and our government and the giant corporations.

Previously our corrupt system had “our” Congress simply ignoring what the people want, and doing whatever The Money class wants. You might recallthe study by Princeton’s Martin Gilens and Northwestern’s Benjamin Page showing that “business interests have substantial independent impacts” while “average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence” on our government’s policies. In other words, the Congress did what the rich and powerful want and ignore what the public wants.

We knew that.

This fast-track push was different, more aggressive, less concerned with how it looked. Facing increasing awareness of the money-corrupted nature of the system and a rising populist movement The Money was much more in-your-face and blatant than the system had been. This wasn’t just the corporations slipping something past the public with no regard to what the public wants; this was about pushing it through with the public engaged in opposition. Old corrupt system: sneaking it through; new corrupt system: pushing it through.

This time it is The Money telling Congress to set aside our democratic deliberative process, to pass something that says they – the bodies that represent the people – can’t amend, can’t have extended debate. They are doing this for a secretly negotiated agreement, the result of a rigged corporate-dominated process. They are afraid of We the people so they are trying to find ways to get us out of their way.

Fast Track is The Money directing Congress to go utterly against what vast majorities of people actively say, going utterly against what movements of people are fighting for. This goes beyond the Iraq War vote because there were blocks of the public on both sides of that fight – even if the “pro” block was largely manufactured by propaganda. This goes beyond the public bailout of Wall Street (but not the rest of us) because there was no time for opposition to rally, and there was no crisis or panic to manipulate. This time they just went ahead and did it and didn’t care how it looked.

Is this how business will be done in the 21st century? Maybe, but maybe not. We the People came close to winning this time. We will come closer and closer, then we will start winning again.

If anything proves that our so-called democracy is a sham the passage of the so-called Fast Track presidential authority to ignore the people and deal in secrecy. This action is beyond shameful and is cause for a people’s movement that will, unfortunately, never come as ALL of our lives are controlled by the wealthy ownership class and their rigging of the system, as evident here, to ensure  they will OWN THE FUTURE.

So get prepared for continued decline of the United States of America and the hope that regular people can get ahead. Ahead are serious job lay-offs in the interests of bolstering manufacturing in low-wage foreign countries! Our so-called representatives acknowledge this in that they are counting on the Republicans to approve the Trade Adjustment Assistance bill to help workers get retrained. Retrained to do what––lower paying jobs? …or how to press a button to activate a super-automated computerized production line that will have eliminated hundreds, if not thousands of workers, none of which will OWN their non-human replacement.

We need to start manufacturing our own products needed and wanted by our society, not outsource more manufacturing to low cost labor countries.

The promise of the Republicans to support the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) bill is more welfare payouts to the expected millions of American works whose jobs will be directly or indirectly eliminated due to the implementation of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement with Asian countries. The TPP is designed to enable the largest corporations to completely monopolize the OWNERSHIP of all future wealth-creating, income-producing capital assets on a global scale.

Why President Obama has become the out-front advocate for this is unbelievable!! And what about all the Congressmen and Congresswomen and Senators who have sold out the American people? The agreement will promote the interests of giant, multinational corporations over the interests of labor, environmental, consumer, human rights, or other stakeholders in democracy, AND FURTHER CONCENTRATE OWNERSHIP OF THE NON-HUMAN PRODUCTIVE CAPITAL MEANS OF PRODUCTION!

The REAL STORY is a story about the collusion among a globally wealthy ownership class to further concentrate private sector ownership in ALL FUTURE wealth-creating, income-generating productive capital asset creation on a global scale. A sorta FREE TRADE ON STEROIDS!

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who campaigned vigorously against Fast Track, said the vote represented a win for corporate America. “The vote today—pushed by multi-national corporations, pharmaceutical companies and Wall Street—will mean a continuation of disastrous trade policies which have cost our country millions of decent-paying jobs,” the presidential candidate said in a statement.

And Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), another of the most vocal opponents of Fast Track, railed against TPA moments before the vote, accusing Congress of turning on its “moral” obligation to assist the working class.

“How shameful,” Brown said. “We’re making this decision knowing that people will lose their jobs because of our action.””

Senate Salvages Obama Trade Agenda

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 12: US President Barack Obama President Obama departs from a meeting with House Democrats on Capitol Hill June 12, 2015 in Washington, DC. President Obama urged members of Congress to pass his trade agenda ahead of a series of votes later today.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)




On June 23, 2015, Burgess Everett and Seung Min Kim write on Politico:

The Senate narrowly agreed Tuesday to salvage President Barack Obama’s trade agenda, after several Democrats sided with GOP leaders to break a filibuster on standalone fast-track trade legislation.

The vote to advance the bill clears the way for Trade Promotion Authority legislation to become law by the end of the week. The House has already cleared the legislation and final passage is expected in the Senate by Wednesday.

The tight vote came as Democrats wavered on whether to trust Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to follow through on a joint pledge to shepherd into law both the fast-track bill, dubbed Trade Promotion Authority, and a measure to help laid-off workers known as Trade Adjustment Assistance. TPA will allow Obama to complete the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, but Democrats have long insisted that it be accompanied by TAA, which provides aid and job training for workers who lose their jobs to trade.

“I have been assured that the House and the Senate will take up TAA and the enforcement legislation,” said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), who was concerned as late as Monday that the workers’ aid bill would not pass. “I appreciate the speaker saying he’s going to take it up this week and Sen. McConnell filing cloture on it.”

The Senate already passed a TPA/TAA package in May, but McConnell and Boehner split TPA from TAA after the package could not pass the House. On Tuesday, Democrats sought the strongest assurances possible that GOP leaders will see that fast-track and TAA pass, as well as a customs enforcement bill and a measure to boost trade with African countries.

Top Republicans moved to calm the jittery Democrats on Tuesday morning. Boehner said he “remains committed” to the pieces of the trade package that Democrats want; McConnell came to the Senate floor to declare the same.

“That is what my friends on the other side have said they wanted, and that is what can be achieved by continuing to work together,” McConnell said, pleading with Democrats and Republicans to “keep working together and trusting each other.”

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who helped write the trade legislation with Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), spent Monday evening working the phones to keep as many pro-trade Democrats as he could on board. With the newly announced opposition of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), leaders could only lose two pro-trade Democrats.

Wyden said he spoke with House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Monday night to press GOP leaders to include the wishes of pro-trade Democrats in the customs legislation when the House and Senate iron out their differences. And Wyden said it was time for Congress to “set a new course” and move beyond past mistakes in trade deals of the 1990s by passing TPA.

“Congress has an opportunity with this legislation to show that it can work in a bipartisan way to take on one of the premier economic challenges of our time,” Wyden said. “I urge all in the Senate to vote ‘yes.’”

But it was an extraordinarily difficult vote for many Democrats, as they found themselves under heavy pressure from unions and progressives. Senate Democrats supportive of the fast-track trade legislation huddled on Monday night to for a strategy session, but most remained mum after about how they would vote.

With the legislation hanging in the balance, anti-trade labor and liberal groups stepped up their last-minute whipping efforts.

“Without assurances that TAA will pass the House, or that the customs bill will ever see the president’s desk, considering Fast Track prematurely could compound its expected negative impacts, leaving U.S. workers in the lurch,” William Samuel, the AFL-CIO’s director of government affairs, wrote in a letter to senators ahead of Tuesday’s key procedural vote.

And Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), one of the most vocal opponents of the fast-track bill, railed against TPA moments before the vote, accusing Congress of turning its “moral” obligation to assist the working class.

“How shameful,” Brown said. “We’re making this decision knowing that people will lose their jobs because of our action.”

Well, get prepared for another round of serious job lay-offs in the interests of bolstering manufacturing in low-wage foreign countries!  Our so-called representatives knowledge this in that they are counting on the Republicans to approve the Trade Adjustment Assistance bill to help workers get retrained. Retrained to do what––lower paying jobs?

We need to start manufacturing our own products needed and wanted by our society, not outsource more manufacturing to low cost labor countries.

The promise of the Republicans to support the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) bill is more welfare payouts to the expected millions of American works whose jobs will be directly or indirectly eliminate due to the implementation of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement with Asian countries. The TPP is designed to enable the largest corporations to completely monopolize the OWNERSHIP of all future wealth-creating, income-producing capital assets on a global scale.

Why President Obama has become the out-front advocate for this is unbelievable!! And what about all the Congressmen and Congresswomen and Senators who have sold out the American people? The agreement will promote the interests of giant, multinational corporations over the interests of labor, environmental, consumer, human rights, or other stakeholders in democracy, AND FURTHER CONCENTRATE OWNERSHIP OF THE NON-HUMAN PRODUCTIVE CAPITAL MEANS OF PRODUCTION!

The REAL STORY is a story about the collusion among a globally wealthy ownership class to further concentrate private sector ownership in ALL FUTURE wealth-creating, income-generating productive capital asset creation on a global scale. A sorta FREE TRADE ON STEROIDS!


I Am An Adjunct Professor Who Teaches Five Classes. I Earn Less Than A Pet-Sitter


Most academic staff in US universities have low job security and income. Photograph: Clerkenwell/Getty Images

On June 22, 2015, Lee Hall writes in The Guardian:

Like most university teachers today, I am a low-paid contract worker. Now and then, a friend will ask: “Have you tried dog-walking on the side?” I have. Pet care, I can reveal, takes massive attention, energy and driving time. I’m friends with a full-time, professionally employed pet-sitter who’s done it for years, never topping $26,000 annually and never receiving health or other benefits.

The reason I field such questions is that, as an adjunct professor, whether teaching undergraduate or law-school courses, I make much less than a pet-sitter earns. This year I’m teaching five classes (15 credit hours, roughly comparable to the teaching loads of some tenure-track law or business school instructors). At $3,000 per course, I’ll pull in $15,000 for the year. I work year-round, 20 to 30 hours weekly – teaching, developing courses and drafting syllabi, offering academic advice, recommendation letters and course extensions for students who need them. As I write, in late June, my students are wrapping up their final week of the first summer term, and the second summer term will begin next week.

I receive no benefits, no office, no phone or stipend for the basic communication demands of teaching. I keep constant tabs on the media I use in my classes; if I exhaust my own 10GB monthly data plan early, I lose vital time for online discussions with my students. This, although the university requires my students to engage in discussions about legal issues and ethics six days a week, and I must guide as well as grade these discussions.

Three of my Philadelphia-area friends are adjuncts with doctorate degrees. One keeps moving to other states for temporary teaching posts. The others teach at multiple sites to keep afloat financially – one at no less than seven colleges and universities.

Having heard all my life about solid “government job” benefits, I figured I might have more stability, and still be able to handle teaching, if I worked for the Post Office. I started carrying mail in early January. As a City Carrier Assistant, I earned less pay than regular postal carriers do, though I did more than “assist”: my job was to handle absentee carriers’ routes. I had no medical insurance, no sick leave allowance and had to agree to work as much as managers deemed necessary for 360 consecutive days (whereupon I could sign up for a second 360-day contract, with no promise that it would bring me any closer to a permanent job offer). I worked on Sundays too, under the US Postal Service’s contract with With human flaws – I fell on ice more than once – I was no match for the drones Amazon intends to deploy. After two months on the job, which was long enough to develop a lifetime fear of Rottweilers, I was behind in my university work. I turned in my cap.

In late March, I started a retail job. It offers real days off, and I expect to be eligible for health and dental benefits soon.

Last week, a friend came in to shop, saw me, and exclaimed, loud enough for all to hear: “What are you doing here?” Friends who know I hold two law degrees and teach at a university can’t fathom that my teaching doesn’t cover rent. Some writers have discussed adjuncts waiting tables or bagging groceries alongside their students as though it’s the ultimate degradation. I see things differently. I’m trained by the people who deliver parcels, serve meals and bag groceries and who might, any day, apply to take my courses. I am their equal, and I know it at a level most established faculty members do not.

Faculty members do not even interact with each other as equals. Most adjuncts aren’t included in regular faculty meetings, let alone conferences where ideas are exchanged and explored. A concept called the inclusive fees campaign seeks to make conferences affordable for adjuncts. (It focuses on PhDs, but could encompass teachers whose positions require law degrees or other alternative qualifications.) “Inclusivity” for a systematically exploited group is only a patch. But it’s good to see established professors challenged to acknowledge contingent workers, who now comprise the preponderance of the faculty community. Yes, of the 1.2m instructional staff appointments in US higher education, 76% – more than 900,000 – are now contingent.

We are working for institutions that claim to open doors to career opportunities even as they etch contingency into their hiring practices. The significance of the inclusive fees campaign lies in its implicit question: how will the schools hear our voices over the silence of the tenured?

Even more daunting than the dearth of dollars is the fragmentation of the adjunct’s time. Recently, an editor at the University of Oregon School of Law asked if I’d be a conference panelist. Can I travel, yet still clock enough hours at my second job to stay above the threshold for health insurance?

Every day I live two people’s lives, and it’s fatiguing. Every day I need more time with students while being pulled away from them.

The best that could come of the adjunct crisis is a teaching community broadly committed to the civility and inclusivity we’ve been missing. This could lead to a new kind of education, based not on ranking, not on status, but on genuine guidance for living with decency and respect on this planet.

A conference on this is well overdue – and I don’t want to miss it while watching the time clock.

Below is a comment indicating Robert Reich;s policy direction. But his policy direction is far, far too limiting as it ONLY applies to those who still have jobs within the American economy. The reality is that besides the outsourcing of manufacturing to low, low wage countries, tectonic shifts in the technologies of production will continue to increase productivity while at the same time destroy jobs and devalue the worth of labor. Those who OWN the non-human factor of production––wealth-creating, income-producing capital assets––are the beneficiaries of a system they have rigged to empower them to further hoard and concentrate ALL future capital ownership in America and around the globe. The policy direction we need to embrace and implement is to empower EVERY child, woman and man to acquire wealth-creating, income-producing capital assets simultaneously with the growth of the economy. The Capital Homestead Act is the policy agenda that will achieve this and provide opportunities for people to not have to depend on a JOB for their sole source of income and empower them to do the leisure work of society building.

Support the Capital Homestead Act at and See and…/uploads/Free/capitalhomesteading-s.pdf.

From Robert Reich:

“The degradation of the American workforce is happening across occupations and professions, and across all sectors of the economy — profit-making companies as well as nonprofit institutions.The middle class is not only losing pay; it’s losing job security, predictable hours, and respect.

“The central economic goal of our era must be to restore dignity, security, and good wages to American work.”

We Need Bigger Economic Ideas. Can Hillary Clinton Deliver Them?

On June 22, 2015, Paul Waldman writes in The Washington Post:

Campaigning last week in South Carolina, Hillary Clinton proposed a tax credit for businesses to hire apprentices. It’s a perfectly nice idea, but the truth is that it’s pretty limited – apprenticeships are something that only exist in certain kinds of jobs.

If Clinton wants to be the candidate with ideas to address what ails our economy, she’s going to have to think bigger.

Our national debate about the economy has shifted in the past year or so, as most everyone acknowledges that we need to address some fundamental problems that have been developing for decades. Over the last 30 years, wages have stagnated even as productivity has risen. Most Americans feel insecure despite strong job growth. People at the top are doing terrifically, but prosperity isn’t trickling down. Add to that the changes that technology is bringing, with the rise of the “sharing economy” and the mechanization of more and more types of work, and the moment would seem to demand new ideas to adapt the new reality.

Yet both parties are essentially offering the same menu of policy options they have for some time, with only slight variations. Republicans want to cut taxes and roll back regulations. Democrats want to increase the minimum wage,raise the overtime threshold (allowing millions more to get overtime) and mandate paid family leave.

Even the Democratic ideas are essentially about updating existing rules to account for inflation, or broadening benefits for some workers. As of yet, they haven’t proposed anything truly transformative. But big ideas are out there.

One of them is laid out in the current issue of the journal Democracy, where Nick Hanauer and David Rolf propose what they call a Shared Security Account as a way of re-imagining the relationship between employers and employees in a world where that relationship is increasingly part-time and short-term. Hanauer, a tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist who made waves last year when he wrote an article excoriating his fellow plutocrats for ignoring (and profiting from) rising inequality, argues that if we want to do something about the economy’s ills, we have to think in more fundamental ways about the changing nature of work.

Hanauer and Rolf tell their story through a paradigmatic worker named Zoe, who works part-time at a hotel, drives for UberX, and does odd jobs for TaskRabbit in order to cobble together a living. But she gets no benefits – no health insurance, no paid sick time, no vacation, no retirement savings – from any of them. So how can she and people like her get some measure of security? Their answer is the Shared Security Account, which functions like Social Security but encompasses all the benefits now available only to those who work full time for a large employer.

Built into all those transactions would be a deposit into this account that Zoe could draw on to take paid sick leave and vacation, and pay for health insurance. It would be universal, applying to everyone, not just those who work at big companies. It would be portable, meaning it would travel with Zoe from job to job. And it would be prorated, meaning the money would be deposited in the account whether she did one hour of work for a particular employer that week, or 40 hours. As Hanauer told me with an emphasis bordering on exasperation, “If you work for ten hours for a company, you should get ten hours of benefits.”

Hanauer believes the kind of innovation represented by companies like Uber is a net positive for American society, but whether you agree with that or not, it’s here to stay.

“Rather than pretending like it’s going to go away, we need to rebuild the way in which we manage our economy in the context of this kind of innovation,” Hanauer says. “In the same way that FDR built a system that worked in the industrial age, we need to reconstitute all of those relationships in the context of the 21st century economy.” But this doesn’t just apply to millennials in the sharing economy. Millions of Americans who work in industries like retail and food service aren’t getting benefits either. Hanauer calls those employers “parasites,” who pay their workers sub-poverty wages knowing that other people’s taxes will fund the safety-net programs that enable their employees to survive.

But those employees are powerless to bargain for a better deal. “In a world where a person may have as many employers in a year as their parents had in their entire careers, it’s impossible for that person to negotiate what it takes to lead a decent and dignified life with each one of those employers,” Hanauer says. “If all you have is gigs, and you can barely get by, how do you get vacation? And indeed, if you look at the data, what’s happening is that the number of vacation days that the typical worker takes in the United States is plummeting. This is nuts.”

There’s a political problem, though: establishing a Shared Security Account would mean that businesses are going to incur extra expenses, which means they and their allies in the Republican Party would fight hard against it. When I asked Hanauer how he could convince business owners that such a system would be in their long-term interests, he argued that trying to win them over is fruitless.

“For as long as there’s been capitalism, in the face of an advance of something like wages or protections that benefit workers, capitalists have said the same thing: ‘It’ll kill jobs. We’ll have to lay everybody off. It’ll destroy the economy,’” Hanauer says. “And it has never been true.”

Hanauer then argued against the idea that an increase in wages reduces the number of jobs: “That claim is a con job. It’s a scam. It’s an intimidation tactic. The only thing that’s true about the claim that if wages go up then employment goes down is that if people like me can get people like you to believe it, it will be very good for people like me.”

The Shared Security Account is a fairly radical idea, re-imagining the relationship between employment and the benefits that are now associated with it. And there are lots of practical questions that would have to be answered before something like it could be implemented. But just as the fact that we get health benefits through our jobs is nothing more than an accident of history, there’s no reason that sick leave and vacation need to rely on the generosity of your boss. And if someone like Hillary Clinton wants to show that she’s got new ideas for helping the middle class exist in today’s (and tomorrow’s) economy, an idea like this one isn’t a bad place to start.

This article like so many others totally misses the REAL issue, which is the concentration of OWNERSHIP of wealth-creating, income-producing capital assets.

It is true that over the last 30 years (actually ever since the Industrial Revolution), wages have faced competition with earnings generated by OWNING the non-human means of production. Wages continue to stagnate even as productivity has risen because it is not labor that is the reason productivity has risen but the application of increasingly sophisticated and efficient non-human productive capital assets––the result of technological invention and innovation. As a result jobs are being destroyed due to “machines” replacing humans and the outsourcing of manufacturing to low-wage-cost countries. This then puts pressure on devaluing the worth of labor as there are more people than jobs. Thus most Americans feel insecure despite temporary strong job growth in low-wage sectors. People at the top are doing terrifically because they OWN the non-human means of production. Their consumption needs are well satisfied and so they are able to save and reinvest to further concentrate capital ownership among their tiny ranks. Thus,   prosperity isn’t trickling down. Because it is getting tougher and tougher to secure a job that pays good wages because the system prevents them from becoming capital owners, people are engaging in other ways such as the “sharing economy” and other extra forms of work in order to survive and not fall into poverty and homelessness.

No matter who the candidate for the presidency, their policy direction is far, far too limiting as it ONLY applies to those who still have jobs within the American economy. The reality is that besides the outsourcing of manufacturing to low, low wage countries, tectonic shifts in the technologies of production will continue to increase productivity while at the same time destroy jobs and devalue the worth of labor. Those who OWN the non-human factor of production––wealth-creating, income-producing capital assets such as land, structures, super-automation, robotics, computerized programs and operations, etc––are the beneficiaries of a system they have rigged to empower them to further hoard and concentrate ALL future capital ownership in America and around the globe. The policy direction we need to embrace and implement is to empower EVERY child, woman and man to acquire wealth-creating, income-producing capital assets simultaneously with the growth of the economy. The Capital Homestead Act is the policy agenda that will achieve this and provide opportunities for people to not have to depend on a JOB for their sole source of income and empower them to do the leisure work of society building.

Support the Capital Homestead Act at and See and…/uploads/Free/capitalhomesteading-s.pdf.

Building An Economy For Tomorrow


On May 15, 2015, Hillary Clinton published her platform for her candidacy for President of the United States:

The deck is stacked for those at the top

You’re working harder, but your paycheck isn’t going up.

Americans have come back from the financial crisis. Our economy and our country are stronger because families saved and sacrificed to make it work. Today, more people are getting by, but they are still not getting ahead. At the same time, the top 25 hedge fund managers make more than all the kindergarten teachers in the country combined, and the top CEOs earn 300 times more than a typical American worker. It’s time for everyday Americans to share in growth and prosperity.

  • Wages for working Americans are stagnant

    The costs of child care, higher education, and health care have increased—but wages for everyday Americans have not. Even though American workers are more productive now than at any other time in history, they are not seeing the value of their work reflected in their paychecks.

  • Young people are struggling under crushing student debt

    Tuition costs keep rising, while state investment in higher education on a per-student basis has declined. As a result, students and families are borrowing more, and total student debt has surpassed $1.1 trillion. Many view college as out of reach—or wonder why they must incur so much debt to get the skills they need.

  • The annual cost of child care exceeds the cost of housing and college for many families

    Quality, affordable child care is a lifeline for working parents—and an essential component of early development for kids. Yet, across the country the cost of child care is rising, making high-quality care harder to afford for many working families.

  • This is a crucial moment for small businesses

    In the next few years, the largest segment of the workforce will reach peak entrepreneurial age—but they risk being held back by the aftermath of the financial crisis. We have to make starting and growing a business an opportunity instead of a gamble.

The basic bargain of America

Everyone who works hard and does their part should see that work reflected in a rising paycheck. To increase wages, we need to invest in stronger growth, ensure that gains do not just go to those at the top, and open paths to good jobs for more Americans. We need an economy that works for everyone.

  1. Invest in an economy that works for working Americans

    We will make the necessary investments in infrastructure, research, and education to put people to work today and grow our economy for tomorrow. Increased investment will lead to economic growth, that in turn will increase wages and boost bottom lines for both families and American businesses.

  2. Tax relief for working families

    Too many working families are struggling. We will provide tax relief to help those families keep up with the rising costs of child care, education, and health care. After decades of stagnant wages, Americans need a break.

  3. Raise the minimum wage

    A higher minimum wage doesn’t just help those at the bottom of the pay scale, it has a ripple effect across the economy and helps millions of American workers afford basic necessities. As we work to raise the federal minimum wage, we will also support workers, states, and cities in their efforts to go above the federal floor when it makes sense to do so.

  4. Protect the right to organize

    The right to organize is a fundamental right of workers that is being eroded by the courts and Republican attacks. We will ensure workers have the collective bargaining power they need to fight for the fair wages and benefits they have earned.

Total student loan debt has reached an all-time record of more than $1.1 trillion

Source: CNN Money

Secure a foundation for working families

If we want American families to get ahead, we must first ensure they can afford the foundation they need to meet their potential. That means making college, child care, and health care more affordable.

  1. Make college affordable and attainable

    Every family should be able to afford college without racking up crushing debt. Education is supposed to lift young people up, not drag them down. We will—finally and forever—make college affordable and available.

  2. Provide quality child care

    Child care is a critical issue when it comes to our economy, our families, and our children’s future. We will make quality, affordable child care a national priority to give working families the support they need and give our children the opportunities they deserve.

  3. Defend the Affordable Care Act and reduce health costs

    We will slow the growth of overall health care costs and deliver better care to patients. And we will ensure that the savings from those reforms benefit families—not just insurance companies, drug companies, and large corporations.

  4. Build savings and retire with dignity

    Working families should be able to save throughout their lives so that they can send their kids to college and retire with dignity. We will defend Social Security from Republican attempts to cut or privatize the program. And we will explore ways to enhance Social Security to meet new realities, particularly for women.

I want to be a small business president. A president who makes it easier to start and run a small business in this country, so it seems less like a gamble and more like an opportunity. We have to level the playing field for our small businesses.

MAY 19, 2015

A President for small business

Small businesses all over the country are ready to grow and hire, and entrepreneurs are ready to venture out on their own—if they can just get that next loan, enter a new market, or have one less form to fill out. We will make it easier to start and run a small business in this country.

  1. Cut red tape

    We will launch a nationwide effort to cut red tape for small businesses at every level of government. It shouldn’t take longer to start a small business in the United States than it does in France, Canada, or South Korea.

  2. Provide tax relief

    America’s smallest businesses, those with 1-5 employees, spend 150 hours and $1,100 per employee to comply with federal taxes. That’s more than 20 times higher than the average for much larger firms. We will simplify tax filing and provide targeted tax relief for small businesses—not big corporations that can afford lawyers and lobbyists.

  3. Tap new markets

    Every small business in America should be able to enter new markets—whether it’s across town, across the city, or across the world. Some American businesses are already doing this through innovative new platforms, like Etsy and eBay, that let them sell anywhere in America and the world. We will encourage this kind of innovation.

  4. Improve access to capital

    We will leverage the best ideas from the private sector and government to give small business owners access to financing to build, grow, and hire. And we will ease burdens on community banks that provide credit to small business owners and families looking to invest in their futures. We will do this without compromising protections for consumers or introducing new risks into the financial system. The big banks don’t need relief from Washington—small banks and small businesses do.

Corporations are not responsible only to their shareholders and the next quarterly earnings report. They’re responsible to their workers, their customers, their communities, and our country. Investing in the long term may mean passing up a quick buck today—but it ultimately means higher growth for the economy, higher wages for workers, and higher profits for the bottom line.

Rewarding businesses that invest in their workers

We will encourage profit-sharing in the private sector so that workers can benefit from the record profits they’re helping to produce. And we will reform our tax code to reward businesses that invest in workers and production here in America, rather than shifting jobs and investments overseas.

Helping Americans succeed at work and at home

When workers feel secure, they are more productive, efficient, and successful. So we will make sure they don’t have to choose between keeping their jobs and taking care of themselves, a child, or a sick family member. We will work to make sure they receive their schedules with enough notice to arrange child care. And we will finally raise the minimum wage.

Rein in Wall Street

Just seven years ago, our country was rocked by a crisis on Wall Street. Through no fault of their own, families lost jobs, homes, and dreams. Yet the financial lobby and Republicans in Congress have shown that they are committed to unraveling the key reforms the Dodd-Frank Act put in place to protect consumers and keep a crisis like this from happening again. We will defend Dodd-Frank against attacks and take additional steps to rein in banks that are still too big and too risky.

Power the economy of tomorrow

America must lead the world in developing and deploying new clean energy sources that will power our economy, protect the health of our families, and address the global threat of climate change. Some doubt our capacity to rise to this challenge and want to keep us trapped in the energy economy of the past—but every single day the ingenuity of the American people proves the cynics wrong. States, cities, and rural communities are investing in a future built on clean and efficient energy that spurs small business growth, reduces pollution, creates good jobs, and lowers energy bills. We will secure the gains already made, and continue our progress in making the United States a clean energy superpower.




    “We can’t hide from hard truths on race”

    Read Hillary’s call to action to take on systemic racism in America and move forward together after Charleston.


    “We should make it easier to vote.”

    During a speech at Texas Southern University in Houston, Hillary Clinton called for expanding Americans’ voting rights while decrying Republican efforts to restrict them.


    Our grassroots campaign by the numbers

    50 organizers in the early states. 3,874 one-on-one meetings. 11,869 commitments to volunteer. And more to come!


    “I will fight for comprehensive immigration reform.”

    At a roundtable discussion at Rancho High School in Nevada, Hillary Clinton had a conversation with DREAMers about her commitment to fighting for young people and their families.


    Hillary in SC: When families are strong, America is strong.

    Hillary makes the case for equal pay.

Uber Drivers: You Bet They’re Employees

Photo Illustration, Uber


On June 22, 2015, Nick Hanauer writes on The Daily Beast:

The California ruling that an Uber driver is an employee should start a push toward modernizing the social safety net for the new economy.

The recent ruling by the California Labor Commission that San Francisco Uber driver Barbara Ann Berwick is not a contractor but an employee is seismic. For years now, Uber has successfully fended off such efforts, arguing, “Hey, we’re just an app.” We admire the innovative spirit that Uber represents and use the service ourselves often. But who are they trying to kid? Berwick wouldn’t be out there driving on her own. She’s an Uber employee.

America is filled with millions of Berwicks. Middle-class workers face many threats, including declining wages and the rising costs of education. But by far the biggest threat to middle-class workers—and to our economy as a whole—is the changing nature of employment itself.

Gone is the era of the lifetime career, having been replaced by a new economy intent on recasting full-time employees into contractors, vendors, and temporary workers. It is an economic transformation that promises new efficiencies and greater flexibility for “employers” and “employees” alike, but which threatens to undermine the very foundation upon which middle-class America was built and strip away benefits.

That is why it is essential that we imagine and adopt new policies that guarantee all workers the basic level of economic security necessary to sustain and grow the American middle class, and with it, the economy as a whole. We must acknowledge the radically different needs of a new generation of Americans—many of whom already have more employers in a week than their parents had in a lifetime—by adopting a new “Shared Security System” designed to fit the flexible employment relationships of the “sharing economy.”

Take, for example, an American worker whose story is increasingly typical of this new age. We’ll call her “Zoe.” Zoe is a woman in her late 20s who works part time at a hotel outside Denver. She’s worked at the front desk for five years, and her supervisor says he’s happy with her performance—but he never schedules her for more than 29 hours in a single week, so she does not qualify for health insurance or other benefits that full-time workers enjoy. Always in need of extra income, she started auctioning her services as a landscaper on the popular work-outsourcing site TaskRabbit. She earns an additional $100 or so a week at it.

By far the biggest threat to middle-class workers—and to our economy as a whole—is the changing nature of employment itself.

On Friday and Saturday nights, she’ll usually pick up a “shift” working as a driver for UberX. Occasionally, on the rare weekday off, she’ll go live on UberX to drive people to and from the airport. During tourist season, Zoe will pick up a little spending money by renting out her apartment on Airbnb, living in her parents’ house for days or weeks at a time.

If you think all her hard work amounts to a stable lifestyle, you’re wrong. Zoe doesn’t have enough money in the bank to sustain a savings account, let alone to contribute to retirement. She’s never late with her rent, but the idea of owning a house is far out of reach.

The contrast between the experience of Zoe’s generation and that of her parents is stark. Zoe’s parents entered the workforce with the expectation that hard work would be rewarded with decent pay, improving prospects, and a comfortable retirement; it was an era in which most Americans could reasonably expect to work for only a handful of companies over the course of their career, and certainly no more than one employer at a time. This was the social contract of the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s. But for Zoe’s generation, this contract no longer exists.

The lesson we can take from Zoe’s experience is that our traditional job-based benefit system no longer makes sense in an economy in which fewer and fewer workers will hold traditional jobs. For while the sharing economy promises many exciting new opportunities, without a new labor-owner framework, it simply cannot provide the economic benefits, stability, and security necessary for a robust and thriving middle class.

An economy based on micro-employment requires the accrual of micro-benefits, and a twenty-first-century sharing economy requires a twenty-first-century social contract that assures shared economic security and broad prosperity.

We propose a new Shared Security System that endows every American worker with, first, a “Shared Security Account” in which to accrue the basic employment benefits necessary for a thriving middle class, and second, a new set of “Shared Security Standards” that complement and reinforce that account.

One can think of the Shared Security Account as analogous to Social Security, but encompassing all of the employment benefits traditionally provided by a full-time salaried job. Shared Security benefits would be earned and accrued via automatic payroll deductions, regardless of the employment relationship, and, like Social Security, these benefits would be fully prorated, portable, and universal.

Proration. The obvious solution to the explosion of part-time work—voluntary or otherwise—is to prorate the accrual of benefits on an hourly or equivalent basis. For example, if Zoe works 30 hours a week at the hotel, she should earn three-quarters of the benefits offered by a full-time 40-hour-a-week job; if she works 20 hours a week, she should earn half the benefits.

To be clear, proration is not a radical idea. Social Security and Medicare have always been prorated: Zoe’s employer pays half of her 15.3 percent combined Social Security and Medicare tax, regardless of how many hours she works. But all mandatory benefits that normally accrue to full-time employees on a daily basis—sick days, vacation days, health insurance, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, retirement matching, Social Security, and Medicare—should also accrue to part-time employees (hourly, salaried, or contract) and sharing-economy providers on a prorated hourly or equivalent basis.

Portability. Job-based benefits no longer make sense in an economy where fewer and fewer workers hold traditional jobs. This is why these accrued benefits must be fully portable, following the worker from job to job, or contract to contract. For example, paid vacation days that Zoe accrues at one employer could be carried over to her next, although the cost of paying for these days would come from funds banked in her Shared Security Account. Because benefits from multiple employers are pooled into the same account, portability and proration work together to provide workers with the full panoply of benefits, even within the flexible micro-employment environment of the sharing economy.

Universality. In the new economy, a basic set of benefits and labor standards must be universal across all employers and all forms of employment, with few exceptions or exemptions. A robust set of mandatory universal benefits would put all employees and employers alike on an equal footing, while providing the economic security and certainty necessary for the middle class to thrive.

We need many additional worker-friendly changes, things we collectively call Shared Security Standards: paid leave, an overtime threshold covering the bottom 65 percent of workers, a $15 minimum wage indexed to living standards, pay equity, and fair scheduling, to name a few. Together, the Shared Security Account and the Shared Security Standards—along with family support programs like affordable child care and high-quality universal preschool—would comprise a new social contract designed to fit the flexible employment relationships of the new economy. This is how we will usher in a new era of middle-class economic security, and by so doing also provide American businesses with the economic stability and certainty that they demand.