As wages for most American workers continue to steadily decline, a new analysis of federal data by Axios found that the pay of some of America's top CEOs is often even higher than the astronomical numbers that typically appear in the headlines.
"The CEOs running S&P 500 companies cumulatively took home $10 billion in 2017, an amount that is 44 percent higher than what is usually reported," notes Axios's Bob Herman. "The big reason: CEOs cashing in their stock." Annual Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings, adds Herman, "bury the fact that many of America's top executives are sometimes paid even more than what headlines suggest, due almost entirely to the huge gains they reap from the stock market. Meanwhile, worker wages are stagnant, the average household is living on $59,000 a year, and income inequality has become one of the most visible political rallying cries."
Between the first and second quarters of 2018—as executives and major corporations cashed in with record stock buybucks—real wages declined by 1.8 percent.