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Stu Burguiere: CEOs Make a Lot of Money. So What?


"CEOs are terrible people. Especially the CEO of TheBlaze."

Republican nominee Donald Trump put a $10 million donation into his own campaign today. (Getty Images)

CEOs are terrible people. Especially the CEO of TheBlaze. That guy makes so much more money than his employees. He has so much money he wastes it on 20-foot robots and ridiculous Octopus sculptures!

That’s not my personal opinion (except for the Octopus part). But that’s probably how the left thinks of Glenn and every successful CEO, for that matter.

I know this is true because of something the Economic Policy Institute tweeted out:

“The ratio of CEO-to-worker pay was 296-to-1 in 2013. Up from 20-to-1 in 1965. #ceopay

That sure seems like a lot. But is the wage disparity between CEOs and their workers really as extreme as it seems?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos introduces the new Amazon Fire Phone, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, in Seattle. (AP/Ted S. Warren) Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos introduces the new Amazon Fire Phone, Wednesday, June 18, 2014, in Seattle. The Economic Policy Institute argues that CEOs make way more than the average American worker. Too bad the institute is using bad numbers. (AP/Ted S. Warren)

It is true that some CEOs make a ton of cash.

For example, Anthony Petrello, CEO of Nabors Industries has surely made enough money. He was paid $68.2 million last year.

Or how about Leslie Moonves, CEO of CBS? He made $65.6 million.

Richard Adkerson. CEO of Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, surely has enough. Ah, getting rich off of gold. What an evil person. He made $55.3 million.

Stephen Kaufer, CEO of Trip Advisor, has money to spare. He made $39 million.

And Philippe Dauman, CEO of Viacom, has plenty. He made $37.2 million.

You might say, what do those people possibly do to deserve that much money?

And I would say, I DON’T CARE.

Since when did we start rooting for other people to make less money? We used to have a problem in this country with “keeping up with the Joneses.” The issue was that people would lose sight of the real priorities and work too hard trying to obtain a bunch of stuff other people had.

But now, we've gone from “keeping up with the Joneses” to “keeping the Joneses down.” We don't even want to put in the hard work necessary to be envious anymore.

[sharequote align="center"]But now, we've gone from “keeping up with the Joneses” to “keeping the Joneses down.”[/sharequote]

A lot of people say what are they going to do with that money?

The interesting part about your opinion on this matter is that it has absolutely no significance.

Again, I DON’T CARE.

They get to spend their money the way they want.

Because that has nothing to do with me and, quite frankly, you. It’s no one’s business except that CEO and the company they work for. A CEO’s salary represents what a company is willing to pay someone to help keep their business successful. If they paid these CEOs less, they would go to another company and earn the same amount or more. Or maybe they would just decide to retire and do nothing and spend that money on the beach. You have to make it worthwhile or they leave.

But you’re right, those five CEOs do make a lot of money. Good for them. But they are the exception when it comes to what the average CEO in the U.S. is paid.


Those CEOs are exclusively from a sample of 350 Standard & Poor's 500 companies.

So if you want to compare CEO salaries to the average workers, you take 100 percent of workers and compare them to 100 percent of CEOs, right?

But what if I told you this study compared 100 percent to the top 10 percent percent of CEOs?

You’d probably be suspicious, right?

What if they compared 100 percent of workers to the top 1 percent of CEOs? That would be ridiculous.

Well, the study didn’t do that.

They compared 100 percent of workers to the top point 1 percent of CEOs.

Why would they do such a thing?

To get a scary, unfair evil rich person number, the Economic Policy Institute only focused on the biggest companies in the world.

But that makes no sense when you’re talking about CEO pay.

Let me explain why. If you’re a secretary at Bill’s Hometown Hardware and you take a secretary job at Disney, that is essentially a lateral move.

However, if you are the CEO of Bill’s Hometown hardware and you take a job as CEO of Disney, that is not a lateral move. In fact, it’s not even a move that would be portrayed in a Disney movie because no one would believe it. Not even if it was a cartoon with cute talking animals.

When I first started working for Glenn, my job mainly was to get Glenn Dunkin Donuts.

When I made a decision to get Glenn hashbrowns, in addition to donuts, that decision affected one person - Glenn. And maybe Tania because she has to look at him.

A girl has a doughnut and a beverage, served in a foam cup, at a Dunkin' Donuts in New York Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has taken on smoking, sugary drinks and salt, talked about banning food packaging made from polystyrene foam from stores and restaurants in his annual State of the City address on Thursday. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan) (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

But if I’m Robert Iger, the CEO of Disney, my decisions affects thousands of people. Thousands of people who work on the movies, thousands of animators, thousands of writers, thousands of producers, theme park workers, etc. Thousands of people. And billions of dollars.

It makes sense that this ration would be very high. You’re comparing the salaries of the very elite of one group to the very average of another group. Instead, let’s take all CEOs, not just those of the biggest companies.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

We see that the average CEO in America makes not $75 trillion, but $178,400.

The average CEOs salary has only increased 0.9 percent from 2012. While the average pay of all workers increased 1.4 percent.

I realize $178,400 is not chump change. But it’s a far cry from what the Economic Policy Institute is insinuating.

The CEO-to-worker pay is not 296-to-1 for 2013. It isn’t even 20-to-1 like they were purporting in 1965. It’s actually about 5-to-1. The average CEO makes about five times the average worker.

But why the selective outrage against American CEOs?

  • The highest paid players in Major League Baseball make 392 times the average household income.
  • That’s nothing compared to Madonna, who made $125 million in 2013.
  • Steven Spielberg made $100 million.
  • Simon Cowell made $95 million. Largely because of a show he isn’t even on anymore.
  • EL James, author of "Fifty Shades of Grey," made an astonishing $95 million on her erotic "Twilight" fan fiction.

But none of these people ever get complained about. Not only do you not need talent to make money, you don’t even need a heartbeat.

You know what should really infuriate the “income inequality” group? The enormous wealth disparity between the average dead worker and a dead celebrity.

The average worker who dies doesn’t make any money when they’re dead. Zero. Nothing. Because they are dead. And yet some top dead celebrities still somehow make millions.

According to Forbes, from 2012-201:

  • Bob Marley coughed up $18 million.
  • Elizabeth Taylor made $25 million largely due to her terrible perfume line that should have died along with her.
  • Peanuts creator Charles Schulz made $37 million.
  • Elvis Presley made $55 million.
  • And Michael Jackson made a whopping $160 million.

Where is the outrage?! Why aren’t people protesting these dead people’s graves on a regular basis demanding income equality for all the other dead, income-less people?

Because that would be ridiculous. Just as petty and ridiculous as whining about the pay of CEOs.

You live in one of the only countries in the history of the planet where you can do more than whine. You can go out and be the next CEO everyone is complaining about. Go get them! And then hire me.

Watch a clip of the monologue on CEO pay here.

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