If bigtime CEO money doesn’t make the firm more profitable…

then why make such a big deal about executive pay limits? We’re talking big, big money here. It’s not like these guys aren’t going to be able to afford their Fiji water and golf vacations anymore. Yglesias:

But for the egalitarians among us, I’ve never really understood the view that obscene executive compensation is an issue that absolutely positively certainly must only be addressed through the indirect Rube Goldberg-esque method of changing corporate governance rules. What if we had a 95 percent marginal tax rate on income over $10 million? What dire consequences would flow from this? Perhaps a certain outflow of top-flight baseball talent to Japan. But I don’t see this leading to any kind of economic calamity.

Meanwhile, check out Forbes’s list of the world’s most profitable firms. BP, a British oil company, is fifth on the list. And their CEO earns earns more than double what Christophe de Margerie takes in as CEO of Total, the French oil company that’s 6th on the list. At 8th on the list is Chevron, whose CEO earns more than either of those guys. The salaries are being determined by the nationality of the enterprise, not the success of the enterprise.


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