Making Corporations Pay For Big Pay Gaps

| Educate!

Above Photo: From


For two full years now, publicly held corporations in the United States have had to comply with a federal mandate to report the gap between their CEO and median worker compensation. The resulting disclosures, this report makes clear, have produced truly staggering statistical results.

Americans across the political spectrum have been decrying the yawning gaps between CEO and worker compensation for several decades now. Yet Americans still, the research shows, vastly underestimate how wide these gaps have become. Today, with corporations required to disclose their pay ratios, the public can finally see the actual size of pay gaps at individual firms. These excessively wide compensation gaps hurt us on three major fronts:

  • Corporate pay gaps help drive extreme inequality in the U.S.
  • Wide pay gaps undermine business efficiency and effectiveness
  • Runaway CEO pay endangers our democracy and the broader economy


  • At the 50 publicly traded U.S. corporations with the widest pay gaps in 2018, the typical employee would have to work at least 1,000 years to earn what their CEO made in just one..
  • Among S&P 500 firms, nearly 80 percent paid their CEO more than 100 times their median worker pay in 2018, and nearly 10 percent had median pay below the poverty line for a family of four.
  • S&P 500 corporations as a whole would have owed as much as $17.2 billion more in 2018 federal taxes if they were subject to tax penalties ranging from 0.5 percentage points on pay ratios over 100:1 to 5 percentage points on ratios above 500:1.
  • Walmart, with a pay gap of 1,076 to 1, would have owed as much as $794 million in extra federal taxes in 2018 with this penalty in place, enough to extend food stamp benefits to 520,997 people for an entire year..
  • Marathon Petroleum, with a 714-to-1 gap, would have owed an extra $228 million, more than enough to provide annual heating assistance for 126,000 low-income people.
  • CVS, with a 618-to-1 ratio, would have added a revenue stream that could have provided annual Medicare prescription benefits for 33,977 seniors.
  • The report also includes the most comprehensive available catalog of CEO pay reform proposals.
  • Steven Berge

    Corporations have pushed their advantage way too far. We don’t have a voice because of corporate ownership of government. It’s time to bring out the pitchforks! Actually, all it would take is a relatively small percentage of the people to go on general strike. Go Yellow Vests!

  • Douglas Hawes

    Yes, a revolt of the people can’t be far behind those pay gaps.

  • Infarction

    Anderson and Pizzigatti make a sound case for their solutions to the wealth inequality. But, unfortunately, like so many “solutions” offered by those who honestly seek meaningful change, theirs simply offers half measures.

    A major overall of the tax system must be employed. Specifically, a 100 percent annual wealth tax on personal assets greater than $10 million. This action alone would solve the obscene pay differential that will continue to exist until We the People demand real and effective social changes.

    Other major tax changes in any tax system overhaul must include personal income tax rates where the highest earners pay a top incremental rate of 91 percent. End all tax preferences and subsidies for corporations. Install a one percent tax on every stock trade.

  • chetdude

    It’s time to further build and organize a massive, militant People’s Lobby to apply direct pressure on Congresscritters, state legislators/government and local governmental “representatives” to ACT as if they really mean the empty rhetoric they spew during their campaigns.

    Revolving teams of 10 bodies on each “representative” 24/7/365 engaged in direct lobbying and non-violent civil resistance is worth 100,000 bodies in the streets with pitchforks, vests and torches being shot down by up-armed police!

  • Steven Berge

    That could be a good way to pressure better behavior. Too bad the FEC doesn’t really work for the people and publish all the lies perpetrated by politicians. It would be good to see commercials, right before the election, showing all the lies each candidate perpetrated.

  • chetdude

    Alas, the republicans and corporate-imperial dems are very well trained to say nothing of substance so it’s really hard to pin them down as lying.

    They deflect, they mouth platitudes about warm and fuzzy feelings but other than the official state Lies of the vulture capitalist world Empire (perfectly OK according to the corporate media that does the same) they don’t really lie that much…

  • Steven Berge

    Yea, it’s sad that politics seems to be the art of talking a lot without saying anything (that they can be pinned down on).

  • chetdude

    ‘Politics from Greek
    definition “of, for, or relating to citizens” is the process of making
    decisions applying to all members of each group.’

    I’ve experienced politics using a consensus process that doesn’t need liars, deflection and equivocation…in fact, it discourages those…

    Other than the programming by the media and the authoritarian vocational training that passes for “education”, there’s no reason we couldn’t learn to run our relocalized economies in that manner…

  • Steven Berge

    Where did you experience this politics as defined by the Greeks? I had a good laugh at Jimmy Dore’s definition of politics where he said, “Politics, broken down means many blood sucking parasites.”

  • chetdude

    Mainly in Cuba. Glimmerings of bottom-up, grass roots democracy…