“The evolution of executive grandeur — from very comfortable to jet-setting — reflects one of the primary reasons that the gap between those with the highest incomes and everyone else is widening,” wrote Peter Whoriskey in The Washington Post’s award-winning series “Breakaway Wealth.”
The series written by Whoriskey, Steven Mufson and Jia Lynn Yang, just received top honors from the Society of Professional Journalists. The special report focused on business executives who make up more than 40 percent of the top earners. A mounting body of economic research indicates that the rise in pay for company executives is a critical factor in the growing income gap.
The largest single chunk of those highest-income earners, it turns out, are company executives and other managers, according to a landmark analysis of tax returns by economists Jon Bakija, Adam Cole and Bradley T. Heim. These are not just Wall Street executives, but also those from firms in relatively mundane fields such as the milk business.
Other recent research indicates that executive compensation at the nation’s largest firms has roughly quadrupled in real terms since the 1970s, even as pay for 90 percent of Americans has stalled, the series found.
As the series points out, defenders of extremely lucrative executive pay have argued that today’s chief executives are worth more because, among other things, companies are larger and more complex. But critics (and I) question why so much of the income growth should go to those who already have the biggest bank accounts in the country.
Read the series, and tell me what you think. The Color of the Money Question of the Week: “How do you feel about the growing disparity between the super wealthy and everyone else?” Send your response to firstname.lastname@example.org, and put “Breakaway Wealth” in the subject line. Be sure to include your full name, city and state.
Well, some people who were rich aren’t anymore.
Add former NFL player Warren Sapp to the long list of athletes, actors and entertainers who spend themselves poor – or at least relatively poor, compared to the riches they used to have.
TMZ.com broke the story that Sapp has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection and owes his creditors more than $6.7 million. The debts include hundreds of thousands of dollars in child support payments, $853,000 to the IRS and more than $90,000 in medical bills.
Sapp, a former defensive tackle for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Oakland Raiders during his 13-year NFL career, was also once a contestant on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”