The latest study of executive pay by the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy, a Boston-based nonprofit that works to spotlight economic inequality, shows that:
* Executive pay increased 571% between 1990 and 2000, not adjusting for inflation.
* The salaries of America's chief executives rose far more sharply than workers' paychecks, which increased by 37% in the 1990s and barely stayed ahead of inflation, which rose by 32%.
* If salaries of production workers had grown at the same rate as their top bosses, these workers would have earned an average of $120,491 last year, instead of $24,668.
* If the minimum wage had grown at the same rate as CEO pay during the 1990s, "it would now be $25.50 an hour, rather than the current $5.15 an hour," IPS said.
And apparently it pays to be heartless (or to head a big company): Chief executives at the 52 companies that cut 1,000 or more workers last year earned on average 80% more than other CEOs, said John Cavanagh, IPS director.