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David Lazarus: The joy of making $43,963.64 an hour [Video]

May 25, 2012|By David Lazarus

Investors are still asking what Facebook is really worth. But a more apt question might be: What's the average CEO worth?

The head of a typical public company pocketed $9.6 million in compensation last year, according to some number crunching from the Associated Press.

This represents a more than 6% increase from the previous year and is the highest average figure seen since the AP began tracking executive compensation in 2006.

To put things in perspective, consider the case of David Simon, chief executive of Simon Property. He received a pay package worth more than $137 million.

A minimum-wage worker making $7.25 per hour -- as some workers at Simon malls are paid -- would have to work nearly 9,096 years to make what the boss made in a single 12-month period. Someone earning the national median salary of $39,312 would have to work 3,489 years.

Let's say Simon, as an industrious CEO, puts in a 60-hour week. That means he's pulling down $43,963.64 per hour, or $732.73 per minute.

Put another way, a minimum-wage worker would have to toil for almost three years to make what Simon earns in just one hour.

Big companies say they have to pay these top-drawer salaries because otherwise their chief executives will go elsewhere.

I say: Let them.

Any boss that needs to be bribed just to stick around isn't worth keeping.

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