It's not exactly breaking news that CEOs make a ton of money. But as Matthew Yglesias at Slate looked through a new database of CEO pay, he also noticed that CEOs' paydays are incredibly arbitrary; there's "certainly no clear link to corporate performance." But there are some constants, like this fascinating one: American CEOs get paid wildly more than their counterparts overseas. Chevron CEO John Watson, for instance, makes $22.3 million, while the head of a similarly sized French oil giant makes only $3 million.
American CEOs argue that their pay should be compared to other American CEOs, which is fine by most American boards, "which—conveniently enough—are made up primarily of American corporate executives. … Which is all quite nice, but if you tried convincing one of these very same executives that he shouldn't replace an American factory worker with a cheaper Chinese one, he would laugh you out of the room." CEO pay is a sea of "nonsensical gaps," with compensation chugging ever higher. This should worry us, writes Yglesias. Click for his full column, which specially zeroes in on media CEOs.