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. (Read more executive compensation stories.)