Recently, the word “greedflation” has caught on to explain the out-of-control prices U.S. consumers are facing. It argues the rising cost of gas and groceries isn’t owing entirely to trade disruptions or expense hikes along the supply chain—corporate greed is as much to blame, and companies are using the veneer of inflation to justify upping prices, then awarding much of the extra profit to executives.
A new report released today by the AFL-CIO gives that argument some new ammo. Its annual Executive Paywatch Report, a comprehensive database tracking CEO-to-worker pay ratios for over 20 years, reveals that S&P 500 CEOs averaged $18.3 million in compensation for 2021—324 times the median worker’s pay, and higher than both 2020’s pay ratio (299-to-1) and 2019’s ratio (264-to-1).
During 2021, a year crippled by the pandemic plus inflation, CEOs were fast to pin blame for price increases on the pandemic, inflation, and increases in worker wages. The AFL-CIO report, however, shows that workers’ real wages fell 2.4% in 2021, after adjusting for inflation.That means company profits are up, CEO compensation is also up, but real employee wages are down.CEO-to-worker pay ratio 2022: ‘greedflation’ salaries list