The Hightower Report

The CEO of Simon Properties made more in an hour than you'll make in a year

The Rich Get Richer

It's true that America's working stiffs are mostly stuck in the muck of depression these days, spinning their economic wheels with low wages that can't even keep pace with inflation. Still, though, there are some good news stories about some who are doing well – such as David Simon.

Through good ol' American ingenuity and hard work, Dave quintupled his pay last year, pocketing $68,500 ... an hour! In the previous year, poor Dave was only paid about $13,000 an hour, but apparently he really applied himself in 2011 and was rewarded with an annual paycheck of $137 million. See, the American dream is still alive for those who believe in it (and who happen to be CEOs of corporations with compliant boards of directors that lavish shareholder money on the chief).

David is honcho of Simon Properties, a shopping mall operator, and he topped the list of last year's most-richly rewarded executives. While typical American workers saw their pay barely inch up by a meager 1% in 2011 – a sum totally eaten up (and them some) by the price increases for gasoline, groceries, rent, and other essentials – the typical corporate chieftain socked away $9.6 million. It would take 244 years on the job for a typical employee to make what one of those bosses hauled off in one year.

Especially galling is the sight of such CEOs as Brian Moynihan cashing in. The boss of Bank of America, Moynihan saw his pay jump by 600% last year, even as his bank was foundering. BOA's stock value has plummeted by 81% on his watch, some 36,000 employees are getting pink slips, and the bailed-out behemoth has become widely despised for ruthlessly (and often illegally) foreclosing on people's homes.

Such gross inequities, caused by CEO greed and narcissism, is why more and more Americans spell "boss" backwards: Double-S.O.B.

For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown – visit You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio, 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.
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CEO, salary, recession, Simon Properties, Bank of America

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