Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton's charge that corporate CEOs earn 300 times more than their workers isn't just wrong. It hides another very real wage gap: She earns more in just one speech than the average American CEO in a year.
Mark J. Perry, a University of Michigan professor and author of the American Enterprise Institute's popular Carpe Diem blog, did the fact-checking of Clinton's numbers and came up with that result.
The average CEO, using Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, makes $216,100. Clinton's speaking agent, the Harry Walker Agency Inc., charged about $275,000 a speech and packaged three for Wall Street's Goldman Sachs at $675,000.
Perry used the BLS average salary for all CEOs, not just the top ones Clinton likes to cite.
And about that 300-1 wage gap Clinton even touted in an ad? Perry found that the average worker salary is $48,920, about what it was in 2009. That translates into an apples-to-apples wage gap of 4.4-to-1.
According to Perry:
"If we want an accurate 'apples-to-apples' comparison, then shouldn't we really compare the average CEO in the US to the average American worker? In 2014, there were 21,550 Chief Executives working full-time "managing a company or enterprise" and those CEOs earned an average annual salary of $216,100 according to the BLS. That's about the same annual salary of $201,030 for the average orthodontist.
"The average private full-time American worker earned $48,920 in 2014 (based on an average hourly wage of $24.46). That would give us an 'Average CEO-to-Average-Worker Pay' ratio of only 4.4-to-1 in 2014. That ratio has been stable over the last 8 years at an average of 4.4-to-1 between 2007 and 2014."
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.