Trump Says Overpaid CEOs Are A ‘Complete Joke’

Ian Millhiser Senior Constitutional Policy Analyst, Think Progress

Trump Says Overpaid CEOs Are A ‘Complete Joke’

Donald Trump, the billionaire CEO turned GOP presidential frontrunner, said that rising CEO pay is a “total and complete joke” during an interview with CBS’ Face The Nation on Sunday.

Although Trump claimed that such cronyism probably only exists in “less than 10 percent” of companies, he blamed exorbitant CEO salaries on corporate boards that are too close to top managers. “The CEO puts in all his friends” on the board, Trump said, “and they get whatever they want you know because their friends love sitting on the board.” Trump also said that it would be hard to solve this problem in a “free enterprise system,” although he still labeled it “a shame and its disgraceful.”

According to the AFL-CIO, many of the nation’s top CEOs make earn utterly gob-smacking amounts of money. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella earned more than $84 million in 2014. Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger earned over $46 million. The highest paid CEO in the nation, Discovery Communications’ David Zaslav, earned $156,077,912 in 2014. That’s enough money to put nearly 650 low-income students through a four-year degree at Harvard University. It’s also enough money to feed over 40,000 food-insecure men, women and children for a year.

Ironically, despite his criticism of overpaid CEOs, Trump himself lives a far more lavish lifestyle than his business acumen can justify. According to the Associated Press, Trump would be significantly wealthier if he had invested his money in an index fund that tracks the stock market rather than less-lucrative investments in real estate.

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This has been reposted from Think Progress.

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Image from iStock.

Ian Millhiser is a Senior Constitutional Policy Analyst at the Center for American Progress Action Fund and the Editor of ThinkProgress Justice. He received a B.A. in Philosophy from Kenyon College and a J.D., magna cum laude, from Duke University. Ian clerked for Judge Eric L. Clay of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and has worked as an attorney with the National Senior Citizens Law Center’s Federal Rights Project, as Assistant Director for Communications with the American Constitution Society, and as a Teach For America teacher in the Mississippi Delta. His writings have appeared in a diversity of legal and mainstream publications, including the New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, U.S. News and World Report, Slate, the Guardian, the American Prospect, the Yale Law and Policy Review and the Duke Law Journal; and he has been a guest on CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera English, Fox News and many radio shows.

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