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Thursday, December 22, 2011

GDP Revised Down

Here is the report from BEA.  Annualized, the growth rate for the 3rd quarter was revised down from 2.0% in the 2nd estimate to 1.8% in the third estimate.  Real GDP increased at a rae of 1.3% in the 2nd quarter.

This is significantly below the normal historical growth rate, and absolutely dismal in what is supposed to be a recovery.  It gets worse, though.  The population continues to grow irrespective of what the economy is doing.  The estimated population growth for CY 2011 is 0.963%.  That's a lot if implied precision for an estimate, but who knows, maybe they're just that good.

Consider GDP/capita - the average slice of the American economic pie.  That rate of growth is 1.018/1.00963 = 1.00832.  So - the growth rate of real GDP/cap is a lousy 0.832%.

Meanwhile, as national wealth per cap growth is less than a single digit, CEO salary increases are deep into double digit territory, with a median of 27% for U.S. companies in general, and a whopping 37% for companies in the S and P 500.   

"Wages for everybody else have either been in decline or stagnated in this period, and that's for those who are in work," Paul Hodgson, a senior research associate at GMI, told the Guardian. "I had a feeling that we would see some significant increases this year. But 30 to 40 percent was something of a surprise."

John H. Hammergren of healthcare company McKesson Corp. was the highest-paid CEO in 2010, taking home $145.3 million in compensation, the LA Times reported. His base salary of $1.6 million was supplemented by more than 3.3 million exercised stock options, which earned him a profit of $112 million.

Three of the ten executives with the biggest pay packages were in the healthcare industry, while another two were in real estate, MoneyWatch reported. Four CEOs on the list retired or were let go last year, pumping up their pay with severance or stock sales on the way out, the LA Times reported.

Now that is interesting.  Healthcare is in crisis, but the CEO's rake tens of millions off the top while health care related expenses cause more than half of all personal bankruptcies.  CEO's get fabulously wealthy in real estate, while millions of people are under water in their mortgages.  Topping it off is the practice of rewarding failure with enormous monetary payouts.

Does anyone see a disconnect here?

Don't you think this might be a part of why we are so badly screwed?

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