ANNUAL-meeting season is unfolding for corporations, and the script is playing out as usual - chief executive officers will get their way.

They may endure the verbal lashings of a couple of shareholders, perhaps face a slightly embarrassing ''say no pay'' vote about their princely income and then intone that after careful analysis, a compensation committee advised by experts, unanimously approved their ridiculous pay package.

Extreme executive compensation is hardly a new issue. A Clinton-era law tried to pinch pay by limiting to $1 million the tax deduction companies could claim for the C.E.O's cash compensation.

Board responded by granting C.E.O's more in stock and stock options.

The switch to equity-based pay is one reason chief executives have benefited disproportionately, with some now earning more than 1,000 times the median salary of their employee.

According to a study by the Economic Policy Institute, C.E.O payouts rose about 1,000 percent between 1978 and 2017 in 2017 dollars.

The Standard & Poor's 500, by contrast rose 637 percent, while the typical worker's salary increased all of 11.2 percent.

The extravagance of C.E.O pay suffered anew when Abigail Disney, granddaughter of the Walt Disney Company co-founder Roy Disney, called Bob Iger's $65 million compensation ''insane''.

She then criticized the company for bragging, in its response to her, that it paid theme park workers a minimum of $15 an hour - twice the federal minimum. Big deal, she countered.

''Cast members'' still struggle to make ends meet while Mr. Iger is earning 1,424 times the media employee pay.

There are some good reasons C.E.O pay has risen. Large companies keep getting-bigger, and in some ways more complex. Health care, Pharmaceutical and media companies have been making sizable acquisitions., as these industries to consolidate.

Disney, for instance, just bought a large chunk of 21st Century's Fox's media and entertainment properties for $71.3 billion. AT&T bought Time Warner for $85 billion.

And no one is arguing that Mr. Iger, for instance, isn't a first-rate C.E.O. But executive pay is exceeding revenue and profit growth.

Captains of  industry were always paid very nicely for steering the corporate ship. In 1994 General Electric's chief executive, Jack Welch, pocketed a $4.35 million in salary and $7.8 million in stock awards [about $7.5 million and $13.8 million in 2019 dollars].

By today's standards, Mr. Welch was vastly underpaid.

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Operational Research on C.E.O. Pay,  continues. The World Students Society thanks the editorial board of New York Times.


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