CEO pay gap at the center of capitalism vs. socialism debate

While wages are soaring across the country, a major pay gap between corporate executives and employees still exists.

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The pay disparity between CEOs and their workers has been at the center of the capitalism vs. socialism debate.

Bhaskar Sunkara, the author of “The Socialist Manifesto,” said during a FOX Business interview on Friday that while capitalism an abundance of wealth, a free market economy has hindered what people are able to do with the generated prosperity.

“There’s millions of Americans today that are saddled with medical debt. They are working hard and harder. We are working longer hours than our peers in other countries, but still we are not getting enough,” he told FOX Business’ Charles Payne.

CEO pay remains high, compared to the pay of typical workers. The ratio of corporate executives-to-worker compensation grew to 312-to-1, according to an Economic Policy Institute report.

Ed Conrad, the author of “The Upside of Inequality,” said during a FOX Business interview that individuals have to look at CEO pay relative to the salary of the top .01 percent, which he says is comparable.

“If you want the most talented people in America, where the opportunities are greater than they are in the rest of the high wage world…about $12 million is what you have to pay a person,” he said on “Making Money.”

During the FOX Business capitalism vs. socialism town hall on Thursday, Lou Dobbs argued that the inflated CEO salaries should be addressed by shareholders and management to lessen the ratio.

“The CEO pay is out of line. It is absolutely an anomaly within American history,” he said.

His comments come after Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of co-founder Roy Disney, blasted Disney CEO Bob Iger's $65 million pay.

Conrad said European corporate executives earn less than their American counterparts because the U.S. has five times as many companies valued over a billion dollars. European countries, he said, have a lower median income than the U.S. if you adjust the longer hours Americans work versus their European counterparts.

“On a per hour basis for any level of given capability, an American is earning 20 percent more than a European is,” Conrad said.

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The U.S. median household income reached a record $61,372 in 2017, increasing by 1.8 percent between 2016 and 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Sunkara said unions are the answer to bridging the pay gap in corporate America.

“Americans have been faced with regressive labor laws that have made it more difficult since the late 1940s to join unions in this country than any other advanced capitalist country," he said.