Become a Socialist With This CEO Pay Calculator

Photo:  picture alliance, Getty Images
Photo: picture alliance, Getty Images

You’ve probably heard, anecdotally, that Jeff Bezos earns your salary in some absurdly short amount of time — but do you know exactly how short? Well, now there’s a tech CEO salary calculator from SimpleTexting that can give you the infuriatingly precise answer. You can also use it to figure out how quickly Elon Musk could pay off your mortgage, or that Mark Zuckerberg could pay off the average student HECS debt in 8 1/2 minutes. Does Jeff Bezos make enough to cover your living expenses in more or less time than it would take you to pledge yourself to the fight to burn capitalism to the ground? (The answer is less time — Bezos earns the annual rent for my two-bedroom Brooklyn apartment in under 15 seconds.)

(If you read at an average speed of around 300 words per minute, it took you roughly 24 seconds to read the preceding paragraph; according to the calculator, Jeff Bezos made just over $86,600 in that time.)

While there’s nothing particularly unique about the wealth accumulated by tech CEOs versus those in, say, the banking sector, they have becomes familiar targets of proletariat ire, particularly as their fortunes swell even as the pandemic takes a greater toll on average Americans. SimpleText’s calculator operates based on data from a pool of the 15 most generously compensated executives in the tech industry, from Bezos to Zuckerberg (what a pool party that would be). According to the site:

We ran the numbers, and as of 2019, fifteen of the most generously-compensated tech CEOs in the U.S. have a combined annual income of over 83 billion dollars. We calculated annual income from SEC filings by collecting the sum of each CEO’s base salary, annual cash bonuses, annual stock awards (or earnings from equity), and other forms of compensation.

Simply pick a CEO from the dropdown menu, choose your salary or expense, enter the amount and hit “calculate” to see how long it would take said mogul to thoughtlessly earn your life-changing financial windfall in terms of days, hours and minutes. You can then share your results on Facebook — though I wouldn’t, unless you are OK with giving everyone an easy way to figure out what you make, and also OK with using Facebook.

SimpleText presents the calculator without particular context, though it’s pretty clear we’re supposed to walk away with the idea that executive compensation is absurd; executive pay averages 278:1 versus the average worker salary, according to a 2018 report from the Economic Policy Institute. You already know, of course, that (again according to the Economic Policy Institute) “[e]xorbitant CEO pay is a major contributor to rising inequality” and that “CEOs are getting more because of their power to set pay, not because they are increasing productivity or possess specific, high-demand skills.” You’re already angry. But now your anger is, at least, more precise.

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