Don't Cap CEO Pay, Voters Say, and 4 More Things to Know Today

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Here's a quick rundown from the world of business and economics this morning: the things you need to know, and some you'll just want to know.

• Swiss voters have rejected a proposal to cap the salaries of top executives at 12 times their company's lowest wage, apparently taking to heart the warnings of business leaders that such a law would damage Switzerland's economy, Reuters reports. The nation voted 66 percent against imposing the limit, according to a projection from Swiss television. Perhaps they felt that cap was a bit tight; certainly it's far lower than what U.S. CEOs expect. Among the S&P 500 companies, the average CEO makes 204 times what his rank-and-file workers do; that's up 20 percent since 2009.

• American Airlines is in court Monday seeking final approval for its merger with US Airways (LCC), which is good news for the struggling carrier, and probably bad news for fliers. Merged airlines, as we all know, reduce flights and seats to save money, and then raise prices because they can. A USA TODAY Network analysis of the top 100 airports in the lower 48 U.S. states found that "on average, those that lost at least a quarter of their domestic seats since the start of 2005 saw nearly twice the average fare increase over the past eight years."

• Last week, we reported about two different companies interested in buying Time Warner Cable (TWC): Giant Comcast (CMCSA) and smaller rival Charter Communications (CHTR). Now there's word that the two are contemplating a joint deal to buy TWC and split it up between them. That would help Comcast (already the nation's No. 1 cable company) to avoid antitrust issues with the deal, while a making it easier for Charter (far smaller than either of the other two) to pull together financing for its part of the acquisition.

• Walmart CEO and President Mike Duke, 63, has announced he's retiring from those roles. The world's No. 1 retailer says Doug McMillon, now its head of international operations, will be his successor. A spokesman said Duke's decision was "a personal one," having nothing to do with any of the issues currently troubling the company, such as the allegations that international subsidiaries in Mexico and elsewhere paid bribes.

• And finally, entrepreneur/angel investor Jason Calacanis is a big fan of loosening the rules around crowd-funding to let average Joes get into the high-stakes game of venture capitalism. Calacanis (who sold his startup, Weblogs to AOL for $25 million in 2005) argued that if consumers are allowed to gamble in Vegas, they should be allowed to gamble on start-ups, and that their insights as users will help them pick winners. We wonder if all those retail investors who lost big on the Facebook IPO would agree.


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8 Comments

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jdykbpl45

Who cares about the swiss. Eliminate stock options entirely. Then see the executives howl.

November 25 2013 at 3:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Daniel Embody

If you think executives are being overpaid here is what to do. Buy stock in the company. Using your shares, vote them out. Then nominate someone else to take their place.

November 25 2013 at 1:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jj2301

If companies want to pay executives huge salaries, I'm fine with it. Taxation rules are what needs to change; any and all compensation an employee receives should be considered gross income. That's the way to at least get these guys to pay their fair share in taxes.

November 25 2013 at 12:39 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
pbjclv

It's not the pay that should be capped. The bonuses are so far out of line, they passed up redicules in 1995. Corporate leaders are using decissions to earn more bonus money at the cost of the company and the employees. How can company's go bankrupt and corporate execs still get bonuses? What kind of a system allows company leader to earn their bonus while bankrupting their company?

November 25 2013 at 12:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
crimeslawyer

Socialism is when everyone is equally miserable. Is this what you libs want?

November 25 2013 at 11:53 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
555555

I trust this vote about as much as I trust the main stream media ....NUff said

November 25 2013 at 11:33 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
allyndp

Wow let us have such a vote here and see what happens

November 25 2013 at 11:06 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to allyndp's comment
willypfistergash

Easy there cowboy...we aren't a socialist cointry...at least yet.

November 25 2013 at 12:39 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply