Pay for Performance

According to The Nation:

According to the Institute for Policy Studies and financial reporter Michael Brush, CEOs at top defense contractors have seen annual pay raises of 200 to 688 percent since 9/11. The average annual salary for a CEO at a top defense contracting firm is now more than $12 million.

On one level, this is easy to understand. Defense contractors must have made a ton of money since 9/11 thanks to the massive hikes in defense spending. On another level, though, it’s baffling. Defense contractors are making more money because of the war in Iraq and the “war on terror” not because they have super-smart CEOs. Why does their pay need to be tripled or more? Meanwhile, if the political situation ever changes and military spending goes down, lots of workers in defense-related industries will get laid off, but the executives will doubtless evade the sting of the downside even as the cleaned up during the fat years.