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Obama Speaks Up on CEO-to-Worker Pay Ratios

2813085052_cd9dd5b254_oBy Bridget Quigg, PayScale

"The typical CEO who used to earn about 30 times more than his or her worker now earns 110 times more."— Tweet from President Obama, December 6, 2011

This morning in Osawatomie, Kansas, a small town of just 4,600 residents, President Barack Obama spoke to a group of rural Americans that likely didn't include many billionaires. He focused his speech on the American middle class and why he thinks it is theatened. Who did he point a finger at as a group contributing to this eroding middle class? CEOs at major corporations.

Today, PayScale released an infographic title, "CEO Pay in Perspective," showing how cash compenstaion of CEOs at Fortune's top 50 companies compares to the average worker's pay at each of those companies. We discovered that UnitedHealth Group's CEO Stephen J. Hemsly earns approximately $1,737 for every one dollar the average worker at UnitedHealth Group takes home. Obama could have used that statstic in his speech.

Here is some of what he had to say, quoted from a transcript of his speech on Fox News Insider:

"America was built on the idea of broad-based prosperity – that’s why a CEO like Henry Ford made it his mission to pay his workers enough so that they could buy the cars they made. It’s also why a recent study showed that countries with less inequality tend to have stronger and steadier economic growth over the long run." - President Barack Obama

"Today, we are still home to the world’s most productive workers and innovative companies. But for most Americans, the basic bargain that made this country great has eroded. Long before the recession hit, hard work stopped paying off for too many people. Fewer and fewer of the folks who contributed to the success of our economy actually benefitted from that success. Those at the very top grew wealthier from their incomes and investments than ever before. But everyone else struggled with costs that were growing and paychecks that weren’t – and too many families found themselves racking up more and more debt just to keep up." - President Barack Obama

More from PayScale

Who Earns Most? Ratio of Pay CEO-to-Worker

The Secrets of Your Boss's Salary

5 Job Search Advancements to Be Thankful For

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