The highest-paid CEOs by state (copy)

FILE- In this March 14, 2019, file photo Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks before unveiling the Model Y at Tesla's design studio in Hawthorne, Calif. Musk topped the New York Times' annual list of the highest paid CEOs in the country.

You've probably seen the stories about the New York Times' annual list of the highest paid CEOs in the country.

Suffice it to say they aren't hurting.

In fact, if you thought CEO pay was already outlandish, you haven't seen anything yet.

According to the Times, the median of the 200 top chief executives received compensation totaling $18.6 million in 2018, up about 6.3 percent from the year before — roughly twice the increase the average working stiff received during this "roaring economy." Interestingly, economists and the Trump government call the 3.2 percent hike in ordinary wages last year "robust."

The higher pay for the big boss was attributed to profit increases for most of their corporations and, of course, President Donald Trump's tax cuts for the rich. Truth be told, though, CEO pay seems to climb no matter what.

Leading the pack on the list this year is Tesla's boss, Elon Musk. The flamboyant Musk decided not to take any pay in 2017 to reflect the problems his company was experiencing getting cars to the market. Well, his board more than made up for that self-sacrifice by awarding Musk a pay package equaling $2.3 billion in 2018. That's right, billion with a "b."

And Tesla is still struggling.

Speaking of struggles, Uber's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi was paid $45.3 million in 2018, but since Uber was not a public company at the time, he's not on the top 200 list. Now that it has gone public, we learn the corporation lost $1 billion in its first quarter. Perhaps a raise is in order? For the CEO maybe, but not for all those "independent contractor" drivers.

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I used to think that professional athletes are paid too much — $25 million a year for pitching a baseball?

But then I realized you've got to produce before getting that contract.

Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital Times. dzweifel@madison.com608-252-6410 and on Twitter @DaveZweifel.  

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