THE EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION RACKET. Direct compensation for top CEO's went up by "only" 16 percent in 2005 after a more robust 41 percent in 2004. By comparison, median wages increased 3.2 percent in 2005 and somewhat less than that in 2004. Obviously, this is due to a dramatic acceleration in CEO productivity, catapulting the value of the top suits to ever-higher multiples of the value of the rest of us. Maybe. Well, actually, definitely not. Check out Gretchen Morgensen's fantastic New York Times article on the executive compensation racket and the not-so-independent independent consultants and compensation boards who make it happen.

--Matthew Yglesias

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