CEO Pay vs. Your Pay

Last Updated Apr 28, 2008 7:25 PM EDT

The question is often asked, "Are American CEOs paid too much?" The answer depends on who you ask. European CEOs will often physically blanch when talking about their compensation compared to that of their American counterparts. And American legislators have called for more transparency, though some American analysts counter that if you want top talent to bring in the big bucks, you gotta shell out â€" the bloated compensation packages of failed CEOs notwithstanding.

It's pretty easy to predict where a labor union like the AFL-CIO would stand on the issue. In its recent posting, 2007 Trends in Executive Pay, the organization notes that average CEO pay was 42 times that of the average employee in 1980. In 1990, the average CEO was getting 107 times that of the average employee. Ten years later it was 525 times. But by 2006 the average CEO was getting "just" 364 times the pay of the average worker.

Tough times.

The average compensation for a an American CEO in 2007? $8.8 million. Too much? Too little? Just right? You tell us.