New CEO pay lists are misleading

The amount of money that CEOs at big U.S. companies make has been the subject of controversy for years. As proxies come out, the numbers for base salaries, bonuses, and stock options get added up and then put on endless lists of who made what.

As the market has fallen, stock options at most companies have lost a lot of their value, but cash compensation has remained high. Shareholders have pushed for "pay-for-performance" clauses when boards set management payouts, but it has not worked. The proposals are almost always voted down.