According to the Economic Policy Institute, a Washington-based research group, in 2005, the average CEO in the United States earned 262 times the pay of the average worker, the second-highest level in the 40 years for which data exist. In 2005, a CEO earned more in one workday (there are 260 in a year) than an average worker earned in 52 weeks, the EPI says. Though it seems unfair, many would argue that a good CEO is worth the price tag. Take John A. Thain, the CEO of Merrill Lynch. Thain was offered a $50 million paycheck with pay options worth up to $120 million to revive the ailing Wall Street firm, 'The New York Times' reported last fall. The story dubbed him "Wall Street's richest mop-up man, at least for now."