In 2012, the median overall pay of corporate CEOs rose 8%, to $9.7 million. The value of CEO salaries, stock options, bonuses, and perks all rose in 2012, in most cases by double digit percentages.

The median wages of middle class workers rose by quite a bit less.

Between 2008 and 2012, enrollment in the US government's food stamp program rose by 70%. It is expected to rise again this year. "The biggest factor behind the upward march of food stamps is a sluggish job market and a rising poverty rate."

As the first generation of workers who spent their careers with 401(k) plans nears retirement, only about half "have confidence that they have enough money saved for an adequate retirement." For black families, the situation is markedly worse.

While the wealthy have much greater influence over public policy in America, research shows that their views on economic issues are much less populist than those of the average American.

Some argue that our system of CEO pay is unfair.

[Photo of Ralph Izzo, whose pay increased by 217% last year as his company's value fell: AP]