I think it's perfectly appropriate to ask both questions. Simply because it's not "insane" by your estimate doesn't mean it's indicative of a rational ratio. And I lived through the 80's, as I'm sure you did. Not thinking I averaged anywhere CLOSE to 6% annual increases. I got great reviews and was usually told to be STOKED about 4% cuz that's more than most of my cohorts got.
But back to the question of why this matters. It's more than just the $. It's indicative of a growing sense that the CEO class is infallible. It doesn't matter how your company performs, if it tanks you just get less than a boatload of compensation. You don't step down in shame. You don't admit fault. If anything, you claim victory and move on to the next "failing upward" gig. These folks are so insulated from reality as to not even dare recognize when they hose something up. THAT'S the root of the issue.
And it leads to all sorts of poor decisions that are predicated on their basic assumption of infallibility. Outsourcing and losing core competencies while producing poor quality. Buying other companies to reduce competition and gain monopolies instead of building better mousetraps. The list goes on.
And not the least of which, is deciding that those profits are better spent buying legislation, giving each other bonuses and virtually anything but major profit sharing with the folks in the trenches.
But it's all good. Got a new house in the Hamptons. Hope to get there sometime...