Executive Excess 2008
How Average Taxpayers Subsidize Runaway Pay
15th Annual CEO Compensation Survey
Institute for Policy Studies
CEO-WORKER DIVIDE: CEOs in the United States, despite our current ard economic times, continue to pocket outlandishly large pay packages. S&P 500 CEOs
last year averaged $10.5 million, 344 times the pay of typical American workers. ompensation levels for private investment fund managers soared even further out into the pay stratosphere. Last year, the top 50 hedge and private equity fund managers averaged $588 million each, more than 19,000 times as much as typical U.S. workers earned.
TAXPAYER SUBSIDIES FOR EXECUTIVE PAY: Average U.S. taxpayers subsidize excessive executive compensation — by more than $20 billion per year — via a variety of tax and accounting loopholes. That $20 billion for America’s most powerful is more than double what the federal government spent last year on educating
America’s most vulnerable — children with disabilities.
INDIRECT TAXPAYER SUPPORT FOR RUNAWAY PAY: Many billions more taxpayer dollars indirectly encourage excessive executive pay, through everything from government contracts for goods and services to corporate bailouts. More than 85 percent of the public companies on the federal government’s top 100 contractors list paid their CEOs over 100 times the pay of average U.S. workers.
REFORM ROADBLOCKS: Legislation that would plug executive-friendly tax loopholes is already pending in Congress. But this legislation has stalled — and will likely remain stalled unless the November 2008 elections change current Congressional voting dynamics.
IF CURRENT TRENDS CONTINUE: The divide between CEO and worker pay appears likely to grow even wider, since industries projected to show the largest employment growth over the next decade sport pay gaps far wider than industries that are losing the most jobs.
EXECUTIVE PAY AND WORKER RIGHTS: Excessive executive pay and the tax code loopholes that enable this excess reflect the absence of checks and balances on America’s economic landscape. Historically, trade unions have operated as the most important of these checks and balances. They could play that role again if lawmakers passed the pending Employee Free Choice Act, legislation that would help workers realize their right to organize into unions and bargain collectively with their employers.
Link to the Full Report and Data/Findings