By Roger Bybee
America’s CEOs are truly in a league of their own when it comes to pay and power.
Total CEO pay at the largest 292 corporations averaged 325 times what the average worker made in 2010, a far higher ratio than in any other Western nation. This figure had actually declined from an incredible 525 times the typical worker’s wage in 2000. But the CEOs of the Top 100 are truly in another stratosphere. They averaged an astounding 1,723 times what their workers earned in 2007, according to Les Leopold’s excellent book, The Looting of America.
The Washington, D.C.-based think tank Institute for Policy Studies has come up with a different, but equally stunning, way of gauging CEO pay by making a simple comparison. For its new report, Executive Excess 2011, the IPS placed the compensation packages of America’s Top 100 CEOs alongside the tax bills of their corporations, and discovered that
Of last year’s 100 highest-paid U.S. corporate chief executives, 25 took home more in CEO pay than their company paid in 2010 federal corporate income taxes.
U.S. corporations and their stooges in Congress, including some Democrats, frequently whine that the U.S. corporate tax rate is far too high for U.S. firms to remain competitive. In fact, the multitude of loopholes mean that the official 35% tax rate is almost never imposed. Corporate tax rates for U.S. firms are actually among the lowest among the 30 advanced nations belonging to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, reports Citizens for Tax Justice:
According to a 2007 study by the Bush Treasury Department, between 2000-2005 US corporations paid only 13.4% of their profits in corporate income taxes, well below the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) average of 16.1%.
Just in case those figures are too complex for the average congressperson to comprehend, the IPS study offers some very memorable facts: