Twenty five CEOs of the richest American corporations got paid more last year than their entire firms coughed up to Uncle Sam, a bombshell new report says.
"These CEOs are reaping awesomely lavish rewards for the tax-dodging they have their corporations do," concluded the report from the liberal Institute for Policy Studies.
The companies, which include familiar corporate giants Boeing, Ford, eBay, General Electric, Verizon and Prudential, made an average of $1.9 billion in global profits each in 2010.
Tax shelters and clever accounting - 18 of the 25 have subsidiaries in offshore tax havens like Luxembourg - most of the companies actually got an average refund of $304 million instead of filling the federal coffers, the report says.
And their CEOs waltzed off with an average of $16.7 million in salary and bonuses, the group found.
"We have, in short, a corporate tax system today that works for top executives - and no one else," study co-author Chuck Collins said.
The report comes as Republicans in Washington are insisting on cutting spending on services to protect low taxes on the wealthy, while pushing for higher taxes on the poor and middle class.
The report was catnip to the Democrats, who have been trying without much success to make financial fairness a resonant issue.
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), ranking member on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, immediately called for hearings on CEO pay.
The highest paid corporate titan on the list, Stanley Black & Decker chief John Lundgren, raked in $32.6 million last year. The company got a $75 million tax refund.
Cablevision CEO James Dolan earned $13.2 million in 2010 as his company had a $3 million refund.
General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt took home $15.2 million, the company received a whopping $3.3 billion refund.
Boeing CEO Jim McNerney took home $13.8 million - $800,000 more than the aerospace giant paid in federal taxes.
Just to stick the knife in, the study noted that 16 of the 25 CEOs who made more than Uncle Sam were educated at taxpayer-funded public universities, including Verizon's Ivan Seidenberg, a CUNY grad, and Cablevision's Dolan, who went to SUNY in New Paltz.
Some of the companies singled out in the report called it inaccurate.
"GE pays what it owes," said General Electric spokesman Andrew Williams, who said the study did not include state taxes. Boeing spokesman Chaz Bickers told Reuters the study is "simply wrong."
The study found the average paycheck for the CEOs of the nation's biggest 500 companies was $10.7 million, while their average employee made $33,121 - a 325-to-1 gap, that jumped from a 263-to-1 ratio in 2009.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/2011/08/31/2011-08-31_25_ceos_of_the_richest_american_corporations_earned_more_than_their_firms_paid_i.html#ixzz1X7eKIz4k
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