Hugely profitable companies pay more to CEOs than to Uncle Sam

Now isn’t this special?

According to the Institute of Policy Studies, a liberal think tank, 25 of the country’s 100 highest-paid CEOs were paid more personally than their corporations paid in federal income taxes last year. (The corporations in question made, on average, a profit of $1.9 billion each.)

If you believe many conservatives, that’s pretty amazing. After all, corporate taxes in America are allegedly sky high, so the fact that so many profitable companies somehow managed to pay their CEOs even more than they paid Uncle Sam — well, that’s really saying something.

“In 2009, we calculate, major corporate CEOs took home 263 times the pay of America’s average workers. Last year, this gap leaped to 325-to-1. Among the nation’s top firms, the S&P 500, CEO pay last year averaged $10,762,304, up 27.8 percent over 2009.”

Average CEO pay among the S&P 500 up 28 percent in a year. Tough times. And again, that’s not the high-performers, the CEOs who did something special. The average CEO got a 28 percent pay hike last year.

And how did those companies end up paying so little in taxes? The IJS helps explain:

“No tax-dodging strategy over recent years has filled U.S. corporate coffers more rapidly than the offshoring of corporate activity to tax havens in low- or no-tax jurisdictions. Eighteen of the 25 firms highlighted in this study operate subsidiaries in offshore tax haven jurisdictions. The firms, all combined, had 556 tax haven subsidiaries last year….

How do tax havens work? One common corporate accounting technique, “transfer pricing,” helps corporations shift profits offshore. Technology and drug companies regularly open shell companies — in tax havens — that hold their intellectual property rights. They then charge their U.S.-based operations inflated amounts for the use of these rights. These inflated costs get deducted off U.S. taxes. The overseas tax haven profits go un- or lightly taxed. Adding insult to injury, a coalition of corporate tax dodgers is now asking Congress to reward their tax avoidance with a deeply discounted 5 percent tax rate if they bring these funds back home where many of them started.”

These are American companies — corporations that are based here in the United States because they know that locating here maximizes their profits. They want all of the advantages of being American, meanwhile pretending that a lot of their operations are located on some little Caribbean island.

Personally, I think I’m going to open an offshore branch of Jay Bookman and have my paycheck sent there. I mean, why not? I’m a person, corporations are persons. If they can do it, I can do it too, right?

Well, there is one difference. As the IJS notes,”the 25 firms highlighted in this study spent a combined total of more than $150 million on lobbying and campaign contributions last year.” In contrast, I didn’t spend a dime.

In fact, 20 of the companies in question spent more money “lobbying lawmakers than they paid in corporate taxes. Eighteen gave more to the political campaigns of their favorite candidates than they paid to the IRS in taxes.”

You get what you pay for.

– Jay Bookman

982 comments Add your comment

Guy Incognito

August 31st, 2011
7:54 am

Like Birkshire Hathaway (SP?)? Buffet wants people to pay more taxes, and yet his company is at least 10 years behind in paying its tax bills

stands for decibels

August 31st, 2011
7:54 am

Why, you make it sound like this Republic has become corrupt, or something.

stands for decibels

August 31st, 2011
7:55 am

The average CEO got a 28 percent pay hike last year.

but they give so much, and ask so little of us!

Tommy Maddox

August 31st, 2011
7:57 am

What has a CEO asked you to do lately?

Granny Godzilla

August 31st, 2011
7:57 am

Heard this on NPR this morning…..

The GOP blocked a bill to close the “offshore loophole” last September
wonder why?

stands for decibels

August 31st, 2011
8:01 am

What has a CEO asked you to do lately?

You mean other than sacrificing my future financial security so that he can continue to enjoy a low tax rate?

And focusing this country on a non-existent “debt crisis” rather than getting its citizens working again?

And buying off a Supreme Court that returns the favor by ruling their way virtually every time their power is challenged?

Actually, this is going to take awhile…

stands for decibels

August 31st, 2011
8:04 am

Jay, how’s about including a nice chart with your piece? You know how the right wingers la-la-love it when you have a chart.

http://defendingthepublicgood.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Multiplier-of-CEO-pay4.png

Jay

August 31st, 2011
8:04 am

Hey Tommy, now that you’re here:

Over the weekend you posted a little football-related note, announcing that “Uh oh – Coons & Steelers coming on!”

What exactly did you mean by that, sir?

stands for decibels

August 31st, 2011
8:06 am

By the way, that chart @ 8.04 comes from this exceptionally well-thought-out piece on “American Exceptionalism” that should be force-fed to every man, woman, and child in this country.

http://defendingthepublicgood.org/2011/04/18/the-real-american-exceptionalism/

And, duh, obviously not all or even most CEOs are evil people, so spare Jay/me that. It’s just that they’ve bought themselves a protected status, and that needs to end.

Granny Godzilla

August 31st, 2011
8:07 am

What has a CEO asked you to do lately?

One asked me to update a spreadsheet another wanted horseradish sauce for his roast beast and another needed directions to memorial drive…

seriously …. all in the last 24 hours

carlosgvv

August 31st, 2011
8:11 am

The Republican Party has been fighting for years now to make America a 100% laissez faire place for Big Business to do as they please with little or no regulation. It’s no accident that these offshoring activities are taking place with the full approval of the bought and paid for Republicans. It’s also clear that the Republicans think so little of the intelligence level of their electorate that they are sure the continuing of these offshoring activities will in no way affect their getting elected and re-elected. Unfortunately, that seems all too true.

JKL2

August 31st, 2011
8:14 am

This one I think we can all pretty much agree on. CEO’s are grossly overpaid and many times, so much so, that it negatively effects, if not bankrupts, the company. Board of directors vote each other obscene golden parachutes and then screw over the workers. Socialism isn’t the answer, but a little common sense instead of straight out greed in the boardroom would go along way.

Call it like it is

August 31st, 2011
8:16 am

“Uh oh – Coons & Steelers coming on!”
More then likely he was talking about the Saints, who also are call coon a**, dont thing it was meant the way you thinking, at least I hope its not.

JKL2

August 31st, 2011
8:17 am

carlosgvv- It’s no accident that these offshoring activities are taking place with the full approval of the bought and paid for Republicans

Goldman-Sachs says, “What?”. It’s obviously the Repoublicans fault because we know there are no Democrats running major corporations in the US…

Adam

August 31st, 2011
8:18 am

In fact, 20 of the companies in question spent more money “lobbying lawmakers than they paid in corporate taxes.

Seems like if they were responsible businessmen, they wouldn’t go to the trouble. The cost of not lobbying and just paying the taxes would be less than lobbying AND paying the taxes.

ty webb

August 31st, 2011
8:18 am

“liberal think tank”

isn’t that an oxymoron?

Overtaxed and SO Unprosperous and I had to sell my Mansion for half Price!

August 31st, 2011
8:19 am

This is the reason why we simply must get the 50 percent that paid no income taxes last year to cough it up! Any good young Republican has enough brain cells left to know that! Our Uncle Sam has bills to pay and it just would not be fit or proper to ask either the job-creating CEO’s or the corporations to help. I hope that is not what you are implying, Jay. I mean, really!

Jay

August 31st, 2011
8:19 am

Nice try, Call It. But no cigar.

The game in question pitted the Atlanta Falcons vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Granny Godzilla

August 31st, 2011
8:20 am

JKL2

Can you name some “democratic” CEO’s that are off shoring?

Adam

August 31st, 2011
8:20 am

JKL2: CEO’s are grossly overpaid and many times, so much so, that it negatively effects, if not bankrupts, the company.

Please cite a major company this has happened to in the past 10 years. Bonus points if it happened during the recession.

Keep Up the Good Fight!

August 31st, 2011
8:21 am

Someone call me an ambulence…… I must be very ill. I agree with most of JKL2’s post.

stands for decibels

August 31st, 2011
8:21 am

> More then likely he was talking about the Saints, who also are call coon a**,

>>The game in question pitted the Atlanta Falcons vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers.

I too was hoping otherwise, but the Saints didn’t play until the next day…

http://www.nfl.com/schedules

Call it like it is

August 31st, 2011
8:21 am

Nice try, Call It. But no cigar

If he wasnt talking about the saints, then ban him! Enough said.

Normal

August 31st, 2011
8:22 am

When the Falcons were started there was a racist joke with the punchline “Foul-C..Ns” It was pitiful….

stands for decibels

August 31st, 2011
8:22 am

maybe he meant “honey badgers”?

stands for decibels

August 31st, 2011
8:22 am

Falcons were started there was a racist joke with the punchline “Foul-C..Ns”

omg.

carlosgvv

August 31st, 2011
8:23 am

JKL2

Actually, when I accuse the Republicans of being owned by Big Business, most conservatives respond by saying the Democrats are owned by the Unions. Whichever it is, it’s clear nothing good for the American people is coming from these cozy arrangements.

Overtaxed and SO Unprosperous and I had to sell my Mansion for half Price!

August 31st, 2011
8:26 am

You get what you pay for.

I should certainly hope that to be the case but have you looked at what a Republican Congressperson goes for these days! It’s simply outrageous and it’s not even tax deductible, yet. There are clear signs of a bubble forming here and I’ll be so excited to see it burst so I can pick up some politicians on the cheap once again.

Call it like it is

August 31st, 2011
8:26 am

Can you name some “democratic” CEO’s that are off shoring?

Warren Buffett.

Thomas

August 31st, 2011
8:26 am

Anne Cox Chambers
Net Worth $13.4 B

COX ENTERPRISES, INC. & SUBSIDIARIES, Petitioner v.
COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondent

These two items must want Jay to want to a) quit b) ignore or c) you guessed it- ignore and work for the company

Without hyprocrisy what would we do.

Jay

August 31st, 2011
8:27 am

Tommy? You out there?

carlosgvv

August 31st, 2011
8:28 am

Hey Jay, now that you’re here. On one of my earlier posts, you responded and then added “clean sheets”. What exactly did you mean by THAT, sir?

stands for decibels

August 31st, 2011
8:28 am

I agree with most of JKL2’s post.

as do I.

I would like to know how one achieves the objective of “common sense,” however, absent aggressive, far-reaching legislation. JKL2 says he doesn’t want “socialism”. But dang near anything even mildly progressive to rectify this state of affairs, that’s been proposed/debated in the past few years, has been called “socialist” by the GOP, or at least by a lot of their high-profile media supporters, and I’m assuming JKL2 agrees with such classification.

So how do you rectify this? Ask the boards of directors nicely?

@@

August 31st, 2011
8:29 am

Among the nation’s top firms, the S&P 500, CEO pay last year averaged $10,762,304, up 27.8 percent over 2009.”

I thought Obama was gonna take care of that.

Since 2009, GE has closed more than 25 manufacturing plants in the US and slashed thousands of jobs, according to the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America. While GE has laid off at least 10,000 workers in the US, it has created more than 30,000 jobs in India over the past decade. The administration’s job czar runs a company that employs more workers overseas than it does in the US.
During his recent eight-hour floor speech on inequality, tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy, and corporate greed, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) cited an investors’ meeting on December 6, 2002 at which Immelt said, “When I am talking to GE managers, I talk China, China, China, China, China. You need to be there. You need to change the way people talk about it and how they get there. I am a nut on China. Outsourcing from China is going to grow to $5 billion. We are building a tech center in China. Every discussion today has to center on China. The cost basis is extremely attractive.”

Since Immelt became CEO in 2001, he has been paid $90 million in salary, cash, and pension benefits, and like most multi-nationals, GE just posted better-than-expected fourth quarter and 2010 profits.

Joe the Plutocrat

August 31st, 2011
8:30 am

guy, I am not a Berkshire stockholder, but I believe Buffet takes a $100,000.00 (or $1 million) annual salary as CEO, which means if Berkshire pays no taxes, then it is in this group. that said, Buffet does not dispute that he takes full advantage of every loophole in the tax code (specifically the 15% “capital gains”). he merely suggested that perhaps we need to tax investment income at the same rate we tax earned income. in a very semantic way, it makes you think about the word “earned” (was I paid to “produce” something, or was I paid to simply shuffle paper?). does anyone know the rate at which lottery players or legal gamblers are taxed on their winnings?

stands for decibels

August 31st, 2011
8:31 am

On one of my earlier posts, you responded and then added “clean sheets”.

ha ha ha.

I think this dates back to a practice over at Atrios–whenever a discussion thread had become so intense that the participants might not notice that a new post was up, someone would call “sheets”, as in, clean sheets.

It probably pre-dates Atrios, that’s just where I first saw it. Maybe Jay saw it elsewhere, but I know he used to link to that joint.

Brosephus

August 31st, 2011
8:31 am

Normal

I had never heard that one until now. Glad I had not heard that because my first instinct would have been to try to rip out the vocal chords of whomever said that in my presence. Now, since I have much better control over my inner ABM, I’d just shake my head and say “Bless their Heart!!!”

on topic:

Heard about this listening to CNN this morning. I’m not surprised by this at all. I also won’t be surprised by the number of people who come here later on to defend this. I’m expecting to see mass deflection and diversion (D&D) on this thread all day. The attempt at D&D will have to be much better than those weak attempts at 8:17 & 8:18. Those wouldn’t even make the finals at the D&D Olympics.

Show Low Here We Come

August 31st, 2011
8:32 am

jay – i think you have assured that tommy (lester) maddox won’t be heard from again today.

AmVet - Read my lips. No new Texans!

August 31st, 2011
8:32 am

From sfd’s outstanding, if not damning, link:

http://defendingthepublicgood.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Multiplier-of-CEO-pay4.png

http://defendingthepublicgood.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/Percent-of-income-received-by-top-4.png

Jay, you know I call out the racists and bigots here regularly.

But the term Coons as it relates to the Falcons is not what it seems. It is a (widely?) used term of endearment and is a take off on the team’s very name – Falcoons vs. Falcons. I use it from time to time and it does NOT, at least for me, have ANY melanin-related undertones.

It is akin to me calling the Minnesota Twins the Twinkies, though that is a bit more derisive, it is not a slur against my gay brethren. Both are just kinda funny…

Adam

August 31st, 2011
8:32 am

@@: I thought Obama was gonna take care of that.

Yeah, our anti-business president was supposed to PUNISH CEOs for their greed.

Oh-well. Who is anti-business?

Butch Cassidy

August 31st, 2011
8:32 am

I think I see a bumper sticker in this ” How can I pay my CEO an obscene salary if the Governement keeps wanting me to pay taxes?” Anyone other than Obama in 2012.

Jay

August 31st, 2011
8:32 am

Thomas, Mrs. Chambers owns the company, which is privately held, not publicly traded.

You do raise an interesting point, however.

Although I haven’t seen the data and don’t know how it could be obtained, since privately held companies don’t release it, it would be interesting to compare CEO pay in privately held companies with that in publicly traded companies.

Do privately held companies — where the people setting CEO salary are actually the owners of the company, which means it’s coming out of their pockets — pay CEOs less than publicly held companies, where owners have no direct say whatsoever in CEO pay?

jt

August 31st, 2011
8:34 am

Corrupt our government is.Glad Bookman is admitting it.
.
Who in their right mind would want this gang of 520 to have MORE money.?
.
Progressives…..That’s who.
.
..right or left………………progressives are….mentally challenged.

Mary Elizabeth

August 31st, 2011
8:34 am

I have read that this type of buying of government officials’ votes to serve the profit motives of corporations (especially for their top CEOs) is called an “echo chamber.” It is all part of a “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” circular process, enclosed within that echo chamber to serve those relative few. The “game” being played serves those playing it well, but not the majority of the American people.

Yet, the propaganda coming from those well-served in this corporate profit game has been so sharply produced that the average American has supported these people, against their own best interests, in the name of “these top Americans are the smartest, richest, and most industrious of us all, therefore they deserve all they get.”

By not paying appropriate taxes into the overall American system, these top 2% of Americans are having their desired effect of shrinking the American government which, in turn, forces cuts in government programs such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public education, police and fire services, national and state parks, all of which enrich and elevate the lives of average Americans.

In addition, by their sharp propaganda of “government is bad” (that they have well paid for), they have been successful in dividing average American into two camps – the supporters of the public vs. the private sectors. It is time for all average Americans to realize what has been happening that has been working against their interests. Hopefully, they will soon realize that the government is, in fact, not bad – it IS the people – and that the government can serve the interests of the majority of average Americans, as it did so well immediately following WWII, to raise so many into the middle class.

Brosephus

August 31st, 2011
8:34 am

does anyone know the rate at which lottery players or legal gamblers are taxed on their winnings?

I think lottery winners are taxed at 41% or something near there. When you take the lump sum, you lose just about half to taxes.

TM

August 31st, 2011
8:34 am

Can you disclose how much money the CEO for Cox Enterprises is paid? or the amount of taxes Cox Enterprises paid?

Jay

August 31st, 2011
8:35 am

Carlos, I explained the derivation of that immediately after your question. Go take a look.

Overtaxed and SO Unprosperous and I had to sell my Mansion for half Price!

August 31st, 2011
8:36 am

Not to worry. Now that those corporations pay no taxes the jobs will come flooding back into the states just like the Republicans promised. Everyone knows that it is taxes that keep the jobs away.

godless heathen

August 31st, 2011
8:36 am

If we lowered our corporate tax rates then the corporations wouldn’t have to go the off-shore route.

Did anyone see what M. Vick is going to get paid? Like 100 million + endorsements. How many more times the wage of a hotdog vendor at the stadium? 100 million / 5 equals $20 mil per year, divided by 20 games = $1 million per game. Hotdog hawker, what $200 per game? That would be a factor of 50,000. No outrage over that?

Jimmy62

August 31st, 2011
8:37 am

Maybe if corporate tax rates were lower, they wouldn’t have so much incentive to locate elsewhere. And somehow the concept that higher taxes on companies just mean they pass it down as higher prices on their goods and services has never gotten through your head.

Jay

August 31st, 2011
8:37 am

TM, I cannot. Again, it is a privately held, family-owned company. Publicly traded companies have to release such data to stockholders, investors, etc. That is not an issue with privately held companies.

Granny Godzilla

August 31st, 2011
8:37 am

Call it like it is

While I read that Mr. Buffett has money “off shore”, I can’t find that he has off shored jobs…..Please provide a link to you info.

JKL2

August 31st, 2011
8:38 am

Granny- Warren Buffet evidently. I’m sure you could google it.

Adam- Please cite a major company this has happened to in the past 10 years.

Adelphi- Paid the Rigas over $1B in 5 years. Probably why they’re in jail.

Would love to stay and talk but have way too much going on today to play. Have a good one everybody.

Adam

August 31st, 2011
8:39 am

If we lowered our corporate tax rates then the corporations wouldn’t have to go the off-shore route.

Maybe if corporate tax rates were lower, they wouldn’t have so much incentive to locate elsewhere.

AHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAA. The stoopid, it burns!

Jimmy62

August 31st, 2011
8:40 am

“does anyone know the rate at which lottery players or legal gamblers are taxed on their winnings?”

For gamblers it depends. If you are a poker player who meets the requirements to call it your profession, then you are taxes as if it was a normal salary. If you’re just a dude going to Vegas for the weekend, it gets taxes more like lottery winnings. Of course they make it hard for the pros, they have to give a lump sum for their winnings, but itemize losses. So if you won $100k, but lost $80k, you better make sure you kept receipts for every single loss.

Butch Cassidy

August 31st, 2011
8:40 am

godless heathen – ” No outrage over that?”

When atheltes and actors start complaining about taxes being to high and hiding their profits offshore while cutting employees in the hundreds of thousands and justify it under the guise of profit margins, then yes I will be outraged. To my knowledge, Neither Michael Vick or Johnny Depp have contributed to the unemployment situation in this country.

stevie ray

August 31st, 2011
8:41 am

Jay, I never quite understood the fascination regarding executive pay. It’s not like there is anything Washington or the taxpayers can do that will pass the court sniff test. Arguably, it would simply push corporate headquarters offshore and represent the most significant message that capitalism as we know it is fading fast. The issue makes nice sound bites but is truly irrelevant since other than shareholders, no control exists over same.

I do think that a change in the tax law to tax a portion of offshore corporate cash holdings or otherwise offer favorable treatment for putting these significant assets to work in the US. Uncertainty and miniscule interest rate market (why banks aren’t putting money out except to US government) impede shareholders from pushing for domestic investment. Also, if you owned a business, would you want the headache of overpaying union members who are holding on desperately to a bygone era?

Adam

August 31st, 2011
8:41 am

Wait, looks like that’s the Repulican talking point… CEOs get paid more than the companies are taxed and want things to be offshore because they are taxed too much!

Granny Godzilla

August 31st, 2011
8:42 am

JKL2

Nope, doesn’t look like it….

Perhaps with a little effort on your part you could back up your wild
guess.

@@

August 31st, 2011
8:42 am

Brosephus

August 31st, 2011
8:43 am

If we lowered our corporate tax rates then the corporations wouldn’t have to go the off-shore route.

I doubt it. If we zeroed out taxes, corporations would still off-shore because they can still get low tax rates AND cheaper labor in other countries. Until we make it cost them more to ship that cheap sh*t here as opposed to just making it here, they will continue to off-shore. Taxes are only a part of it, and definitely not the major part.

Citizen of the World

August 31st, 2011
8:43 am

From Living in the Wasteland of the Free by Iris Dement:

We got CEOs makin’ 300 times the worker’s pay
But they’ll fight like hell to keep from raisin’ the minimum wage
And if you dont like it, mister, they’ll ship your job to some third-world country ‘cross the sea
Livin’ in the Wasteland of the Free

They also fight like hell to keep from paying personal and corporate taxes.
They fight like hell to keep from complying with environmental regulations and worker protections.

My theory is that corporate CEOs are paid so much to ensure that their consciences are thoroughly and completely bought.

Joe the Plutocrat

August 31st, 2011
8:43 am

JB, I am sure the public/private issue has been discussed at a higher level, but here is my take. the transparency required in a public company is problably rooted in the mythical idea that shareholders (individual investors) have rights. that is to say, these laws exist so the gub-ment can create the illusion (or further the delusion) that it cares about investors or it exists to “serve and protect” citizens. I would guess that there is actually MORE (internal) transparency in private companies, but only because (literally) they enjoy a level of “privacy” not offered public companies. the CEO of a private company wants to keep productive, talented workers; the CEOs of many public companies HAVE to hire/keep unproductive, untalented workers in order to satisfy this regulation or that. why do you think companies send so many jobs overseas? and I am not saying that complete laissez faire capitalism is the answer, but I do think it works much better in a private company. in addition, this is one of the debates/wrestling matches any entreprenuer has when he/she considers taking a company public or keeping it private.

stands for decibels

August 31st, 2011
8:43 am

Dumb question, but why aren’t lottery winnings (or, frankly, any gambling winnings) considered capital gains by Uncle Sam and taxed accordingly?

Not that I especially care, just curious, since it seems like a very specific investment/gain situation to me.

AmVet - Read my lips. No new Texans!

August 31st, 2011
8:43 am

While I read that Mr. Buffett has money “off shore”, I can’t find that he has off shored jobs…..Please provide a link to you info.

GG, you honestly know these parrots know of what they speak?

Puhleeze.

The reality averse, self-destructive neo-cons just pull ____ out of their _____ and think it is the equivalent of intelligent discourse.

But, of course, YOU OR I can always Google it. (head slap and eye roll)

[...] …Report: CEOs Rewarded for Avoiding TaxesTheStreet.comStudy: CEO pay tops tax billPoliticoHugely profitable companies pay more to CEOs than to Uncle SamAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)Kansas City Star -Montreal Gazette -Denver Postall 94 [...]

Overtaxed and SO Unprosperous and I had to sell my Mansion for half Price!

August 31st, 2011
8:43 am

If only the American dreamer would consent to lowering the tax rate on these corporations to something less than a negative number! Why! Why will you people not lower the corporate tax rates more so jobs can come back!!!

Adam

August 31st, 2011
8:43 am

stevie ray: Also, if you owned a business, would you want the headache of overpaying union members who are holding on desperately to a bygone era?

I do own a business, and I wish I could “hire” people for free to do the work for me. Pesky “regulations” are in the way. Slave labor laws are hampering my business and profits!

Jay

August 31st, 2011
8:44 am

Jimmy, if the tax were so easily passed on, corporations wouldn’t be going through such contortions and hiring expensive lobbyists to avoid them, now would they?

Thomas

August 31st, 2011
8:45 am

Do privately held companies — where the people setting CEO salary are actually the owners of the company, which means it’s coming out of their pockets — pay CEOs less than publicly held companies, where owners have no direct say whatsoever in CEO pay?

I am a firm believer that if you built it- you deserve the comp. There are many reasons I believe the public markets are broken. A large piece of the problem is exec comp and Wall Street’s infatuation with CEO- (nardelli). Wall Street needs to take a page from Billy Ball and limit CEO pay.

My issue is that you and the “media” give a pass to the largest tax scam in the country which is the elimination of estate tax. Ms. Chambers had an issue (as you can see from the above cite) and Buffett paid attorneys millions to design a structure to eliminate billions of estate tax and income tax (charitable contributions). It is like Cheech preaching the issue of smoking.

.

El Jefe

August 31st, 2011
8:46 am

Yeah, maybe GE is using too many “tax dodges” because the tax rate is too high. Imagine, GE paying no corporate taxes, but still gets appointed to Obama’s Jobs Council. GE with more cash than the US government is in charge of jobs.

Brosephus

August 31st, 2011
8:47 am

Dumb question, but why aren’t lottery winnings (or, frankly, any gambling winnings) considered capital gains by Uncle Sam and taxed accordingly?

The winners don’t band together to lobby Congress in the same fashion that the winners in capital gains have done. In DC, money talks.

Jay

August 31st, 2011
8:48 am

@@, I would agree with you on that. It’s over the top and deeply insulting to say that Republicans didn’t care that 3,000 Americans had died. That’s clearly untrue.

On the other hand, that analysis of the political uses to which 9/11 was put is pretty accurate.

Talking Head

August 31st, 2011
8:48 am

Whaa whaa whaa…Jay, why don’t you write a column on Michael Vick getting a $100 million contract or Will Ferrell getting $30 million for one film next.

RAMBLE ON!!!

August 31st, 2011
8:48 am

You can “work” for Obama and not pay any taxes like Jeffery Immelt of G.E.

godless heathen

August 31st, 2011
8:48 am

The point missed on those of the socialist bent, is that M Vick and the Hot Dog hawker are paid according to what the Eagles think their worth is to the operation. Unless you are a part owner of the Eagles, what’s it to you? Same as what the CEO of a Fortune 500 company takes home.

Now does the tax code need fixing? Certainly. But I don’t see any politicians with the spine to tackle the system. Money talks and BS walks.

Butch Cassidy

August 31st, 2011
8:49 am

Maybe of we eliminate all taxes on corporations, eliminate the minimum wage and repeal the child labor laws, corporations might then have enough “certainty” to begin hiring again. Hey, another bumper sticker – “Give me your 6 year old 7 days a week, and I’ll give you a job”

Adam

August 31st, 2011
8:49 am

El Jefe: Imagine, GE paying no corporate taxes, but still gets appointed to Obama’s Jobs Council.

Yep, since corporations are people too, GE, the corporation, was appointed to the Jobs Council.

Jay

August 31st, 2011
8:50 am

El Jefe, can you explain the conservative fixation on GE?

It’s almost as if it’s OK for corporations run by conservative Republicans to offshore jobs and use tax dodges, but somehow deeply offensive and wrong for a company run by a Democrat to do so?

Misty Fyed

August 31st, 2011
8:50 am

I have to challenge the effectiveness of these CEOs. I mean they have to spend mega bucks to lobbyists to keep a loophole available to reduce their income tax. About 46% of Americans are able to pay no income tax at all and never spend a dime on lobbyists.

Adam

August 31st, 2011
8:51 am

Oh wait, the Republican talking point is all about movie actors and athletes getting high pay. Wow, you guys really are dense and will repeat whatever you hear on talk radio in the morning.

Butch Cassidy

August 31st, 2011
8:51 am

Talking Head – “why don’t you write a column on Michael Vick getting a $100 million contract or Will Ferrell getting $30 million for one film next.”

Because they don’t lobby Congress screaming poverty while eliminating hundreds of thousands of workers in favor of slave labor in a third world country while crying over the corporate tax rate.

Good Little Liberal

August 31st, 2011
8:51 am

Somebody get a rope. We need to get rid of those CEOs and let liberals with no experiance run our companies. After all, it’s worked so wee in the White House.

godless heathen

August 31st, 2011
8:51 am

“To my knowledge, Neither Michael Vick or Johnny Depp have contributed to the unemployment situation in this country.”

But they are hoarding the money!!!!!!! They could be hiring people, putting people to work, and paying more taxes!!!!!!!!!! Instead they are just piling it up in the bank!!!!!

stevie ray

August 31st, 2011
8:52 am

Thanks for the response Adam. I’m not sure I understand your response relative to “free labor” unless sarcastic. I’m sure like most employers, you want your employees to be motivated. Average weekly wages for union employees is around $900 vs $725 for non-union. I doubt this is fully loaded for benefits, pensions and other post-retirement commitments made to unions by public and private entities who can no longer afford (and possibly never could afford) to honor commitments.

Adam

August 31st, 2011
8:53 am

Misty Fyed: About 46% of Americans are able to pay no income tax at all and never spend a dime on lobbyists.

And those people are just living the life! Why, they have refrigerators! I bet we could make up the deficit just by taking away their refrigerators! What did they do to earn those!?!? Pump out babies?!?!

Butch Cassidy

August 31st, 2011
8:53 am

godless heathen – “But they are hoarding the money!!!!!!! They could be hiring people, putting people to work, and paying more taxes!!!!!!!!!! Instead they are just piling it up in the bank!!!!!”

True, but that’s the extent of the damage. The same can’t be said for CEO’s or Corporations.

godless heathen

August 31st, 2011
8:54 am

And the tired ass liberal talking point is the wage factor of the CEO vs. the lowest paid worker. The M. Vick example is just an illustration of how absurd that argument is.

lovelyliz

August 31st, 2011
8:55 am

But Nobody Pays That
U.S. Business Has High Tax Rates but Pays Less
By DAVID KOCIENIEWSKI
Published: May 2, 2011
The United States may soon wind up with a distinction that makes business leaders cringe — the highest corporate tax rate in the world.

Topping out at 35 percent, America’s official corporate income tax rate trails that of only Japan, at 39.5 percent, which has said it plans to lower its rate. It is nearly triple Ireland’s and 10 percentage points higher than in Denmark, Austria or China. To help companies here stay competitive, many executives say, Congress should lower it.

But by taking advantage of myriad breaks and loopholes that other countries generally do not offer, United States corporations pay only slightly more on average than their counterparts in other industrial countries. And some American corporations use aggressive strategies to pay less — often far less — than their competitors abroad and at home. A Government Accountability Office study released in 2008 found that 55 percent of United States companies paid no federal income taxes during at least one year in a seven-year period it studied.

Talking Head

August 31st, 2011
8:55 am

fact – lib rats always need to someone to hate on

Adam

August 31st, 2011
8:56 am

stevie ray: It was sarcastic. The point is that regulations usually only hamper business if you’re an amoral pr*ck. Likewise, taxes only hamper businesses if you make painstaking efforts to have only part-time minimum wage employees. You might have to fire one of them if your taxes go up. D’oh.

HadIt

August 31st, 2011
8:56 am

Here’s the way it works. By law–lobbied for by you know who–the management of corporation A, namely the CEO of corporation A, nominates board members who are confirmed by shareholder votes. Any shareholder who doesn’t like the picks will simply sell his shares rather than spend millions of his own money on challenging the picks in a proxy fight. These chosen board members are generally CEO’s of other corporations or golfing buddies of the present CEO of corporation A. The board of corporation A meets to set compensation for its CEO. Since they don’t want to hurt the feelings of their good buddy, they feel they must set his compensation in the top 25% of other CEO’s in their industry. They do so. Three months later the board of corporation B meets and sets the compensation of their CEO in the top 25%. Three months later corpration C meets and does the same. Round after round, with nothing to stop it, the spiral just keeps going up and up. If the company is doing well, the bonuses are called “performance” bonuses. If the company is doing badly, the bonuses are called “retention” bonuses. And all of this is called the workings of a “free market.” Look at the numbers. Numbers don’t lie. Within another hundred years the executive class will receive 90% of all income in the country. Right now they are lobbying to be exempt from taxation (the ending of capital gain and divident taxation). In a hundred years they will argue they should be exempt from all laws, including the criminal laws. We are not headed toward third world status. We are headed toward feudalism.

Overtaxed and SO Unprosperous and I had to sell my Mansion for half Price!

August 31st, 2011
8:57 am

Why can’t those 50 percent that paid no income tax last year afford to pick up the slack left by the corporations and their CEO’s that made billions and yet got tax refunds! Why!!! Why do we always expect those that profit to pay! WHY!!!

Misty Fyed

August 31st, 2011
8:57 am

No Adam… The only thing I’d want to take away from anyone is any loop hole to get out of paying income tax. No offshore shell game… No earned income tax credit. If you make a buck; you gotta pay the man.

Adam

August 31st, 2011
8:57 am

The M. Vick example is just an illustration of how absurd that argument is.

No the M. Vick example is just a Republican talking point designed to counter the Democrat talking point with no real substance in the Democrat talking point addressed, and no real substance (as usual) to the Republican talking point at all int he first place.

Jm

August 31st, 2011
8:58 am

Snooze button on this

The obvious response, fixing the corporate tax structure by eliminating loopholes and lowering the rate is anathema to Dems, so there’s no point in discussing

Hopefully we can all wake up in 2013 to a more sensible president

Brosephus

August 31st, 2011
8:58 am

But they are hoarding the money!!!!!!! They could be hiring people, putting people to work, and paying more taxes!!!!!!!!!! Instead they are just piling it up in the bank!!!!!

In defense of Mike Vick, the last time he got ahold that kind of money, he put people to work and ended up in prison. That guy was treated worse than a one-legged leper with terminal cancer and AIDS. If I were his financial advisor, I’d tell him to hoard his money.

Just sayin’..

1811/0311

August 31st, 2011
8:58 am

Jay:

I wonder if you are paid more than the AJC pays in taxes for you?

cosby smith

August 31st, 2011
8:59 am

First of all, lets get this correct..corporations do not pay taxes but act as a tax collector. That is, the add the tax to the price of goods and services provided, collect from those who purchase the goods and services and pass on to the US government. Anyone who has taken a basic accounting course can figure that one out – something called expenses vs revenues. Second, Jay’s information comes from a biased group – a liberal think tank – really Jay, is this the best you can do. Now I keep hearing about all this tax reform non sense…well the Fair Tax – at least for payroll / income tax is out front but no one will really push the idea nor discuss it – why, because it will take power away from Washington DC – no more tax credit for this and that, no more tax credit to those – 52% – that do not pay taxes. Also note, that Buffet keeps talking about he should be taxed more while several of his companies owe back taxes. What is preventing him fropm making a contribution to the Government…nothing..so good old Warren – put your money where your mouth is….does anyone in the media or DC or the absolute rich – Warren – ever tell the truth or just put out worthless garbage to support their philosophy. Jay, get with Warren and decide how much additional you and he can contribute to the Fed’s and reduce my and the other 48% share!!!

Butch Cassidy

August 31st, 2011
8:59 am

Jm – “Hopefully we can all wake up in 2013 to a more sensible president”

I’d settle for just waking up to a sensible contender tomorrow.