From the perspective of the board room, the fact that 25 corporations last year paid more money to their CEOs than they did in income taxes to the U.S. government is an achievement deserving applause.But few people outside Wall Street are clapping at this news, which was published by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) in its 18th annual Executive Excess report.Among the 25 companies that rewarded their leadership while dodging the U.S. Treasury were Boeing, Coca Cola, Dow Chemical, eBay, Ford, General Electric, Honeywell, Motorola, Stanley Black & Decker and Verizon. Eighteen of the 25 firms operated subsidiaries in offshore tax haven jurisdictions.The average paid to the 25 leaders was $16.7 million. John Lundgren, the CEO of Stanley Black & Decker, took home $32.6 million while his company claimed a net loss and did not pay corporate income taxes.The IPS report noted that executive compensation has continued to soar. In 2009, the ratio between worker salaries and CEOs was 263-to-1. By last year it was 325-to-1.Of the 25 companies that paid their CEO more than they paid to the government, 20 also spent more on 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.
The divide between worker and CEO pay as well as CEO pay and tax payments (if any) is mind boggling, isn’t it?