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CEOs 325, U.S. Workers 1

Just a couple of quick headlines; The Institute for Policy Studies just released a nifty report on corporate tax dodging. Their report points out that of the 100 companies they studied, 25 paid their CEOs more than they paid in federal income tax.

  • The 25 CEOs average $16.7 million in compensation, up from $10.8 million just last year.
  • The 25 firms averaged $1.9 billion in corporate profits.
  • Of the 25 companies, 20 also spent more lobbying the federal government than they paid in taxes.
  • Most of the companies actually received tax refunds. The average refund was $304 million.
  • The gap between CEO and average U.S. worker pay rose from 263-to-1 in 2009 to 325-to-1 last year.

The second notable article about corporate greed today is from a study by Northeastern University;

Since 2009, 88 Percent Of Income Growth Went To Corporate Profits, Just One Percent Went To Wages

Corporations are sitting on nearly a trillion dollars in cash, so we know they aren’t putting their money to work improving the economy. I guess they have to spend somewhere.

Between the second quarter of 2009 and the fourth quarter of 2010, real national income in the U.S. increased by $528 billion. Pre-tax corporate profits by themselves had increased by $464 billion while aggregate real wages and salaries rose by only $7 billion or only .1%.

The New York Times adds, “According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, average real hourly earnings for all employees actually declined by 1.1 percent from June 2009, when the recovery began, to May 2011, the month for which the most recent earnings numbers are available.”

And finally, on Face the Nation this morning, Michelle Bachmann thinks maybe we should look at eliminating the corporate income tax to help out those poor struggling companies and their poverty-stricken CEOs.

I am open to having that debate, and as a former federal tax lawyer, I’ve dealt with whether it’s a national consumption tax, a flat tax, or some variation of the current system. This is what I do know. It needs to be simplified, it needs to be fairer, it needs to be reduced. What we do know is that the current corporate tax rate is killing job creation.

What we do know is that the stifling stupidity coming from the Republican candidate field these days is drowning out what little reason is left in our political debate.

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