News Release

CEO Payouts: Problems and Solutions


Stephen Crawford, the co-president of Morgan Stanley, is leaving the company with a $32 million severance package.

Today, Congressman Martin Olav Sabo introduced legislation which would limit government subsidization of excessive executive pay by eliminating tax deductions for compensation that exceeds 25 times the company’s lowest paid full-time employee. For example, if the lowest paid, full-time employee in a firm was paid $20,000, then the highest salary deduction that could be claimed by that firm would be $500,000.

The following analysts are available for interviews:

Author of the new book Greed and Good: Understanding and Overcoming the Inequality That Limits Our Lives, Pizzigati said today: “CEOs today are regularly making decisions that sacrifice the long-term health of their enterprises for short-term gains that benefit, first and foremost, their personal bottom lines. These executives are rushing into mergers that leave employees without jobs and consumers with higher prices. They’re investing less in research. They’re raiding pension funds. And, if all else fails, they’re cooking their corporate books. But here’s the worst part. Our current tax code is actually encouraging all this greed and grasping. The more in ‘incentives’ that corporations lavish upon their executives, the more they can deduct off their taxes. Congressman Martin Sabo’s Income Equity Act would shut this subsidy for greed, by ending tax deductions on any executive compensation that runs over 25 times the pay of a company’s lowest-paid worker.” Pizzigati is also editor of Too Much, an online weekly about excessive income and wealth and a board member of United for a Fair Economy.
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Co-author of the book Raise The Floor: Wages and Policies That Work For All Of Us, Sklar said today: “Worker pay is shrinking and the stock market is below 1999 levels, but CEO pay is still on steroids. Compensation jumped 54 percent last year for CEOs of the 500 largest U.S. companies, reaching an average $10.2 million. Full-time worker pay averaged just $32,594. That’s 11 percent less than 1973’s average worker pay, adjusting for inflation, although worker productivity rose 78 percent between 1973 and 2004. In 1973, CEOs made 45 times as much as average workers. Last year, CEOs made more than 300 times as much as average workers and more than 950 times as much as minimum wage workers. Today’s $5.15 an hour minimum wage — a poverty wage of just $10,712 a year — is outrageously lower than 1968’s inflation-adjusted minimum wage of $8.90.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167