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The Bounty for Bailout Barons: From 2006 through 2008, the top five executives at the 20 banks that have accepted the most federal bailout dollars since the meltdown averaged $32 million each in personal compensation. One hundred average U.S. workers would have to labor over 1,000 years to make as much as these 100 executives made in three.
Layoff Leaders: Since January 1, 2008, the top 20 financial industry recipients of bailout aid have together laid off more than 160,000 employees. In 2008, the 20 CEOs at these firms each averaged $13.8 million, for a collective total of over a quarter-billion dollars in compensation.
Wall Street Pay Dwarfs Regulator Pay: These 20 CEOs averaged 85 times more pay than the regulators who direct the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. These two agencies, many analysts agree, have largely lacked the experienced and committed staff they need to protect average Americans from financial industry recklessness. "The lure of lucrative private sector jobs doesn't just siphon off talent from public service," says Sam Pizzigati, an IPS Associate Fellow and report co-author. "It also breeds corrosive and ever-present conflicts of interest: Why 'get tough,' as a regulator, on a firm that could be your future employer?"
Federal Response Falls Short: An eight-page table at the end of America's Bailout Barons tracks the fitful progress in Washington on various executive pay reforms. Several of these have strong potential to deflate the executive pay bubble. The federal government, for instance, could give tax breaks and federal contracting preferences to companies that maintain a reasonable pay gap between their top executives and workers. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), in her proposed Patriot Corporations Act (H.R. 1874), would extend these tax breaks and procurement bidding preferences only to those companies that compensate their executive at no more than 100 times the income of their lowest-paid workers.
A generation ago, typical big-time corporate CEOs seldom made more than 30 or 40 times what their workers took home. In 2008, the IPS report shows, top executives averaged 319 times more than average U.S. worker pay.
"Public officials in Congress and the White House hold the pin that could pop the executive pay bubble," says IPS Senior Scholar Chuck Collins. "They have so far failed to use it."
I know it would hurt many citizens but imagine how annoyed they would be with the Bankers/Corporations, they would lose their power and we would have taken a step towards a better world.