Who Hijacked Our Country

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

CEOs’ Salaries Subsidized by Taxpayers

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could simultaneously 1) narrow the financial gap between CEOs and their lowest-paid employees, and 2) reduce your own tax burden. Well, now you CAN.

The Income Equity Act of 2007 would amend the Internal Revenue Code so that corporations will no longer get tax deductions when they pay “excessive compensation” to their top executives. If any employee is paid more than 25 times what the lowest-paid employee makes, the money beyond that 2500% mark would not be tax deductible.

So if a company’s lowest-paid worker makes $20,000 a year, and any other employee makes more than $500,000 a year, all of that person’s income beyond the $500,000 mark will NOT be tax deductible.

Fair enough? This bill is sure to bring out the usual conservative blubberings about “bootstraps” and “government meddling.” But there really isn't any government interference involved here. If corporations want to pay their CEOs nine hundred quatrabazillion dollars a year, they still can. They just won't be getting subsidized by YOUR tax dollars any more.

Conservatives should be in favor of a law like this, since they're always blathering about “welfare” and “government giveaways.” But it’s become all too obvious in the past few years: Conservatives have nothing against government handouts. They only object when the money goes to needy people.

And besides, companies could continue to pay huge salaries to their top executives and still keep their tax deductions. All they'd have to do is — let’s go waaay out on a limb here — raise the pay of their lowest-paid workers. Riiight, that'll happen.

If you'd like to start putting the brakes on our downward spiral into Third World status — where two percent of the population has most of the wealth — please click here. Ask your Representative to support the Income Equity Act (H.R. 3876).

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Blogger Snave said...

The conservatives only complain about money going to those people who they determine haven't "earned" it.

Could this be part of why churches don't have to pay taxes? The churches have earned this right because they do "good" for society? The definition of "good" is subjective. I'd like to see them all paying taxes whether or not they are involved in politics.

Conservatives consider people in poverty as responsible for their bad situations, so if the poor get government assistance? It is undeserved! Those poor people haven't done enough to improve their own situations! As for the CEOs, the conservatives think those people deserve to make however much they can, because they employ people at living wage jobs, allowing the workers to spend money and boost the economy blah blah blah yadda yadda yadda.

Personally, I think no CEO should make more than 25 times what his or her employees make. I'd even go for 20 times more, or 10 times more.

An Income Equity act proposed by yours truly would amount to a plain and simple plan to redistribute the wealth. If the employee has to survive on say $30,000, why should the CEO need to make more than 25 times that amount, which in this case would be $750K? How about maybe the CEO makes $200K or $300K instead of millions and millions? Instead of giving them all those millions, why shouldn't they be given less, and made to "earn" the vast amounts of money through sound investments, the way the rest of us have to do to save money for retirement?

You can call that what you want, but I believe drastic times call for drastic measures. And the longer our current drastic situation is allowed to continue, the worse things will become for our country. To decrease the corporate influence on our country, the corporate element needs to not be eliminated, of course, but it needs to be brought down a notch or two in the whole scheme of things that makes up America. Capitalism can be good, and it can work, but I think it doesn't in its current unbridled form.

The Income Equity Act is at least a good first step toward making things better. Thanks for posting about this and for providing the link!

December 4, 2007 at 3:30 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: I don't mind if a church's actual charitable work gets subsidized. But it's ridiculous that just by calling itself a "church" an organization gets tax-free status automatically.

And I have no idea how someone "earns" hundreds of millions of dollars. If somebody has invented things that we're all using -- Bill Gates, Stephen Jobs -- then I can see it. But they're the exceptions. But an executive of a large corporation -- is he/she really 30 or 100 times more valuable and hardworking than the other employees? I doubt it.

And most of these huge salaries happen because CEOs sit on each other's Boards of Directors, and they all rubberstamp each other's 7-figure salaries and bonus packages. We can't prevent it but at least we don't have to subsidize it.

December 4, 2007 at 3:57 PM  
Blogger Larry said...

I think the proposed law isn't strict enough, but better than nothing.

How a government can reward a CEO financially for profiting from those underlings who make his wages is beyond fathom.

December 4, 2007 at 5:30 PM  
Blogger J. Marquis said...

This sounds very reasonable.

December 4, 2007 at 5:36 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Larry: True, it doesn't go far enough but at least it's a first step. I also think it's beyond perverted that working people are paying their tax money to subsidize CEOs' huge salaries.

J. Marquis: I agree, it's reasonable.

December 4, 2007 at 6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd sure like to see this law pass. In the world I've lived in for 50 years, it's "Payment on Performance." Somehow that doesn't seem to be true for these CEOs. They can lay off half their workers, thus showing an "improvement" to the bottom line, and be rewarded for it. Why isn't it a terrible failing to have had to lay those people off? It used to be. Things have changed.

The only company I ever heard of that had this rule (without being told they had to) was Ben & Jerry's. As a result, even though I'm not a big ice cream fan, I often bought their stuff just because I support their company policy.

I wish we all voted with our dollars, every time, because we could make all the difference in the world.


December 4, 2007 at 7:04 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Cat: "Payment on Performance"? Oh come on, that's just for working stiffs, you know -- ugh -- laborer types who have to be watched and guarded so they don't do anything, well, sneaky, you know. But executives and VIPs, well, I mean, we have to be able to trust them. If we can't trust them, then the next thing you know we'll have to start doubting what our gubment tells us. Oh my God...

December 4, 2007 at 10:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Nolo Press of Berkeley also has a such on rule on difference the president can be paid to the lowest paid employee.

I still wonder about todays conservatives, they have totally abandoned any resemblance of free market policy and have just totally cowtowed to the corporate money.

I noticed that my Congressman Pete Stark is a sponsor and I will write him.

If anybody wants to shocking details to tax subsidies to the rich I totally recommend David Cay Johnston's "Perfectly Legal" and see that he has a new book "Free Lunch" coming out in a few weeks which I have preordered"


I have found a really lame conservative answer to him which attacks him rather then his total principles, I wonder who paying for it?


December 4, 2007 at 11:33 PM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

Boy Tom, you really do hate America. Who is truly risking it all here, the million-dollar-a-year CEO or the $20k shlub worker who could easily find another job in the booming global marketplace? Class warfare, that's all this is!

-Grover N.

Snave hits on a good point about the whole concept of earning. What work is being done by that CEO where he or she wouldn't need the people under him or her? You can have Joe Montana or Johnny Unitas, but if you have the readers of this blog as the offensive line, enjoy going 0-16.

December 5, 2007 at 5:25 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Thought point: Are we including overseas (read: outsourced) employees into this equation? If a programmer in India is making the equivalent of $10K a year, would that mean that anyone over $250K a year would not be subsidized?


December 5, 2007 at 7:01 AM  
Blogger Generik said...

I think this is just great, and long overdue. Unfortunately, the plutocrats and their brainwashed supporters will fight it tooth and nail, because they simply hate giving up any sort of wealth or power, earned and deserved or not. The cries of "class war" will come loud and long from them. What America needs to wake up to is the fact that it is the rich who have long been waging a class war against those of us who are poor and middle class, and they have been winning victory after victory with the help of the Republicans and corporate-friendly Democrats in Congress and the White House. There has not been such disparity between the rich and the poor in this country since the Gilded Age. This measure is a good start in helping to rectify the situation. I just hope that it sees the light of day.

December 5, 2007 at 8:58 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: Glad to know that Nolo Press is in that same category.

Sounds like an interesting book. That rightwing blogger you mentioned sure is a piece of work. I was going to leave a sarcastic comment or 2, but the comment function on that blog isn't enabled. But his "writing" is good for a laugh. Of course, attacking David Cay Johnston is all he does. Personal attacks are the only thing the Far Right knows how to do.

Some of the other blogs he links to are even more demented than he is. I haven't looked at any of them for a long time but I remember them from when I was using those traffic exchange sites.

Randal: LOL, good Grover Norquist imitation.

Mike: I never thought of that. I don't know if that's included in the bill or not; but it's an excellent idea.

Generik: It's those "brainwashed supporters" of the plutocrats that I just can't get over. It's natural for wealthy people to fight for their own interests, but how do they keep getting millions of dumbfucks to fight for them? It has to be the biggest mass con job of all time, persuading millions of people to work for their own oppression. We really are approaching the Gilded Age again, and that sucks.

December 5, 2007 at 11:42 AM  
Blogger Larry said...

I will be surprised if this passes since the taxpayers also foot the bill for the Corporate Congress.

December 5, 2007 at 7:53 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Larry: I don't know what chances this bill has. The best hope would be to insert it as an amendment to an appropriations bill.

December 5, 2007 at 9:25 PM  
Blogger Snave said...

Hey Randal, I for one am 6'6" and weigh 350 pounds. I bench 400 pounds, and I sweat testosterone. I could handle any NFL team's pass rush all by myself.

Well, maybe not really. Heh.

But you're right, if a bunch of us bloggers were out there on the football field trying to protect Unitas or Montana, those QBs stats would be pretty pathetic. That's a good analogy! The numbers the QB puts up ARE highly dependent upon the foundation of the team, i.e. the offensive line.

December 5, 2007 at 9:26 PM  

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