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"Some U.S. firms paid more to CEOs than taxes: study"

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"Some U.S. firms paid more to CEOs than taxes: study"

Postby jonnygothispen » Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:37 pm

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/ ... story.html
Of last year’s 100 highest-paid corporate executives in the United States, 25 earned more in pay than their company recorded as a tax expense in 2010.

Those 25 firms reported average global profits of $1.9 billion. Among the 25 were Verizon, Bank of New York Mellon, General Electric, Boeing and eBay.
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Re: "Some U.S. firms paid more to CEOs than taxes: study"

Postby pjbogart » Wed Aug 31, 2011 8:39 pm

I heard Bill Press talking about this on my way back from Dubuque tonight. The tax thing is interesting, but what really got me was that from 2009 to 2010 the executive pay compared to average wage of workers in those 25 companies went from 263:1 to 325:1.

We're still waiting on that trickle down.
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Re: "Some U.S. firms paid more to CEOs than taxes: study"

Postby ArturoBandini » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:38 pm

jonny, I don't really understand the significance of this tax vs. CEO salary comparison. Is there some sort of rule or relationship that should exist between these two numbers?

Just as a thought experiment - if there were an enforceable relationship between CEO pay and tax burden (say, tax bill = 2X CEO salary), this might drive down those unjust CEO pay rates and corporate tax burdens at the same time. Tea Partiers and egalitarians could cooperate on this one. But it might work the other way too, of course.
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Re: "Some U.S. firms paid more to CEOs than taxes: study"

Postby snoqueen » Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:00 am

Is there some relationship that should exist between those two numbers (CEO pay and federal taxes paid)?

Geez, common sense suggests a major corporation owes the country that makes its prosperity possible a bit more than pocket change. Still, a better comparison might be corporate profits/taxes paid. If they can make a profit and still give their CEO millions a year, that's fine. Let the shareholders complain, until a better check-and-balance is invented.

The priority ought to be 1) make a profit; 2) pay your taxes (enough to make a meaningful contribution to the federal budget); 3) then go ahead and pay your CEO more than they could possibly spend for the rest of their life.

Somebody said recently "taxes are patriotic" and I don't see why that should be hard to support unless you're a drown-it-in-the-bathtub type, which is simply neo-crypto-anarchism.
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Re: "Some U.S. firms paid more to CEOs than taxes: study"

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:28 am

snoqueen wrote:Somebody said recently "taxes are patriotic" and I don't see why that should be hard to support unless you're a drown-it-in-the-bathtub type, which is simply neo-crypto-anarchism.

Oh barf. Taxes are not patriotic. "America", the abstract entity toward which any patriotism should be directed, is not the same as the US Federal Government. Plenty of overlap, sure, but not the same entities, at least in my mind. There is so much more to appreciate about our culture, our people, our accomplishments, that goes far beyond just what the Federal Government has done (and that is ignoring all the horrible things the Federal Government has done over history - Trail of Tears, anyone?). Taxes are merely government revenue forcefully extracted to pay for all sorts of poorly-managed crapola with only occasional positive outcomes. Is it an expression of patriotism to pay taxes to fund bombing runs over Libya, Vietnam, Afghanistan, (...) or Iraq? How about corn subsidies? Gas/oil subsidies? Overpriced prescription drugs? Federal prisons? Hooray for America, hooray for taxes! I'm proud that I paid my part into a system that currently imprisons 1 in 10 young black males!

Sure, common sense might suggest that a profitable corporation should pay more than "pocket change" in taxation, but economic and tax policy is not a common-sense discipline. Counter-intuitive truths abound. For instance, the mathematically-demonstrable benefit of comparative advantage is not common sense for most people.
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Re: "Some U.S. firms paid more to CEOs than taxes: study"

Postby snoqueen » Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:37 am

I figured that would get you going.
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Re: "Some U.S. firms paid more to CEOs than taxes: study"

Postby rabble » Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:47 am

ArturoBandini wrote:Sure, common sense might suggest that a profitable corporation should pay more than "pocket change" in taxation, but economic and tax policy is not a common-sense discipline. Counter-intuitive truths abound. For instance, the mathematically-demonstrable benefit of comparative advantage is not common sense for most people.

Good lord. Have you ever looked up to see how many people are left in the room after you've finished talking?
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Re: "Some U.S. firms paid more to CEOs than taxes: study"

Postby pjbogart » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:22 am

I think what a lot of Libertarians miss in the overall political landscape is that even if Republicans had their way and managed to collapse the federal government, tax revenues wouldn't change that much because State and Local taxes would need to be raised to pay for all of the essential services currently provided by the Federal Government. It's arguable that there may be cost savings due to efficiency and certainly there would be increased accountability when politicians at a more local level need to justify spending, but we still need clean drinking water, bridges and roads, police and fire, public schools and aid for the unemployed. Not only is it morally reprehensible to allow people to starve in the streets, but removing tens of millions of people from our consumer economy would have a devastating effect on our country.

But back to the original point. Even if you feel that Federal taxes are too high, what is the justification for allowing huge corporations to avoid paying taxes and trickling down that liability to individuals with far less means? Maybe that's the side of "trickle down economics" Democrats need to be talking about. "Trickle down taxes" are that portion of your tax bill which is due solely to the fact that corporate America refuses to pay their share. Yet Republicans get on television every day complaining that corporations pay TOO MUCH in taxes, hurting job creation. How much less than "no taxes at all" should they be allowed to pay?
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Re: "Some U.S. firms paid more to CEOs than taxes: study"

Postby pjbogart » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:27 am

Here's a video that popped up this morning with a discussion of the study.

Where Have You Gone Jack Welch? CEO Pay Rises While Stature Fades
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Re: "Some U.S. firms paid more to CEOs than taxes: study"

Postby wack wack » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:55 am

pjbogart wrote:I heard Bill Press talking about this on my way back from Dubuque tonight. The tax thing is interesting, but what really got me was that from 2009 to 2010 the executive pay compared to average wage of workers in those 25 companies went from 263:1 to 325:1.


snoqueen wrote:Geez, common sense suggests a major corporation owes the country that makes its prosperity possible a bit more than pocket change.


Here's the truth on the bellyaching about taxes: if the conditions in quote one did not exist, if employees were paid handsomely (rather than "as little as we can get away with") and those absurd ratios were reduced to a reasonable number, most people wouldn't mind paying a bit more in taxes and wouldn't be so concerned about what taxes corporations are paying.

Spreading the idea that the real problem is government taking from you, rather than your employer keeping from you, is the biggest win conservatives have enjoyed in a long time.
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Re: "Some U.S. firms paid more to CEOs than taxes: study"

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:42 am

pjbogart wrote:I think what a lot of Libertarians miss in the overall political landscape is that even if Republicans had their way and managed to collapse the federal government, tax revenues wouldn't change that much because State and Local taxes would need to be raised to pay for all of the essential services currently provided by the Federal Government. It's arguable that there may be cost savings due to efficiency and certainly there would be increased accountability when politicians at a more local level need to justify spending, but we still need clean drinking water, bridges and roads, police and fire, public schools and aid for the unemployed. Not only is it morally reprehensible to allow people to starve in the streets, but removing tens of millions of people from our consumer economy would have a devastating effect on our country.
You should run the math on this. How much of Federal Revenues could be cut while still preserving the essential services you've listed? Here are the top budget items: 1. Massive military presence domestically and abroad with some actual hot combat (killing brown people), 2. Transfers of money from young, relatively poor people to old people, many of whom are not poor (but some are), 3. Purchases of prescription drugs and other medical goods and services at above-market rates... The point is that we can make HUGE cuts (more than $1 trillion easily) without sacrificing roads, drinking water, public safety etc.

Otherwise, your observations about the rise of States' power in the vacuum left by the Federal Government (if Grover Norquist got his way) are correct. I see no reason to believe that States, if given more power, would behave categorically better than the Federal Government when it comes to fiscal responsibility or self-restraint.
pjbogart wrote:How much less than "no taxes at all" should they be allowed to pay?
Let's get this straight - some corporations pay no taxes for some years, due to reduced tax liability from business investments, deferrals etc. Other corporations pay lots of taxes. Roughly $300b in taxes, to be more precise. If you want to change the rules regarding tax liability for business investments and deferred profits, that's fine, but it should be applied across the board (you know, equality before the law), not just to those corporations your team deems evil or too powerful. Such a change might hurt small and local businesses too - they pay taxes just like the big dogs.
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Re: "Some U.S. firms paid more to CEOs than taxes: study"

Postby Ned Flanders » Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:03 am

Every person that eats a carrot eventually will die!
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Re: "Some U.S. firms paid more to CEOs than taxes: study"

Postby Henry Vilas » Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:13 am

Ned Flanders wrote:I like to fart in the bathtub and watch the bubbles rise.

Fix't
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Re: "Some U.S. firms paid more to CEOs than taxes: study"

Postby jman111 » Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:29 am

sorry, quick threadjack:
A gradeschool friend's father told me the way to remember the name of Mt Rushmore's creator was to think of the sound of a bathtub fart:
(Gutzon) Borglum

I don't think I'll ever forget that name.
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Re: "Some U.S. firms paid more to CEOs than taxes: study"

Postby snoqueen » Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:31 pm

What is the sound of a quarter dropping into a toilet?

Beloit.

I think this topic is done for.
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