26 CEOs paid more than Uncle Sam

A new report flags 26 companies that paid less in taxes last year than they paid their CEOs, ending up with little or no tax bill on an average $1 billion in revenue. Here's how they pulled it off.

 of 9


Aug 25, 2012 5:29PM
All the companies that had to take tax payer bailouts should have clawed back their CEO salaries, not paid them MILLIONS.

It's disgusting that AIG's CEO Robert Benmosche got paid $13.9 million in 2011 and
AIG got a 
Federal tax refund: $208 million, because our economy is still suffering from what was partially AIG's fault.

All in the name of paying a market-competitive CEO salary?! What a joke! If only the hard working little people were revered like that!

Quote from the article on AIG:
"American International Group's (AIG) practice of insuring dodgy mortgage-backed securities during the credit bubble landed the insurer in serious trouble when those securities blew up in 2008. U.S. taxpayers then saved the day with a $182 billion bailout. Like Citigroup (C), AIG got special treatment allowing it to keep its huge losses as tax write-offs, even though the government's sale of its big AIG stake should have wiped out those deductions.
The upshot: AIG was able to claim a $208 million refund last year even though it had $16.9 billion in net income. "The taxpayers are paying twice. They paid for the bailout and now they have to absorb the tax loss write-off," says Anderson, of the Institute for Policy Studies. AIG is also suing the government for $30 million in back interest on taxes it overpaid in 1991. "When is enough, enough?" asks Anderson.
Meanwhile, CEO Robert Benmosche got $13.9 million in pay last year, up from $8.4 million in 2010.
AIG responds that Benmosche gets a "market-competitive salary" approved by Treasury Department administrators of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which helped bail out AIG and the banks. AIG also notes the government and the Federal Reserve have sold most of their stake in the insurer, for a profit of $14 billion. " - end quote

Aug 22, 2012 10:27AM

The problem with over paying CEOs is that they are only concerned about short term gains to boost their salary and then let the company crash and burn as they float away on their golden parachutes. Any CEO can boost the bottom line of a company merely by slashing workers without regard to the long term health of the company. So a CEO can cut jobs to "gain efficiency" pocket the money as a "performance bonus" bail out or sell the company as it flounders and still have enough money for the rest of their lives since their salary will be in the millions.  This is not good for business or the American workers. The CEO gets the money and the workers get the shaft.

Aug 25, 2012 2:53PM
And most of these CEOs have outsourced, offshored, and downsized their companies to make things look good for the investors, with nods of agreement from their boards also made up of other company CEOs who are paid millions per year -
all while we worry about losing our jobs so much that we no longer take our vacations, and work on our days off, work overtime without OT pay, and don't take sick days.

That's why the class war continues.... because the right blames the middle class people who are struggling to survive, but in reality everyone just wants an opportunity to have a stable career that pays a living wage.

Aug 25, 2012 2:33PM
Quote: "We're being fed this image that America is broke, and we have no choice but to slash spending," says Sarah Anderson, a co-author of the study. "We are actually quite a rich country, but so much of our wealth is diverted into the pockets of top executives." - end quote
Sep 1, 2012 7:22AM
It is blatantly wrong for ANY corporation to be able to pay its CEO more than they pay in Federal taxes! This is why the Federal government is wallowing in red ink!
Aug 21, 2012 8:00PM
Tax reform. Congress (both parties) created the problem and they need to fix it!
Aug 21, 2012 8:46PM
yes greed is is destroying the whole planet.
Aug 22, 2012 2:48PM

Wow. Are we as taxpayers suckers or what? Our taxpayer money goes to bail these rich BSers out, and we get stuck with the bill AND have to make up the shortfall in revenue from them paying no taxes or ,worse yet, the rich and sleazy companies getting millions back in refunds.


Wake up America. Its NOT just a spending problem. There's a major REVENUE problem with these CEOs and their companies bilking the US treasury and taxpayer out of  trillions of tax revenue.

Enough of the crap about too many regulations and the US having the highest tax rates 'cause US companies DO NOT PAY THEM!


End the refunds, subsidies, tax credits and breaks, for all US corporations and institute a minimum alternative tax on all corporations of 10% of revenue. NO OFFSHORE ACCOUNTS. AND, tax all forms of CEO compensation as income.

Aug 22, 2012 5:10AM

  We send troops all over the world to defend big money and corporate interest. In the one year I know about the Saudi royal family made 250 billion off our rigged stock market and manipulated commodities excange while 401ks were tanking. The Emir of Kuwait has several hundred billion in that same market. We sped billions and Americn lives to defende these two absolute monarchies that run their countries like company stores.

  We are in desperate need of a government. These two parties are owned and they will do nothing to make the real changes that are necessary to save our country. There is a long list of things this government puts before our people.

Aug 22, 2012 9:55AM

Here's the problem.  Business and government are in bed together.  It started with Regan when he "downsized" government by outsourcing what had been government functions to private entities.  These private entities make campaign contributions to ensure that the government gravy keeps coming.  And the average taxpayer is generally forgotten.


A good example are college student loans.  The banks make over $1 billion a year to "administer"  the program.  Guess what?  The banks are against making any changes to the way student loans are administered. Certainly they have no incentive to make it run more efficiently.   And they can use the money they make off the program to contribute to both parties to make sure whoever is elected is sympathetic to their demands.


At one time it was only military industrial complex that was growing out of control.  Now it's corporate America.  These are the same people who say they are part of the "I did it myself" club.

There is no discussion of this of course.  Stupid taxpayers fight about which party is better when they are all part of the same corrupt system.

Aug 22, 2012 9:18AM
The American people need to clean house in Washington everybody is Fired!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Aug 22, 2012 9:23AM
whats the big deal ,companies and people are not going to pay more taxes than they legally owe. However ceo's in publicly traded companies should not be allowed to make these huge salaries and benefits' that are not in line with earnings and are thousands of times more than they pay their lowest full time employees. The SEC should investigate the boards of companies to make sure that these guys who are usually on each others boards are not just lining thier own pockets without much regard for the people or the companies they serve. 
Aug 22, 2012 7:42PM

I am convinced that if Obama cured cancer tomorrow 20-25% of the population would still hate his guts.

Aug 22, 2012 12:23PM

If the Amercian People believed that the Government would use our tax dollars efficiently and effectively, no one would have a problem with taxes being raised across the board. 


BUT... since our "leadership" (both the Right & Left) has shown that they do not have that ability, maybe we need to allow the taxes to go up and cuts in spending take place so that enough of us will get fed up with both the "entitled" and "corporate greed" to the point that we throw them all out and start over with a group that will truly represent the middle class.


Congress panders only to those "without" and to those "with", NOT those that are willing and able!

Aug 22, 2012 2:19PM

 The real problem is the idiots we send to Washington and the salaries that we pay them. Laws are passed and voted on with little or no understanding of their effect on the people while they exempt themselves.

The salary gap between corporate executives and the middle class has been growing for years. Companies continue to squeeze the workers through mediocre raises, cutting benefits, and gutting retiree benefits. It makes no difference that you were promised things when you were young but come retirement time the rules get changed. Why? Because of greedy management and crony board members.

It angers me that greed drives most executives, but they usually work within the law. As long as we send the same people year after year to Washington, nothing will change; therefore the base problem is the uninformed and apathetic voter. People have learned that by selling their freedom they can get a few more crumbs.

Aug 22, 2012 6:30PM
Elect Mitt Romney and you get more of this!
Aug 22, 2012 2:11PM
Think maybe it's time the loop holes are dissolved?  It's one thing to pay zero in for taxes but to get millions of  dollars in  refunds on top of it, just makes me sick.
Aug 22, 2012 2:32PM

This article defines exactly why simply raising taxes on the "wealthy" and the "big corporations" won't do a thing. This call to simply raise taxes on them is nothing more than political posturing and blatant class warfare, it will accomplish nothing.


The only way to level the playing field for all of us through the tax system is to:


End the deductions

Close the loopholes

End the subsidies

LOWER the overall rates across the board


Simplify, broaden the base, and streamline the economy for business and individuals alike.




BTW:Would love to see a breakdown of what our politicians in Washington make versus how much of our money they throw away on a daily basis.

Aug 22, 2012 8:10AM

When it comes to taxes IMHO Less is more ....... and the tax system (corporate and individual) needs to be  streamlined and simplified.  The more complex the tax code, the more likely smart (read: not government fantasylanders but real world business) people will find a way to beat it.  Providing the opportunity to do so then whining when they find a way to exploit is simply a losing proposition.  Tighten up the rules and we'll begin to bridge the gap. 


And yes, there are many CEOs that are paid way in excess of the value that they bring to the Company.  Conversly, there are many politicans that bring zero value and they should be afforded the opportunity to exist in the real world.   

Aug 22, 2012 3:02PM
This is exactly why Romney has proposed eliminating deduction for the rich.  President Obama says raise taxes on the rich and all the while they have massive loopholes so they don't pay more taxes.  It's imperative that our tax code be revised and elminate the loopholes.
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