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Institute for Policy Studies
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  • May 2, 2013

    Think Progress features report “"Fix the Debt" CEOs Enjoy Taxpayer-Subsidized Pay”

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    A new report from the Institute for Policy Studies and Campaign for America’s Future finds that 90 member firms took in somewhere between $953 million and $1.6 billion through the ability to deduct performance pay from corporate taxes between 2009 and 2011. The report includes the biggest winners of this loophole.

  • May 2, 2013

    Daily Kos features report “"Fix the Debt" CEOs Enjoy Taxpayer-Subsidized Pay”

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    Two important progressive organizations, the Institute for Policy Studies and the Campaign for America's Future, today jointly released Fix the Debt" CEOs Enjoy Taxpayer-Subsidized Pay . . . 

    The report is the first to put a price tag on the tax breaks specific corporations have enjoyed from a loophole that allows unlimited deductions for executive stock options and other “performance-based” pay.

    I am not going to quote more from either the summary or the report itself.   You should read the report.

    Instead I want to offer a few remarks about the implications of this practice.

    -  executives are being rewarded even if their actions do not benefit the shareholders . . .

    - for all their bloviating about how we can't "afford" the social safety-net programs such as Social Security and Medicare -  into which we have been paying based on a supposed commitment of benefits - none of these people have to worry about the impact of cutting benefits whether by using chained-CPI or by raising age for eligibility.

  • May 2, 2013

    AFL-CIO features report “"Fix the Debt" CEOs Enjoy Taxpayer-Subsidized Pay”

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    new report from the Institute for Policy Studies and Campaign for America's Future shows that the CEOs who run the 90 corporations in the '"Fix the Debt" coalition, which advocates for cuts to earned benefits like Social Security while reducing tax rates for, well, themselves, accept massive subsidies from the U.S. government. The amount they have taken in subsidies ranges from a possible low of $953 million to a possible high of $1.6 billion.

  • May 2, 2013

    Common Dreams features report “"Fix the Debt" CEOs Enjoy Taxpayer-Subsidized Pay”

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    "The performance pay loophole serves as a critical subsidy for excessive compensation," says the report. "The larger the executive payout, the less the corporation pays in taxes. And average taxpayers wind up footing the bill."

    According to the study:

    During the three-year period 2009-2011, the 90 publicly held corporate members of the austerity-focused “Fix the Debt” lobby group shoveled out $6.3 billion in pay to their CEOs and next three highest-paid executives.

    These 90 Fix the Debt member firms raked in at least $953 million — and as much as $1.6 billion — from the “performance pay” loophole between 2009-2011. The exact full value of corporate windfalls from this loophole will remain impossible to compute until we have more complete mandated disclosure for executive compensation.

  • January 9, 2013


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     The hypocrisy over deficits and calls for shared sacrifice can be illustrated with one simple statistic.

    According to the Institute for Policy Studies, 25 of the most-well-paid US chief executives got higher compensation than their companies paid in federal taxes. There's a class war on, as Warren Buffett has noted, and his class is winning it.

  • January 9, 2013

    VOA News

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    Sarah Anderson at the Institute for Policy Studies hopes for a new approach at the Treasury Department.  

    "Three things to look for in the next Treasury Secretary: Are they going to be more aggressive in reining in Wall Street? Are they going to do more to help homeowners facing foreclosure? And are they going to be a deficit hawk or are they going to try to get our economy back on its feet before they address the deficit?," Anderson said.

  • January 2, 2013

    Albany Times Union features report “A Pension Deficit Disorder: The Massive CEO Retirement Funds and Underfunded Worker Pensions at Firms Pushing Social Security Cuts”

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    While America's CEOs have been fretting about the fiscal cliff, millions of American workers face a financial disaster that gets much less media attention. There's a half-trillion-dollar deficit in the nation's worker retirement benefits.

    . . . Fifty-four of the CEOs leading Fix the Debt benefit from lavish executive retirement programs. Their collective pension assets total $649 million, which comes to more than $12 million per CEO. That's enough to garner a $65,000 retirement check each month starting at age 65, according to a new report by the Institute for Policy Studies, which I co-authored. In contrast, the average retiree receives just $1,237 from Social Security each month.

    Yet, the firms headed by Fix the Debt CEOs owe their U.S. pension funds more than $100 billion, according to the IPS study. U.S. law requires businesses to keep their pension debts manageable.

    . . . Beware of CEOs who are lecturing us about tightening our belts. Workers would better off if CEOs worried about fixing their companies' pension debts.

    Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/opinion/article/CEOs-retirement-plans-4162737.php#ixzz2HKSbLDNA

  • January 2, 2013

    The Huffington Post

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    Did all their high-priced subterfuge pay off? The New Year's deal was a huge disappointment for those hoping that President Obama would use his bargaining position to strike a strong blow against the extreme inequality that is undermining our economy and democracy. But the Fix the Debt campaign also suffered a loss. After one of the most ambitious corporate lobby campaigns in history, they failed to win any of their three major objectives:

    1. Cutting earned benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare
    2. Cutting corporate tax rates ("pro-growth tax reform" in Fix the Debt speak)
    3. Shifting to a territorial corporate tax system, which would grant a permanent corporate tax holiday on offshore income, including the hundreds of billions stashed in the world's tax havens. Fix the Debt companies alone stood to gain an immediate 134 billion windfall from this reform, according to an Institute for Policy Studies report.

    As in the tale of the Trojan Horse, however, we cannot assume that the Fix the Debt army is going to just sail away. Corporate tax reform is expected to be a major focus of Congress in 2013, starting as early as the debt ceiling fight, which is likely to come to a head in March. . . .

    Congress's New Year's Eve capitulation to their wealthiest benefactors heightens the stakes for the corporate tax fight. Because Congress and the White House lavished so much on high-income individual taxpayers, they may well find themselves with fewer goodies to pass out to corporations. These will have to be paid for with either higher deficits or even more draconian cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and other programs ordinary Americans depend upon.

  • December 26, 2012

    The Baltimore Sun features article “A Pension Deficit Disorder”

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  • December 19, 2012

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

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    Former Minnesota U.S. Reps. Bill Frenzel and Tim Penny are co-chairs of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the umbrella organization for the Campaign to Fix the Debt. That has given them an insider's view as the powerful new group has amassed more than $40 million and field offices in 18 states since July, all in an attempt to influence the budget talks.

    . . . The approach has some critics. The organization gets nearly all its money from corporate donations, giving rise to questions from groups like the Institute for Policy Studies, which claims that Fix the Debt's plans to seek cuts to Social Security and Medicare are a veiled effort to secure corporate tax breaks at the expense of the poor and elderly.

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