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Institute for Policy Studies

Report Info

  • Released August 25, 2008

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Global Economy » Report

Executive Excess 2008: How Average Taxpayers Subsidize Runaway Pay

This 15th annual report calculates the annual cost of tax loopholes that encourage excessive executive pay.

The U.S. tax code is riddled with loopholes that allow top corporate and financial leaders to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. Ordinary taxpayers wind up picking up the bill – to the tune of more than $20 billion per year. All five executive-friendly tax loopholes highlighted in the report are the targets of Congressional reforms. However, these efforts have stalled in the face of fierce opposition from corporate lobby groups. The report also finds that S&P 500 CEOs averaged $10.5 million in pay in 2007, 344 times the pay of typical American workers. Compensation levels for private investment fund managers soared even further. The top 50 hedge and private equity fund managers averaged $588 million each, more than 19,000 times as much as typical U.S. workers earned.