“Guns don’t kill people, the old saying goes. People do.
By the same token, corporations don’t dodge taxes. People do. The people who run corporations. And these people — America’s CEOs — are reaping awesomely lavish rewards for the tax dodging they have their corporations do.”
Last year, 25 major US corporations spent more paying the salary of their CEOs than they did paying their entire federal income tax bill. The study, conducted by the Institute for Policy Studies, also discovered that these same companies also spent more on lobbying than taxes.
The average annual salary for these corporate big shots? A whopping $16.7 million buckaroos.
The chief executive of Boeing, Jim McNerney, made $13.8 million last year, while his company paid only $13 million in taxes and spent $20.8 million on lobbying and campaign spending. eBay and General Electric were very similar.
How did this happen? Well, two-thirds of the companies used offshore subsidiaries in tax havens like Bermuda and Singapore. The rest got the good end of the stick of accelerated depreciation.
These CEOs are being rewarded for their ability to find ways to avoid paying the taxes that fund the schools, infrastructure, and public safety programs that allow them to be successful in the first place. That’s not only unfair and irresponsible, it’s also rewarding all the wrong behavior from a business perspective.
As one scholar in the report said, “I think it’s an exposure of weakness in a company if their profitability is dependent on their accounting department and not on making better widgets.”