Via: Too Much
The current European revolt against CEO greed, if successful, might leave Corporate Europe looking just like Corporate America — in the 1950s.
March 10, 2013
By Sam Pizzigati
In America today, the New York Times reports, we’re living in “a golden age” — for corporate profits. These earnings have been leaping at a 20 percent annual clip. In fact, to find a year when corporations were grabbing as great a share of America’s income as they’re grabbing now, you have to go back to 1950.
But corporate execs in 1950 had cause to mute their celebrating. Unlike execs today, they paid heavy taxes on both their corporate and individual earnings.
In 1950, by statute, major corporations faced a 42 percent tax rate on their profits, a rate that would jump the next year to just over 50 percent. The share of profits corporations actually paid in taxes, after exploiting loopholes, averaged about 40 percent throughout the 1950s.
The tax hit on top executive individual incomes would be even heftier. In 1950, General Motors chief Charley Wilson took home more pay than any other U.S. chief executive. Wilson reported $586,100 in income that year, about $5.6 million in today’s dollars. He paid $430,350 of that income — 73 percent — in taxes.
Top corporate executives today operate in a totally different universe. The corporations they run, for starters, face a much smaller tax bill. The top corporate tax rate has dropped to 35 percent, and loopholes have proliferated.
In 2011, major U.S. corporations actually paid on average only 12.1 percent of their earnings in taxes. That same year, adds the Institute for Policy Studies, 25 major U.S. corporations paid their CEOs more than they paid in corporate income taxes. Corporate execs as individuals enjoy an even better deal these days than the corporations they run, both before and after taxes.
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Sounds like a fairy tale..