Consider the progressive stalwarts who wrote one of the most enlightened constitutions in the country at Arizona’s birth in 1912. In a prophetic speech that he gave after negotiating a nationally watched labor agreement between striking union miners and copper companies, Gov. George W. Hunt spelled out the challenge facing the entire nation:
It will be a happy day for the nation when the corporations shall be excluded from political activity and vast accumulations of capital cannot be employed in an attempt to control government.
Railing against corporate influence and money in politics in Arizona in 1916, Hunt foretold the Occupy Wall Street movement a century in advance:
“The working class, plus the professional class, represent 99 percent,” he declared. “The remaining 1 percent is represented by those who make a business of employing capital.”
Many of this country’s biggest companies paid no federal taxes — or even made money through credits and refunds from the government — over the past three years by using an array of loopholes and tax breaks, according to a report released Thursday.
What was that about “skin in the game”, candidate Bachmann?
We researched the 100 U.S. corporations that shelled out the most last year in CEO compensation. At 25 of these corporate giants, we found, the bill for chief executive compensation actually ran higher than the company’s entire federal corporate income tax bill.
Corporate outlays for CEO compensation — despite the lingering Great Recession — are rising. Employment levels have barely rebounded from their recessionary lows. Top executive pay levels, by contrast, have rebounded nearly all the way back from their pre-recession levels.
This contrast shows up starkly in the 2010 ratio between average worker and average CEO compensation. In 2009, we calculate, major corporate CEOs took home 263 times the pay of America’s average workers. Last year, this gap leaped to 325-to-1.
Among the nation’s top firms, the S&P 500, CEO pay last year averaged $10,762,304, up 27.8 percent over 2009. Average worker pay in 2010? That finished up at $33,121, up just 3.3 percent over the year before.