Corporate Wealth

New Report: Widening Wage Gap Between CEOs and Workers
Corporate Wealth

According to Business Week's 54th Annual Executive Compensation Survey, published this week, the average large company CEO received compensation totaling $8.1 million in 2003, up 9.1% from the previous year." By contrast, in 2003, the average production worker 's annual pay was $26,899, up just 2.1% from 2002 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. "The average worker took home $517 in their weekly paycheck in 2003; the average large company CEO took home $155,769 in their weekly pay. If the minimum wage had increased as quickly as CEO pay since 1990, it would today be $15.71 per hour, more than three times the current minimum wage of $5.15 an hour." And of course, let's not forget how much more of that paycheck the CEOs got to keep thanks to Bush tax breaks for the CEO class!

Exxon Mobil Posts Record Gains - After Firing Nearly a Quarter Million Workers in 20 Years
Corporate Wealth

This week, Exxon Mobil posted a whopping 58% profit increase (see http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,93409,00.html ) How did they do it? By eliminating jobs. "In the week before Christmas 1999, Exxon Mobil's CEO Lee Raymond announced the elimination of 16,000 jobs, representing 15% of the company's workforce," reports "Responsible Wealth." "Over the last two decades, Exxon Mobil has led the oil industry in layoffs, eliminating 238,000 of the 361,000 worldwide jobs Exxon and Mobil had in 1982. " Meanwhile "Raymond received $47 million in total compensation in 1999, 50% more than his previous year's." In May of 2003, after posting record-breaking profits, Exxon Mobil raised employee salaries just 50-89 CENTS per hour - one of just FOUR raises in over a decade! (see http://home.workfam.com/~hcaflcio/vol36.htm)

U.S. Corporate Barons Close Factories, Try to Stiff Mexican Workers Out of $6 per Day Pay - then Move Their Operations to China, for PENNIES a Day
Corporate Wealth

Mexico's "The News" reports: "Some 250 workers took control of a border-city factory to prevent machinery from being removed by U.S. owners intent on closing the premises without giving the severance pay and Christmas bonuses required by law. Many companies are taking their investments to China where labor is considerably cheaper than the average six dollars per day paid to workers at Mexican assembly plants. The closures have meant the loss of some 130,000 jobs in the state of Chihuahua, 80,000 of which were in Ciudad Juarez." These workers were paid six dollars a day! So now U.S. robber barons want to exploit Chinese workers who labor for PENNIES a day. It's the Bush Way!

SEC Investigates Veritas and AOL-Time Warner for Shady Advertising Deals, Inflating Revenue and Hiding Finances
Corporate Wealth

From Smart Money: "The SEC has issued subpoenas to Veritas Software Corp. for information on transactions the company had with America Online. Veritas has turned over the documents and is cooperating with the SEC's ongoing investigation. Last Month, Veritas chief financial officer was forced to resign last month after lying about his education. The transactions in question both occurred in September 2000, according to Veritas' quarterly report filed late Thursday. AOL bought $50 million in software and services from Veritas. In turn, Veritas bought $20 million worth of advertising from AOL. SEC and Justice Department have been investigating AOL's accounting practices for several weeks. Regulators are reportedly looking at whether AOL engaged in concurrent deals with suppliers and partners, including WorldCom Inc., in an attempt to inflate its revenue."

Everything in Excess for the CEO Crooks -- It's the Bush Way!
Corporate Wealth

Don Hazen writes: "As the tsunami of corporate corruption and excess continues to sweep over the economy, a startling new study reveals that CEOs of companies under investigation for accounting irregularities made 70 percent more money than the average CEOs. The report; 'Executive Excess 2002: CEOs Cook the Books, Skewer the Rest of Us'... also clearly documents the overwhelmingly negative effects of the behavior of these CEOs and their companies on employees and shareholders. All the CEOs of companies under investigation by the SEC, Department of Justice and other agencies (all with market value of more than $1 billion) earned an amazing average of $62 million annually compared with an average of $36 million for all the CEOs in the annual Business Week executive pay survey." Oh, boo hoo -- the honest CEOs only make $36 million a year -- let's take up a collection!

Doomed Dinosaurs: Five Reasons Why Megacorporations Fail to Deliver and May Soon Be Extinct - Just like the Bush Administration!
Corporate Wealth

Bush and his Federalist Society/Freemarket (better known as "Freeper") cronies want to run the U.S. like one big private megacorporation. It's more efficient, they say, and will benefit everyone in the long run. But this bit of propaganda is nothing but a bald-faced, Enron-style scam. The best way to turn the U.S. into an extinct nation, in fact, is to run it like a megacorporation. Why? Because megacorporations in general may soon be extinct - victims of their own bloated size, greed, and failure to take into account what the true ramifications of a global market really mean to the consumer (why should we spend half of every shopping dollar on marketing and executive salaries?). Michael Shuman of Utne Reader offers five trends that may spell the end of multinationals.

Bush Cannot Force Congress to Repeal Corporate Taxes, So He Illegally Creates Massive Loopholes
Corporate Wealth

Paul Krugman writes, "the Bush administration, always quick to question the patriotism of anyone who gets in its way, has said nothing at all about Stanley Works, and little about the growing number of U.S. corporations declaring themselves foreign for tax purposes. To be fair, the administration didn't create the loophole Stanley wants to exploit. And it's not enough just to denounce corporations that exploit tax loopholes; the real answer is to deny them the opportunity. Still, the administration's silence is peculiar. What's going on? ... Administration officials don't want to help collect the corporate profits tax. Unable to push major corporate tax breaks through Congress, the administration has used whatever leeway it has to offer such breaks without legislation... The administration doesn't want to say outright that it's in favor of tax evasion; but it also doesn't really want to collect the taxes. Better to say nothing at all." Impeach Bush Now!

American Capitalism Not as Great as the Chest Thumpers Proclaim
Corporate Wealth

In an excerpt from his book, Will Hutton writes in the Guardian UK, "American economic success has been dazzling, validating its belief in enshrining liberty at the heart of economic and social organisation... In some respects, it would be surprising if the US was not successful... Throughout the 20th century, its companies have produced on a scale unknown in other countries, taking advantage of the simple rule that the more you make, the lower the unit cost. Yet in reality the US is no more productive than many European economies. Although little reported, during the past 20 years, output per hour worked in France, the Netherlands, Belgium and the former West Germany has risen so that it is now higher than in the US, because the Europeans have invested more and organised their businesses more effectively. [This has happened because corporate America now] tries to extract value by financial engineering and sweating assets in an increasingly feral form of capitalism."

B%$# I Loophole Lets Corporate Executives Sell Stock Secretly
Corporate Wealth

"Fifteen executives at Colgate-Palmolive combined to sell more than $40 million in Colgate stock in 2000 and waited until early last year to disclose their sales... Two top executives at Tyco International sold more than $100 million in Tyco shares in late 2000 and 2001, but the sales did not become public for as long as a year. Today, Tyco shares are worth about half what they were at the time of the transactions. All these sellers, and dozens of others, have taken advantage of an 11-year-old loophole in federal securities laws that allows executives to wait as long as 13 months to disclose their sales when the buyer of their shares is the company itself. The loophole is the same one that enabled Kenneth L. Lay, the former chief executive of Enron, to sell millions of dollars of Enron shares in the months that the stock was plummeting... In the wake of Enron's collapse and new questions about Tyco's accounting methods, corporate governance experts say the rule should be changed."

Reaganomics Expands Under Bush into Get-rich Schemes by Execs at Worker Expense
Corporate Wealth

"The lavish retirement plans, low-interest loans and other perquisites showered on Enron Corp. managers have put a spotlight on a growing corporate trend--one of ever-richer executive benefits packages whose costs often can be hidden from shareholders. Compensation experts say companies are increasingly using executives' benefits packages, which already are far more generous than those offered to rank-and-file workers, as a way to quietly beef up total pay for top managers regardless of how their company performs... 'The trend has been [for executives] to be greedier and greedier, even though there's a recession,' said Cynthia Richson, director of corporate governance for the State of Wisconsin Investment Board. 'All this is designed to keep executives whole while the rank and file loses ground.'" So reports the LA Times.