After the government bank bailouts last year, many investors assumed excessive executive compensation would be curbed.
That hasn’t exactly been the case. The top five executives at 10 of the top 20 banks receiving bailouts garnered a combined $90 million of increased value in their stock options, according to the Institute for Policy Studies’ “Executive Excess” report.
"America's executive pay bubble remains un-popped," says Sarah Anderson, lead author of the study.
"And these outrageous rewards give executives an incentive to behave outrageously, putting the rest of us at risk."
While the top 20 financial service firms receiving bailouts have laid off more than 160,000 workers since Jan. 1, 2008, the 20 CEOs at these firms each averaged $13.8 million in pay for 2008.
Also last year, compensation for the top executives averaged 319 times that of the average U.S. worker
The study recommends that the federal government give tax breaks and federal contracting preferences to companies that maintain a reasonable pay gap between their top executives and line workers.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., has proposed providing those benefits to companies that pay their CEO no more than 100 times the compensation of their lowest-paid workers.
Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstine writes that those who drove us into financial catastrophe already are back for more.
“Like golfers who treat themselves to a second drive after hooking the first one deep into the woods, these guys play on without apology or penalty.”
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