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Chief executives who slashed payrolls the most took home 42% more compensation in 2009 than the average chief executive of Standard & Poor's 500 companies, according to a new study by the Institute for Policy Studies, a liberal think tank that focuses on national issues. The top 50 CEOs who laid off the most workers last year received an average $12 million in salary, well above the $8.5 million S&P 500 average. Just one egregious example: American Express received $3.4 billion in taxpayer bailout funds. The company laid off 4,000 workers. The chief executive, Kenneth Chenault, took home $16.8 million, including a $5 million cash bonus.

The think tank says that CEO remuneration dropped somewhat in 2009 and 2008 from the previous years. However, adjusted for inflation, CEO pay in 2009 was more than double the CEO pay average during the 1990s, quadruple the pay average of the 1980s, and eight times the CEO average for the decades of the mid-20th century.

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Comments

SurfPuppy619 Sept. 1, 2010 @ 3:40 p.m.

Chpped heads= wiping out middle class, tax base jobs.

The people running the country could put a stop to this.

Don't get me wrong it is one thing to downsize to keep the company above water-it is another to do it to milk the company for every penny it has while slowly destroying it and the economy that is supported by the tax dollars.

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Don Bauder Sept. 1, 2010 @ 9:45 p.m.

Response to post #1: Yes, chopping heads is OK if it is the only way to survive. No question. But chopping heads just to maximize short-term profits is reprehensible, and it has been American companies' M.O. for almost 30 years. Also, chopping heads so the CEO can earn multi-millions a year is self-destructive for corporations. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 2, 2010 @ 9:08 p.m.

HERE'S WHAT IT'S LIKE AT THE LOWER END: Fully 30% of non-retired households in the county earn less than the self-sufficiency level, according to a study released today (Sept. 2) by the Center on Policy Initiatives. A single person with no dependents needs a full-time job paying at least $13.13 an hour, or $27,733 a year, to meet basic expenses, according to the center. Those making California minimum wage of $8 an hour earn only $16,896 a year. But that's higher than the official federal poverty level of $11,161. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 3, 2010 @ 8:59 p.m.

Response to post #4: Those two links didn't bring anything up for me. Could you resend? Best, Don Bauder

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