Jason Linkins writes, The CEOs who are robbing you blind, which is based on an eye-opening report from the The Institute for Policy Studies, called Executive Excess 2023.
The Report contains a ranking of the 100 S & P 500 companies paying the lowest median wages in 2022.
But the report doesn’t just include the median wages — it also includes data on stock buybacks, CEO stock holdings, percentage change in stock holding, CEO-worker pay rate and federal contracts.
In the top ten:
- Home Depot had over $28 billion in stock buybacks from 2020-2023
- Walmart had a 933 to 1 CEO to worker ratio
- The CEO of Lowes owned $108,300,000 in stock
- That ownership was 754% higher in July 2023 than it was in January 2020
- S&P received federal contracts worth over $104,000,000
Buybacks are pure greed. According to the Harvard Business Review, not a socialist rag, they neither create capital for reinvestment nor reward a workforce for its hard work, and are an examplar of bad management, as well as bad for the economy. 90 of 100 of the firms had a total for buybacks of $341.2 billion between January 1, 2020, and May 31, 2023.
51 of the 100 received federal contracts worth a combined $24.1 billion. So the federal government is helping finance the windfalls to the CEO’s and stockholders of the lowest wage companies.
The Report makes recommendations, including:
- Increase the stock buyback tax from 1% (contained in the IRA) to 4% or higher, as President Biden has proposed.
- Condition federal contracts on limitations on limiting buybacks and guaranteeing worker protections.
- Raise corporate taxes on companies with wide CEO to worker gaps, as has been done in two major cities, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon.
Much more than this is necessary, including much higher income tax brackets for the wealthy and living wage laws, but at the moment, unbridled greed rules.