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article imageCEOs demand tax breaks, call for cuts to Social Security

By Greta McClain     Nov 26, 2012 in Politics
Numerous CEOs are working with a campaign whose aim is to protect current tax breaks for large corporations, while publicly saying "entitlement" programs such as Social Security and Medicare should be cut to reduce the federal deficit.
The Fix the Debt CEO Fiscal Leadership Council is made up of business leaders who are "committed to to persuade Congress to enact, and the President to sign, a comprehensive debt deal large enough to stabilize and reduce the federal debt as a share of the economy."
The list of Fiscal Leadership Council CEOs include:
Bill Ackman, Founder & CEO, Pershing Square Capital Management, L.P, who has a reported net worth of $700 million.
David M. Cote of Honeywell International, who is paid $56 million annually according to a Forbes report.
John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems, whose total compensation package per year is $37.90 million.
Randall L Stephenson, CEO of AT&T, has a $26.00 million annual salary according to Forbes.
Ken Hicks of Foot Locker receives an annual compensation package of $14,059,147.
Martin L. Flanagan, CEO and President of Invesco Ltd., was paid $13,420,458 in 2011.
Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman & CEO, Goldman, Sachs & Co. is paid $16,164,405 annually.
Balnkfein recently told CBS News:
"Social Security wasn't devised to be a system that supported you for a 30-year retirement... entitlements have to be slowed down and contained."
According to an Institute for Policy Studies report, the CEO's supporting Fix the Debt have personally received a combined total of $41 million in 2011 due to the Bush tax cuts. Leon Black of Apollo Global Management, saved $9.9 million on the Bush tax cuts. Black had $215 million in taxable income from vested stock alone in 2011, and has a net worth of $3.5 billion.
The group is also advocating for a "territorial tax system" which would exempt companies from paying taxes on foreign profits. The result would be an estimated $134 billion in tax savings for the companies according to a Huffington Post report.
Instead of putting the $134 billion towards the U.S. debt, the group wants to look at cutting programs like Social Security and Medicare.
Cote's company, Honeywell, not only avoided paying taxes between 2008-2012 because of current tax loopholes, the company received taxpayer-funded rebates of $34 million in addition to profits totaling nearly $5 billion.
Cote is also one of the ones calling for cuts to Social Security and Medicare, saying:
"The big nut is going to have to be [cuts to] Medicare/Medicaid."
According to the Social Security Administration, the average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker is about $1,230. That equates to a little over $14,000 annually, just $3,000 more than the 2012 poverty level. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) says the median income of a Medicare household is about $25,000 a year, $2000 above the federal poverty guidelines for a household of 4. If Fix the Debt were to be successful in their goal to maintain tax shelters and loopholes for corporations while cutting funding to Medicare, and cuts were made similar to the ones proposed by Paul Ryan, the average family would fall below the poverty level within 2 years.
Jim McNerney, CEO of Boeing, received nearly $23 million in compensation in 2011, an increase of 16 percent according to Reuters. Boeing's net earnings jumped 21 percent to $4 billion as revenue rose about 7 percent to $68.7 billion. Meanwhile, the company announced plans to begin laying off 30 percent of it's workforce. Since January, Boeing has paid its Washington lobbyists $12 million.
More about CEO, Debt, Debt reduction, Business, fiscal cliff
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