At What Cost? Tax-Dodging Companies Paid $439M to CEOs Last Year After 'Leaving' US

Since 1983, 76 companies have turned their back on the U.S. and incorporated in another country to avoid paying taxes. Known as "corporate inversions," these acts of greed in the name of duty to shareholders and bottom lines are growing exponentially: 47 of the 76 occurred in the past decade, with 13 companies making the move in 2014 alone.

The tax revenue lost is enormous, but the companies say they have no choice in the matter. According to a new analysis by the Center for Effective Government, there appears to be one cost-cutting measure that could surely offset the costs of contributing to the society it profits from: CEO pay.

Comparing a May 2014 report by the Congressional Research Service on corporate inversion to annual proxy statements filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Center for Effective Government turned up some appalling numbers. Of the 32 corporations that fit the bill:

The CEOs of these firms collectively took home $439 million in 2013, an average of $13.7 million per CEO. Eight of the CEOs pocketed more than $20 million each, and Stephen Luczo, CEO of Seagate Technology, took home nearly $46 million last year. Seagate is a cloud-based data storage firm that operates out of California but is incorporated in Ireland.

The new analysis included salary, bonuses, non-equity compensation, perks and cashed in stock options. The report didn't even include the theoretical value of stock grants and options left uncashed.

While the shareholders of these corporations apparently need to be protected from paying for the education, roads, health care (which many refuse to pay for privately or through tax dollars) and government research they unequivocally profit from, exorbitant pay for the top bosses doesn't seem to be a problem.

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Brandon Perkins
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