The Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), a Washington-based think tank, has just released its 16th annual 'Executive Excess' report.

It reveals that, despite the near collapse of the American economy and the current global economic crisis, US executives are still living the high life and paying themselves massive bonuses.

Despite Barack Obama's claim that he was determined to rid Wall Street of its 'culture of excess' that culture remains alive and well.

One of the key findings of the report is that Wall Street executives are the United States wealthiest welfare beneficiaries = the very same people who invariably decry state intervention and 'welfarism'.

From 2006 through 2008, the top five executives at the 20 banks that have accepted the most federal bailout dollars since the meltdown averaged $32 million each in personal compensation.

'One hundred average U.S. workers would have to labour over 1,000 years to make as much as these 100 executives made in three.' say the four authors of the IPS report.

Also of note is that since January 1, 2008, the top 20 financial industry recipients of bailout aid have together laid off more than 160,000 workers. In 2008, the 20 CEOs at these firms each averaged $13.8 million, for a collective total of over a quarter-billion dollars in compensation.

'America's executive pay bubble remains un-popped,' commented Sarah Anderson, lead author on the Institute study. 'And these outrageous rewards give executives an incentive to behave outrageously, putting the rest of us at risk.'

The IPS criticises the Obama administration for its lack of action.

'Public officials in Congress and the White House hold the pin that could pop the executive pay bubble,' says IPS Senior Scholar Chuck Collins. 'They have so far failed to use it.'

A generation ago, typical US corporate CEOs seldom made more than 30 or 40 times what their workers took home. In 2008, the IPS report shows, top executives averaged 319 times more than average U.S. worker pay.


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