Could we be seeing executive pay disclosures soon? An amendment to the financial reform bill, introduced by Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, would require all U.S. companies to disclose, for the first time, the gap between what they pay their CEO on an annual basis and what they pay their average workers. Up until now this information has been very hard to find out. Let's hope this amendment makes it through the process and becomes part of the final law. For example, John Stumpf, the CEO of the bailed-out Wells Fargo bank, made over $21 million last year. That one year income to Stumpf would take the average US worker 665 years to earn. If Menendez's amendment makes it through, we'll know this statistic for every CEO.
Here're a few stats. The amount hedge fund manager John Paulson paid Goldman Sachs in 2007 to create and market an investment vehicle based on mortgages Paulson knew would fail is $15 million. The amount a just filed federal fraud case against Goldman says investors in that vehicle eventually lost is over $1 billion. The amount Paulson personally profited from by betting the investment would fail is $1 billion. The amount Paulson donated in 2007 to Center for Responsible Lending to help victims of predatory mortgage loans is $15 million. The amount Paulson spent in 2008 to buy a Southampton vacation home is $41 million. And his maximum tax rate for his billions of income as a hedge fund manager? 15 percent, with not a penny paid against most of that toward Social Security or Medicare. After all, only the little people pay payroll taxes.