There are family values... and then there are family values.

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Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown
Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown

There are family values… and then there are family values.

For example, what’s the value of a private jet to make a family trip to the Caribbean? Or of special spa treatments or other perks for the whole family? All you have to do to receive these values is to be a privileged family member of a major corporate CEO.

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We know that elite executives get exorbitant, multimillion-dollar paychecks and lavish benefits. Less known, however, is that the spouses and kiddos of CEOs are now getting their own perks, paid for by corporate shareholders… and subsidized by us ordinary taxpayers.

For example, Alan Mulally, the head honcho of Ford Motor Company, hauled in 28 million bucks in pay last year. But the small print in his contract also guarantees that his wife and five children – plus their guests – can hop a ride on the corporation’s jets to go wherever they want, free of charge, whether he’s on board or not. In just four months last year, he okayed $173,000 worth of jet-set travel for his high-flying family and friends.

When spouses fly on the corporate tab, the executives owe taxes on the value of the trips. No problem, though – many corporations even reimburse the CEOs for the taxes. Ray Irani, for example, CEO of Occidental Petroleum, got $45,000 last year to cover the tax bill for his wife’s flights on Occidental’s jets. By the way Irani’s paycheck last year totaled $416 million. Come on – with an income that huge, couldn’t he at least pony up the taxes for free spousal jet-setting?

One reason that board members are willing to bestow such extravagances on America’s corporate royalty is that the companies can deduct these expenses from their federal income tax. It’s one thing for the elites to freeload on shareholders, but why should the general public he subsidizing their gilded lifestyles?

“For CEO Spouses, Corporate Jets Are the Perfect Perk,” The Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2007

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