Executive excess getting excessive

Not only have corporate outrages become commonplace, but the level of the outrages have gone nuclear.

Not only have corporate outrages become commonplace, but the level of the outrages have gone nuclear.

Take Martin Shkreli – please! The 32-year-old CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals launched the drug maker last year, but it doesn’t make any drugs. Instead, Shkreli simply bought the rights to a 62-year old treatment for a disease that can be fatal to unborn babies and patients with HIV and cancer. His only improvement to this life-saving drug was to “enhance” the profit he could extract – by abruptly increasing its price by 5,000 percent – from $13.50 a pill to $750! Despite public outrage, Shkreli said if given a do-over: “I probably would have raised the price higher,” as, “my investors expect me to maximize profits.”

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Not to be outdone by a punk, Pfizer, the Big Pharma powerhouse, has announced plans to abandon America – the nation that has nurtured and sustained its success. CEO Ian Read says that paying taxes in our homeland puts him and his investors at a “tremendous disadvantage” in the global economy. “We’re fighting with one hand tied behind our backs,” he wails. To survive, he claims that Pfizer has to shed its US citizenship and move its corporate domicile to Ireland – a notorious haven for tax dodgers.

What Read doesn’t want us common taxpayers to know is that over the last 15 years, Pfizer executives paid $95 billion to buy back shares of the corporation’s own stock in order to artificially inflate its price, paid $87 billion in profits to shareholders (with the biggest chunks going to premium owners like Read himself), spent billions to buy out three huge competitors – and then cut the corporate R&D budget and Pfizer’s workforce by a third, so they could fund all of the above.

It’s not taxes that’re hurting American companies. It’s executive greed.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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