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Sam Pizzigati
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Published: Saturday 17 December 2011
Whether they manage football pageants or Ford Motor Co., these guys remind us how much needs to change, economically and politically, in 2012 and beyond.

The 10 Greediest Americans of 2011

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You don't have to make millions to rate as an all-star greedster. You do have to be ruthless, self-absorbed, and insensitive to others. Here's my list of the 10 greediest Americans of 2011.

10. Michael T. Duke, Wal-Mart CEO

Duke takes home his millions — $18.7 million in the company's latest fiscal year — by squeezing workers. He ended "premium pay" for the hours Wal-Mart workers have to put in on Sundays, eliminated profit-sharing, sheared health care benefits, and cut staffing levels so low, Retailing Today reports, that customers sometimes can't find shopping carts because the store where they're shopping has no employees available to collect carts from the parking lot.

9. Paul Hoolahan, Sugar Bowl CEO

The Sugar Bowl, one of college football's top four postseason games, enjoys tax-exempt status and regularly touts its contributions to good causes. But Hoolahan's favorite cause may be his own. He took home just under $600,000 in 2009, almost quadruple his $160,500 paycheck for the same job 13 years earlier. Meanwhile, the Sugar Bowl and its three "Bowl Championship Series" partners are contributing to charity only 20 cents from every $10 in revenue, the Arizona Republic reports.

8. Robert Iger, Disney CEO

His annual compensation topped $28 million last year, a neat 35-percent increase. In October, Iger picked up a new pay deal that extends his CEO contract into 2015 and then adds on a cushy final year as Disney's "executive chairman" — at $2.5 million — to help him make the transition into retirement.

7. Doug Oberhelman, Caterpillar CEO

In 2009, a year that saw only three U.S. corporations lay off more workers than Caterpillar, its CEO took home just under $3 million. His 2010 paycheck soared to $10.4 million. Caterpillar workers, meanwhile, have a new six-year contract that excludes wage increases and raises health care premiums.

6. William Weldon, Johnson & Johnson CEO

Weldon "restructured" this health care giant in 2007, slashing its quality-control program. For the next two years, a hiring freeze made replacing vacant quality positions almost impossible. In 2009, a flood of recalls began for company products from contact lenses to hip implants, but Weldon took home $25.6 million anyway. After those recalls and assorted other scandals, the company did finally trim his annual pay — to $23.2 million.

5. Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs CEO

In 2007, on the eve of the meltdown banks like Goldman did so much to hasten, Blankfein collected a $68-million bonus, the largest in Wall Street history. In 2011, Blankfein had a chance to hit the restart button. He didn't. In April, Goldman Sachs revealed that Blankfein, after going two years without a cash bonus, had gobbled up $5.4 million in bonus cash for the bank's latest fiscal year. And plenty more in stock and salary. His total pay: $19 million, about double his pay the year before.

4. Alan Mulally, Ford Motor CEO

After losing $30 billion over three years, Ford has gained back $9.3 billion. In reward, Ford handed Mulally $56.5 million in stock and then, a month later, announced that he pulled down an additional $26.5 million last year. That amounted to 910 times the pay of entry-level Ford workers.

3. Larry Ellison, Oracle CEO

The top exec at business software giant Oracle collected $77.6 million for the fiscal year that ended this past May 31.That piece of change added less than two-tenths of 1 percent to Ellison's $39.5 billion personal fortune, the world's fifth largest.

2. Don Blankenship, Former Massey Energy CEO

West Virginia investigators found Massey management directly to blame for the 2010 blast that left 29 miners dead at the company's Upper Big Branch coal mine. Massey, the report charged, had nurtured a "culture bent on production at the expense of safety." That culture paid off handsomely for Blankenship. He pocketed $38.2 million from 2007 through 2009, after raking in $34 million in 2005, and retired with a $5.7-million pension and $12 million in severance.

1. Mark Pincus, Zynga CEO

High-tech start-ups like the online social gaming empire Zynga typically attract talent by offering shares of stock. But Pincus had apparently concluded, with a multi-billion-dollar IPO pending, that he had given away too many shares. Pincus demanded that various employees "give back not-yet-vested stock or face termination," The Wall Street Journal reported.

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ABOUT Sam Pizzigati


Veteran labor journalist Sam Pizzigati, an Institute for Policy Studies associate fellow, edits Too Much, the Institute's online weekly on excess and inequality. His latest book: The Rich Don’t Always Win: The Forgotten Triumph over Plutocracy that Created the American Middle Class, 1900-1970 (Seven Stories Press, November 2012).

just check the ulopad maximum

just check the ulopad maximum setting in the php.iniI do not know if that was fixed in this partI believe I have fixed it in the new installation, but I am trying to modify some stuff later this week

Yeah!!! Socialism is the

Yeah!!! Socialism is the answer!!!

I agree with Mike Duke, he is

I agree with Mike Duke, he is a greedy and the associates at walmart get zero. And are paid just about min wage. Mike Duke sure knows how to take away, from employee's but he clueless how to give. He is just interested in the money, not the employee's. Whom he is totally clueless who they are too. And nor does he care. The employee's at walmart have there hours cut, in January, why? Because of the holiday's Christmas, New Years, Mike wants the money back. That some get paid for. I do not get paid for the holidays, And lose the money, I would like to see Mike pay his bills on 32 hours a week and min wage. We where told at a morning meeting that there was going to be surprises, yea, some surprise, get to go home early and lose 2 hours pay. What a present. Me I lost 1 1/2 hours, and I cannot make it up, nor do I get paid for the holidays, So I lost all the way around, No I did not get sent home as others did, I lost because the store closed early. I was schedule to work late. So MIKE I hope your Christmas was good, and all your Corporate Exec's you made all the employee's of Walmart's Christmas CRAP!!! Not that you care. About anyone but YOU!!!!

These executives need to

These executives need to understand that their actions are hurting their companies in the long run. They should be pledging some of their salaries back into their companies to promote economic growth. Without disposable income, the working class can't buy the products that made the executives rich. We need each other, and they have to understand that the economy isn't a personal ATM machine.

These executives need to

These executives need to understand that their actions are hurting their companies in the long run. They should be pledging some of their salaries back into their companies to promote economic growth. Without disposable income, the working class can't buy the products that made the executives rich. We need each other, and they have to understand that the economy isn't a personal ATM machine.

We have a choice in this

We have a choice in this matter. Its simple, you vote with your wallet. If we don't like the rich and greedy and the " walmarts " of the world.....quit buying their stuff and giving them money

Why isn't George Soro's on

Why isn't George Soro's on this list?

The only way this stuff is

The only way this stuff is going to change is a world wide revolution against the rich and greedy !!!!

How many of these support the

How many of these support the zionist theocracy Israel?

Paxton Hoag: This is actually

Paxton Hoag: This is actually a pretty good solution, and constructive. Wish it were possible.

There's only so much space,

There's only so much space, but surprised that Craig Dubow, the former CEO of Gannett, didn't make it to this list. In his six-year career, stock price went from $75 to $10, and he recently resigned from his $9.4 million job with $37.1 million in retirement and disability benefits after putting nearly 40% of the company's workers out of a job.

What an oversimplification!

What an oversimplification! While these CEO's compensation has soared they have gone out of their way to minimize and even take away the gains of the average workers in their companies.

There is no doubt that there

There is no doubt that there is greed in the corporate world...but lets talk about the labor world as well. Why not post what labor leaders are bring home in the way of compensation and perks? They have a long history of benefitting while union members suffer from financial loss. More importantly, they have resorted to threats when anyone suggests that their financial reports be a public as those of corporations. How many jobs have been lost becuse of their greed?This isn't a one sided story....give the full picture!!

Let us get rid of Milton

Let us get rid of Milton Friedman once and for all!

Let us get rid of Milton

Let us get rid of Milton Friedman once and for all!



I believe it is immoral for a

I believe it is immoral for a CEO to make more than 20 times their lowest paid employee. If their lowest paid employee makes $25,000 yr. (just above the poverty level for a family of 4) then the CEO salary should be a maximum of $500,000. If their lowest paid employee gets minimum wage ($7.25/hr or 14,500 yr - below poverty level for a family of 2) then the CEO should get no more than $290,000. (including bonuses). This is a moral issue this country needs to face. The churches should get behind this concept. It would raise the salaries of everyone so the CEOs could make more.

The church has been very

The church has been very quiet on the issue of wealth inequality. They even wouldn't allow protesters to occupy open Trinity church real estate. The Bishop George Packard protested against the corporate church and was arrested with protesters.

You know who needs to start

You know who needs to start appearing on such lists? CEOs of healthcare corporations. Healthcare corporations in Seattle are literally getting away with murder, and the WA-DOH blows off complaints, the King County Medical Society doesn't even acknowledge receipt of complaints, Center for Medicare

Boycott? What kinda of wimp

Boycott? What kinda of wimp have we, the people sold ourselves out to be? This guy creates a list of some of the 2%ers & all anyone talks about is piracy & buying from the next door over?

Oh, I know its PC double speak to avoid being suspected as a terrorist, provocateur by the 2%er’s watchdogs. Sheeech! What patriotism, what fortitude what commitment to the rule of law, their law. I know it’s not fear or conditioning to the Patriot Act, the new & improved National Defense Authorization Act, etc.

As an aside, all food production & distribution in America is controlled by six corporations. Same pyramids exist in energy, transportation, communications, etc. all owned by the same 2%ers.

There is no free market capitalism, only the pretense, fantasies & fallacies of one. Nor are ‘All men are created equal” or a “home of the brave’ anymore. That tree of liberty is not doing too well no one is willing to water or feed it anymore.

I also agree with the vote de bums out rhetoric, but this ‘free ride on the backs of’ stuff is so lame.

No! We, the people don’t want that & would be insulted if it was ‘expected’. All we want, no! what we demand is a fair fight. In the arenas of a free market and Republic/Democracy, this one is the monopoly of a very few, hidden & unacknowledged from the majority.

As for the ‘good intentioned ones mentioned & inferred. How many lives destroyed, aspirations cavalierly dashed into despair, generations lost to educations that are fictitious, retirements taken for acquisition before it’s too much to justify, their ‘fortunes’ being given to ‘charity’, a name on a bronze plate, when their dead & cannot continue the carnage, is too much? A thousand, four, ten thousand, when is it not OK? Does this buy Indulgences, vindication?

We, the people are responsible, and have paid many a piper in our life’s energy and blood, this time it is going to be they, who dance the jig. What price they pay, well you know what happens to the weak ones in the B-movies that don’t pay. You got it! Seems more of the 2%ers are getting it too.

So enough, all the ledgers will be balanced, watch.

God don’t bless America! ‘We, the people’…do!

Palmer Lucky: You need to

Palmer Lucky: You need to do some reading about how corporations work. If you think, for a second, that the shareholders actually vote the salary of a CEO you are sadly misinformed. Try and have some knowledge of your subject matter before you write ignorant posts like you did with this one.

Hey Stu Gotz No Branz,You

Hey Stu Gotz No Branz,You sound just like another CEO(Capitalizing on the Efforts of Others) looking for a free ride on the backs of the more energetic and productive. Perhaps if you focused your energy on thinking for yourself rather than regurgitating the mucus of others you could intellectually enrich both yourself and the American people.

Hey Sam Pizza Di Strunz,You

Hey Sam Pizza Di Strunz,You sound just like another envious collectivist looking for a free ride on the backs of the more energetic and productive. Perhaps if you focused your energy on building or profitably running a private enterprise you could financially enrich both yourself and the American economy.

You're a moron. You have it

You're a moron. You have it ass-backwards: it's the wealthy who have been spongeing off the backs of the REAL "productive" people--the middle-class workers who actually "produce" the shit that the rich get rich selling. The steadily widening disparity in incomes in the last 30 yrs or so bears this out, irrefutably. What fantasy world have YOU been living so cantankerously & bitterly in? The golf-playing pussies at the top couldn't last a day actually earning their keep like, say a firefighter or EMT. How a bout a teacher who puts up w the CEO's prissy spoiled brat in the classroom? Or the emergency room doctors who save the greedy assholes life when he gets wheeled in w chest pain...? I guess none of them are "energetic" or "productive". And, oh yeah, where is the meaning in such work? Gee, being a CEO is about as meaningLESS as it gets.

Christina Marlowe's picture

You are an IDIOT.

You are an IDIOT.

They gave to Obama? I don't

They gave to Obama? I don't think so when Obama wants them paying more in taxes to help the rest of us!

Top 10 ... I would think

Top 10 ... I would think Lowell McAdams, Verizon CEO should be on this list. 45,000 union employees still waiting for "fair bargaining" in their contract negotiations since August. Meanwhile there's lots of cash for executive raises and bonuses and billions to buy new ventures from Time Warner, Comcast and Cablevision. The amount of $$$ spent on lobbyists and negative advertising could have paid employee benefits for years to come. Shame on you!

Greed is the result of

Greed is the result of cowardice. These people live in constant terror that the public will not perceive them as the kings they envision themselves to be. They spend the entirety of their lives quivering, quaking and trembling in terror, hiding behind piles of money to escape what they fear most: responsibility. They want to build monuments of greatness to themselves, but lack the courage to actually be great leaders.

They are nothing but sniveling little whimpering spineless cowards.

Yes but they're rich

Yes but they're rich sniveling little whimpering spineless cowards.

Amen. Well said & oh so true.

Amen. Well said & oh so true.

We're definitely not in

We're definitely not in Kansas anymore, but we're definitely not in our forebearers' America niether. The hope is that America getting brutally anally raped by these and other immoral heartless perverts is just a nightmare and that we'll all soon wake up to auntie Em's smiling face. "There's no place like home...There's no place like home..."

PALMER LUCKEY says about

PALMER LUCKEY says about Ellison "he gets paid well". I don't know if he is just too thick to figure out that, even if he does give '95% of his wealth' when he dies, his pay is still an obscenity. His estate will still consist of more than most of the people reading this Nation of Change will earn in their COMBINED lives.

It takes a real TWIT to defend publicly the likes of an Ellison.

@GERRY: But if he gives it

@GERRY: But if he gives it away, so what? It is better than Oracle keeping it! What more could you want from a guy than for him to take millions of dollars from a corporation, and then give it away to good causes? Call me a twit if you want, but I am making a good point, and you know it. Ellison gets paid a lot of money, and there is nothing wrong with the owners (The shareholders) of the company deciding to do that. He would be fully in the right even if he was not giving away hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

Who are the shareholders?

Who are the shareholders? Aren't most shares held and voted by the brokerage houses, or by investment and pension funds, and the votes made virtually automatically by having to vote against the company-proposed boards?

I think you've just upped

I think you've just upped their speaking fees.

Remember -- millions of Americans see higher ed as biz ed, and they need role models like this. After all: gotta keep convincing yourself of the value of going so deeply into student loan debt just to go deeper into this totally amoral world.

I don't think Oracle CEO

I don't think Oracle CEO Larry Ellison should be on this list at all. He has given hundreds of millions of dollars to charity, and has pledged to give 95% of his wealth to charity when he dies. The fact that NationOfChange would put him on a list of "Greedy Americans" completely destroys their credibility, in my opinion. Very clear you did not do even basic research.

Oracle has been expanding, giving hundreds of Americans good jobs, and making record profits off corporate data management and server solutions. Calling him "greedy" because he gets paid well is pretty dumb, especially when shareholders get to vote on his pay. If they want to pay him for the successful management of the company, why can't they? Seems like NationOfChance is putting him on the list just for being successful, and completely ignores the fact that he gives most of the money he makes to good causes.

You need to be better

You need to be better educated in the way corporations work. If you think that stockholders actually get to vote on the pay of a CEO, you are sadly misinformed. Being misinformed, or underinformed, leaves you in the position of being ineligible to comment intelligently. READ first, speak later.

bobert's picture

Companies in the U.S. are

Companies in the U.S. are chartered to make money usually by providing the goods and services that people want. The problem is not the corporation it is the policies that over the last decade or so have provided their executives with obscene compensation packages. These lucrative packages are provided on the assumption that they need these "qualified" people as if these are the only people out there who can fill the job. But we all know many instances where the "qualified" executive of the day has run the company into the ground and walked away with millions.

The real solution is for the shareholders to have more of a say in matters executive compensation. Leaving it up to the good ol boys on the board will just result in more abuse.

Betcha "Keepyourpower" got

Betcha "Keepyourpower" got all his information from Fox News!
We need to vote OUT every single GOP member, as well as those Dems that vote with the GOP. We also need a new president - but who?! We need a strong Independent - no Dem will run against Obama.



I'd like to find out how much

I'd like to find out how much in taxes these greedy SOBs paid. I bet half didn't pay a single penny, using legalized theft to do the most un-patriotic thing any American can: not pay his fair share of taxes, letting the country go into bankruptcy, and doing the I don't give a shit shuffle in the process.

What about not paying income

What about not paying income taxes! I'm sick of being a middle class overtaxed bleeding to feed these hungry sharks. I'm a small business owner and my taxes, fees etc are at a higher percentage than the Big Corps. If we all refused to pay our taxes what happens?Pilgrim

Revolution happens.

Revolution happens.

If we don't act now, with a

If we don't act now, with a unity of purpose, to begin to curtail the power of this new breed of monster, we will pay dearly for it. Not only with money, jobs and homes, but with the loss of our humanity and our dignity - and with every cherished value that once rightly caused America to be seen as a beacon of hope for many the world over.

Humanity and dignity? There

Humanity and dignity? There no such thing as the casual part-time workers at Walmart will attest to.

Hey V, Do you personally

Hey V, Do you personally practice what you preach? Do you only purchase at mom and pop places? Boy this sounds pretty difficult. I can't think of ONE mom and pop grocery store in my area and I live in a large metro city. Suggestions?? anyone. Is this really possible?

@keepyourpower, they donated

@keepyourpower, they donated most of the $$ to the GOP.
Look it up yourself

Yeah, it's pretty obvious

Yeah, it's pretty obvious most of these guys in the Union of Bosses don't want Obama or anyone Democrat to be president, enator, or congress person, unless they're a Dem like Nelson of Nebraska or Baucus of Montana.

I meant to type senator.

I meant to type senator.

We Americans are too stupid

We Americans are too stupid to realize we can make a difference if we together spend our money with companies that support the workers. Not sure if Americans are not educated or just don't give a damn. Perhaps they don't think their individual dollars make a difference....or perhaps they are too tired from working long hours for little money

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