Americans Support Government Control of Executive Pay Only If Taxpayer Money
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
American attitudes about regulating executive compensation are very clear:
If taxpayers help a company stay in business, the government should regulate
executive pay and bonuses. But if no taxpayer
money is involved, the government should keep its hands off.
Sixty-one percent (61%) of adults say the government should regulate the
level of pay and bonuses for executives of a company that receives
government funding, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone
survey. Twenty-seven percent (27%) disagree.
same time, just 23% of Americans believe the government should regulate
executive pay and bonuses for banks and
finance companies that do not receive government funding to continue
operations. Sixty-four percent (64%) say that if not taxpayer money is
involved, executive compensation is none of the governmentís business.
beyond the bank and finance industry, just 21% say the federal government
should regulate the level of pay and bonuses for all publicly traded
companies in every industry. Two-thirds (66%) reject this idea.
Government workers are far more supportive of regulating executive pay and
bonuses for companies that receive taxpayer monies than are those who work
in the private sector. Those on the public payroll also are more sympathetic
to regulation of companies that do not receive government funding than are
those who work outside of government.
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findings come amidst continuing public outrage over $165 million in
executive bonuses given out by American International Group (AIG) after it
had received a $170 billion taxpayer bailout to stay in business.
Americans now rank the chief executive officers of the nationís largest
corporations at the very bottom in terms of popularity, even lower than
members of Congress.
surprisingly, there are partisan differences on the topic of regulating
compensation. For companies that have received bailout money, 73% of
Democrats and 64% of adults not affiliated with either major political party
favor government regulation of executive compensation. Republicans are
evenly divided. Most investors (58%), however, think itís a good idea, as do
the majority of non-investors (64%).
banks and finance companies that did not receive bailout funding, 74% of
Republicans oppose government regulation of executive pay. That view is
shared by 66% of unaffiliateds and 53% of Democrats.
comes to government control of pay and bonuses for all publicly traded
companies in every industry, 75% of Republicans, 68% of unaffiliated adults
and 57% of Democrats are opposed.
Lower-income Americans are more likely to favor government control at all
companies than those who earn more.
survey research found that
88% of Americans believe that executives of companies that need federal
money to stay in business should not receive bonuses anyway.
Fifty-seven percent (57%) of
voters favor the 90% tax on bonuses paid by AIG and any other firms that
receive government bailout money.
Seventy-six percent (76%) of Americans say the government should force the
AIG executives to return the bonuses. Most of the bonuses have now been
returned, according to news reports.
Two-thirds of Americans also believe that
politicians should return any campaign contributions they received from AIG.
On this point,
Americaís Political Class strongly disagrees.
Americans (68%) now think much of the taxpayer money given out as bailouts
is going to the very
people who created the countryís current economic crisis.
state telephone survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted by Rasmussen Reports
March 23-24, 2009. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 3
percentage points with a 95% level of confidence (see
Rasmussen Reports, LLC