USA: oil, weapons fat cats profit from Iraq war

This video is the film Iraq for sale, by Robert Greenwald from the USA.

By Naomi Spencer:

US: Defense and oil company executives reap windfalls from Iraq war

15 September 2006

Since September 11, 2001, and the Bush administration’s initiation of the “war on terror,” inequality in the US has grown at a rapid rate and to grotesque proportions.

The criminal nature of war on Iraq is reflected in every facet of American life, least surprisingly of all in the enormous fortunes of the ruling elite.

Indeed, the current war, the most privatized in history, is viewed by a wide range of corporate executives and investors as an open-ended outsourcing opportunity.

Congress has appropriated more than $314 billion thus far for the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, largely at the expense of infrastructure, education, and other basic requisites for modern life at home.

The massive government expenditures and cuts in vital social programs that characterize the US war economy, however, far from fostering restraint on the part of big business, have paved the way for shameless price gouging, corporate windfalls, tax cuts, pension-gutting and pay cuts for average workers in the US.

Results of “Executive Excess 2006,” the thirteenth annual chief executive officer compensation survey by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), underscore the fact that the war has benefited a very few to the detriment of the broad mass of the population, both domestically and internationally.

Business Week estimates that in 1980 the ratio of US executive to worker pay was 42-to-1.

IPS found that by 1990 the CEO-worker pay gap had grown to 107-to-1.

In the period following 1990, one dominated by unprecedented deregulation and globalization, executive pay soared while workers’ wages by and large stagnated, generating a pay gap of 411-to-1.

“If the minimum wage had risen at the same pace as CEO pay since 1990,” the report notes, “it would be worth $22.61 today, rather than the actual $5.15.”

Similarly, average worker pay would be more than $108,000 in 2005, rather than $28,314.

After 9/11, pay levels of defense and energy CEOs soared.

According to the IPS, CEOs of the top 34 defense contractors saw their average compensation double, from $3.6 million in 2002 to $7.2 million in 2005.

Since September 11, these 34 executives have pocketed a combined total of nearly a billion dollars, which the IPS estimates would be “enough to cover the entire wage bill for more than a million Iraqis for a year.”

Average defense CEO pay was 308 times the pay received by a deployed US Army private in 2005, $25,000.

George David, CEO of Black Hawk helicopter manufacturer United Technologies, raked in over $200 million between 2002 and 2005, making him the highest paid defense executive.

In 2004, David took in $88.3 million in pay and stock options; last year his pay was $31.9 million, still the top defense executive.

Boeing CEO W. James McNerney Jr. was not far behind in 2005, with $28.4 million.

The sharp rise in executive pay is directly tied to Pentagon budget increases.

Last year alone, government expenditures for military contracts totaled $269 billion.

As the ISP points out, the excessive funds have accelerated “the virtual revolving door between the Pentagon and private contractors.”

Former Defense Secretary William S. Cohen, for example, resigned in 2001 to become a lobbyist for the defense industry.

Divestitures in military health care contributed to the enormous profits of managed care company Health Net and the fortunes of its top executives.

CEO Jay Gellert hauled in over $28 million between 2002 and 2005, a 1,134 percent increase in compensation over the four years prior to war.

Gellert is the defense executive posting the biggest pay increase in the IPS survey.

Greenwald on Blackwater: here.

Cheney and Halliburton: here.

British Iraq war fat cats BAE Systems: here.

More Halliburton: here.

Big oil: here.

Australian Wheat Board and Iraq war: here.

8 thoughts on “USA: oil, weapons fat cats profit from Iraq war

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