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Corporate Profits, CEO Pay Booming. The Rest of America? Not So Much.

May 6, 2011, 4:00 pm | By Jessica Barba Brown

fortune500.jpgAs faith leaders continue the fight to protect the poor from devastating budget cuts, two news reports underscore the deeply flawed approach of the Republican budget plan, which relies on propping up corporate giants and the financial sector at the expense of working families and the most vulnerable.

Politico‘s Mike Allen reported yesterday morning on the FORTUNE 500 cover story in which we learn that the world’s largest corporations are doing just fine. More than fine.

Profits of the 500 Largest U.S. Corporations Soar by 81% ($318 Billion), the Third Largest Percentage Gain in List History … FORTUNE editors write, ‘We’ve rarely seen such a stark gulf between the fortunes of the 500 and those of ordinary Americans. … The profits derived partly from productivity gains, including workforce reductions. And many 500 companies are growing faster overseas than in the U.S.

You know if FORTUNE editors are shedding light on the growing chasm in wealth disparity, we’ve reached a crisis point.

This morning, Allen highlights another tidbit on the growing gap between the wealthiest and the rest of us, this time from the AP:

CEOs at the nation’s largest companies were paid better last year than they were in 2007, when the economy was booming, the stock market set a record high and unemployment was roughly half what it is today. The typical pay package for the head of a company in the Standard & Poor’s 500 was $9 million in 2010 … That was 24 percent higher than a year earlier, reversing two years of declines.

While the economy added 244,000 jobs last month, the unemployment rate ticked back up to 9%, showing these soaring profits and bonuses aren’t trickling down to working Americans.

Meanwhile, Republican leaders continue to insist that the right way to balance the budget is to dismantle Medicare, shut down community health centers, and stop food assistance to our elderly and vulnerable. Why? For more tax giveaways for corporate donors like Exxon Mobil and millionaires. The contrast between these priorities and the values faith leaders are defending could hardly be more stark.

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