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bush tax cuts obamaOne of the more hotly contested items during the election cycle is the impending end of the infamous Bush Tax Cuts.” It is a tax code that is the centerpiece of a longstanding Republican-Democrat debate – and the issue threatens to shift the tides of the Presidential race in favor of the candidate who can best spin it to their advantage.

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Naturally, Republicans oppose an end to the tax cuts while President Barack Obama has said repeatedly he would veto any extension of the cuts to salaries over $250,000. Fat cat CEOs are certainly watching this closely as 57 executives saved quite a bit of coin as a result of the cuts, according to a report from the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS).

For IPS’s 19th annual “Executive Excess” report, it highlighted that 57 of the 100 top CEOs benefited by saving millions dollars each with the help of the Bush-era tax code. The top-winner of the tax cut sweepstakes is James Mulva of ConocoPhillips, who saved a whopping $6.7 million dollars (this after cashing in $140 million dollars of stock options in 2011 in his last year as the company’s top man).

Leslie Moonves of CBS, Richard Adkerson of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, Jeffrey Boyd of Priceline and Ronald Johnson of JC Penny all round out the top five CEOs who saved the most. And those savings don’t count towards the additional income from outside sources and investments, which also number into the millions.

The distance between CEO pay and the average worker has been growing to staggering levels for decades. It has been stated by economists and critics of the Bush cuts that this has greatly hampered the earning potential for lower-tiered workers, as reported by Think Progress who said that it would take the typical American worker 244 years to earn what some CEOs make in one year.

With November looming ahead, workers and CEOs alike are most certainly paying close attention to the political machinations behind the scenes.

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