Germans back limits for CEO salaries

More than two thirds of all Germans support putting legal limits on what business executives earn, according to a new survey.

Some 68 percent of those asked by pollster TNS Emnid were for a ceiling on salaries for well-paid managers, whereas only 29 percent were opposed. In former communist eastern Germany a whopping 77 percent backed capping what corporate fat cats make.

The survey, published in the Bild am Sonntag newspaper, comes amid a political debate in Germany whether the government should try put prohibitive taxes on high salaries to discourage widening income disparity.

The centre-left Social Democrats, junior coalition partners to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats, last week mooted the possibility of limiting how much of top executive salaries could be written off a company’s tax bill. But not only the conservatives are sceptical of artificial salary caps.

“These silly tax write-off limits won’t solve the problem,” Michael Adams, a corporate law expert from the University of Hamburg, told the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper. “Such a system wouldn’t have helped one bit in the most spectacular cases of manager enrichment.”