At the seven biggest financial firms that have recently failed, been sold or been bailed out, top executives have received $464 million in "performance pay" since 2005. And these are the same people who helped create the conditions that led to the worldwide crash. For example, in December 2008, Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain - paid $83 million in 2007- gave out $3.6 billion in early executive bonuses before his firm was taken over by Bank of America, which has received $45 billion in federal bailout money.Indeed, scads of CEOs, like Robert Nardelli of Home Depot, reaped riches as their companies floundered. And overseas, CEOs of large, successful companies typically earn much less. From 2004-2006, top European CEOs received less than half of the $13.3 million that their American counterparts made, on average; top Japanese CEOs received only $1.5 million."Average U.S. taxpayers subsidize excessive compensation - by more than $20 billion per year," the report says, "via a variety of tax and accounting loopholes. That $20 billion for America's most powerful is more than double what the federal government spent last year on educating America's most vulnerable - children with disabilities."