Like other elements of the political-bureaucratic "casta," Italian public-sector managers have become a target of public anger at a time when jobs are being slashed, wages frozen and living costs soaring.
Take Antonio Manganelli, head of the police, on €621,000 a year, compared with an average income in the country of about €17,500 after tax.
Manganelli, like other top civil servants, rightly faces a pay cut as Prime Minister Mario Monti imposes a public-sector wage cap of - a still ridiculously generous - €294,000.
But incomes for public managers are actually quite modest compared with those in the private sector.
Unipol CEO Carlo Cimbri earned €1.53 million in 2010. And that put him at a mere 100th place in the pay rankings for the bank.
Corrado Passera, now a minister in government, earned €3.5m at another bank before joining Monti's government of technocrats. This ranked him just 20th place on Intesa Sanpaolo's rich list.
Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, president of luxury carmaker Ferrari and until April 2010 also president of automotive giant Fiat, took home €8.7m in 2010.
By the way, these are the same banks that recently took €110m in free money - well, 1 per cent interest rate - from the European Central Bank, thus eurozone taxpayers, to lend it back to EU member states or otherwise speculate with it at a huge profit.
And this is the same Fiat that has received billions in various forms of legal aid from the Italian government over the years.
But since the state handouts dried up it has been shutting its Italian plants down, derecognising unions and threatening to leave the country altogether.
Top dog in 2010 was Cesare Geronzi, who at the time was presiding over financial giants Generali and Mediobanca.
After resigning from Generali, he was presented with a nice little package of €16.67m.
Executives are also handsomely paid at firms that have been privatised, but in which the government maintains a minority stake, like energy giants like Eni, Enel and Saipem and engineering colossus Finmeccanica.
Enel CEO Fulvio Conti took home €4.9m and Paolo Scaroni at Eni €4.4m.
Pier Francesco Guarguaglini, former president and CEO of Finmeccanica, pocketed €4.4m and in December had a golden goodbye of a further €4m.
Of course the main excuse politicians give for offering gold-plated pay packages for top managers in the public sector is the stratospheric rewards provided to executives by the private sector.
It is debatable how many really good public-sector managers will just jump ship simply because they can grab more from capitalist employers. But some clearly will.
In which case the lesson must be that if Monti really wants a more efficient and better run public sector while controlling its costs, he can't just limit himself to capping incomes at the upper echelons of public bodies.
He's got to introduce a bit of rigour into the board rooms of the private sector too.
After handing over €490 billion to private banks for a song in December the European Central Bank (ECB) has now given them another €530bn for practically nothing.
While small businesses grapple with a credit crunch, the people who caused the biggest economic meltdown since the great crash of 1929 are enjoying the generous terms of the latest three-year cash loan from the Frankfurt-based central bank.
The interest rate on this second "long-term refinancing operation" (LTRO), like in the December, is 1 per cent.
People in the EU should bear that in mind when they next go to the bank for a loan.
So why has Christmas come early twice in just two months?
Banks are not lending to the real economy, as ECB chief Mario Draghi admitted the other day when he told the Financial Times that it was "hard to say" whether the first LTRO had made a difference to lending.
Instead they have been using the dirt-cheap money to buy high-interest bearing eurozone government debt - Spanish and Italian banks' government bond holdings rose almost 85 billion in December and January, according to Reuters.
This is earning them an immediate profit from the difference in interest rates, currently ranging from about 3 to 7 per cent.
It's a mad money-go-round in which private bankers make a mint once again on the back of taxpayers and all the millions who are losing their jobs and homes and facing cuts to benefits and public services.
And then they make heaps more, as privatisation steps up apace and national treasuries are bled dry by the same bankers who force governments to sell off state assets.
We are maintaining the bankers' millionaire lifestyles, as well as paying for their yachts, Ferraris and mansions of the banks' largest shareholders.
Many on the left are asking why the ECB can't just lend straight to governments at the same 1 per cent interest rate, cutting out the parasites who, sitting in the middle, are feasting on the misery of the 99 per cent.
Others are asking whether the public debt accumulated over these years through the pursuit of aims benefiting a tiny elite - debt which the European people never underwrote nor were even asked about - is really legitimate. Shouldn't the debt just be written off?
These critics have a point.
Tom Gill blogs at revolting-europe.com
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