Monday, October 4, 2010

US corporations post 'near-historic' profits, as poverty and joblessness increase: Now what?

This week, the Huffington Post reported that corporate profits are at "near-historic" levels-- up 38% compared to the same time period a year ago.

It's a pretty disgusting article about how layoffs, outsourcing, and low interest rates have allowed corporatists to rake in the cash-- and hoard it-- rather than reinvest it, which would improve the nation's ecomomy.

"Since 2008, corporate profits increased 10 percent -- but revenue was down 6 percent, the WSJ [Wall Street Journal] says. To achieve the impressive quarterly results, companies have had, as the WSJ puts it, to "streamline" their operations. This means firing workers, outsourcing labor and shuttering unprofitable (or less profitable) divisions.

"The robust state of corporate profits presents a paradox: companies won't spend their money until the economy improves, but the economy won't improve until they spend their money. An increase in hiring, for example, would help drive a recovery. The New York Times reports this "chicken-and-egg" phenomenon, noting that near-zero interest rates have encouraged companies to borrow money and simply hoard it because, as the NYT puts it, 'they can.'"

This is a perfect example of how dysfunctional trickle down economic theory is.

Juxtapose this story about historic corporate profits with the stories about the widening wealth gap between rich and poor, rising poverty in most states, disappearing middle class, people living in vehicles, and states and cities going broke.

Given this scenario, how can Congressional Republicans continue to support tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and balk any time they are asked to extend unemployment?

How can Tea Party/Republicans like Sharon Angle (Nevada), Joe Miller (Alaska), and Jesse Kelly (Arizona) call for privatization of Social Security, elimination of the health care safety net, and elimimation of the national minimum wage? Angle, Miller, and Kelly are puppets of the corporatists. I can't believe that they honestly think dissolution of these programs would help the majority of Americans.

Privatization of Social Security would just give Wall Street's corporate gamblers more money to play with and another way to boost their historic profits even higher. Elimination of the health care safety net and the minimum wage and continued outsourcing of jobs would through the US into third-world status. It would be end of life as we know it. The former US middle class would become economic refugees.

UPDATE, October 6: Blog for Arizona's AZ Blue Meanie posted Update III: The New Corporate Business Model: Increase Profits, Not Jobs.

UPDATE, October 8: Diane Rehm's Friday News Roundup covers this story. (Diane, honey, mention my blog next time, OK?)

1 comment:

  1. Great questions, Pam. The answer is that those who promote these discredited assertions are either stupid or liars. The hoarding of cash does nothing but cause economic stagnation. We are faced with a class of people of unimaginable wealth who will fight tooth and nail to preserve a tax rate of 35% rather than submit to a return to the 2000 rate of 39%. We must demand the Federal Government tax them at meaningful rates, redistribute, yes REDISTRIBUTE this hoarded, idle capital for the sake of economic stimulation.