GOP Tax “Reform” Example: Netflix Posted Biggest-Ever Profit in 2018 and Paid $0 in Income Taxes

The popular video streaming service Netflix posted its largest-ever U.S. profit in 2018­­—$845 million—on which it didn’t pay a dime in federal or state income taxes. In fact, the company reported a $22 million federal income tax rebate.

After a year of speculation and spin, the public is getting its first hard look at how corporate tax law changes under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act affected the tax-paying habits of corporations. The law sharply reduced the federal corporate rate, expanded some tax breaks and curtailed others. The new tax law took effect at the beginning of 2018, which means that companies are just now closing the books on their first full year under the new rules.

If Netflix’s earnings report is any indication, not much has changed. Many corporations are still able to exploit loopholes and avoid paying the statutory tax rate—only now, that rate is substantially lower.

ITEP (Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy)

Turning Workers Into Machines

Here’s an excellent article by Gwynn Guilford, at Quartz, about the failure of American manufacturers. It focuses largely on the management failures at GM.

An excerpt:

” “American companies tend, fundamentally, to mistrust workers,” writes Keller in Rude Awakening. “There is a pervading attitude that ‘if you give them an inch, they’ll take a mile’ because they don’t really want to work. “

More articles by Gwynn Guilford

The Oil Industry Wants Cars to Use More Gas

The oil industry engaged in a secret public relations campaign to undermine U.S. fuel economy standards

One of the main actors was the largest oil refiner in the country, Marathon Petroleum. Marathon, along with others, ran a “stealth campaign to roll back car emissions standards,” the NYT reported. The campaign argued that the U.S. no longer needs fuel economy standards because it is now such a massive producer of oil.

Wolfstreet.com

Generic Drug Price Fixing On Trial

Pharma companies are exposed again: Generic drug makers conspire to fix prices and screw consumers.

“Fair share” described dividing up the sales pie to ensure that each company reaped continued profits. “Trashing the market” was used when a competitor ignored these unwritten rules and sold drugs for less than agreed-upon prices.

The terminology reflected more than just the clubbiness of a powerful industry, according to authorities and several lawsuits. Officials from multiple states say these practices were central to illegal price-fixing schemes of massive proportion.

Washington Post

Capitalism: Abuse of Seniors

Capitalism is about making money — in any way possible, even if it means people suffer as a result:

To the state inspectors visiting the HCR Manor­Care nursing home here last year, the signs of neglect were conspicuous. A disabled man who had long, dirty fingernails told them he was tended to “once in a blue moon.” The bedside “call buttons” were so poorly staffed that some residents regularly soiled themselves while waiting for help to the bathroom. A woman dying of uterine cancer was left on a bedpan for so long that she bruised.
[And there’s more.]

Under the ownership of the Carlyle Group, one of the richest private-equity firms in the world, the ManorCare nursing-home chain struggled financially until it filed for bankruptcy in March.

The rise in health-code violations at the chain began after Carlyle and investors completed a 2011 financial deal that extracted $1.3 billion from the company for investors but also saddled the chain with what proved to be untenable financial obligations, according to interviews and financial documents…

The Washington Post

Depression-Era Riots: Will History Repeat?

There’s been some talk on the internet about “civil war” (mostly, it appears emanating from the right).  Then, too, there’s the ever-increasing wage and wealth inequality. Crowd protests and demonstrations seem to be increasing.  Are we destined for a repeat of the 1930s?

Selling Missiles Takes Priority in the U.S. Over Starving Children

Starving Yemeni Child

The United States believes it’s more important to sell more weapons of war than to protect starving children and innocent civilians.

[Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo overruled concerns from most of the State Department specialists involved in the debate who were worried about the rising civilian death toll in Yemen. Those who objected included specialists in the region and in military affairs. He sided with his legislative affairs team after they argued that suspending support could undercut plans to sell more than 120,000 precision-guided missiles to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, according to a classified State Department memo and people familiar with the debate.

New York Magazine