“Socialism” is a Dirty Word to Many. Let’s Look at a Prime Example of “Capitalism”

Hedge-Fund Ownership Cost Sears Workers Their Jobs. Now They’re Fighting Back.

Laid-off retail workers are demanding severance, labor protections—and an end to the Wall Street playbook of owning a company while hollowing it out.

In 2005, the hedge fund ESL Investments Inc., owned by Eddie Lampert, took over the company. In the 1990s, Sears struggled to keep up with big-box competitors Walmart and Kmart and to compete with online retailers. When Lampert took over, he focused on reducing costs and increasing shareholder returns.

Sears is now defunct, having declared bankruptcy.

This is capitalism at its worst.

The Nation

Faux News Pays Republican Contributors (Trumpites) as much as $569,423

Across cable news, the salaries paid to on-air contributors remain shrouded in mystery, ranging by network and by market demand for the contributor’s expertise. But, because at least 10 former Fox News contributors have served in Donald Trump’s administration and been forced to file financial disclosure forms, a window into the network’s payroll has been opened.

Among the eight Trump staffers who were forced to disclose what Fox News paid them to contribute, salaries averaged about $141,000 and ranged from a low of $31,336 for New York socialite Georgette Mosbacher (who serves as ambassador to Poland) to a high of $569,423 for John Bolton, who now serves as Donald Trump’s national security adviser.

Hollywood Reporter

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