Whole Foods CEO says ‘socialists are taking over’ schools and gun control debate

The grocery chain’s CEO claims leftists are taking over schools and corporations.

The CEO and co-founder of Whole Foods thinks “socialists are taking over” because of rising discussions of gun control in the US.

Evidence of this left-wing takeover was present everywhere from schools to the military to firearms legislation, John Mackey told Reason Magazine’s podcast on Thursday.

“My concern is that I feel like socialists are taking over,” the multi-millionaire organic grocery magnate said. “They’re marching through the institutions. They’re… taking over education. It looks like they’ve taken over a lot of the corporations. It looks like they’ve taken over the military. And it’s just continuing.”

Independent

Starbucks Blew $20 Billion on Share Buybacks and Dividends

On his first day as the new old interim CEO of Starbucks, which has been in the news for a series of successful union votes by frustrated employees, Howard Schultz told employees in a letter this morning that the company would end its share buyback program.

It promptly blew, wasted, and incinerated $3.5 billion in cash on buying back its own shares in Q4, according to its 10-Q filing. Since 2005, Starbucks has blown, wasted, and incinerated $30.8 billion on share buybacks, most of it ($22 billion) since 2017 under Kevin Johnson (data via YCharts).

Wolfstreet.com

Outrageous Hospital Pricing

This year, the federal government ordered hospitals to begin publishing a prized secret: a complete list of the prices they negotiate with private insurers.

The insurers’ trade association had called the rule unconstitutional and said it would “undermine competitive negotiations.” Four hospital associations jointly sued the government to block it, and appealed when they lost.

They lost again, and seven months later, many hospitals are simply ignoring the requirement and posting nothing.

But data from the hospitals that have complied hints at why the powerful industries wanted this information to remain hidden.

It shows hospitals are charging patients wildly different amounts for the same basic services: procedures as simple as an X-ray or a pregnancy test.

NY Times

Marathon Petroleum cut nearly 2,000 jobs – and reaped $2.1bn in pandemic benefits

Marathon Petroleum received more tax benefits than any other US oil company while also cutting about 9% of its workforce.

Last year, Marathon laid off 1,920 workers across the US despite taking $2.1bn in federal tax benefits meant to cushion the pandemic’s blow to the economy, according to a report from BailoutWatch.

According to SEC filings examined by BailoutWatch, Marathon came to receive roughly $1.1m in federal dollars for every job the company eliminated.

The Guardian

[Note: Marathon owns the gas station chain “Speedway”]

Leaked: The Rich Pay Less Taxes Than Wage-Earners

In 2007, Jeff Bezos, then a multibillionaire and now the world’s richest man, did not pay a penny in federal income taxes. He achieved the feat again in 2011. In 2018, Tesla founder Elon Musk, the second-richest person in the world, also paid no federal income taxes.

Michael Bloomberg managed to do the same in recent years. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn did it twice. George Soros paid no federal income tax three years in a row.

ProPublica

Generally, the wealthy of all stripes keep their tax rates low in multiple ways. Some are simple: They avoid forms of income, like wages, that are taxed at a high rate, 37%, and instead make most of their money via capital gains and dividends from investments, most of which is taxed at 20%.

You May Be Paying a Higher Tax Rate Than a Billionaire

Offshoring: U.S. Corporations Don’t Want You to Know What They Sell from Overseas

Amazon and other retailers oppose measure to require country-of-origin labeling for goods sold online.

Amazon and other retailers are opposing a bipartisan measure that would require online sellers to clearly state where their products are made, a rule proponents say could help consumers seeking U.S.-made goods.

WaPo

Related:

NOT Made in America: Top 10 Ways Walmart Destroys US Manufacturing Jobs

It’s the Wages & Benefits, Stupid.

After businesses complained they can’t find enough people to keep their doors open Indiana is set to become the latest state to bring back a requirement that unemployed workers will have to actively search for jobs to get benefits.

“Unemployment has been extended again, stimulus money again – you know, if you’ve got a couple of kids you’re really getting a lot of stimulus money,” Hunter said. “It’s good for them, but it’s bad for me.”

Hunter’s assumption is a common refrain from business owners, the reality is more complicated.

Micah Pollak, a professor of economics at Indiana University Northwest, said plenty of studies have shown that unemployment benefits are not, by and large, keeping people from taking jobs. Instead it boils down to wages.

“I think it’s kind of like a cop-out for business owners to say that because it puts all the blame on the workers and then they don’t take any responsibility for what’s happening,” Pollak said. “I mean, if a couple hundred dollars a week is enough to convince a worker not to work for you, then I think you need to question what kind of work environment and pay are you offering.”

Indiana Public Media

Right-Wing Solution to Hiring Problems: Cut Unemployment Pay. Impose Desperation for Low-Wage Jobs. Right-Wing Philosophy: Sticks are Better Than Carrots.

This right-wing website expends a great deal of effort bemoaning the inability of companies to find workers (mostly low-wage workers).

The problem, according to this right-wing view: The government’s unemployment pay assistance. The solution appears to be: Make workers suffer low income so they are forced to take low-wage jobs.

Completely ignored: The pandemic, workers’ fear of catching the virus, and one other solution: Increase wages.