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Thread: Corporate Profits are Highest EVER!

  1. #1
    Havakasha is offline

    Corporate Profits are Highest EVER!

    Whats wrong with this picture?

    Corporate Profits Were the Highest on Record Last Quarter
    By CATHERINE RAMPELL
    Published: November 23, 2010

    The nation’s workers may be struggling, but American companies just had their best quarter ever.

    American businesses earned profits at an annual rate of $1.66 trillion in the third quarter, according to a Commerce Department report released Tuesday. That is the highest figure recorded since the government began keeping track over 60 years ago, at least in nominal or non-inflation-adjusted terms.

    Corporate profits have been going gangbusters for a while. Since their cyclical low in the fourth quarter of 2008, profits have grown for seven consecutive quarters, at some of the fastest rates in history.

    This breakneck pace can be partly attributed to strong productivity growth — which means companies have been able to make more with less — as well as the fact that some of the profits of American companies come from abroad. Economic conditions in the United States may still be sluggish, but many emerging markets like India and China are expanding rapidly.

    Tuesday’s Commerce Department report also showed that the nation’s output grew at a slightly faster pace than originally estimated last quarter. Its growth rate, of 2.5 percent a year in inflation-adjusted terms, is higher than the initial estimate of 2 percent. The economy grew at 1.7 percent annual rate in the second quarter.

    Still, most economists say the current growth rate is far too slow to recover the considerable ground lost during the recession.

    “The economy is not growing fast enough to reduce significantly the unemployment rate or to prevent a slide into deflation,” Paul Dales, a United States economist for Capital Economics, wrote in a note to clients. “This is unlikely to change in 2011 or 2012.”

    The increase in output in the third quarter was driven primarily by stronger consumer spending. Wages and salaries also rose in the third quarter, which might help bolster holiday spending in the final months of 2010.

    Private inventory investment, nonresidential fixed investment, exports and federal government also contributed to higher output. These sources of growth were partially offset by a rise in imports, which are subtracted from the total output numbers the government calculates, and a decline in housing and other residential fixed investments.

  2. #2
    SiriuslyLong is offline
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    Joined: Jan 2009 Location: Ann Arbor, MI Posts: 3,560
    That's great news. Thanks for posting it. You surely know that a healthy corporate America is good for all of America. Boy, I wish the government could understand the concept of productivity and doing more with less, yet doing it better. That will be great for all Americans too.

  3. #3
    Havakasha is offline
    My point was that wall street and business interests in general have been saying that Obama is anti-business and would be bad for corporate profits.
    I think they were obviously wrong.

    And then there is the issue of trickle down theory and what Warren Buffett has to say about it.
    There is a difference between healthy and greedy.

    Warren Buffett: I 'Should Be Paying A Lot More In Taxes'

    WASHINGTON -- Billionaire Warren Buffett rebutted claims that the Obama administration is unjustly hurting business orders with high taxes by saying that in fact, the wealthy have never had it so good.

    "I think that people at the high end, people like myself, should be paying a lot more in taxes. We have it better than we've ever had it," he told ABC's Christiane Amanpour in a clip played on "This Week" on Sunday.

    When Amanpour pointed to critics' claims that the very wealthy need tax cuts to spur business and capitalism, Buffett replied, "The rich are always going to say that, you know, 'Just give us more money, and we'll go out and spend more, and then it will all trickle down to the rest of you.' But that has not worked the last 10 years, and I hope the American public is catching on.


    On Tuesday, Buffett wrote a New York Times op-ed in the form of a letter to "Uncle Sam," thanking him for saving the U.S. economy:

    When the crisis struck, I felt you would understand the role you had to play. But you've never been known for speed, and in a meltdown minutes matter. I worried whether the barrage of shattering surprises would disorient you. You would have to improvise solutions on the run, stretch legal boundaries and avoid slowdowns, like Congressional hearings and studies. You would also need to get turf-conscious departments to work together in mounting your counterattack. The challenge was huge, and many people thought you were not up to it.
    Well, Uncle Sam, you delivered. People will second-guess your specific decisions; you can always count on that. But just as there is a fog of war, there is a fog of panic -- and, overall, your actions were remarkably effective.
    Buffett isn't the only billionaire who has argued for higher taxes. Both Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his father, Bill Gates, Sr., recently came out in support of a Washington state measure to "create a 5 percent tax rate on annual income exceeding $200,000 for individuals and $400,000 for couples, and a 9 percent tax rate on income that tops $500,000 for individuals and $1 million for couples."

    Buffett has spoken out in the past about taxes for the wealthy, telling the Senate Finance Committee in 2007 that the estate tax should not be repealed. "I think we need to...take a little more out of the hides of guys like me," Buffett testified.
    Last edited by Havakasha; 11-25-2010 at 02:37 PM.

  4. #4
    Atypical is offline
    Quote Originally Posted by SiriuslyLong View Post
    That's great news. Thanks for posting it. You surely know that a healthy corporate America is good for all of America. Boy, I wish the government could understand the concept of productivity and doing more with less, yet doing it better. That will be great for all Americans too.
    And to add to Havakasha's point; it is better to have a healthy populace, in all senses of the term, than to idolize corporations.

    Corps have outsourced jobs; they obviously don't care about Americans working; they have wrecked the world economy; they have caused hundreds of financial bubbles over the last decades; they privatize profits and socialize losses; they whine about taxes when their rates are low; they off-shore profits; they degrade the environment for profit; their ceos "want their life back" after horrendous damage to the Gulf and its people; they hire illegals who have no power to force better conditions and pay them poorly; they resist recalls because of the image problem it will cause...

    There are hundreds of other examples. Many are ghastly because of the human and animal suffering companies cause.

    F*** em. If a company fails another will come along. I'll wait.
    Last edited by Atypical; 11-26-2010 at 11:13 AM.

  5. #5
    Atypical is offline

    How About This?

    Woman Dies After Medicaid Program Outsourced To Private Insurers Denies Her Liver Transplant (Alternet)

    One of the most destructive practices of private health insurance companies is the practice of denying care to customers for frivolous reasons. Earlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services started including denial rates on its information section about health insurance companies on HealthCare.gov, in an effort to inform the public about this practice by the industry.

    It was this practice of frivolous denials that ended up costing Jacksonville, Florida woman Alisa Wilson her life. For months, Wilson, her family, and the surrounding community had been pleading with her HMO to approve coverage for a liver transplant. Although Wilson was enrolled in the state’s Medicaid program, she was not guaranteed care because she was “forced to join a private plan as part of a Gov. Jeb Bush-era experimental overhaul of the program,” meaning she had to deal with a private, for-profit insurance company to get her care, not a government agency accountable to the public.

    Bush’s overhaul made “Florida the first state to allow private companies, not the state, to decide the scope and extent of services to the elderly, the disabled and the poor, half of them children,” the New York Times reported in 2005, as the move was being considered. “[N]o one is proposing changes as far-reaching and fundamental as” Bush, the Times noted.

    After “scores of e-mails and…the help of a Florida state legislator,” the HMO, Sunshine State Health, finally gave in and approved coverage for Wilson two weeks ago. Yet her health was too severe for surgery by then. On Friday evening, Wilson passed away:

    Alisa Wilson, 37, died Friday at 8:50 p.m. after a lengthy battle with an undisclosed liver disease, said her father, Eric Wilson. “Her liver was gone,” Wilson said. “There was no more left. She needed that transplant two weeks ago.”

    About a week and a half ago, attorneys working on Wilson’s behalf said the insurance obstacles had been worked out. By then, however, her health was too shaky to risk going under the knife. “If they did it months ago, my daughter would be alive now,” her father said.

    Representatives for Sunshine State and the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, which manages Florida’s Medicaid program, said they couldn’t speak to the specifics of the case, citing privacy laws.

    Unfortunately, it has become increasingly common for states to outsource their Medicaid programs to be administered by private health insurance companies that have little accountability to the public compared to public programs like Medicare. A 2010 Kaiser Family Foundation report found that “All states except Alaska and Wyoming have some portion of their Medicaid population enrolled in managed care” — where Medicaid pays out to private organizations like Managed Care Organizations that contract with HMO’s — and “managed care is the dominant care delivery system in most state Medicaid programs. Forty-six states and DC have more than half their enrollees in managed care; in 20 of these states, over 80% of the Medicaid population is enrolled in some form of managed care.”

    While the recently passed health care law is doing much to curb some of the worst abusesof the health insurance industry, one of the best ways to help people avoid these practices of the private health insurers is to offer them an alternative like a Medicare-style public health insurance option. As a part of her deficit reduction plan, Rep. Jan Schawkowsky (D-IL) proposed a robust public health insurance plan that would be offered to Americans. Not only would it operate cheaper and not committ the same abuses as the private insurance industry, it could cut the deficit by as much as $10 billion during its first year of implementation alone.
    Last edited by Atypical; 11-25-2010 at 02:51 PM.

  6. #6
    Atypical is offline

    Or This!

    The U.S. Chamber Of Commerce’s History Of Placing Corporate Interests Over Public Interest (Think Progress)

    Over the weekend, CNN’s Ed Henry drummed up the idea that President Obama should to go to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest right-wing big business lobby, to give a speech as a “peace offering.” The Chamber, which helped kill President Obama’s initiatives on climate change, clean energy, labor reform, and lobbied against Obama’s reforms on health care and Wall Street reform, also funneled $75 million into helping elect Republicans in the midterm elections. “It would be particularly good timing for Obama to try and set the agenda and tee up his State of the Union address later in the month, not to mention hit the reset button on his fractured relationship with the business community,” wrote Henry, eagerly cheering on the move. Yesterday, the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein confirmed that administration officials are indeed interested in reaching out to the Chamber.

    However, Henry, in advocating the speech, promulgates falsehoods manufactured by the Chamber. First, Henry claims that Obama’s visit to the Chamber would help “bury the hatchet” with the “business community.” The Chamber does not represent the entire American business community — not by a long shot. Although the Chamber has misrepresented itself and claimed to represent 3 million businesses (later modified to 300,000 after a Mother Jones exposé), in reality it actually represents a small group of multinational corporations. In 2008, half of its donations came from just 45 corporate donors. In 2009, nearly half of the Chamber’s money came from a single donation from the health insurance industry trade association. Moreover, the Chamber doesn’t appear to truly care about jobs or small businesses — evidenced by the fact that the Chamber killed legislation to create millions of new clean energy jobs and expand America’s competitive advantage in clean energy technology.

    As ThinkProgress has noted, journalists often give undue credit to the Chamber as the “voice for business” simply because the Chamber is an old institution, they associate it with separate and distinct local Chambers that actually represent small businesses, and because the U.S. Chamber has one of the most sophisticated media outreach programs in Washington, D.C. But the Chamber does not deserve such respect, either from journalists or President Obama. Despite the “U.S.” in the Chamber’s name, the Chamber has consistently placed the priorities of its select corporate members over the interest of the American people:

    – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has long opposed women’s rights. For example, the Chamber lobbied against Sen. Al Franken’s (D-MN) bill to allow victims of rape to file a lawsuit against their defense contractor employers. The Chamber also lobbied against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act, and numerous other bills to address systematic gender inequality.

    – The U.S Chamber of Commerce has been the driving force against consumer, worker, and public safety laws for nearly a century. This year, it lobbied against regulating BPA, a chemical found to cause birth defects and genital mutations. The Chamber has a history of fighting work place safety regulations, the Clean Air Act, the Mine Safety Act, and other fundamental programs used to strengthen American society.

    — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce helped President Bush in his attempt to privatize Social Security and his drive to deregulate Wall Street. Even during President Roosevelt’s era, the Chamber lobbied against the New Deal agenda, especially the passage of Social Security. After its members helped cause the Great Depression, the Chamber still fought against regulating Wall Street as well as measures such as unemployment insurance. Chamber officials charged that Roosevelt was attempting to “Sovietize America.”

    – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is responsible for many of the policies that have made America the most unequal in terms of income/wealth distribution in the industrialized world. On tax policy, the Chamber has pushed efforts to repeal the estate tax while helping to pass the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Corporate tax loopholes promoted by the Chamber ensure that corporations like ExxonMobil pay zero corporate income taxes while regular American workers foot much of the Treasury’s bill. The Chamber also opposed the creation of a minimum wage, and has lobbied against nearly every increase in the federal minimum wage.

    – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce doesn’t even necessarily represent American businesses. As first reported by ThinkProgress, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently began a fundraising program soliciting foreign corporations to give to the Chamber’s account that in turn was used to run attack ads during the midterm elections. The Chamber admitted that it fundraises from foreign donors, but has refused to reveal how it finances its political campaign expenditures. ThinkProgress noted that the Chamber has aided its foreign members by lobbying this year to kill a bill to close tax loopholes for businesses that ship jobs overseas, and has even sponsored seminars to teach businesses how to ship their jobs to places like China.

    – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has consistently sided with polluters and the fossil fuel industry. Not only has the Chamber challenged the science of climate change, but after BP’s oil spill, Chamber CEO Tom Donohue said American taxpayers should pay for the clean up.

    – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce practices the politics of division and hate when it serves their corporate interests. Throughout 2010, the Chamber worked closely with hate television star Glenn Beck, who calls President Obama a “racist” who has a “deep-seated hatred for white people.” Top Chamber lobbyists met secretly with Beck at a meeting in June to plan the midterm elections, and Beck has sponsored on-air fundraisers for the Chamber. Similarly, the Chamber joined Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) to eagerly brand political opponents — like labor organizers and liberal intellectuals — as communists during McCarthy’s red scare.

    – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has worked to give corporations unfettered control of government. For instance, the Chamber successfully filed an amicus brief in the Citizens United case to roll back nearly a century of campaign finance laws. Because of the Chamber’s efforts, corporations can spend unlimited amounts in American elections. Now the Chamber is attempting to repeal legislation aimed at discouraging American businesses from bribing foreign governments.

    – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce fought every attempt at health reform, from Truman to Johnson to Nixon to Clinton to Obama’s efforts to help the American people gain access to quality health care. The Chamber even tried to stop the passage of Medicare under President Johnson.

    – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce often places the profits of its member companies over American foreign policy objectives. Last year, the Chamber lobbied against President Obama’s efforts to place economic sanctions on Iran. In 1941, the Chamber was one of the most outspoken opponents of intervening in World War II (Chamber officials feared that war would give Roosevelt more power and wartime spending would lead to higher deficits, then higher taxes).

    – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has a sordid history with civil rights. It opposed key planks of the Civil Rights Act, and lobbied against the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Recently, the Chamber paid for campaign advertising to help Sen.-elect Rand Paul (R-KY), who told ThinkProgress he too opposed the ADA.

    If Obama chooses to address the Chamber, he should draw a line in the sand, as Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) did when he spoke to the Chamber in October. President Obama should work with any stakeholder when it serves the American people and America’s best interests. If he chooses to make peace with the Chamber, it should be on mutual terms and on policies which benefit America — not only the Chamber’s tiny clique of corporate members.
    Last edited by Atypical; 11-25-2010 at 02:54 PM.

  7. #7
    Atypical is offline

    Yaay Pittsburgh!

    Pittsburgh Gives the Finger to Corporate Control

    Last week Pittsburgh's City Council took the historic step of banning a
    controversial practice used by natural gas companies called hydraulic fracturing or fracking. Pittsburgh, as well as much of the rest of Pennsylvania and New York state, sits atop the gas-rich Marcellus Shale that has been targeted for drilling, resulting in threats to surface and groundwater, among other concerns.

    But the city didn't just ban fracking; it went another important step further and voted to legally protect the rights of nature and ban corporate personhood. The ordinance sponsor, Pittsburgh Councilman Doug Shields, told Yes! Magazine that, "It's about our authority as a community to decide, not corporations deciding for us." Yes! authors Mari Margil and Ben Price explain that the ordinance, "elevates the rights of people, the community, and nature over corporate 'rights' and challenges the authority of the state to pre-empt community decision-making."

    At a time when corporations are seizing more and more power, this act of defiance by a sizable city is massive. "Communities, like Pittsburgh, are coming to the shared conclusion that it's up to them to stop practices they disagree with. Their efforts are not just about stopping the drilling, but about who gets to make decisions for the community--corporations empowered by the state, or people and their communities," wrote Margil and Price.

  8. #8
    Atypical is offline

    Fail and Grow Rich on Wall Street

    Robert Scheer | Truthdig | Op-Ed

    Welcome to the brave new world of post-bailout capitalism. The Commerce Department announced Tuesday that corporate profits are at their highest level in U.S. history, and the Fed released minutes of an early November meeting in which officials predicted a stagnant economy and continued high unemployment.

    The lead on the New York Times story read like a line from a Dickens novel: “The nation’s workers may be struggling, but American companies just had their best quarter ever.” What the Times story neglected to mention is that the bulk of the increase in corporate profits was nabbed by the financial industry rather than manufacturing and other productive sectors. A whopping $33.3 billion out of the total corporate profits increase of $44.4 billion went to the banks and investment houses that those same workers had bailed out with their tax dollars.

    Much of the rest of the corporate profit, in the non-financial sector, was also taken out of the hides of workers through increased “productivity” growth—meaning they had produced more for less personal income. Case in point: the plant that GM is reopening in Orion Township, Mich., where, under a deal negotiated with the beleaguered UAW union, 40 percent of the workers crawling through cars on the assembly line will be paid 15 bucks an hour. That’s about half the traditional UAW wage.

    The Obama administration now feels totally vindicated for bailing out GM. Such a deal. Let’s offer up half a clap for the news that GM came back from bankruptcy to mount a successful IPO and pay something back to the taxpayers, which is better than nothing. Some jobs were saved, and that prospect was why folks like me supported this bailout in the first place.

    Don’t call it a success story: The government unloaded some of its GM stock holdings at a $10.67 loss over the average per-share price it paid for its $49.5billion investment. As the Bloomberg news service noted, “The Treasury, which is taking a loss on its portion of the sale, will break even only if the shares climb more than 60%,” referring to the GM shares the Treasury still holds.

    Nor should we ignore the fact that GM is a shadow of its former self and its rosier prospects for long-term survival depend primarily on job creation in China, where GM is already a major presence. Or that GMAC, the carmaker’s former credit operation, is still majority-owned by the U.S. government and is busily foreclosing on the homes of people they hustled into subprime and otherwise dubious mortgages.

    GMAC was no different from others in the financial industry in securitizing mortgages that it should have known were toxic. Restructured as Ally Financial, the company was split off from GM, taking along its burdened debt obligations and benefiting from $17.2 billion in bailout money. Like the other financial outfits, Ally has enjoyed a range of government support through the Federal Reserve and Treasury. Not so the folks to whom GMAC sold crappy mortgages that are being foreclosed at an alarming rate.

    The assumption of both the Bush and Obama administrations was that what was good for the banks would be good for the general economy, but just the opposite has happened. While the financial sector flourishes, the economy stagnates. As The Wall Street Journal reported in its story on the release of the Fed minutes: “Federal Reserve officials downgraded their outlook for the U.S. economy … projecting that the jobless rate could exceed 8% for two more years and that it won’t return to its former vitality for five years or more.”

    Guess what? The financial benefits are not trickling down. Throwing money at the banks has been as effective as pushing on a string, and the result has been what former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker has excoriated as a “liquidity trap.” No serious government pressure has been brought to bear on the banks to help homeowners stay in their homes through mortgage payment adjustments.

    What has occurred is what former International Monetary Fund chief economist Simon Johnson referred in The Atlantic back in May of 2009 as “The Quiet Coup,” in which the financial industry is fully in charge of the government’s response to our economic problems. The result, he noted, is “the reemergence of an American financial oligarchy” that had been broken by the banking regulations imposed during the New Deal in response to the Great Depression. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s sensible regulations were gutted by Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, and tragically Obama has failed to restore them. The Wall Street lobbyists got their way and unfettered greed prevails. How else to explain last quarter’s outrageous profit figures?

  9. #9
    SiriuslyLong is offline
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    Joined: Jan 2009 Location: Ann Arbor, MI Posts: 3,560
    Quote Originally Posted by Atypical View Post
    And to add to Havakasha's point; it is better to have a healthy populace, in all senses of the term, than to idolize corporations.

    Corp's have outsourced jobs; they obviously don't care about Americans working; they have wrecked the world economy; they have caused hundreds of financial bubbles over the last decades; they privatize profits and socialize losses; they whine about taxes when their rates are low; they off-shore profits; they degrade the environment for profit; their ceos "want their life back" after horrendous damage to the Gulf and its people; they hire illegals who have no power to force better conditions and pay them poorly; they resist recalls because of the image problem it will cause...

    There are hundreds of other examples. Many are ghastly because of the human and animal suffering companies cause.

    F*** em. If a company fails another will come along. I'll wait.
    I wish I had your passion lol.

    Here's what I can tell you. The corporation I work for is paying me well and providing me and my family with medical benefits and helping me save for retirement for which I am grateful (and there is even talk of a promotion).

    It is indeed a shame that jobs have been outsourced. I'm sure some of the highest corporate taxes in the world and improper policy on behalf of our government have fueled this problem.

  10. #10
    Atypical is offline
    "Here's what I can tell you. The corporation I work for is paying me well and providing me and my family with medical benefits and helping me save for retirement for which I am grateful (and there is even talk of a promotion)".

    I'm happy for you. But if I only was concerned with my life, my friends and my problems I would be very stupid and narrow. (Not a slam at you).

    "It is indeed a shame that jobs have been outsourced. I'm sure some of the highest corporate taxes in the world and improper policy on behalf of our government have fueled this problem."

    If you are saying that those are things this country has done to corporations that made them do what I said then you have not been reading what Havakasha and I have been proving here regularly - which is the complete opposite of your belief.

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