Relate! Unite! Law! When does profit become greed?
If you listen to the Republicans, they will tell you that they are the party of morals and honor or whatever they want to say. This lie is revealed in their cruelty to others, denial of help to people who need it, treatment of people different from themselves, and oppression of groups who need support. When it comes to corporate greed, however, sometimes we don’t even understand how to fix the problem, because it’s so big it’s beyond comprehension.
When you look at the price you pay at the pump (which is finally below $3 where I live this weekend), you have to realize that despite all their talk, the oil companies were making an absolute killer this year, and they weren’t doing anything to help consumers. Instead, as Robert Reich notes, it became a field day for their own executives and shareholders.
At the same time, the big oil reached a gush. Exxon just reported second-quarter earnings for $17.9 billion, more than three times what he earned a year ago. Chevron’s earnings more than tripled to reach $11.6 billion.
The two American oil giants do not reinject their profits into energy, green or otherwise. They buy back their shares to reward investors and managers.
For most of the 20th century, stock buybacks were considered illegal. They were considered a form of market manipulation and until 1982 you could find yourself in serious legal trouble for engaging in such a practice. This would be seen as manipulating your own stocks, changing values for other investors, and creating alternative income outside of the normal tax system. What changed? Well, Reagan changed all that.
When Republicans introduced the 2018 tax bill, they succeeded in accelerating stock buybacks and making an already attractive process even more attractive to corporations, CEOs and people with incredible wealth. This means something: since 1984, we have seen approximately $9.9 trillion in share buybacks.
So when exactly is corporate greed avarice? When is profit more than profit and just punishing the consumer for minimal profit? I bring this up because at a certain level of income, there is simply no tangible difference. Think of it this way: If your net worth is $98 billion right now, but it’s $110 billion next year, has your lifestyle really improved or gotten worse? is it collapsed? Do you see that extra $12 billion as a big plus? Probably not, because you just couldn’t spend the money you have fast enough for all that matters.
The best food in the world suddenly hasn’t accelerated to where it costs you $100,000,000 per meal. You don’t find that your wardrobe is costing you $3 billion a year. And guess what? Even if it was, you’re earning so fast in the stock market and in interest that you can’t spend your money fast enough to get rid of it!
AppleTV took this issue to:
Although it’s fun to laugh, is there any real point in solving the problem? When it came time to tackle profit and oil exploitation, Republicans said no.
Yet not a single Republican backed the intervention, which gives the president the power to issue an energy emergency declaration prohibiting abusive gasoline and household energy price hikes. In fact, House Republican leaders actively mobilized against the proposal, with House Republican Whip Steve Scalise rejecting the bill as “an attempt by the majority to deflect attention and shift blame onto the administration’s self-inflicted energy and inflation crisis and blame energy producers, despite no evidence of rising price.”
One problem: there was, and still is, plenty of evidence of price gouging.
So when is enough? What makes the difference between the American dream, incredible success and simple greed? How can a just government help the people survive for a better future, and what role can the administration play to make this happen?
As we move forward into November, one of the questions we begin to ask ourselves has to be what future we want for our offspring. Not everyone will be worth more than $100 billion. However, everyone deserves a chance to live with fair and equitable wages and a better future. That’s what’s on the line at the polls.
What are you doing to help make this happen?