Comcast reveals how it’s really spending its tax windfall

Judd Legum

Judd Legum Founding Editor, Think Progress

In December, Comcast announced that based “on the passage of tax reform” it would award a $1,000 bonusto about 100,000 employees. That’s a total expenditure of $100 million.

That sounds like good news for the company’s workers. But it is not, principally, how Comcast is spending its tax windfall.

On Wednesday, in a press release that does not mention the GOP’s recent tax overhaul, Comcast announced massive expenditures on dividend payments and share repurchases. The company said it would increase dividends to shareholders, which totaled $2.9 billion in 2017, by 21 percent. That amounts to an additional $609 million in dividends. Comcast also plans to spend at least $5 billion, and as much as $7 billion, on repurchasing its own stock.

Dividends and stock repurchases enrich investors, but do nothing for workers and do little to stimulate economic growth. Repurchasing stock, in particular, is a popular way for companies to drive up their stock price that can cause economic stagnation. This is because repurchases are a way of “inflating paper profits without producing anything of tangible value,” as CNBC reports.

According to Wednesday’s press release, Comcast is spending at least 56 times more on dividends and stock repurchases than on bonuses for its workers.

At the same time as Comcast announced its bonuses, the company also quietly laid off “more than 500 sales employees.” AT&T also issued a flashy press release touting bonuses it attributed to tax reform and then laid off thousands.

The bonuses are certainly welcomed by workers, but they do not represent a significant portion of Trump’s $1 trillion corporate tax cut. A ThinkProgress analysis shows at least 99.8 percent of the tax cut is not being passed to workers in the form of bonuses. The analysis is based on a list maintained by Americans for Tax Reform, a right-wing group, of companies that have announced bonuses.

The tax cut that President Trump signed into law in December was very unpopular. Just 24 percent of the public described it as “good idea” a few days before passage. One reason for the low approval numbers is because the overwhelming majority of Americans do not believe that corporations need a tax cut.

Press releases attributing bonuses to the tax cuts are a relatively cheap way of increasing public support for the plan. But they also distort the truth about how corporations are spending their tax windfall.

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Reposted from Think Progress

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

He Gets the Bucks, We Get All the Deadly Bangs

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre has had better weeks. First came the horrific early August slaughters in California, Texas, and Ohio that left dozens dead, murders that elevated public pressure on the NRA’s hardline against even the mildest of moves against gun violence. Then came revelations that LaPierre — whose labors on behalf of the nonprofit NRA have made him a millionaire many times over — last year planned to have his gun lobby group bankroll a 10,000-square-foot luxury manse near Dallas for his personal use. In response, LaPierre had his flacks charge that the NRA’s former ad agency had done the scheming to buy the mansion. The ad agency called that assertion “patently false” and related that LaPierre had sought the agency’s involvement in the scheme, a request the agency rejected. The mansion scandal, notes the Washington Post, comes as the NRA is already “contending with the fallout from allegations of lavish spending by top executives.”

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Corruption Coordinates

Corruption Coordinates