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

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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