"stock buybacks"

Stock buybacks: how Wall Street has created "profits without prosperity"

For years, the Harvard Business School fellow William Lazonick has been writing about the rise of the "shareholder value" doctrine in capital markets, and how that has driven financial engineering tactics like stock buybacks, which allow shareholders (including top executives) to prosper at the expense of the companies they have invested in, siphoning value out of profitable businesses until they collapse. Read the rest

Big Pharma's origin: how the Chicago School and private equity shifted medicine's focus from health to wealth

Between 2010 and 2016, the FDA approved 210 new medicines and every single one was produced at public expense, part of a $1T US government investment project in medical research. Despite this massive public subsidy, the pharma industry has only grown more concentrated and rapacious, raising prices and diverting the profits to their execs and investors, who now pocket 99% of industry profits: the industry made $500B in profits between 2006 and 2015, and during that time, the US government pumped $33b/year into pharma research. Read the rest

Texas Instrument's post-#taxscam budget for financial engineering is $5B -- triple its budget for actual engineering

The Trump #taxscam was supposed to create jobs by handing $1 trillion in cuts to multinational corporations and one percenters, who, we were promised, would put that money into R&D, business development, and other job-creating initiatives. Read the rest

California's Right to Repair Bill, killed by Big Ag and Apple, has been reintroduced

Last year, California was one of several states to introduce right to repair legislation that would force companies to end practices that discourage the independent repair sector, creating a requirement to sell replacement parts, provide documentation, and supply codes to bypass DRM systems that locked new parts out of devices until the company activated them. Read the rest

Limits to trickle-down: Trump's tax-cut "boom" fizzles

Trump's multi-trillion-dollar giveaway to the richest Americans and largest US corporations led to a rise in GDP, but it was a short-lived sugar-high: the major effect was a trillion dollars in stock buybacks that padded the bottom lines of super-rich investors who barely touch the real economy (you can only own so many super-yachts and operating costs are funneled through offshore flags-of-convenience anyway). Read the rest

Trump gave AT&T a $20B tax break and killed Net Neutrality, now they're prepping mass layoffs

The same year that Trump's FCC Chairman Ajit Pai killed broadband privacy and cheated Network Neutrality to death, the Trump tax plan delivered a $20B windfall to AT&T -- both Trump and Pai claimed that the measures would stimulate the economy and trickle down to the rest of us. Read the rest

Apple's CEO: tech regulation is "inevitable"

Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated that the free market "is not working" and as a result, regulation of the tech sector is "inevitable." Read the rest

Bernie Sanders introduces the Stop Walmart Act: no stock buybacks without a $15 minimum wage

Bernie Sanders's latest legislative proposal is the Stop Walmart Act; Sanders describes Walmart as the "poster child for corporate greed" and uses that as a launching point to propose a ban on stock buybacks from companies unless they pay their lowest-waged employees $15/hour. Read the rest

Apple's world-beating financial engineering is teaching the corporate world how to exploit Trump's tax cuts

After Trump's tax-cuts and forgiveness program, Apple repatriated $260 billion it had stashed in offshore tax havens (or, more truthfully, had funneled through offshore tax-havens to buy onshore financial products that were notionally held offshore); this made Apple the leading beneficiary of the Trump tax forgiveness program. Read the rest

Wells Fargo cuts 26,500 jobs, shutters branches, declares "excess capital" and drops $40.6 billion on stock buybacks

Wells Fargo is America's most scandal-haunted bank, which is quite an accomplishment in a heavily competitive field; now the bank has started closing its branches and cutting jobs (after pressuring employees to commit mass fraud on pain of being fired and blacklisted from the industry). Read the rest

Big Tech is building a $80B capex wall around its empire

Big Tech companies -- like all the apex predators of all the world's concentrated industries -- is swimming in cash; but unlike those other firms, Big Tech is not using the cash merely for financial engineering; it's doing actual engineering, sinking $80B this year into capital expenditures that will form a wall around the industry's incumbents, which new firms will have to scale in order to challenge them. Read the rest

Elizabeth Warren wants to save capitalism from itself

President Elizabeth Warren (2020-2028) has proposed the Accountable Capitalism Act, which will subject US corporations with $1B/year or more in revenue to the "German model" of corporate governance, in which workers get board-seats and financial decisionmaking must take into consideration the impact that decisions will have on "stakeholders" including workers, investors, suppliers, retailers, and residents near plants or facilities. Read the rest

Amid wage stagnation, corporate leaders declare the end of annual raises triggered by increased profitability

It was once the standard that firms that performed well would give all their employees an annual raise, in part to acknowledge workers' contribution to the business's fortunes, in part to ensure that wages kept pace with inflation (otherwise workers would be suffering a real-terms pay-cut every year). Read the rest

Trump's sweetheart tax deal for economically useless financial engineering triggers a stock buyback bonanza

Stock buybacks are a form of economically useless, business-starving financial engineering that makes rich people much, much richer. Read the rest

Candid Wall Street barons worry that GOP tax plan will lead to literal euthanasia of the rentier

In 1936, John Maynard Keynes suggested that a fair economic system would lead to "the euthanasia of the rentier, and, consequently, the euthanasia of the cumulative oppressive power of the capitalist to exploit the scarcity-value of capital" -- implying that we have a choice between fairness and extreme wealth, and that the two couldn't peacefully co-exist. Read the rest

Trump's top economic advisor asks CEOs to raise hands if they're going to use tax cuts to invest, boggled by no one raising hands

Gary Cohn is Donald Trump's top economic advisor; while on stage this week at the Wall Street Journal's CEO Council meeting, he called for a show of hands from CEOs who were planning to invest more if their tax bills were slashed in the new GOP tax plan. Read the rest

Watson for Oncology isn't an AI that fights cancer, it's an unproven mechanical turk that represents the guesses of a small group of doctors

There are 50 hospitals on 5 continents that use Watson for Oncology, an IBM product that charges doctors to ingest their cancer patients' records and then make treatment recommendations and suggest journal articles for further reading. Read the rest

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