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

Wall Street landlords are slumlords

Blackstone is the largest private equity fund in the world; when the 2008 crash hit and banks used the trillions in taxpayer bailouts to fund mass evictions of working people who'd been tricked into taking out predatory mortgages, Blackstone started bulk-buying them, creating rent-backed bonds (called Single-Family Rental Securities or SERS) that are the even-shittier successors to the mortgage-backed securities that detonated the world economy in 2008. Read the rest

All that stuff that was "killed by the net"? The real culprit was hedge funds

The web blew up at the same time as the Reagan/Clinton/Bush financial bombs were detonating, leading to a huge private equity bubble in which super-wealthy Americans used debt financing and other forms of financial engineering to buy out successful companies, then hollowed them out, selling off their real-estate and plant, loading them up with debt, and raiding their reserve funds. Read the rest

Guillotine watch: The executives who bankrupted Toys R Us this year want $16M-$32M in bonuses for their performance

Toys R Us was taken over in a debt-loading act of financial engineering in 2005; over the years, despite turning a profit, the service on that debt dragged Toys R Us lower and lower until the management team picked by the financial engineers finally bankrupted the company. 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

Companies' self-devouring buyback spree is finally slowing down

Stock buybacks are the preferred form of financial engineering in corporate America, through which companies borrow like crazy and give the money to their shareholders, artificially increasing their earnings-per-share ratio, massively reducing real economic growth, while enriching a tiny number of already-wealthy investors: but buybacks may finally be coming to an end. Read the rest