A brain dump about dollars and cents…

March 6, 2018 9:13pm
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Corporations can be a good thing, but usually they only operate in their own self-interests … which I suppose is a lot like people, but we should be striving for something more.

Workers are supposed to be happy about companies that have announced raises and bonuses on account of President Trump’s tax reform, however it was recently reported that these same companies have initiated $171 billion in stock buyback programs while spending roughly $6 billion on workers … that’s 3% for the workers, 97% for executives and investors.

And speaking of executives, why is it that employers seem eager to pay their executives top dollar “in order to attract talent” but don’t offer that same commitment to retain their rank and file employees? A C-level executive can join the company with a six-figure salary and stock options worth millions, work for 18 months or less, and then move onto the next company with a healthy severance package, while lower-level employees are supposed to be grateful for a single-digit percentage bump every few years???

Also, a 2% annual raise isn’t really a raise at all when inflation is running at the same rate.

Still, it’s hard to look down your nose at 2% when some employers give minimum wage workers a $0.25/hour raise and expect them to be grateful for it.

I watched a story today about how Walmart is decimating small towns by closing stores where years or decades ago they strong-armed themselves into – at the time they got millions in tax breaks, promising jobs and economic growth to the area, and now that they’ve put all of the smaller stores out of business, people will have to drive to the next town over for groceries or their jobs because despite making $14 billion last year, they feel they can squeeze a bit more by moving a store 45 miles east regardless of what they leave in their wake.

Low wage jobs continue to become a victim to automation, and now a new hamburger-flipping robot could put another dent in the fast food industry … which according to this story could be a good thing because apparently it would be safer than employers telling their workers “to put condiments on their burns” instead of seeking actual medical attention.

I also learned about Toys ‘R Us’s recent bankruptcy that came after a leveraged buyout back in 2005 and I don’t understand how it can even be legal for a corporate entity to use the thing that it’s buying as part of a loan. It’s not the same as your mortgage because your house isn’t expected to pay down the mortgage that you took out on it!

I don’t deny that I’m still lucky to make more than the majority in this country, however it’s always frustrating to see yourself moving backwards rather than forward. Watching a place like Disney World consistently raise their prices by 10% every year as my own family grows but my salary doesn’t keep up feels like I’m being rapidly priced out of their market. I know that a lot of Disney fans who aren’t within driving distance already feel that way.

It’s hard not to be cynical and feel like corporate greed is ruining America, particularly when it’s so easy for the people at the top to get more money when others of us struggle to make much smaller gains that would be vastly more meaningful.

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