This week, I read a letter written by William Falk, Editor-in-Chief of “The Week” magazine.
Among the things he said were that, after “Congress gave corporations a massive tax cut this year, companies plowed more than $400 billion into stock buybacks that raised stock prices and dividends and made executives and stockholders much richer — but precious little trickled down to the workforce.”
It’s hard for common people to fathom the enormity of $400 billion. By way of illustrating the impact of that amount of money being used to make the rich richer, Falk gave a couple of examples:
If Home Depot and CVS had devoted the money those two corporations devoted to buybacks to staff raises, every employee in their companies would have gotten $18,000 more a year.
McDonalds could have given a $4,000 annual raise to each of its two million employees.
Those are only two of thousands of examples that are out there if one took the time to learn about them.
Of course, Home Depot, CVS and McDonalds couldn’t give that kind of money to its employees and no one expected them to.
But contrast that sort of corporate largess to the fact that a new Pew Research Center analysis found that the average American wage, adjusted for inflation, has the same purchasing power as in 1978.
Additionally, while the current inflation rate is 2.9 percent, this year, workers are getting average raises of only 2.7%, and a majority of Americans live from paycheck to paycheck.
Falk thinks a critical factor in all of this is that most companies no longer feel any obligation to share their success with their workers. In fact, most executives believe their sole responsibility is to stockholders and management, not employees.
No wonder there is so much interest these days in socialism.