New layoffs show GOP tax scam benefits Wall Street, not Main Street

By Dan Desai Martin –
May 11, 2018  Republicans promised their tax scam would benefit workers, but tech giant Qualcomm is laying off 1,500 employees while lining the pockets of its Wall Street investors.
Despite the promise from Republicans that their tax scam would dramatically grow the economy, more than 1,500 Californians are set to lose their jobs with technology company Qualcomm.
One group that doesn’t have to worry is Wall Street investors, as Qualcomm also announced a massive stock buyback initiative. In other words, rich corporate investors are set to profit, while workers in San Diego and San Jose are out of luck.
When the Republicans passed their tax scam, it was sold as “rocket fuel” for the economy.
Two California Republicans who voted for the bill — Reps. Mimi Walters and Steve Knight — echoed those promises. Walters boasted the tax bill would “generate significant economic growth.” Knight declared it would be “a tax code that puts American families first.”
Just a couple months after the bill passed, Speaker Paul Ryan infamously boasted about a high school secretary whose paycheck had increased by $1.50 a week as evidence of the tax scam’s supposed success.
But the empty rhetoric means little to workers who will soon receive a pink slip. The layoffs — 289 in San Jose, and 1,231 in San Diego — are part of an effort by the multinational company to trim $1 billion in costs, according to CNN.
When the bill was moving through Congress, critics warned that corporations would not use the massive kickbacks from the bill to invest in workers, but would instead use the cash to enrich shareholders.
“Democratic lawmakers who have been critical of the GOP bill have claimed it would be used for such things as share buybacks to enrich shareholders, rather than for capital expenditures or improving worker pay,” CNBC noted at the time.
Qualcomm proved the critics right.
Not even a month after announcing the massive layoffs, Qualcomm announced $10 billion stock buyback plan. In its announcement, the priority of the company could not be clearer: “Consistent with our commitment to return capital to our stockholders, we are pleased that our Board has approved a new stock repurchase authorization.”
Stock buybacks are used by companies to boost the price of their stock, thus benefitting wealthy investors and executives with lucrative stock options. Rather than invest in workers, Qualcomm joins other companies in lining the pockets of investors.
“Share buybacks in 2018 have averaged $4.8 billion a day, double the pace for the same period last year, according to market data firm TrimTabs,” reports CNBC. Some pharmaceutical companies are increasing the prices of their medicine while at the same time lavishing Wall Street investors with stock buybacks.
Republicans made big promises around the tax scam, but the reality doesn’t match the hype. Job growth isn’t booming and wages continue to grow at the same rate as before the bill became law.
Wealthy corporations and rich Wall Street investors are growing even more wealthy. For the rest of America, the only thing growing is our national deficit — to the tune of more than $1 trillion.
CNN is right: “Shareholders, not workers, are far bigger direct winners from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.”

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Big Tax Hit to Some Feds Due to Policy Change

Published: April 11, 2018
More in: Fedweek  Tax policy changes enacted late last year have had the unintended impact of penalizing many federal employees who receive relocation benefits, a group of employee organizations has said.
In a letter they asked GSA and the Treasury Department to provide relief from an additional tax hit that they called potentially “ruinous to affected employees.”
The letter says that many employees “are being presented with exorbitantly large bills for taxes owed, due to a change that eliminates the tax deduction exception for household goods services, but does not affect home sale’s excludable tax status. In practice, the policy has meant that many federal employees who relocate (or were previously relocated) to a new duty station – approximately 25,000 annually – are facing “gross-up” tax bills that, in some cases, are so large as to essentially negate the total value of one or multiple employee paychecks.”
“It is our understanding that this impact is causing employees to face financial hardships, decline to accept new assignments, or even leave federal service,” adds the letter from groups whose members mainly are at the managerial or executive-levels.
They said the issue could be resolved administratively, without another change in law: extending certain tax benefits already applying to relocating federal employees so that they would also cover the value of households goods moving allowances, which previously were separately tax-exempt.

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The ‘winning’ continues as Walmart announces another massive round of layoffs

By Walter Einenkel

Tuesday Feb 13, 2018 · 4:39 PM EST

America is “winning” so much these days it can sometimes feel like we are spinning around and around the toilet bowl of civilization! U S A! U S A! Big box behemoth and duplicitous self-promoter Walmart is back at it. Last month Walmart announced that they were giving everybody wage increases—because of the proposed Republican tax giveaway. It was bullshit of course, and something they were going to need to do in the hopes of stemming the tide of activism and workers asking for much bigger wage increases. They coupled this “exciting” news by forgetting to publicize that they were also going to be closing 63 Sam’s Club stores, excising more than 10,000 jobs in the process. Today, the Wall Street Journal reports, with its most delicate headline to date, that Walmart will begin a new round of layoffs. The report, titled “Walmart to Trim Store Management Ranks,” is awash with all of the optimism a rising stock price brings to the Journal.
The retailer this week is eliminating two department manager positions in some of its 4,700 U.S. stores, including managers who oversee cellphone departments and online-grocery pickup areas, according to a person familiar with the plans.
For any “deplorables” amongst us, using my second grade addition skills, that is roughly 9,400 jobs in management—usually a position where one is making more than minimum wage—that will be gone. Business Insider reminds everyone exactly how much winning has been going on at Walmart in this brand new 2018.
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The new round of cuts comes one month after the retailer said it was removing 3,500 salaried co-managers and adding 1,700 lower-paid assistant store managers. Walmart also said last month that it was closing 63 Sam’s Club stores in a move that would impact roughly 9,400 employees.
Walmart’s spokesperson told the Journal something about how “retail is changing.” The spokesperson is right, and part of what’s changing is that fewer and fewer Americans are able to afford the things that are sold in retail spaces—online or in store.

Wednesday, Feb 14, 2018 · 12:44:47 AM EST · Walter Einenkel
As has been pointed out, the article says “some of Walmarts 4,700 stores,” which means that my deplorable guesstimation is truly deplorable. My new guess is that while this might not mean a new 9,400 people are out of a job—to go on top of the already many thousands already hurt by last month’s firings and “shuffling”—will put that number at a few thousand more.
We aren’t half way through February so we won’t know how much “winning” America is doing in this first quarter of 2018 for a few more weeks. /s

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