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'Sick': Most Profitable US Companies Fired Workers, Enriched Shareholders During Pandemic

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/12/17/sick-most-profitable-us-companies-fired-workers-enriched-shareholders-during


It’s remarkable that, NPR tote bag style, capitalism is the taboo word that must never be mentioned and appears nowhere in the WP or CD articles. Note also the quaint usage of the word “investors,” as if this is Mom and Pop clipping coupons in their modest Queens home. No, these are largely huge private equity companies and the megawealthy, who should be doxxed and shamed, and identified as the beneficiaries and political drivers of the financial and exploitative structure of late capitalism. Otherwise it’s just an apolitical pity story.


That’s odd I read many comments and articles decrying the ravages of capitalism here.

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I’m not talking about CD which of course has a lot of articles about capitalism. I’m talking about these particular articles.

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Companies are in business to make profits, to make money.
You too are complicit if you have investments that you expect to pay interest returns.
You are guilty, too…but don’t take it personally for this is how capitalism works… it is a system problem…

People are too expensive for companies to employ. That is why they fire people and employ more technology to do the work, or expect the ones left behind to pick up the slack.

Or if they are very prosperous, their shareholders get the rewards, or they reinvest their profits back into the company’s manufacturing base, but not back to the workers, the people.

I work for a company called Danaher, a life science company. I would not recommend anyone working for this company or its operating companies. They are doing great financially, profitting off of the pandemic, and yet they plow the money back into their company infrastructure, not into people’s wages or bonuses. That’s ok, because that is the way they work… As long as we have this system, things will not change… You have a choice…you can choose to take your time and energy elsewhere.


What’s also sick is that progressive legislators in Congress are refusing to push Pelosi to call a vote on Medicare for All while the pandemic ravages America. Another thing that is sick is that while the progressive world actually is having a debate about this on Twitter, on YouTube, Common Dreams is utterly silent. This should be story #1 or #2 every day. Now is the the time the progressives have leverage. Now is the time to organize and push The Squad and all the so-called Progressive Caucus to demand the vote! This site needs to help actually call out progressives who are standing in the way of M4A rather than just constantly churn out outrage porn against the other team. There will never be another opportunity like this and progressives are dropping the ball. Pelosi wants to be Speaker again, make her pay for it. Waiting on you, Common Dreams.



Gary Walker, a systems engineer who was one of 1,000 employees Salesforce laid off in late August, told the newspaper that “the choices that they make are governed by, essentially, maximizing shareholder value.”

He said it as it is

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Take a little peek at your former party’s actual constituents! Debbie’s bragged about this under oath. Biden’s proud to have BEAT the scary “socialist,” meaning Sanders; a vaguely traditional, Keynesian Democrat. These motherfuckers ain’t smart business executives, disruptive, outside-the-box innovative job creators. Our duopoly ONLY represents, works for, listens to psychopathic autocratic criminals. Our kleptcrats write, enact & enforce laws indemnifying their robbing, indenturing, now even killing us. Everything they do TO us is now legal, praiseworthy and essential. ANYTHING we attempt to protect ourselves, fellow citizens or property from them… well, you don’t see THEM fighting fires their corporate negligence caused? DNC, CAP & DCCC is FOR the monsters who’s hatred FDR so valued?

*Notice how “the socialist” now sounds as dismissively bigoted as, “essential worker?”


Hi Bell_Tsari:
Don’t forget Disneyland—who overpaid their CEOs AND then screwed over their employees and called itself , " the happiest place on Earth." Sorry Disney, you’ve now become the CRAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH.


The system is indeed the problem, a Gordian knot. As a species, we’ve evolved to the point of being terrified of upsetting the status quo instead of experimenting with different ways to find the one that benefits the most with the least disruption. What happens next, in systems terms, ain’t pretty.
I heard an interesting interview this evening that illustrates this point. Carl Icahn, who has been the king of strip-mining companies since Raygun’s day, is now underwriting a grand new project to revitalize Atlantic City. The mayor is swallowing it again, hook, line, and sinker because, you see, the money will be used to for the Boys and Girls Clubs there. To get it all going, some lucky person has to pony up a substantial sum for the honor of imploding Trump Plaza, both setting up the drop and pushing the button.
What a sick culture we have…


I’m guessing, being a server out in a blizzard, dodging sliding snowplows & leering, maskless drunks in NYC or working eviction or skip-tracing/ bail-bond collection apps beat the shit outa cutting-up hogs, with a blood 02 of 87%?





They call that efficiency gains. Really.

They are not in business to employ people so much as they are to do whatever it is they do. It may be popular to claim they have a responsibility to not do that but officially, they are supposed to have responsibilities to their shareholders, and they probably dont even take that very seriously. If anybody had a responsibility to employ people it would first be themselves, and second the government to create favorable conditions for our own people as much as possible to thrive. But we don’t in fact we’re undermining our people at every opportunity to enrich corporations, even trading away peoples jobs behind our backs, because they can get away with it.


Evicting people the fastest growing job right now, I bet that is true.

That could be any of us. Just like how in China people could make lots of money transporting the dead to mobile crematoriums and funeral homes.

Except that it’s pretty much the same everywhere you’d be trying to get a job. “Capitalism”, without safeguards. Safeguards that make it so those big businesses don’t enjoy their extreme profits at the expense of employees ~ like extremely high profits being taxed an added, extra tax at a certain level, coupled with same idea on incomes/bonuses included, that are ridiculously high…added taxes on amounts over reasonable excess paid to top executives. Extreme profits would be taxed extremely high, which would encourage companies to instead, raise wages of workers, in order to get BELOW threshold of the higher added taxes they’d have to pay for their extreme profitizing & avarice. Nothing the mega-moneyed hate more than paying higher taxes! They’d find out later that they have happier & more productive workers, too. But, such changes would have to be forced & enforced for it to work. For too long, unrestricted greed has been accepted & even encouraged by those who used to have moral compass, but no longer do.
The “excess tax” on greedy, excessive profitting off of their workers, could be used to provide assistance to workers whose income doesn’t provide them “a living wage”. Think about it for a few minutes & you can see it kinda’ coming full circle.
WE ALL NEED TO MAKE WAGES WE CAN LIVE ON IN A CAPITALIST ECONOMY. WE HAVE LOST SIGHT OF THAT OVER TIME!! (Labor unions used to keep employers from being the greedy piggies they have become, by making sure workers were paid wages they could actually live on! Plus benefits.)

This is just a basic idea & would need tweaking in details, I’m sure, Rather than tear it apart, would be great if anyone has thoughts to add on how to make it work. Older golks will recall when things were much less out of balance & 40hr work week paid the bills with a little leftover to spend – discretionary income – it keeps economy moving & growing, but only when 2/3 of us have it to spend!
BTW: For those to young to remember…The Labor Dept. USED TO BE for benefit & rights of the WORKERS in this Country! Novel idea, huh?!?

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Berkshire Hathaway - 3%
Cisco - 10%
Comcast - 2%
ATT - 1%
Citicorp - 1%
Oracle - 1%
Walmart - 0.05%
Salesforce - 2%

Other than Cisco, these kinds of changes in workforce are significantly less than the regular annual turnover of employees. The biggest source of unemployment has been the government shutting down businesses. For example, outdoor dining has been noted to be responsible for about 2% of COVID transmission. But a significant percentage of the restaurants the government has shut down won’t re-open. Far more people have lost their livelihood there than have been fired by the companies on the list. Amusing though that the second highest terminations (in percentage, and highest in #) are (formerly) employed by Warren Buffett. Yet another “good” billionaire - afterall he complains that he doesn’t pay enough in taxes compared to his secretary. Wonder if she was one of the ones laid off?

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Thanks for the link, Wayhey. Justin Jackson and Jimmy Dore are treasures.

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The very first comment here, from @Unmentionables, would perhaps like Kenny Stancil to denounce Capitalism more frequently, but I think this passage cuts to the heart of it:

“These are times when the strong can get stronger,” Nike chief John Donahoe told analysts in September.

By “the strong” we explicitly do not mean all the little family restaurants having to close their doors for good, because the doors were slammed on them. We mean giant mediocre restaurant chains dropping down on your town like a gastronomical neutron bomb – the triumph of powdered predator people such as that whole accursed orange family.

Orangeman sings the same hymn to himself – we excel at profiting from misery. A pandemic appears, and it’s an opportunity for a prime predator, positioned atop the heap, to completely sabotage public health: to set the bug free! Everyone gets rich, you see. Everyone who’s anyone.

Still, I share a discomfort with the implication that presidents of countries and corporations acting like this are somehow “sick” – maybe sick like a lion gorging on its prey, from overeating. There’s nothing unusual, unintended, or unexpected about inequality tending to snowball. This is how the system was set-up to work, though it makes no sense socially. It keeps regnant rampant inequality, even at the cost of driving the demos to the brink.

At some point folks can’t stand even one more day of this. USA will likely be one of the last places general uprising will occur, but it’s spreading all over the world today – along with the virus.

Reak safeguards on capitalism are a pipe dream. Such “safeguards” were placed on markets during the FDR administration, and almost immediately capitalists went to work to undo them all, and over the intervening years they have mostly succeeded. Capitalism can’t be tamed or contained. It is rabid and it will consume us all.

^Real safeguards

Hi AN. I don’t think that quite meets the point. The question is not “strong” or “little” but that the article doesn’t name the system, it just lists the names of some big corporate evil doers and individuals. That is the kind of criticism that people who are e.g. “capitalist to my bones” can make, but it implies that things can be cured by piecemeal reforms. I’m not suggesting that CD become a campus pamphlet, but this is what distinguishes NPR and a transformative socialist program and politics.

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