Dec 30, 2022Liked by Thom Hartmann

As someone not that interested in business, all I had before reading this report, was a gut feeling that there was something wrong with a system that allowed so much inequality to grow. I reflexively blamed the government for drastically lowering tax rates and leaving enough loopholes in the tax code to permit huge accumulations of wealth. Now, I see — through your report — there is much more at work. Thank you for bringing clarity to me.

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Same here. I learned a lot. What can we do to stop it? Writing and calling my Republicans senators is worthless ( I have tried).

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If this stock buy back scheme is carried out to its fullest extent, won't a company eventually go out of business because the executives did not look after the means of production, so to speak. All this crap makes me think of the story of Pinocchio and the boys who wound up on Pleasure Island turning into donkeys to work in the salt mines.

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Just because the company goes out of business does not mean the executives are hurt financially. Here's one example of how the CEO profited from putting Sears into bankruptcy: https://medium.com/rantt/stock-buybacks-are-a-parasite-on-the-us-economy-d0369364c37e

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Jan 1, 2023·edited Jan 1, 2023

if it Tanks

who Cares?

oooh-ooh take the money and run


on what Planet does this make Sense?

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Can we blame Jack Welch for starting it all?

"The Man Who Broke Capitalism: How Jack Welch Gutted the Heartland and Crushed the Soul of Corporate America―and How to Undo His Legacy"

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Dec 30, 2022Liked by Thom Hartmann

Two comments. Would like to have seen more emphasis on how R&D spending has gone down as executive compensation has gone up. As far as stock buybacks and stock options go, often the company buys back x percent of outstanding shares and then over the course of 2-4 years they award enough stock options so that when those options are exercised the number of shares eventually increase to the pre buyback number of outstanding shares.

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This started from laws passed that put a cap on CEO pay. The result was ways to compensate a CEO indirectly with stock options. A CEO can get $1 million in salary and $10 million with stock options. The result is not only using profits to buy back stock (which used to be outlawed until Congress changed the law) and equally bad is that upper management focuses on short term stock prices and not on long term growth. They do not invest in R&D or new production except as a last resort. They will eliminate workers and switch to using contract workers in the USA or slave labor overseas.

A big factor in the success of post war Germany was their adoption of codetermination that forces companies to put a large number of workers on the boards. It is what is desperately needed in the United States but our fascist government and judges will never allow this to happen.

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"A big factor in the success of post war Germany was their adoption of codetermination that forces companies to put a large number of workers on the boards. It is what is desperately needed in the United States..."


there's a Bingo.

Corps can fuck off with

keeping Stakeholders off their Boards


but How?

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Mother Nature gets

a Vote as well

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Sheesh! Depressing. How do we change the laws to stop this when they own all the politicians that could regulate this including the Supreme Court?

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The problem is not enough voters know of the SEC loophole that allows buybacks. If Sanders and other progressives had the support , it could be prohibited as during FDR's time. It hurts workers more than anyone. They have to realize it.

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As the Biden administration is cajoling congress to provide funds to build America back better as reflected in the CHIPS act, you would think corporate titans will wise up and reinvest in America. Instead, they’re leaving the government alone to combat China’s potential dominance in critical manufactures. All the obscene sums used to buy back stocks can more than surpass investments in semi conductors, biotech and clean energy, not to think of swanky modern bullet trains.

Oh, but I forget: these conglomerates have little allegiance to particular countries. For them, the world is the market and home is where the profits are!

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As for the Airlines, they really don't have any asset equity to begin with. They don't buy their planes, they lease them or do a sale/lease back. They lease their terminal space, airport access. It's all cash in/cash out for fuel, salaries, etc. As for the rest of the companies, it's all a game to these guys. They could care less about their employees. It's all about coming up with ever-more 'creative' ways to bleed a company dry, whether through stock buybacks, heavily leveraged complex debt structures or sell-offs. When they created CDO funds back in the early 2000's, I knew we were done.

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I think it was Alan Greenspan who once bragged that his lengthy, convoluted explanations were necessary because of the complexity of the subject ...or some such idiotic bs. Right. God forbid the common man and woman would understand the simple truth of real economics and how it affects their daily lives.

What is old is new. Notice how base crude human behavior -- selfishness, greed, violence -- is always couched in overly complex terms to obscure how absolutely destructive it is, not only to the person but to society writ large. And how destructive it is to the progress of human evolution on a grand scale. Indeed, our very survival now hangs in the balance because of the adverse behavior of billionaire narcissists. Aren't we all so sick and tired of the likes of Trump, Musk, Zuckerberg, Bezos, et al dominating the headlines and, on one level or another, nearly every aspect of our daily struggle just to live?

Alas, a bag of silver is the one true god we all seem to worship. In the old days, kings and queens in gilded castles lorded over their lowly subjects with the power that comes from ill-gotten wealth at the point of a sword; nowadays, it's the "morbidly rich" flying around in private jets from mansion to mansion who plunder the land and rape the people, bilking their workers and customers alike -- the pinnacle of success on planet Earth.

We are all so royally screwed! The end is nigh, peasants! Wake up and rise up before it's too late. Storming the castle with pitchforks and torches is not the answer. Violence begets violence. No, the only way out of this rich-man dystopian nightmare is for as many people as possible to hang on to the simple truth of things beyond all the bs -- and vote accordingly! Then hold OUR representatives accountable. It's a race against time.

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An excellent expose of the dangers of the stock buyback.

Stock buybacks are a major, but unrecognized method for the upward transfer of wealth as you point out so well.

Additionally, they can be done by insider trading.

The SEC has admitted it cannot police for this. Much more on that here:


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We can learn a lot by observing our physical bodies -- they teach us that moderation is the best course. If we give our bodies too much of anything, we become sick; too little, we become sick. Somehow our society needs to learn this simple lesson -- those who have too much make our society sick, while those who have too little the same.

From the wisdom of Agur (Proverbs 30:8,9): "Give me neither poverty nor riches -- feed me with the food allotted to me; lest I be full and deny ... the Lord ... or lest I be poor and steal."

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Well said, Maverick. Thank you!

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Dec 31, 2022·edited Dec 31, 2022

What this country and higher education calls "economics" is a nightmare that often barely makes sense. Put five economists on a panel and you get five different opinions.

Math is hard and that's just the way the crooks, the greedy, and the unethical like it. Twist the tax laws into a pretzel and the average person gets a headache just thinking about it. So it's pretty easy to see why they would not understand how a company valuation is determined---part of it is goodwill and opinion. Simply put, the stock market is some assets with a whole lot of smoke and mirrors. So Thom did a great job "splaining" what the crappy Republicans have done.

Southwest was beloved for their no-frills, cheap fares, and quirky employees. Ooops!

Companies don't come with a conscience, especially the ones run by people without a conscience. We need to put people in office that understand that and are willing to regulate.

I love it that Secretary Pete is going to stay on Southwest's ass to pay-up for being the Grinch. He studied economics at Oxford, but I won't hold that against him! 

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In the last 40 years we have created a Commons composed of a web of legal statutes and rules that make crime possible for all the 'nice' neighbors we each have who are on the Board of Directors of public corporations, or are CPAs certifying Enron scams, or are attorneys writing by-laws and tax loop holes to deliberately defraud their community and neighbors.

We have allowed this; why in the world are we not, individually, having ethical, common sense chats with these well-off neighbors, friends, family members or fellow church goers https://hbr.org/2016/12/why-ethical-people-make-unethical-choices?

Their behavior is criminal, and it will not stop unless they are convinced that their behavior is criminal, rather than just 'petty-cash' bullying that can be excused by a pleasant, short-term time out or a small, insignificant fine.

The incumbent legislators across every state, in Washington, D.C and Brussels have been re-elected year after year by voters whining and being too lazy to really vote for Serving Legislators instead of lobbyists https://profound-answers.com/why-do-congressional-incumbents-usually-win-re-election/

Mr. Hartman citation:

This was once a crime - and should be now

This used to be a crime called “stock price manipulation” and was one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s and Congress’ early targets when they went after the Wall Street crooks who brought us the Republican Great Depression of the 1930s.

Congress created the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 1934 and FDR put Joe Kennedy (JFK’s father) in charge of it; Kennedy ironically told my old friend the late Gloria Swanson that he was chosen because, she told me, FDR had wisecracked that, “It takes a crook to catch a crook.”

Kennedy, knowing how the game worked, outlawed stock buybacks as one of his first official acts.

But in 1982 President Reagan endorsed this very form of corporate corruption as part of his new neoliberal Reaganomics agenda, decriminalizing it for the first time in almost a half-century.

Lest you think it improbable that modern CEOs would do this, as it’s so obviously corrupt and harmful to the company itself, consider this headline from the corporate watchdog group Accountable.US:

“Southwest Cancellation Crisis Follows Execs’ Choice to Reward $5.6B to Shareholders Instead of Investing in Infrastructure”

As their press release lays out:

“Government watchdog Accountable.US called the airline’s cancellation crisis a problem of its own making after slashing its workforce by over 1,400 in 2021 and choosing to spend $5.6 billion on stock buybacks in the 3 years leading up to the pandemic rather than making investments in infrastructure to be better prepared for extreme weather events like this week…”

This Reaganomics neoliberalism scam has made America’s corporate CEOs and stock speculators among the wealthiest people in the world, while keeping down wages and benefits for everybody else. It’s hurt the competitiveness of American business.

It started with Reagan’s putting John Shad— the Vice Chairman of the monster investment house E.F. Hutton — in charge of the SEC, which regulates monster investment houses.

Shad wasted no time in deregulating stock buybacks, instituting in 1982 what’s now known as “Rule 10b-18” that made stock buybacks explicitly legal for the first time since 1934.

Since then, share buybacks have become the most personally profitable business scam CEOs and senior executives can run against their own employees, companies, and communities.

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Your next Project Thom?

Without Putin, no war in Ukraine. Without Trump, no autocratic assault on American democracy. It's as simple as that.   


ANDREW COHEN is right...and he's wrong.

Without Cheney, Democracy in Russia.  Without Russian Oligarchs no Trump, 

One of The Problems with Today's Journalism is that it often doesn't provide Context.  Without it, we won't understand what is REALLY going on.    Often, to do that, you must 'connect the dots.'  Not surprisingly, when it comes to conflict anywhere in The World, one of those 'Dots' is Dick Cheney's Halliburton.  Be sure to note what Cheney has made working for Hallibuton.  


The Trouble in The Middle East and the Immigration over the years to the U.S. from South America following World War Two, began with The Dulles Brothers 

THE MIDDLE EAST https://www.mohammadmossadegh.com/news/dulles-brothers/

 UKRAINE/RUSSIA  Today is much like  AZERBAIJAN/RUSSIA Yesterday 

https://www.pacificcouncil.org/newsroom/30-years-later-lessons-azerbaijan%E2%80%99s-black-january Enter Dick Cheney https://www.cs.cornell.edu/gries/howbushoperates/haliburton.html

2000. As CEO of Halliburton, Cheney clears $20 million in one year, after taxes.

July 2000. Cheney's severance package from Halliburton (as CEO) is far and above what other company officers got when they left --some say it is as high as $62 million in stocks and stock options.

Enter Halliburton https://energyindustryreview.com/oil-gas/socar-aqs-halliburton-agreement-to-provide-broad-suite-of-oilfield-products-and-services-in-azerbaijan/

That Putin is a Problem today is because Dick Cheney went to Azerbaijan to arrange to build a Pipeline for Oil to The Caspian Sea.



In 1983 Mikhail Gorbachev was in Amhursberg Ontario with Eugene Whalen to learn Canadian Agriculture Techniques.  Gorbachev told Eugene and Eugene told me, Gorbachev planned to help bring Ukraine to NATO and Democracy to Countries in the Former Soviet Union.  

Gorbachev is considered to be one of the most significant figures of the second half of the 20th century. The recipient of a wide range of awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize, he is praised for his role in ending the Cold War, introducing new political and economic freedoms in the Soviet Union, and tolerating both the fall of Marxist–Leninist administrations in eastern and central Europe and the reunification of Germany. 

And then Dick Cheney went to Azerbaijan and Ukraine to build a Pipeline for Halliburton.

Perhaps Dick Cheney didn't have enough money.   

In Corporate America, Addiction to Money can be as destructive as Addiction to Drugs.

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We’d better get busy boycotting some of our biggest corporate suppliers. We as a scorned population need to do much more to fight this slimed way of life. Adding appointments to the Supreme Court , to counteract those sleazy bought by Republicans, Heritage Society et al anti Democratic , wealthy , far right wreckers of life could save us from continued perjuries by the Republican appointed Justices hired specifically to mangle democracy for the wealthy.

They will also continue to beat their drums against abortion in order to pretend to care about ‘ life’. Liars All.

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We’ve all known that there is something seriously wrong with how big business is done in this country.

The fact that these companies are hanging on to huge profits, and deliberately screwing their employees and the general public and also given credence to pay little to nothing in taxes. That is whats wrong here. No revenue for schools , and all public services is acceptable to those benefiting from this massive corruption.

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