Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

Cooing With Cash


Tis the season to be jolly, especially if you are a US corporation full up with cash. And many are. Cash reserves at US companies are at a 40-year high, with companies averaging 10 percent of market value in cash deposits or T-bills. In the health care and tech sectors, that cash reserve number is a whopping 20 percent. (All in all, a good season for the health care industry, where stocks are expected to take off as impediments to profiteering disappear—there is nothing in any of the pending health proposals to slow galloping costs.) Google CEO Eric Schmidt was effusive about his company coffers on an analyst call this week: “We love cash.”

Unlike government, there is no fiscal crisis in corporate America. Still, prudence is the order of the day. CEOs hit their mark by cutting jobs, strict inventory control– a recalibration of P&Ls. And there is no relief in sight. If there were a “CEO confidence” survey, as exists for consumers, it would read very, very low. CEOs are well aware that the same low wage policies that brought historic profits, and bonanza bonuses, have had a double edge effect.

A scrooge is a scrooge. “Over the last several years, companies have become stingy on what they’re spending, but what we’ve seen in the last six to seven months is companies really holding onto their money,” said S&P’s Howard Silverblatt on Public Radio four days before Christmas. “We go back with the S&P indexes for decades and there’s been nothing like this….”

The latest round of pocket stuffing is at.. ho, ho, ho, the banks, as the financial sector just keeps humming along. Turns out that 2008 was just a glitch in America’s main act: making money on money In excess of $50 billion of new capital was raised to replace TARP money repaid by the banks to Treasury– still trying to share in the glory of the Fed and its leader, Time Person of the Year, Chairman Ben. He saved the world economy, in case it missed you. And don’t the banks know it: December was the biggest month for the sale of bank stock in history.

What’s sweet about the deal is that the banks reap hundreds of millions in fees selling their own shares. Matthew Toole of Thomson Reuters told the New York Times: “Ironically, the mechanics of exiting TARP turned out to be lucrative business for equity underwriters this year.” Now there’s a recovery.

If you want to know what you are buying in those bank stocks, see yet the latest (December 22) full-page newspaper ad of JPMorgan Chase: “[W]e believe families who work hard to meet their mortgage payment obligations deserve to be treated with respect and given the opportunity to stay in their homes.” What about people who work hard and don’t meet their mortgage payment obligations? The most obvious thing in America today is that you can work hard and stay poor.

Not far from JPMorgan Chase HQ in Manhattan are middle-class neighborhoods experiencing the worst joblessness in generations. In the northern Bronx, a middle-class area, unemployment has doubled in two years and is now 12.2 percent. Same 12.2 percent for middle class sections of Queens. Foreclosures there are rising rapidly. “Respect”? “Opportunity”?

CARL GINSBURG is a tv producer and journalist based in New York. He can be reached at

CARL GINSBURG is a tv producer and journalist based in New York. He can be reached at

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


Weekend Edition
October 28, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Inside the Invisible Government: War, Propaganda, Clinton & Trump
Andrew Levine
The Hillary Era is Coming: Worry!
Gary Leupp
Seven World-Historical Achievements of the Iraq Invasion of 2003
Paul Street
Standing Rock Water-Protectors Waterboarded While the Cleveland Indians Romped
Stanley L. Cohen
Israel: 1984 Everlasting
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Comfortably Dumb
Michael Brenner
American Foreign Policy in the Post-Trump Era
Luciana Bohne
Crossing the Acheron: Back to Vietnam
Robert Hunziker
The Political Era of Climate Refugees
Stephen Cooper
Alabama’s Last Execution was an Atrocity
Michael Munk
Getting Away With Terrorism in Oregon
T.J. Coles
Confronting China: an Interview with John Pilger
Pete Dolack
Work Harder So Speculators Can Get More
Joyce Nelson
Canadians Launch Constitutional Challenge Against CETA
John Laforge
US Uranium Weapons Have Been Used in Syria
Paul Edwards
The Vision Thing ’16
Arshad Khan
Hillary, Trump and Sartre: How Existentialism Disrobes the Major Presidential Candidates
Peter Lee
It’s ON! Between Duterte and America
Chris Zinda
The Bundy Acquittal: Tazing of #oregonstandoff
Norman Pollack
America at the Crossroads: Abrogation of Democracy
Bill Quigley
Six Gulf Protectors Arrested Challenging Gulf Oil Drilling
Joseph Grosso
Starchitects in the City: Vanity Fair and Gentrification
Patrick Carr
Economic Racial Disparity in North Carolina
David Swanson
Public vs. Media on War
Chris Gilbert
Demo Derby in Venezuela: The Left’s New Freewheeling Politics
Ira Helfand
Nukes and the UN: a Historic Treaty to Ban Nuclear Weapons
Brian Cloughley
The US, NATO and the Pope
Binoy Kampmark
Nobel Confusion: Ramos-Horta, Trump and World Disorder
Sam Albert
Kids on Their Own in Calais: the Tip of an Iceberg-Cold World
Russell Mokhiber
Lucifer’s Banker: Bradley Birkenfeld on Corporate Crime in America
Ron Jacobs
Death to the Fascist Insect! The SLA and the Cops
Cesar Chelala
Embargo on Cuba is an Embarrassment for the United States
Jack Smith
And the Winner Is….
Ken Knabb
Beyond Voting: the Limits of Electoral Politics
Matt Peppe
An Alternate Narrative on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
Uri Avnery
The Israeli Trumpess
James Rothenberg
Water Under the Bridge
Louis Yako
Remembering Rasul Gamzatov: The Poet of the People
Dave Reilly
Complete the Sentence: an Exploration of Orin Langelle’s “If Voting Changed Things…”
Jonathan Woodrow Martin
When Nobody Returns: Palestinians Show They are People, Too
Louis Proyect
The Outsider-Insider: Isaac Babel’s Big Mistake
Simon Jones
The Human Lacunae in Ken Loach’s “I, Daniel Blake”
Martin Billheimer
Now and Then, Ancient Sorceries
Charles R. Larson
Review: Brit Bennett’s “The Mothers”
David Yearsley
Bach on the Election