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 carlginsburg@gmail.com

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

October 06, 2015
Vijay Prashad
Afghanistan, the Terrible War: Money for Nothing
Mike Whitney
How Putin will Win in Syria
Paul Street
Yes, There is an Imperialist Ruling Class
Paul Craig Roberts
American Vice
W. T. Whitney
Why is the US Government Persecuting IFCO/Pastors for Peace Humanitarian Organization?
Kathy Kelly
Bombing Hospitals: 22 People Killed by US Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan
Murray Dobbin
Rise Up, Precariat! Cheap Labour is Over
Ron Jacobs
Patti Smith and the Beauty of Memory
David Macaray
Coal Executive Finally Brought Up on Criminal Charges
Norman Pollack
Cold War Rhetoric: The Kept Intelligentsia
Cecil Brown
The Firing This Time: School Shootings and James Baldwin’s Final Message
Roger Annis
The Canadian Election and the Global Climate Crisis
Jesse Jackson
Alabama’s New Jim Crow Far From Subtle
Joe Ramsey
After Umpqua: Does America Have a Gun Problem….or a Dying Capitalist Empire Problem?
October 05, 2015
Michael Hudson
Parasites in the Body Economic: the Disasters of Neoliberalism
Patrick Cockburn
Why We Should Welcome Russia’s Entry Into Syrian War
Kristine Mattis
GMO Propaganda and the Sociology of Science
Heidi Morrison
Well-Intentioned Islamophobia
Ralph Nader
Monsanto and Its Promoters vs. Freedom of Information
Arturo Desimone
Retro-Colonialism: the Exportation of Austerity as War By Other Means
Robert M. Nelson
Noted Argentine Chemist Warns of Climate Disaster
Matt Peppe
Misrepresentation of the Colombian Conflict
Barbara Dorris
Pope Sympathizes More with Bishops, Less with Victims
Clancy Sigal
I’m Not a Scientologist, But I Wish TV Shrinks Would Just Shut Up
Chris Zinda
Get Outta’ Dodge: the State of the Constitution Down in Dixie
Eileen Applebaum
Family and Medical Leave Insurance, Not Tax Credits, Will Help Families
Pierre-Damien Mvuyekure
“Boxing on Paper” for the Nation of Islam, Black Nationalism, and the Black Athlete: a Review of “The Complete Muhammad Ali” by Ishmael Reed
Lawrence Ware
Michael Vick and the Hypocrisy of NFL Fans
Gary Corseri - Charles Orloski
Poets’ Talk: Pope Francis, Masilo, Marc Beaudin, et. al.
Weekend Edition
October 2-4, 2015
Henry Giroux
Murder, USA: Why Politicians Have Blood on Their Hands
Mike Whitney
Putin’s Lightning War in Syria
Jennifer Loewenstein
Heading Toward a Collision: Syria, Saudi Arabia and Regional Proxy Wars
John Pilger
Wikileaks vs. the Empire: the Revolutionary Act of Telling the Truth
Gary Leupp
A Useful Prep-Sheet on Syria for Media Propagandists
Jeffrey St. Clair
Pesticides, Neoliberalism and the Politics of Acceptable Death
Joshua Frank
The Need to Oppose All Foreign Intervention in Syria
Lawrence Ware – Paul Buhle
Insurrectional Black Power: CLR James on Race and Class
Oliver Tickell
Jeremy Corbyn’s Heroic Refusal to be a Nuclear Mass Murderer
Helen Yaffe
Che’s Economist: Remembering Jorge Risquet
Mark Hand
‘Rape Rooms’: How West Virginia Women Paid Off Coal Company Debts
Michael Welton
Junior Partner of Empire: Why Canada’s Foreign Policy Isn’t What You Think
Yves Engler
War Crimes in the Dark: Inside Canada’s Special Forces
Arno J. Mayer
Israel: the Wages of Hubris and Violence
W. T. Whitney
Cuban Government Describes Devastating Effects of U. S. Economic Blockade
Brian Cloughley
The US-NATO Alliance Destroyed Libya, Where Next?