Exclusively in the new print issue of CounterPunch
FATTENING WALL STREET — Mike Whitney reports on the rapid metamorphosis of new Fed Chair Janet Yallin into a lackey for the bankers, bond traders and brokers. The New Religious Wars Over the Environment: Joyce Nelson charts the looming confrontation between the Catholic Church and fundamentalists over climate change, extinction and GMOs; A People’s History of Mexican Constitutions: Andrew Smolski on the 200 year-long struggle of Mexico’s peasants, indigenous people and workers to secure legal rights and liberties; Spying on Black Writers: Ron Jacobs uncovers the FBI’s 50 year-long obsession with black poets, novelists and essayists; O Elephant! JoAnn Wypijewski on the grim history of circus elephants; PLUS: Jeffrey St. Clair on birds and climate change; Chris Floyd on the US as nuclear bully; Seth Sandronsky on Van Jones’s blind spot; Lee Ballinger on musicians and the State Department; and Kim Nicolini on the films of JC Chandor.
$2 Trillion and Counting in 2011

Who’s Talking About Corporate Profits?

by QUENTIN GEE

Around this time last year, both the New York Times and the Washington Post reported that annualized third quarter corporate profits broke records, bringing in an excess of $1.66 trillion, leading to outcries from liberal circles about corporate excess while American families were struggling. The data were released by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), which they do quarterly.

As we all know, the recent Occupy movements have made corporate profits in hard times a focal point for their outrage, and the 2010 BEA news release along with coverage from media outlets certainly played a role in bringing attention to the matter.

But there’s been no coverage of the 2011 BEA news release, which was put up on November 22. Why not? Is there something even more disturbing in there? Well, take a look. The numbers are right there in Table 11, the same table the New York Times cited in 2010. The 2011 annual rate of corporate profit is $1.98 trillion. To be fair, it’s not as big of an increase from last year, since the BEA corrected the 2010 profits to $1.83 trillion after all the numbers came in.

Let’s be clear on the numbers. Corporate profits are $1.98 trillion and there are 13.9 million unemployed people in the United States. That means that corporations are scheduled to profit at a rate of $142,000 per unemployed person. It looks like “job creators” could hire all unemployed people for a $45,000 per year salary and still have about $1.35 trillion to spare.

So now the inevitable questions arise. Who’s reporting on this issue? Is someone worried that the Occupy movements might get word and get even more outraged? Certainly such news is news-worthy. Given that, there are two possibilities here. One is that popular media outlets don’t want to rile up the Occupy movement any more than it currently is. The other is that they simply haven’t looked at the information closely due to incompetence, since they could surely sell more papers by making actually reporting on it.

Quentin Gee is a Graduate Student in Philosophy at UC Santa Barbara.