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PARIS, THE NEW NORMAL? — Diana Johnstone files an in-depth report from Paris on the political reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings; The Treachery of the Black Political Class: Margaret Kimberley charts the rise and fall of the Congressional Black Caucus; The New Great Game: Pepe Escobar assays the game-changing new alliance between Russia and Turkey; Will the Frackers Go Bust? Joshua Frank reports on how the collapse of global oil prices might spell the end of the fracking frenzy in the Bakken Shale; The Future of the Giraffe: Ecologist Monica Bond reports from Tanzania on the frantic efforts to save one of the world’s most iconic species. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on Satire in the Service of Power; Chris Floyd on the Age of Terrorism and Absurdity; Mike Whitney on the Drop Dead Fed; John Wight on the rampant racism of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” John Walsh on Hillary Clinton and Lee Ballinger on the Gift of Anger.
$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.