A reminder of why workers need unions. To reduce inequality. To give working people a voice. To establish a modicum of balance between haves and have-nots. To temper the greed of the wealthy.

From The American Prospect:

Meyerson on TAP

Corporate America’s Only Priority: Rewarding the Rich. The stock market may be tanking, but investors—make that, major investors—are doing great nonetheless.

How, you may ask, is this possible? It’s because corporations have showered them with heretofore unimaginable dividends and share buybacks.

According to a front-page story in Monday’s Wall Street Journal, “companies in the S&P 500 have spent nearly $421 billion on dividends through November,” which is more than they spent on dividends in all of 2017. And this doesn’t take into account the amount of money corporations are devoting to share buybacks, which is more than twice the amount they’ve shoveled into dividends this year. Indeed, both dividends and share buybacks have already broken their all-time yearly record—and the Journal predicts that next year’s levels will surpass this year’s, notwithstanding the downward direction of the market.

In recent months, both wages and domestic capital investment have inched up, but at nowhere near the level of the increase in the return to shareholders. As the terrific new study by Josh Bivens and Heidi Shierholz of the Economic Policy Institute makes clear, the single most important factor in the past-four-decades’ diversion of business income from workers to shareholders and executives is the success of business’s assault on worker power, and the concomitant success of business’s insistence that government favor the rich over everyone else.

The last time I looked, the theory behind the government’s decision to tax capital gains at a lower rate than income from work was that investors bolstered the economy by investing. Now that corporation’s main mission is to reward investors at the expense of all other conceivable ways to spend its revenues, however, the capital gains tax has become purely a way to reward investors for extracting money from corporations, for siphoning funds from what otherwise might be productive enterprise.

Nice work if you can get it. ~ HAROLD MEYERSON