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Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a corporate power grab, a 5,544-page document that was negotiated in secret by big corporations while Congress, the public, and unions were locked out.

Multinationals like Google, Exxon, Monsanto, Goldman Sachs, UPS, FedEx, Apple, and Walmart are lobbying hard for it. Virtually every union in the U.S. opposes it. So do major environmental, senior, health, and consumer organizations.

This agreement has virtually nothing to do with trade since tariffs between the twelve nations of the TPP are at historic low. This agreement is really about exporting jobs, raising prices and more bonuses for the 1 percent at the expense of the 99 percent.

The TPP will mean fewer jobs and lower wages, higher prices for prescription drugs, the loss of regulations that protect our drinking water and food supply, and the loss of Internet freedom. It encourages privatization, undermines democracy, and will forbid many of the policies we need to combat climate change.

The worst part is the Investor-State Dispute Settlement provision, which allows a multinational corporation to sue to override any U.S. law, policy, or practice that it claims could limit its future profits. Secret panels of corporate lawyers and corporate lobbyists will decide these cases. Their judgments cannot be appealed, not even to the Supreme Court.

This provision will override your votes on the state and local levels. In other words, President Obama and Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden intend to suppress your voting rights, along with most of the Republican Party led by Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and Orrin Hatch.

Though the Obama administration touts the pact’s labor and environmental protections, the official Labor Advisory Committee on the TPP strongly opposes it, arguing that these protections are largely unenforceable window dressing.

On behalf of Wall Street and rich investors throughout the United States, President Obama is planning to call for a vote on the TPP in the US senate and the US House after the elections in November. Obama signed the TPP, a despicable income and political power redistribution scam, months ago. Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden will likely introduce the TPP in the senate. Wyden is Obama’s and Wall Street’s attack dog in the US senate in their war against the middle class. He has voted to redistribute trillions of dollars from the 99 to the 1 percent over the course of the his career in congress.

To learn more about the TPP, check out Citizen’s Trade Campaign, and Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, Public Citizen. For labor-specific resources, try CWA, http://stopthetpp.org/, and the AFL-CIO, http://www.aflcio.org/Issues/Trade.

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apple-ireland-and-taxes

The European Union has ordered Apple Incorporated to pay over $14.5 billion in taxes it has been ducking illegally in Ireland. If Apple is forced to pay this amount, it will reduce Apple’s profits. That may drive Apple’s share prices and dividends downward, which will disappoint investors, such as hedge funds, Wall Street Investment banks, individual millionaire and billionaire investors, etc….

The New York Times reports,

“Europe’s competition enforcer said that Apple’s illegal deals with the Irish government allowed the technology giant to pay virtually nothing on its European business in some years. The arrangements enabled Apple to funnel profit from two Irish subsidiaries to a “head office” with “no employees, no premises, no real activities,” the commission said.

By doing so, Apple paid only 50 euros in taxes for every million euros in profit during 2014. As part of its ruling, Europe demanded that Ireland recoup 10 years’ worth of back taxes, some 13 billion euros, or about $14.5 billion, plus interest.”

Apple is sitting on a pile of cash, $230+ billion, so the $14.5 billion it has avoided in taxes is a drop in the bucket.

“’U.S. companies are the grandmasters of tax avoidance,” said Edward D. Kleinbard, professor at the Gould School of Law at the University of Southern California and a former chief of staff to the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.'”

Naturally, the US corporate propaganda machine, such as the National Review, has viciously attacked the EU ruling. Apparently, the editors think only the little guys should pay taxes, and that US corporations should get a free ride in using the variety of infrastructure of Ireland and the rest of Europe that the 99 percent of Ireland pays for. Ireland’s government plans to appeal the EU’s ruling because it is claimed Apple owes much more in taxes.

In other words, the National Review supports redistributing income from the 99 to the 1 percent, and that rich should not pay any taxes.

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child labor

A new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) says that the decline of US private sector labor unions has resulted in lower pay for almost everybody. A summary of the report is below.

“Pay for private-sector workers has barely budged over the past three and a half decades. In fact, for men in the private sector who lack a college degree and do not belong to a labor union, real wages today are substantially lower than they were in the late 1970s.” The same holds true for women.

The report went on, “In the debates over the causes of wage stagnation, the decline in union power has not received nearly as much attention as globalization, technological change, and the slowdown in Americans’ educational attainment. Unions, especially in industries and regions where they are strong, help boost the wages of all workers by establishing pay and benefit standards that many nonunion firms adopt. But this union boost to nonunion pay has weakened as the share of private-sector workers in a union has fallen from 1 in 3 in the 1950s to about 1 in 20 today.”

There are some things missing from report. One of them is that the war on US labor unions brought about massive increases in profits for corporations, and much of this was redistributed to politicians in the form of perks (like high paying jobs after leaving office) and campaign contributions.

Martin Luther King

Eviscerating US labor unions via globalization and government legislation also redistributed much of the political power of the unions to corporations. The Republican Party today, for example, is completely owned by US corporations such as Walmart, Apple, Microsoft, JP Morgan/Chase, Goldman Sachs, a variety of hedge funds and Exxon Mobile. Labor unions have taken a back seat in the Democratic Party, and by a wide margin, to such corporate giants as Costco, Apple, Microsoft, JP Morgan/Chase, Goldman Sachs, and a variety of hedge funds. Notice any similarities between the twin political parties?

Globalization has never been inevitable as corporate, news and political leaders claim. Instead, it is an intentional political and economic power play to break US labor unions, bust foreign labor unions, push wages and benefits down, which boosts corporate bottom lines, which increases corporate share prices, all of which redistributes income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent.

In other words, globalization is not something that has been God ordained. This policy has been ordained by the rich and powerful. It is not and never has been inevitable except as an instrument wielded by the rich to wage economic war against the 99 percent of the world.

The primary purpose of globalization is to increase income and wealth inequality.

Check out the link below for EPI’s report.

Union decline lowers wages of nonunion workers: The overlooked reason why wages are stuck and inequality is growing

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1union-workers-graphic (1)

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the U.S. manufacturing sector lost 14,000 jobs in August and has now lost 57,000 jobs since January of this year. This job loss is, according the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), in part, a consequence of the sharp rise of the dollar in 2014 and 2015, which has gained nearly 20 percent on a broad, trade-weighted basis, as shown below.

According to the EPI, these job losses are brought about by Chinese currency manipulation.

“The rising dollar has reduced the cost of imports,” according to EPI, “increased the cost of U.S. exports resulting in growing trade deficits. Growing exports support U.S. employment, but growing imports cost U.S. jobs, so the manufacturing decline was entirely predictable from the expected increase in the U.S. trade deficit, which responds to changes in the dollar with a lag of one to two years. Yet the U.S. government continues to do nothing about destructive exchange rate movements, whether they are caused by intentional currency manipulation or more recent, market-driven misalignments.” Italics mine. 

This is all true, but there’s a reason why the US government and the Federal Reserve do absolutely nothing but cry foul over this manipulation. The government and the Fed could easily counter Chinese manipulation of its currency vis-a-vis the US dollar by simply buying the Chinese Yuan on the open market, but neither will, because they won’t.

That’s because US corporations have exported millions upon millions of US jobs to China. When these corporations, such as Apple, Microsoft and Nike, manufacture things in China and then export their products to the US, their profits increase every time China manipulates its currency. That’s right! US corporate profits grow when China manipulates its currency. So for example, when the Chinese manipulate their currency via the dollar by 15 percent, it increases the profits of their goods made in China and exported to the US by roughly 45 to 225 percent. What corporate CEO would want the US government to counter Chinese currency manipulation under these circumstances? For more on this, click The Trans Pacific Partnership: The Op-ed the Liberal and Conservative Corporate Media Doesn’t Want You to See–JohnHively.wordpress.com.

That’s how corrupt your government is. It will do nothing to save US jobs from being exported because the difference between the old higher US wages and the new and lower Chinese wages goes straight into the pockets of the super wealthy via higher corporate profits, surging dividends and skyrocketing share prices. The super wealthy take billions of those stolen dollars and put them right in the hands and campaign coffers of corrupt politicians.

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is the latest scam in redistributing income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent. Don’t let it happen. Call your congressional representatives. They do not want an aroused public.

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H1 B Visa

Politico reports that the US Department of Labor (DOL) employs lower cost H1-B workers rather than US citizens. This comes at a time when 3/4 of US high tech workers are unemployed in their field, and when US high tech workers haven’t had a pay increase since 1990.

The DOL employs these people by hiring contracting companies to do the work. Those companies then employ the guest workers, usually at lower wages than US citizens. That doesn’t mean the Department of Labor is saving any money. The US military, for examples, hires contractors such as Blackwater at much higher costs to taxpayers than regular US military personal.

“The H-1B workers cleared to perform work at the Labor Department’s Frances Perkins Building on Constitution Avenue provide a range of IT services, including software consulting, system administrating and network engineering. Some of them, however, are classified as “Wage Level 1” employees, a classification usually reserved for workers with limited experience.”

In other words, these H1-B people are getting paid less than US citizens would, and the difference in pay between what US citizens would earn and what H1-B visa workers earn goes toward profits for the wealthy.

The H1-B visa is an income redistribution scam, and should be eliminated. It has been used to keep US high tech workers unemployed and underpaid so that Microsoft and Apple and other high tech firms can keep their profits and share prices high at the expense of high tech workers.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/03/guest-workers-employed-at-labor-department-headquarters-220647#ixzz42hjG38al
Follow us: @politico on Twitter | Politico on Facebook

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Below is a letter from US Congressman Alan Grayson.

Dear John :

Forty-one years ago, when I used to get up at 5 a.m. to get on gas station lines with my parents, I started hearing about “energy independence” – a secure source of supply for our energy needs. Today, energy independence soon will be a reality.

For China. Thanks to the Keystone XL pipeline.

Q. Cui bono? (“Who benefits?”) A. China.

The Chinese economy consists of taking raw materials and energy, making that into stuff, and then selling that stuff – a/k/a “manufacturing.” Chinese leaders understand that in order for that model to work, China needs steady supplies of raw materials and energy. By how do you get a steady supply of energy, in a world where those supplies are dominated by a cartel, and are concentrated in a part of the world prone to war? In America, we’ve been trying to puzzle that out for four decades, without success.

Well, the Chinese have figured it out. They’re going to get their energy from Canada, a stable country, and pass it through the United States, another stable country. They will pay the Canadians the world price for oil. They will pay us nothing, or next to nothing. So Uncle Sam is Uncle Sucker.

And not for the first time. For the past decade, China has pursued an utterly unscrupulous and incredibly successful strategy in “trade” with the United States. China has been importing from the United States roughly $50 billion in goods each year, much of it food, raw materials and energy. China has been exporting to the United States roughly $350 billion in goods each year, mostly manufactured goods. And China has been buying roughly $300 billion in U.S. assets each year, mostly U.S. Treasuries. So we buy their stuff, putting their people to work. And they buy our assets, driving us deeper and deeper into debt. America loses – twice.

Now China has peeled off a tiny portion of that trade surplus, just $30 billion, and audaciously is trying to parlay that into permanent energy independence. China has put that money into Canadian tar sands.

Canadian tar sands are easily one of the dirtiest energy sources on Planet Earth. Does China care? No. As Deng Xiaoping used to say, “it doesn’t matter whether a cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.” China’s leaders are so indifferent to environmental concerns that they have no problem with 8-year-olds in Beijing contracting lung cancer from pollution – but they get upset when the U.S. Embassy in Beijing puts an air quality monitor on the roof, and posts the readings on the internet. Canadian tar sands are a very, very black cat, but China’s leaders care only about catching mice.

Chinese leaders have seized key elements of the world industrial supply chain, like rare earths. According to our government, they engage in pervasive industrial espionage. They have threatened American companies like Apple, Google and Walmart. In short, they know how to play the game.

All of the oil that passes through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline has to be sold in the United States. Why not the same rule for the Keystone XL Pipeline? But instead, we allow a tax-free zone, to facilitate Chinese energy independence at the expense of our own. Why does Uncle Sam have to be Uncle Sucker?

There are plenty of reasons to be against the Keystone XL pipeline. Environmentalists recognize it as the ultimate “bonfire of the vanities” – planet-wide carbon bonfires. The pipeline passes through an active earthquake zone. One bad spill could permanently poison the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides drinking water to millions of people, and 30% of our irrigation.

Here is another reason, perhaps the best reason of all: It doesn’t do us any good. China, yes. The Koch Brothers (who own the refining capacity that would be used), yes. Us, no.

When are we finally going to have a government with the courage to ask that simple question: Does it do us any good? Cui bono?

Courage,

Rep. Alan Grayson

The only problem with this analysis is that much of China’s manufacturing is done by US corporations manufacturing in China, when they used to be manufacturing in the USA. So much of the US trade surplus with China is actually with US corporations manufacturing in China using their facilities, and or contractors and subcontractors. That means the benefits of the Keystone pipeline also go to the USA’s 1 percent via higher corporate profits, share prices and dividends, while the 99 percent pay the price in worse environmental conditions in the US.

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This morning, Apple was convicted of conspiring with book publishers to raise ebook prices. This was one of the biggest anti-trust lawsuits ever brought by US federal authorities.

According to the Guardian newspaper, “US district judge Denise Cote ruled on Wednesday that the company played a “central role” in a conspiracy with the biggest book publishers in the US to fix prices in violation of antitrust law.

Executives from the companies would meet in the private dining rooms of upscale New York restaurants to bemoan the low prices charged by the ebooks market leader Amazon, and what they could do about it, Cote said in her ruling.

Cote ruled that that damages would be determined at a new hearing. Apple continued to deny on Wednesday that it had done anything wrong, and said it planned an appeal.”

This a perfect example of what goes on throughout the US economy. Regardless of how weak demand is, manufacturers consistently conspire to artificially raise the price of their stuff. Doing so pushes their stock prices higher, as well as dividend payments and corporate earnings. Now, if only the US government would do something about the thousands of other corporate executives redistributing income from the 99 to the 1 percent via conspiracy in restraint of trade, like the big banks withholding millions of houses from the market in order to artificially jack-up housing prices even though demand is historically weak.

Click below for the complete story about Apple in the courtroom. Below that is the story of the big banks rigging the housing market.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/jul/10/apple-guilty-ebook-prices-trial

The Fix is In: Big Banks Have Rigged the Housing Market

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