The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

A Trillion Dollars:
The Steal of the Century (for Now)

Mar 4, 2019

In 2018, the 500 biggest U.S. businesses spent a TRILLION dollars buying back their own stock. All the big businesses carry out this type of maneuver, all over the world. In ten years, Apple spent 250 billion dollars in stock buy-backs; ExxonMobil and Microsoft almost 100 billion each, etc.

Buying back stock drives up the price of the stock, and reduces the number of outstanding shares, thereby also increasing the dividends each stockholder gets. It is simply a way to distribute money to stockholders.

On top of their “normal” profits, generated by exploiting workers all over the planet, this year, U.S. businesses benefitted from the government’s helping hand. On top of reducing taxes on the big companies, which automatically increased their profits, Trump let these companies bring back money they had hidden in overseas tax-havens without paying a penalty. For a company like Apple, this gift was worth hundreds of billions of dollars. And for companies that don’t have enough cash to buy back their own stock, they can always turn to the banks and borrow money to satisfy their stockholders....

In 2018, a TRILLION dollars was transferred into the coffers of the tiny minority of the richest capitalist families who hold the bulk of stock in the big U.S. companies. The defenders of the system claim that this chunk of capital will be invested in new businesses, helping create new wealth and more jobs. That is a lie.

Today, the capitalists build their fortunes by reducing the number of workers, reinforcing exploitation, grabbing up public resources, and cannibalizing all of society. Their fortunes are growing while the standard of living of the working class is going down and society is regressing.

This trillion dollars that the workers of the world have contributed will just make the masters’ tables groan a bit more, and add to the size of their yachts and the price of fancy wine.