The Republican tax giveaway to the richest people in our country extended into the businesses they owned. Then Majority-Leader Mitch McConnell told everyone that he believed the new jobs and trickling of wealth into society would make the tax cuts “be beyond revenue neutral.” This means that the hit to our country’s collective coffers would be taken up by all the piles of money these businesses and wealthy folks would gift everybody. Right away every big business reported pulling in billions of dollars that they quickly pocketed or used for buybacks of their own stocks. McConnell said he was surprised that his plans of giving hundreds of billions of dollars to the wealthiest people in our society, with zero strings attached, didn’t work the way it never has and never will in the history of our country.
On the flip side workers’ wages have slumped under the Republican-version of the free market. Added to this is that instead of creating more jobs, big business and their tax cuts have laid off more workers during that time. Two of the biggest tax benefactors, telecoms Verizon and AT&T—who have pulled in tens of billions of dollars in government money over the past five years, are guilty of laying off almost 100,000 people during that same time. And now, after all of that, Republicans are once again nakedly calling for austerity measures to shore up our national debt. This play is being made in the hopes of chipping away further at the already weak social safety net programs, most of which are wildly popular—like Medicaid and Social Security.
New job reports have finally come out showing that AT&T has cut 50,000 jobs, or 18% of their workforce in 2015. And 41,000 of those jobs have come since the telecom got a Trump-era-sized $42 billion tax cut. AT&T cut almost 17,000 of those jobs in 2020 alone. Verizon only cut 2,800 jobs this year, but has already done its major slashing since 2015, closing down 45,000 workers’ positions. None of this is new news, but the numbers are a stark reminder of what has actually been taking place over the last few years, while big companies get government money to grow our economy.
Verizon’s biggest tax break years, years where they were getting tens of billions of dollars in breaks, somehow coincided with their largest “cost cutting” measures. Translation: job cuts. Remember, Verizon is the company guilty of throttling California fire department officials who were fighting historic wildfires in the state. AT&T is still announcing new plans to cut jobs here and there, pivoting from wholesale bloodbaths to destroying workers’ livelihoods by a thousand cuts. And, to be clear, this is all on top of companies like AT&T taking enormous tax breaks from state and local governments to provide services that they then fail to provide. Verizon has a similar record of not providing the services they are being given money to provide.
After Lightreading posted the report about how many jobs these two companies have cut over the last five years, AT&T gave them this statement:
These actions align with our focus on growth areas along with lower customer demand for some legacy products and the economic impact and changed customer behaviors resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, there will be targeted, but sizable reductions in our workforce across executives, managers and union-represented employees, consistent with our previously announced transformation initiative. Reducing our workforce is a difficult decision that we don’t take lightly. For employees who are leaving as part of these changes, we’re offering severance pay and company-provided healthcare coverage for up to 6 months for eligible employees.
They don’t take it “lightly,” y’all. They take it to the bank. Oh, and that bank is also pocketing the billions in tax breaks it got.
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