December 20, 2017

Wondering on Wednesday (v115)

Anyone not a corporation or other specific beneficiary of the GOP's 'massive' tax plan celebrating tonight, I wonder?

I hope my friends at AT & T be celebrating when they get their promised $1000 bonus.  The bonus is being paid as a "Hey, about our merger with Comcast? We're promising $1B in investments, and a couple hundred million in bonuses, and we sure as hell hope that makes you like our merger way more bigly than you do now!"

Of course, one could cynically wonder how hard it would have been for AT & T to give this kind of bonus in the past, with or without a merger on the line or a corporate tax cut dangled in front of them. After all, according to this NY Times article from March, the company has benefited handsomely from tax subsidies.

In fact, it was the biggest winner of all companies receiving subsidies between 2008 and 2015:
  • AT & T: ($38.1 billion)
  • Wells Fargo ($31.4 billion)
  • JPMorgan Chase ($22.2 billion)
  • Verizon ($21.1 billion)
  • IBM ($17.8 billion)
  • General Electric ($15.4 billion)
  • Exxon Mobil ($12.9 billion)
  • Boeing ($11.9 billion)
  • Procter & Gamble ($8.5 billion)
  • Twenty-First Century Fox ($7.6 billion)
  • Time Warner ($6.7 billion)
  • Goldman Sachs ($5.5 billion)
Wells Fargo, number two on the list the heavily subsidized and a remarkably ethically challenged company, opening more than three million fake accounts on behalf of unknowing customers, firing 5000+ employees (as if they cooked up the whole scheme to open the accounts), and more, also announced it was raising the company's minimum wage to $15/hour and was planning $400M in philanthropic efforts next year.  Call me crazy, but this is a company desperate to remake its reputation, and oh by the way is (maybe) facing almost $200M in penalties for their continued bad acts. I wonder if that has anything to do with their immediate announcement about how wonderful they are?

And I also wonder if Bernie Sanders is happy about the $15 an hour, or if he's mad about the corporate tax cut?  Talk about being between a rock and a hard place, right?

Speaking of winners and losers, I've lost some respect for Maine's Senator Susan Collins for her votes on the tax bill. You'll remember initially she was a no on the bill, because she had serious concerns about the lack of funding for the cost-sharing reduction payments that were being made under the Affordable Care Act (the president killed the subsidies back in October, you'll recall), and she had concerns about the the anticipated increase in premiums stemming from the repeal of the individual mandate, which was included in the tax bill. In an exchange on the Senate floor, Collins obtained assurances from Mitch McConnell that the Senate would take up her two issues, "ideally prior to the adoption of any tax reform conference agreement and certainly before the end of the year."

That may mean before the end of 2018.  Well, OK, probably sooner -- Collins issued a statement today with Sen. Lamar Alexander talking about maybe Valentine's Day would be more reasonable. I have to wonder what other "ideally" and "certainly" promises McConnell and his team made to other members of his caucus that will not be kept?

Finally tonight, let's wonder a little what the heck was going through Rosie O'Donnell's mind when she tweeted this potentially criminal offer:

I know I'm not the only one wondering if, like Kathy Griffin, O'Donnell will soon be parading her apology for all the world to see? Or, will she get the knock on the door from law enforcement asking if they can have a chat about her tweet before she gets the chance to suitably apologize?

What are you wondering about?

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