Over at Thinkprogress, they have a chart up that makes me weep bitter tears for our democracy; they are bragging about the stratospheric profits bloated and insatiable US corporations are enjoying lately at everyone else’s expense; you really have to see it to believe it:

That’s right.  A purportedly “liberal” blog is falling all over itself to say that the obscene corporate profits they are shamelessly touting amount to a good thing, somehow.  Although we all now have absorbed the aberrant idea that corporations are people, it seems a stretch that even the most Village-addled liberals are so enamored with sky-high corporate profits, and let me tell you why.  Corporations aren’t people; quite the opposite, and each percentage point tells the story.

Corporate profits are, of course, the difference between the cost of what something sells for and what it’s really worth.  Thus, everything above a few percentage points is a kind of theft, whether it be from consumers, employees, the environment, or the future.  In a functioning free market, the company with the lowest profits would win; why would anyone want to throw away more of their hard-earned cash just to fatten executives and shareholders, at the expense of getting a good deal for their money?

Ah, but that isn’t they way things work anymore.  Here, we have a Democratic (as it were) President’s media toadies cheering the fact that fat cats are fleecing just that much more money from their long-suffering underlings.  USA, USA!!!!   And, instead of greeting that nauseating statistic with the disdain it so richly deserves, we get the above graph, wherein the wanton theft from the larger economy, sixty full percentage points above the second worst performer, that widely revered Man of the People, Warren G. Harding, presented to liberal blog readers as some kind of triumph.

What does a nearly 8o% increase in corporate profits, the largest in history, really mean?  Unfortunately, a lot of things, none of them good.  It means outsourcing.   It means union-busting.  It means no-bid government contracts.   It means extracting resources for far less than their actual value, much less the damage said extraction causes the planet.  It means price gouging, particularly in a recession.  It means, essentially, everyone paying more for less, at a time when they can least afford to.  In short, it means that the Obama Administration ought to be ashamed of its craven duplicity in pretending to care about ordinary people, and Thinkprogress, if it were smart if not ostensibly liberal, would STFU, and start talking about the wonders of Dodd-Frank or some such.

The fact that corporate profits are so absurdly high and growing at such an alarming rate isn’t the only reason that President Obama and the Democrats are in a fight for their political lives at the moment, but if they lose, that graph belongs on their headstones.



  1. Austin says:

    “Corporate profits are, of course, the difference between the cost of what something sells for and what it’s really worth.”

    You confuse (in your example) profits with margin. Margin is the difference between what something costs to produce and what it sells for. If you sell a high volume of low margin goods, you can still enjoy significant gross margin, but you still need subtract overhead to get profit.

    Apple, for instance, enjoys very high margins on the goods they produce. Are they villains as well?

    • cocktailhag says:

      Of course they are. Though I do love their products, they are ridiculously overpriced, considering they are made by slaves.
      In a real Free Market, I could pay the same and not support slavery, or I could pay a lot less. Neither is happening.

    • RUKidding says:

      You don’t want to get me started on the villainy of St. Steven of the Jobs & Apple. I, too, enjoy some of their products, but Apple is one of the biggest offenders out there. Just ask the Chinese slaves who make all those lovely gadgets that you love to buy at cheap prices… ooops, too late. Those slaves just committed suicide from their horrid “work conditions.”

      Enjoy your fabulous products, however, whilst basking in some weird afterglow fantasy about Apple’s fabulous “margins.”

  2. mikeinportc says:

    The Harding Administration is 2nd? Lol Making one of the most corrupt administrations in history, if not the most corrupt, look like a bunch of slackers, is reason enough to STFU.

    One other thing : Most of that increase belongs to large corporations. Ones large enough to hire lobbyists, and make campaign contributions . Small to medium-sized businesses are generally suffering. (Those that cater primarily to the 1% are doing better, in general) The situation is even worse than the 77.9% indicates.

    • cocktailhag says:

      That’s been the theme song of the “recovery,” no? So Bill Gates walks into a bar, and suddenly average incomes aren’t so appallingly third world-ish. I wish I were amazed people still fall for this, but I’ve lost the capacity.

  3. avelna says:

    Tell me why again, these asses are so anxious to be rid of Obama? Ah, that’s right, so all of us can become their serfs, not just most. Oh and also because he’s an uppity black who’s trying to be one of them.

  4. econobuzz says:

    June 8, 2012

    Obama: “The private sector is doing fine.”

  5. RUKidding says:

    Well, Cocktailhag, this is Exhibit A (followed immediately by Exhibts B – Z and beyond) as to why TODAY (mail ballot) I am voting for Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party for POTUS.

    Thanks for the info. Utterly unsurprised, other than why all the 1%ers have been ceaselessly whiiiiiiing about how horrid the Barackstar is. I truly don’t get that, but I think the 1% are just stuck in some weird Dittoheaded “reality” where they love love love to victimize themselves. Plus they’re probably mostly all racist bigots anyway, so they’d prefer the WHITE Mormon instead.

    ptoui! A pox on all their houses…

  6. bystander says:

    I would only amend one thing, CH. “Free Market” is the libertarian preferred designator, and there are very few of them who would have a problem with the table you put up. What libertarians aren’t so enamored of is what I suspect you really mean when you say, free markets. And, that is a competitive market, or in econ parlance perfectly competitive markets. Because in libertarian speak, a free market has no problem with monopolies, duopolies, or other structures of limiting new entrants and reducing competition. Part of that wildly accelerating corporate profit indicator you’ve cited is a result of consolidation – there are fewer competitors, and those remaining can even collude to keep prices to their advantage. If you consider the basic characteristics of a competitive market (doesn’t have to be “perfect”; you can relax these constraints and still have genuine competition), you can easily see that a Free Market need not honor any number of them, and doesn’t.