Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Dear Common Dreams Readers:
Corporations and billionaires have their own media. Shouldn't we? When you “follow the money” that funds our independent journalism, it all leads back to this: people like you. Our supporters are what allows us to produce journalism in the public interest that is beholden only to people, our planet, and the common good. Please support our Mid-Year Campaign so that we always have a newsroom for the people that is funded by the people. Thank you for your support. --Jon Queally, managing editor

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

In this photo illustration, a smartphone displays the Walmart Inc. market value on the stock exchange via the Yahoo Finance app.

In this photo illustration, a smartphone displays the Walmart Inc. market value on the stock exchange via the Yahoo Finance app. (Photo Illustration: Guillaume Payen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

House Hearing Highlights How Corporate Stock Buybacks Enrich the Wealthy While Rigging Economy Against Workers

"The biggest American companies are clearly making enough profit to spend these record amounts giving raises to their shareholders via stock buybacks, and yet average workers aren't getting any raises."

Eoin Higgins

The House Financial Services Committee on Thursday held a hearing about one of the main ways the one percent keeps money in the hands of the richest Americans—stock buybacks—winning praise from progressives for shining a light on the practice.

"It's time for Congress to listen to how our economy is rigged against working people," advocacy group United for Respect said in a tweet.

The hearing, chaired by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), featured testimony from Janie Grice, a Walmart worker and United for Respect member. Grice told lawmakers that she was upset to find out the company used $20 billion in profits for stock buybacks instead of giving that money to employees.

"I don't mind investors making profits," said Grice. "I do mind when associates like me, who have been putting the work in, day after day and year after year, don't get to share in those profits."

According to University of Massachusetts economics professor Lenore Palladino, stock buybacks represent yet another example of how inequality works in the U.S.

"Gains from share selling flow disproportionately to a small group of wealthy households," said Palladino.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) noted that stock buybacks can also be used to manipulate valuation for profit.

"Executives can use a buyback program to boost the company's stock price, right before selling their own stock at these artificially inflated prices," said Maloney.

In a statement, Patriotic Millionaires chair Morris Pearl said the policy has negative long-term implications for companies and employees.

"The plain truth is that spending corporate profits on raising worker wages and investing in new jobs, instead of spending it on stock buybacks that only serve to make rich investors even richer, will actually help all of those business people and investors make more money simply because workers will have more money to spend," said Morris. 

"Spending billions on stock buybacks, instead of reinvesting that money where it's needed most, is a shortsighted, unsustainable decision to enrich shareholders," Morris added.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

"I'm sure this will be all over the corporate media, right?"
That’s what one longtime Common Dreams reader said yesterday after the newsroom reported on new research showing how corporate price gouging surged to a nearly 70-year high in 2021. While major broadcasters, newspapers, and other outlets continue to carry water for their corporate advertisers when they report on issues like inflation, economic inequality, and the climate emergency, our independence empowers us to provide you stories and perspectives that powerful interests don’t want you to have. But this independence is only possible because of support from readers like you. You make the difference. If our support dries up, so will we. Our crucial Mid-Year Campaign is now underway and we are in emergency mode to make sure we raise the necessary funds so that every day we can bring you the stories that corporate, for-profit outlets ignore and neglect. Please, if you can, support Common Dreams today.

 

Harris Says White House Not 'Discussing' Use of Federal Land for Abortion Care

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are among the Democratic lawmakers who have expressed support for the idea as GOP-controlled states move to outlaw abortion.

Jake Johnson ·


Abortion Rights Defenders Applaud Judge's Block on Utah 'Trigger Ban'

"Today is a win, but it is only the first step in what will undoubtedly be a long and difficult fight," said one pro-choice advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·


Scores Feared Dead and Wounded as Russian Missiles Hit Ukraine Shopping Center

"People just burned alive," said Ukraine's interior minister, while the head of the Poltava region stated that "it is too early to talk about the final number of the killed."

Brett Wilkins ·


Biodiversity Risks Could Persist for Decades After Global Temperature Peak

One study co-author said the findings "should act as a wake-up call that delaying emissions cuts will mean a temperature overshoot that comes at an astronomical cost to nature and humans that unproven negative emission technologies cannot simply reverse."

Jessica Corbett ·


Amnesty Report Demands Biden Take Action to End Death Penalty

"The world is waiting for the USA to do what almost 100 countries have achieved during this past half-century—total abolition of the death penalty," said the group.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo