December 10, 2022

A CEO just revealed how he’s spending his Trump tax cut

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Now that the vaunted Republican tax “cut” has been passed by Congress and signed by the President, all that money that used to go to funding health care, infrastructure, and other essential social services is going back in the pockets of the wealthy corporate oligarchs where it will, according to orthodox Republican scriptures, leak out to shower the peasants with more jobs and higher wages. Shower? No, trickle is the word they use.


The magical thinking at play here is well demonstrated by the real world example of how business moguls truly operate. Examine the case of Tronc, a company formed from the cast-off remnants of the Tribune Company after they spun off their lucrative broadcasting properties, including 39 stations across the country, into a separate Tribune Media Company and changed the name of the remaining Tribune Publishing, into Tribune Online Content, or Tronc, for short.

James Rufus Koren, a financial reporter at one of Tronc’s premier properties, The Los Angeles Times, discovered some interesting details buried in Tronc’s financial disclosure materials available to its shareholders. It turns out that the same day that the new tax bill was passed by Congress, Tronc entered into a new $5 million annual consulting arrangement with Michael W. Ferro Jr., the man who happens to be the company’s largest shareholder and its chairman, and his companies, Merrick Media and Merrick Ventures.

Other shareholders may be concerned that Ferro has figured out a way to claw back some of the approximately $97 million he’s invested in the struggling newspaper business that has been hit as hard as other print media by the migration of advertising dollars to electronic media.

It is the group of staff writers trying to form a union at The Los Angeles Times to fight for “improved working conditions, higher pay, more generous benefits and protections for staff members against ‘unilateral change by Tronc,’” however, that have the real bone to pick with Ferro.

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After all, Tronc has been fighting unionization tooth and nail, claiming that the financials of the newspaper industry simply won’t support the additional expenditures and safeguards that the employees are demanding. Yet, here is a five million dollar paycheck going to the company chairman.

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In a nutshell, here is the fallacy of the Republican tax plan’s assumptions that any of the money shifted from the U.S. Treasury back into the pockets of corporate oligarchs will trickle down to the middle and working classes written large across the page for all to see.

Greed is at least a part of what made these folks rich to begin with, so don’t expect the tiger to change its stripes at this stage of the game.

The money that the Republican Congress claimed would be used to reinvest in businesses, generate new jobs, and raise wages for all, it’s going right back into the pockets of the people who donated all that money to the election campaigns of the people who gratefully repaid their donors’ generosity with a tax break that they didn’t need and actually admitted they wouldn’t use in the way that the GOP said they would in pitching the tax bill to the American electorate.

One can only hope that this will become ever more painfully obvious by the time that mid-term elections roll around in November. Politicians lie all the time, but statistics and analysis of financial data like this story, despite the “fake news” sobriquet thrust upon the outlets that report them, tell the real truth. Let’s hope that people act upon this knowledge in the voting booths.

Vinnie Longobardo

is the Managing Editor of Washington Press and a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile, & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.

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