Friday, December 10, 2010

Corporate coffers continue to grow

It's the classic Catch-22. "Corporate America's cash pile has hit its highest level in half a century."
Rather than pouring their money into building plants or hiring workers, nonfinancial companies in the U.S. were sitting on $1.93 trillion in cash and other liquid assets at the end of September, up from $1.8 trillion at the end of June, the Federal Reserve said Thursday. Cash accounted for 7.4% of the companies' total assets—the largest share since 1959. [...]

The cash pooling up at companies has the potential to help the economy grow more vigorously and bring unemployment lower—if they start spending it on new plants, equipment and employees.
Of course they're not going to do that because no one has any money to buy their stuff. And no one is going to have any money to buy their stuff, unless or until they start creating some jobs. So their strategy is to dribble out a little bit to their shareholders or buy back their own stock to create paper profits, and sit on the bulk of their holdings until "opportunities might come up." Of course without economic growth to spur innovation, there won't be any of those opportunities any time soon.

But let's give them more tax breaks, cause you know, that's been working so well for the last ten years. Or maybe instead of tax breaks, the government could use that money to create more jobs instead, so there's enough demand that the private corporations can get over their "uncertainty" and start hiring too. And by a government jobs programs I mean, lots of jobs for ordinary and older and displaced workers. Something along the lines of the old CCC which after all, left a lasting legacy.

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