Economy May 15, 2023 at 1:22 pm

As Companies Lay Off Workers, They Continue to Buyback Stocks, Turn a Profit

It's downhill from here.... Charles Mudede



"....people who, because of their culturally imposed poverty, already live in miserable conditions (the streets)..."

There's a sucker born every minute.


@1 Charles has stubbornly avoided acknowledging untreated mental health and substance abuse issues are leading causes of homelessness.

On this point: "But Seattle is, of course, not paying attention to any of these important developments. Its mayor, business leaders, and leading media institutions are too busy making life even more miserable . . . ."

Can anyone make sense of why Charles omitted the Seattle City Council from this list? It seems like he believes stock buybacks require some sort of regulatory or legislative change, yet he also seems to think the city's legislative branch has no role to play.


Maybe Amazon is seeing trouble ahead and prepositioning itself against the hard times they anticipate.

Just another screed against the evils of capitalism with all the usual talking points.
I think Marx himself may have been the last Marxist to have a semi-original thought.


@2: TBF, no other writer at the Stranger has ever actually acknowledged this, either. The closest any of them ever got (that I read) was when Will Casey said we needed diversionary programs for persons unfit for trial. (He was just trying to realize abolition via rampant abuse of diversionary programs, though.) Other than that, the Stranger’s fierce message discipline has never wavered. For many years now, any person passing a homeless encampment could immediately recognize, “…untreated mental health and substance abuse issues are leading causes of homelessness.” For just as long, the Stranger has refused to admit this.

I would rank their persistent hagiography of Sawant as the only aspect of the Stranger which has done more harm to Seattle.


Stock buybacks are rightly a target of indignation and should be scrutinized more closely however in the case of Amazon it's a bit of a vicious cycle for them. Anyone who works for Amazon or has a friend who does knows a great deal of their compensation is tied to the stock price. Amazon famously pays less than other tech companies in the area for base salary with the caveat they give you a bunch of stock grants that vest over 4 years. That stock is targeted to have a 10-15% appreciation to give them employees the full compensation package. That target has been easily met the last decade or so as Amazon's stock rose meteorically, especially during the pandemic, but now with the market slow down they are not seeing anywhere near those gains which in some part led them to split the stock so the share price is down at around $110 right now. Now that business has slowed and the stock price with it, the only means Amazon has to pump up the price and thus fully compensate their employees is to buy it back but of course that is as unsustainable as the targeted 10% annual growth. I've already heard employees have been told there will be no grants for 2025 so a great many Amazon employees are going to be looking for new jobs to try and boost their compensation. The next few years are probably going to be pretty rough for Amazon until they can readjust their compensation plan to reflect a mature company with slow growth rather than one growing quickly as it has in the past.

btw While Charles bemoans stock buybacks as some capitalist ploy the fact remains that under Marxist ideology the state would own everything and workers would be making jack squat. I'm always amused at his posts pointing out the failures of capitalism however he has never once has posted a success story of a Marxist economy or an example of how the issue would be better under Marxist leadership because of course those examples don't exist.


@5: Thank you for packing more factual economic analysis into your comment than Charles did into his headline post.

If Charles really wants to issue a scathing critique of capitalism, and achieve a success at such critique which has so far completely eluded him, then he need only note he got paid for his post — and you did not get paid for your comment.


Giving employees stock ie ownership in an enterprise in exchange for their labor sounds vaguely socialist to me?


What did Karl Marx no about business and capitalism anyway; he spent his whole life living off someone else's dime. Socialism sounds good on paper nut in the long run it still requires business to succeed and business requires capitalism to work.


Obama needs to be inpeached


Friends do not let friends read Mudede. The Stranger must die.


Absolutely not!
The Stranger is one of my favorite satire publications. It’s on par with The Onion & Babylon Bee.
That it sees itself as a serious news source simply makes it that much funnier.


It's all in the exponential hoarding of money over time by C-Suite ("S Team") executives that is the most important thing ever infinity. Executive bonuses go up while labor that adds value get fired. Same dystopian capitalist time same dystopian capitalist channel.


@2 "Charles has stubbornly avoided acknowledging untreated mental health and substance abuse issues are leading causes of homelessness."

There is a reason for that. It simply isn't true. Look at the evidence:


Holy fuck. Winger time.


Here is a task for you kids. Read @5 and find the flaw in its logic.


I love reading Charles Mudede for a Marxist take on the local news. I marvel at share price fluctuations in closed corporations with no real changes except for a "superhero" executive. Even more skill is required to do it all in public.


@13: Two questions for you: first, have you ever walked past a homeless encampment in Seattle? Second, as you’ve again dragged out that book by Real Estate Guy and his pet Amateur Statistician, please explain their first finding: the higher a community’s poverty rate, the lower that community’s homelessness rate. If homelessness results from economic conditions, then why are persons in poorer communities less likely to become homeless?


I don't know why T-Mobile gets a free pass in this article.

They have a stock buyback program (

They have layoffs (

They are a large employer in the area. I just hate that some capitalist companies seemingly get free passes. Ok, it's because I was laid off. Fine. But, I appreciate you talking about what I hope are the late stages of capitalism as it wriggles and gasps for the last bit of worker capital to keep the power going to its pacemaker.


@15: You’re perfectly free to engage @5 on your own. Failing that, @5 did a better job of explaining Amazon’s self-inflicted perverse incentives than did you, in far fewer words, and without payment. (Injustice of capitalism, indeed…)

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