Cui Bono?

| Thu Apr. 15, 2010 12:15 PM EDT

Fortune magazine reports on corporate revenue:

Last year, Fortune 500 sales fell 8.7% to $9.8 trillion, the largest percentage decline since 1983.

And yet profits soared:

For 2009, the Fortune 500 lifted earnings 335%, to $391 billion, a $301 billion jump that's the second largest in the list's 56-year history....The 500's profits virtually returned to normal after years of extremes — bubbles in 2006 and 2007, collapse in 2008 — despite a feeble overall recovery that's far from normal.

So corporate profits tripled during a recession year in which sales fell 8.7%. Has that ever happened before? The key to this, of course, was layoffs: "In 2009, the Fortune 500 shed 821,000 jobs, the biggest loss in its history — almost 3.2% of its payroll." In other words, we have now been through a recession in which, essentially, nobody has really suffered except for all the workers who have been let go. Wall Street is doing great. Corporate profits are doing great. The stock market is recovering. Is it any wonder that Republicans don't really care about any further fiscal stimulus? Their constituency is doing fine, thankyouverymuch.

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