Record Corporate Profits Quickly Claimed for Political Debates

Amid continuing umeployment, profits hit a new high

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Corporate profits this past quarter, it turns out, were the highest ever recorded in the United States. Well that's nice, right? Yes and no. Some say this is good news for jobs, but others--particularly those who lean left--point out that these record profits come at a time when businesses and Republicans are simultaneously pushing to get rid of corporate taxes, while the unemployed stand helplessly by. The story is quickly becoming a political one. See how:

  • Good News  "It's easy to be sickened by the garish gap between corporate profits and unemployment," admits The Atlantic's Derek Thompson. "But remember: In a slow economy, record corporate profits are good news!" He points out that "unemployment is a lagging indicator anyway, because companies don't hire in big batches until they have a dependable flow of income."
  • 'Corporations Post Record Profits as Republicans Call for Eliminating the "Insidious" Corporate Income Tax'  That's Scott Keyes's headline over at Think Progress, with clear implications for his take on the development:
Still, record profits are likely not enough to convince conservatives that corporations have it just fine in the U.S.. Even apologizing to mega-corporations that just dumped millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico isn’t enough. Right-wingers like Gohmert and Ryan will not be satisfied until we give tax-free status to all corporations.
  • Is This Why Congress Is Slow on Legislation?  Jamelle Bouie wonders at the American Prospect whether "Congress' unwillingness to do anything on the economy has to do with the fact that business owners aren't exactly feeling the hard times."
  • Stop Slandering Obama, by the Way  "If the health-care 'death panel' was the political falsehood of 2009, then 'Obama is bad for American business' might win that award for 2010," declares Mark Murray at First Read.
  • Unlikely  The New Republic's Jonathan Chait notices a Politico story: "Business: Barack Obama's Outreach Not Enough," even as the New York Times story on record profits comes up. His comment:
It's historically unusual enough that we live in a period of record corporate profits coinciding with stagnant incomes. What's amazing is that the business world views this situation as symptomatic of insufficiently pro-business policies, and, further, that this complaint has recieved a widespread and generally sympathetic hearing in the political media.
  • But Seriously, This Is Good  "The jump in profits is good news for jobseekers," writes Kathleen Madigan at The Wall Street Journal. "The profit upturn 'will almost certainly point to a stronger pace of hiring in the quarters ahead, because every strong profits recovery in the past has given way to a noticeable pickup in hiring,' saysJoseph LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank."
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