AT&T Preps For Even More Cuts After $42 Billion+ In Trump Tax Cuts And Regulatory Favors
from the ill-communication dept
It seems like only yesterday that AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson was promising on live television that if Trump followed through on his tax cuts, the company would dramatically boost investment and add thousands of new jobs. Not “entry-level jobs,” mind you, but “7,000 jobs of people putting fiber in the ground, hard-hat jobs that make $70,000 to $80,000 per year.” Each $1 billion in new investment spurred by government favors, AT&T insisted, would result in 7,000 new jobs. “Lower taxes drives more investment, drives more hiring, drives greater wages,” Stephenson said.
The same rhetoric was a common occurrence as AT&T lobbied to have net neutrality (and FCC oversight in general) stripped away, insisting this would result in significant job creation and a massive surge in investment. The amount of money AT&T saved from turning the FCC into a glorified rubber stamp for industry is likely incalculable. The tax cuts were more easily calculated, with CBS suggesting the cuts should net AT&T around $42 billion.
Here on planet Earth the exact opposite of what AT&T promised occurred: the company actually decreased its 2020 CAPEX by some $3 billion, and unions say the company has cut more than 37,000 jobs since the Trump tax cuts took effect.
This week, AT&T announced it would be conducting another $6 billion in cuts that will include additional “headcount rationalization,” which in human language likely indicates even more layoffs:
“The effort may include layoffs. Stankey didn’t specifically mention that word, but instead said the operator would enact a “headcount rationalization,” a term that could include layoffs as well as reductions by not hiring replacements for workers who retire or leave. That program, he said, would reduce the operator’s labor expenses by 4%, or roughly $1.5 billion, by the end of 2020. He added that the reduction would target employees in AT&T’s call centers, management structures and distribution strategy. AT&T employed roughly 252,000 people at the end of September.”
It’s odd that when news outlets discuss AT&T’s cost-cutting and layoff strategies, they fail to mention we just got done throwing tens of billions in regulatory favors and tax cuts at the company in exchange for absolutely nothing. In fact, we apparently paid AT&T to do the exact opposite of what it repeatedly promised to do. It’s particularly galling given that most of AT&T’s current problems stem directly from spending too much money on harmful megamergers and bumbling its entry into the online streaming video space.
But as usual, the end result isn’t AT&T executives paying any sort of penalty for incompetence, it’s the company’s workers and customers who have to pay for the mistakes — in more ways than one. And it’s all being subsidized by American taxpayers who, thanks to a general press unwillingness to call a duck a duck, often don’t understand the scope of the grift directly underfoot.