Giant megabanks have saved billions of dollars thanks to GOP tax cuts — but have been cutting, not adding, jobs: report
In late 2008 — when George W. Bush was in the final months of his presidency and the Great Recession was accelerating — the term “too big to fail” was used to describe megabanks that were pleading for bailout money. But many of the megabanks that feared for their survival during the 2008 crash not only survived; they grew even larger. And journalist Dino Rabouin, in an article published by Axios on January 17, reports that for two years in a row, megabanks have been saving billions of dollars thanks to the GOP’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
Drawing on data from Bloomberg News, Rabouin notes that the GOP tax law “helped power the biggest U.S. banks to record profits for the second straight year.” Yet “struggling workers,” according to Rabouin, are not the main beneficiaries.
“The tax cut was sold as a way to revitalize hiring and spending by American companies to boost the economy and help struggling workers,” Rabouin observes, “but the windfall is largely staying with banks and their shareholders…. Rather than use the money to hire a bonanza of workers or invest in big new capital projects or equipment, the banks used it largely to buy back stock and pad their balance sheets.”
Rabouin notes that “JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley announced earnings this week showing they saved $18 billion in 2019, and their average effective tax rate fell to 18% from 20%. Banks had previously paid effective tax rates of around 30%, Bloomberg found.”
But despite all the money they saved in taxes, megabanks haven’t been increasing the size of their workforce. Rabouin writes, “The big banks have actually shed jobs since passage of the tax cut law, collectively reducing their workforce by 1200 people since 2017, Bloomberg reported.”