Today, Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, lied to cover up Trump’s broken promise and credit him for lowering the costs of prescription drugs. Secretary Azar falsely tried to credit Trump for lowering prescription drug prices. Azar: “In 2018, for the first time in almost fifty years, the consumer inflation measure for prescription drug prices actually went negative. We saw companies take substantially fewer price increases on brand drugs and more price cuts on all kinds of drugs after the release of the blueprint than in previous years.” The truth is that Trump has done nothing to actually lower prescription drug costs, which continue to skyrocket. Associated Press: “President Donald Trump claims drug prices fell in 2018 for the first time in nearly 50 years, but the evidence doesn’t appear to be on his side. A recent Associated Press analysis of prices for brand-name drugs found far more increases than cuts in the first seven months of 2018. The analysis found 96 price hikes for every price cut.” Associated Press: “The Consumer Price Index for prescription drugs shows a 0.6 percent reduction in prices in December 2018 when compared with December 2017, the biggest drop in nearly 50 years. The government index tracks a set of medications including brand drugs and generics. However, that same index showed a 1.6 percent increase when comparing the full 12 months of 2018 with the entire previous year.”
February 22, 2019
After Trump gave PepsiCo a massive tax cut, the company paid out billions of dollars to their wealthy shareholders and took advantage of the tax law to lay off workers and replace them with machines. Trump promised his tax law would benefit working Americans, but that never happened. Here’s the four-step process to taking advantage of a broken Trump promise:
Step 1: PepsiCo got a massive tax break as a result of Trump’s corporate tax cut.
Forbes: “Along with lower cost due to the refranchising initiatives, the implementation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would help PepsiCo reduce its tax expense for the year, which would, in turn, translate into higher profit.”
Step 2: PepsiCo announced billions of dollars in payouts to wealthy shareholders.
2019: PEPSICO CFO Hugh F. Johnston: “We expect total cash returns to shareholders of approximately $8 billion in 2019, comprised of dividends of approximately $5 billion and share repurchases of approximately $3 billion.”
2018: Market Insider: “In addition, the company raised its annualized dividend by 15 percent and announced a new share repurchase program of up to $15 billion.”
Step 3: Trump’s tax law incentivized companies to increase automation and replace workers with machines.
Washington Post: “The authors attribute this finding in part to the effects of automation: The tax break made it cheaper for companies to invest in equipment, such as automated checkout machines, that replaces workers.”
Step 4: PepsiCo took advantage of its earnings gained through Trump’s tax law and invested in automation while laying off workers.
Pepsi President Laguarta: “Our productivity programs will be guided by a set of universally applied principles, namely: achieving local affordability; simplifying and standardizing processes; collaborating across functions rather than optimizing within functions to achieve lowest cost end-to-end processes; relentlessly automating and merging the best of our optimized business models with the best new thinking and technologies.”
CNBC: “To be sure, as PepsiCo eyes further marketing and advertising spend, it also plans to balance those investments with a cost-savings program that aims to slash at least $1 billion every year through 2023. The program is an extension of a prior savings plan that was expected to end after 2019. Johnston told CNBC that there will be layoffs in jobs that can be automated but did not provide details on how many.”