The American Economy in a Nutshell: Flat Revenues, Great Earnings

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The Wall Street Journal reports that American firms are struggling with falling prices due to weak consumer demand:

With about half of companies reporting year-end earnings, Thomson Reuters estimates revenue for companies in the S&P 500 stock index rose just 0.9%—capping two years of lackluster revenue growth and tying the third-weakest quarterly sales growth since the fall of 2009….The persistent weakness in revenue also prompts companies to cut back costs and plow their spare cash into share buybacks instead of investments like new factories and hiring. Fourth-quarter earnings, as a result, are expected to be up 9.4%.

There you have it. Earnings are up nearly 10 percent—because companies are cutting staff—and revenues are essentially flat—because workers have no money. This is the American economy in a nutshell. Solutions welcome.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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