From 2014 – 2019, the same years that CEO and Chairman Doug pocketed $200 million in real money stock-based comp, American Airlines had *negative* free cash flow of $3.2 billion.
And took on an additional $14 billion in debt.
And bought back $13 billion of its stock. How did all this work out for American Airlines shareholders from 2014 – 2019?
Over this six year period, AAL stock was up 13%. Not 13% per year, but 13% over SIX YEARS of the best bull market in history.
This kind of thing is happening all the time. The system of government we have is no longer a democratic republic. It’s a corporatocracy. It’s a return to a modern version of feudalism. The C-levels of our largest corporations are the land-owning royalty, and “employees” work their “land” to be protected from our profit-seeking health care system. Whatever these executives want to do to increase their personal wealth and standing, no matter the harm to the company’s long-term prospects, or its employees and their long-term prospects, is fair game.
Meanwhile, the government has become a modern version of the Catholic Church, weaving their cross-“country” influence to help pick and choose their preferred benefactors in this version of clashing medieval kingdoms. The “priests” of this “church,” blessing the armies of these border skirmishes, are mostly geriatrics, who tend towards narcissism, and have a hard time connecting with the concept of what these battles will leave the field looking like for the next generation.
The American experiment in democracy has ended. Corporate power and political influence, expanded by the Citizens United ruling, has officially killed it. Right now, Congress is holding hearings on anti-trust against companies like Facebook and Google, but we all know how this circus will turn out. If penalties are applied, it will amount to a slap on the back of the hand. If actual regulation is enacted, it will be written by the lobbyists, and actually help the company is was supposed to limit, by hurting their competitors more. And the fact that we can know both of these things with perfect certainty, based on lots of previous (in)action, tells you everything you need to know about regulatory capture.
And all the time this is playing out, the emperors of our “free” press have us arguing about personal political and religious differences. They took the turkey while we were pulling on the wishbone.