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Those Evil Rich Corporations

One staple in political debate is that the left loves to pummel "evil" corporate America for being greedy and making excessive profits. It plays well to the uninformed and that is all that matters. But the Fortune 500 list came out today and as usual, reality does not support the rhetoric, even with the economy booming and earnings at record levels.

Let's start with the biggest and one of the most commonly vilified companies out there, Walmart. Their financial reports show sales of almost $259 billion with a profit of $9.05 billion, that gives Walmart an underwhelming 3.4% return on their money. (Not much better than your savings account)

But we all know the most evil corporations of all are the oil companies. [After all they control the President and Congress and they cause wars and stuff. Right?] Exxon Mobil Corp. was the most profitable of all the companies and had their best year ever. They had sales of $213 Billion and earnings of $21.5 Billion. That gives Exxon Mobil a whopping 10% return on their money in their record making year.

"As a group, the 500 companies bounced back from two years of profit declines, posting combined earnings of almost $446 billion on sales totaling $7.5 trillion."

Lemme do the math for you. 446 / 7500 = 0.059 * 100 = 5.9% profit.

The 500 biggest companies in America "bounced back" to a 5.9% profit margin for the year. Along the way to earning that mere 5.9% they provided us with the highest standard of living in history. Seems like they earned their 6% if you ask me.


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Comments (2)

Although I agree with your ... (Below threshold)
jim:

Although I agree with your sentiment, that Evil Corp America ain't so evil..I think your benchmarking may be need to be recalibrated.

"a whopping 10% return on their money"....the calculation of "return on your money" is typically expressed as return on equity (ROE), not sales. Since Equity represent ownership, or the amount of money "invested" in the company.

I think you'll find most Fortune 500's do infact beat inflation rates when measuring investment returns. Typically their return (ROE) hovers around 15%- 25%, varing by industry. [Exxon earned 20.9% in 2003]

ok point taken, I phrased t... (Below threshold)
Paul:

ok point taken, I phrased that poorly.

The point remains however that they had a somewhat poor return for putting a heap of capital at risk.




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