back to article AT&T's financial figures reveal 19 BEEELLLION reasons why it lobbied hard for US tax cuts

AT&T lobbied hard for tax cuts in the US – and that effort has rather paid off. Thanks to the President-Trump-championed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the telco revealed this week it rounded out 2017 with some stonking financial figures. In the final quarter of 2016, the comms giant bagged a profit of $2.4bn. A year later, in 2017, …

  1. Mark 85 Silver badge

    AT&T spent $1bn of this giving 200,000 staff a $1,000 bonus and improved healthcare, is spending another billion to boost capital expenditures, and the rest looks like it is going to shareholders and the company cash stockpile.

    So lower prices for AT&T products/services to customers aren't in the cards and only more money for the stockholders. One would think that if they cut their prices to reflect the tax rate drop they might pick up more customers and thus grow some more business, or spend some of those remaining billions (not just one billion more) to speed the system upgrades. But then again, the stockholders only look at things one quarter at a time.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Actually American companies are pretty much forced by law and previous lawsuit case history to put stockholders first. This is why public American companies have a planning horizon of the next quarter's results, and hell with what happens after that. Hell of a way to run a ship.

      And seriously, who WOULDN'T lobby for a tax cut? Bueller...? Bueller...? Bueller...?

      1. ST Silver badge


        > American companies are pretty much forced by law and previous lawsuit case history to put stockholders first

        No, corporations are not compelled by any law or precedent to prioritize stockholders.

        Actually, in case of bankruptcy proceedings, a corporation is required to prioritize bondholders and employees over stockholders, as bonds and salaries have seniority over stock.

        Please stop repeating this falsehood invented by CNBC and their friends in order to justify greed.

        There is not a single US Federal or State statute that requires a corporation to prioritize its profits or earnings one way or another. There isn't even a statutory requirement for a corporation to be profitable.

        If you know of such a statute, please provide the reference here.

        1. James Anderson

          Re: FAIL

          No need for a written statute. A mass of precedents in civil lawsuits brought by activist shareholders have established that the primary duty of directors is to look after the shareholders interests.

          1. ST Silver badge

            Re: FAIL

            > established that the primary duty of directors is to look after the shareholders interests

            Bullshit. You are parroting CNBC's talking points.

            Why don't you quote one of those cases you are referring to. Provide a reference.

  2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    who WOULDN'T lobby for a tax cut?

    THIS tax cut? The Trump one? Anyone who manufactures.

    Read through the most recent results. ANYONE who manufactures has taken a significant hit. Seagate, AMD, etc took multi-million hits as a result. Only companies that do services (the less productive the better) who are reporting immediate positive results from the tax "cut".

    That is not surprising too - the cut was self-serving and designed to favor "president's industries" first.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      The hits had nothing to do with whether they manufacture or not, it had to do with whether they reserved tax liability against their offshore cash or not. Companies that didn't got to report better results in the past but then took a big hit when the bill finally came due. Companies that reserved as they should reported slightly less good results in the past, but aren't having to take a big hit now.

      It sounds like AT&T must have reserved tax liability at a full 35%, greatly overestimating the amount they'd end up paying in the end which shows up as earnings now.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      who WOULDN'T lobby for a tax cut?

      I wouldn't - not this tax law. Like many middle-class families who make donations and itemize deductions, our tax bill will increase next year. By about $4K. Mainly due to the elimination of the personal exemptions on taxable income ($4K per person), so our taxable income increases by $15k total next year.

      Oh, and guess what? the exemptions didn't apply to families with an income over $436K, so the rich bastards won't miss them at all.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        IMHO the biggest problem with this tax cut is that it makes the deficit worse. It is already projected to exceed a trillion dollars before the end of Trump's term, this bumps that up by another $200 billion or so.

        Funny how republicans abandon the whole idea of fiscal responsibility when it comes to tax cuts. Gotta keep the donor class happy so the campaign donations keep rolling in!

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        "Mainly due to the elimination of the personal exemptions on taxable income ($4K per person)"

        FUD. the personal deduction was INCREASED. If your taxes went up, you must've been purchasing things that the rest of us were effectively paying for. Well, I guess YOU can pay for it yourself, now.

        I'd prefer a 100% FLAT tax, with a per-person deduction that is teh same for everybody. NO deductions, NO loopholes, NO different rates for married/single. FLAT. That's actually FAIR. And with that kind of system (see what Forbes wanted to do a few years ago) the lowest income earners would pay ZERO.

        Anyway, being a believer in supply-side economics, just like JFK, Reagan, and now Trump, I would expect to see gummint revenues INCREASE, and then we'd be able to pay off Obaka's $9 trillion or so of accumulated extra DEBT.

        /me recognizes that you have to get legislation passed by Con-Grab, and it's not always easy to get it all right in the first phase. So what we have NOW is a compromise of what could actually get through Con-Grab.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Off The Topic Yet Again

    As a former employee: God, I hate AT&T. That is all.

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Off The Topic Yet Again

      I can relate. It's a fucking miracle the phone system works at all.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: Off The Topic Yet Again

        well, I just recently had my phone line repaired. It had a broken wire. sounded like 100 cats scratching on a door. Took 3 weeks since there have been fires, mudslides, and heavy rains somewhat recently. The tech was friendly enough, and got it done in a couple of hours. but yeah, 3 weeks? And my phone line is the "bad luck line" at the very end of the loop. My neighbor's phone line goes "the other way" to the phone company building. But I think a big part of the problem is that AT&T can't really replace the lines. they're scheduled to be placed underground. Thing is, they have to do a 'poor neighborhood' for every 'well to do neighborhood' they do, because, governmentium. There's been a budget for putting the lines underground for DECADES. And yet, it's only a fraction complete. yeah, GUMMINT gumming things up.

        Not all AT&T's fault, at any rate. [but we all hate the utility companies, regardless]

        during that time period, my AT&T cell phone and 2nd land line worked just fine.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Significant Figures

    "AT&T saw its overall revenues fall slightly from $41.8bn last year to $41.7bn now."

    That's the essentially same number; the supposed delta hardly reaches the lofty heights of "fall slightly".

    Given all the arbitrary judgments (selected from those permitted), business decisions, estimations and perfectly-reasonable assumptions that go into financial reporting, 0.9976 is actually the same as 1.000.

    They could do the books again, and come up with $41.9 if they wished.

  5. Wolfclaw Silver badge

    $1000 for their rank and file staff, but no word what the fat cats managers will get in bonuses ?

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Here's some candy little kid. Now run along and play. The adults are trying to fuck over people here.

      - every company that pulls this PR stunt.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    playing the long game

    A company that has been around for 100 years is quite capable of playing the long game. In this case, ATT really really want the TimeWarner deal to close so that they can complete their transition into a media conglomerate like Comcast/NBCUniversal. Pipes and content to fill it in other words. So they'll do whatever it takes (holding their nose if necessary, I doubt that Randall Stephenson has any real affection for Trump) to get this deal approved.

    1. Alistair Silver badge

      Re: playing the long game


      I doubt that Randall Stephenson has any real affection for Trump

      Sadly I cannot find the video online... I wonder why *cough* but there was one from 2016....

  7. JohnFen Silver badge

    That's what we need

    Making sure that the nastiest, wealthiest, and most powerful corporations get wealthier and more powerful is bound to be good for the nation.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: That's what we need

      it is if they hire people and pay decent wages.

      just sayin'. you don't get a job from a POOR person, now do you?

      /me observes: there's no virtue in poverty. success should be rewarded and admired.

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