State officials call for debt relief for enormous utility bills. Media says its inflation, the utilities say it’s the cost of energy, the government says the pandemic and the war in Ukariane. Many times using the most immediate answer to hard questions doesn’t tell the entire story. In such a way let’s take a quick look at three companies, Con Edison, Google, and UnitedHealth Group.
Con Edison claims to make no profit, that they pay all their profits to their high priced wholesalers. In the three years from 2019 – 2021, Con Edison took in 37 billion dollars, an 11% increase over the previous three years and during the height of the pandemic. The trend for this company is to have a 15% increase year-to-year in revenue. That much yearly increase speaks to large profits.
The outstanding debt due to the pandemic incurred by customers is 3 billion dollars. Absorbing that much outstanding debt sounds daunting. But the truth is Con Edison made that much in revenue in Q4 of 2021.
In the last decade Alphabet (Google) made 1.2 trillion dollars, yet does not take on homelessness, unemployment, or offering affordable housing in the USA, which it could do easily for 10 billion dollars.
The health insurance giant United Health Group over the past decade made 86 billion dollars. The group offers no food relief, no subsidies for prescriptions, creates no programs that don’t directly increase revenue.
It is not so much that these companies are actively denying people, they just get no pressure to help increase the basic human privilege to include the most needy. All companies that make billions could make trillions if they showed some selflessness and outlay cash into programs to close off suffering. This may sound too general, but it is not.
Google knows through data how many people don’t have internet access, and how it wouldn’t even bite into revenue to provide access to those people. In fact a real low cost broadband would increase revenue by a staggering 15%.
United Health Care knows how food insecurity drives bad health. It isn’t that they don’t care, those communities don’t drive the highest cost plans, therefore they are less likely to be considered for a program to learn about good eating habits. A group that could, if recognized would double revenue within ten years.
In general the news story about homelessness, food insecurity, suffering through out minority communities, passes by in a moment and has the same impact as that of a conversation in passing at the office, no impact. It falls to people to hold companies with treasuries in the trillions up to scrutiny.
Instead of offering tax deductible donations to programs that end up putting a bandaid on serious social dysfunction, send the checks directly to programs on the street.
Visit those streets, hold a starving child, a youngster who is paying $600 for an epipen. Don’t ask government to negotiate prices instead flood the pharma companies with letters to vastly reduce prices.
Becoming involved is not accomplished by writing nasty posts on social media, or even heartfelt truths. It is going to places of poverty, nursing homes, homeless shelters, and seeing first hand how people who are just like us, are suffering for no apparent reason.