Jeremy Corbyn proposes ban on dividends from companies that don't pay living wages


#1

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#2

Agree with the sentiment.

But I don’t like the idea of complete ban. Just smacks too much of the righteous old left.

I’d support a proposition where dividends were curtailed percentage-wise according to some formula which would take into account a variety of factors; for example the size of workforce, percentage of that workforce being paid less than living wage, how far below the living wage they are, nature of the employment status etc etc…

That would make it a progressive system and as such more likely to pass. Once implemented it would give the bad guys some time and room to wean themselves off “subsidised wages” as it were.


#3

How about a ban on not paying a living wage at all.


#4

It’s great to hear people talking about LLCs as a privilege which can legitimately have any conditions the people feel necessary put on it. Those who don’t like the conditions, can do business without the limited liability.


#5

I like this idea, although I think it will never fly. Maybe if it was more nuanced?


#6

One of these ideas is good; the other is unrealistic and so, politics being the art of the possible, a bad idea.

Companies don’t have to pay dividends (they often don’t, regardless of profits), so it couldn’t be portrayed as an intolerable burden; and there’s no political mileage in crying that you need to stiff your lowest-paid workers to give cash prizes to shareholders.

Restricting executive pay by fiat, though, is probably not going to happen. The idea of the government ordering anyone to take a pay cut can be made to play incredibly badly by right-wing pundits (i.e. most of the UK media). It might be a question of turkeys voting for christmas, but then so is voting Conservative, and people keep doing that.

It’s a shame he didn’t just stick with the living-wage / dividend idea, because I think that would be a winner on its own.


#7

Corbyn’s proposal to condition special government treatment for investors (limited liability) on payment of living wages is practical, balanced policy.

And even if the proposal takes five years to win consensus, it’s a great message to rally working voters.


#8

We can’t do the right thing if it can be associated with somebody people don’t like!

Not that I’m in disagreement with the idea of a more nuanced approach being even better (by composition not percentage of staff…we don’t want poverty-level full time adult wages.), but sometimes we have really wacky reasons for not doing things that should be perfectly fine in this country.


#9

Not much to do with this particular proposal. But I’m not so sure demonizing LLCs makes much sense. Maybe its different in the UK, but many types of formal business entity have the exact same kind of liability mitigation. (Its the company that becomes liable, not the individuals who own or operate it. Generally speaking). And LLCs are very much the cheapest, quickest, most accessible, most limited, sort of business entity you can form. With the least onerous tax requirements (in terms of filings and records requirements, which cost money to produce). In the US most freelancers, small businesses, independent contractors, etc have some sort of legal company. Usually an LLC or an S-Corp. So the vast majority of LLCs out there are not “Limited liability corporations are creatures of government, a bargain in which the state agrees to immunize the company’s owners from the company’s debts”

They’re your friend who does freelance design. The contractor who painted your walls. The trainer at your Gym. Artists, writers, and assorted owners of small businesses. Most of them have no employees other than themselves. And honestly given that Cory seems to be largely self employed as an author. He probably has either an LLC or a corporation that provides very similar legal protections. Though creatives don’t typically need the liability protections associated with an LLC.

All the indemnity from an LLC means is that claims against your company cannot generally be extended to you (or those connected to you) personally. Liability is limited to the business, rather than those associated with the business.The major example is a person who has a legal claim against your business cannot also sue you, or those associated or working for you. These protections do not extend to criminal activity, and there are a whole host of exceptions to them that account for special circumstance or deliberate wrong doing. Back when I worked for an accountant we had a client. A yoga instructor. A student was injured during a class and sued the Yoga company. The instructor personally. Her husband. Her ex-husband, her parents and the space she used to teach classes (which she did not own). For millions that none of those people had. It didn’t fly because her LLC limited the liability to just the business itself. If she hadn’t had that LLC a surprising amount of that would have flown.

I understand larger entities and the wealthy abuse the protections and structure of pretty much every form of legal business (not just LLCs). But that doesn’t make them inherently bad. Nor does it mean we should get rid of them. As for this suggestion, it sounds like a good one. But I do not think it accounts for some important things. First the fact that many legal businesses do not have any employees, do not make a profit, do not have share holders and consist of only of the owner. How is this going to effect those self employeed people. Second if it really is just tied to LLCs, then it completely ignores all the other forms of legal business entities. Including ones that are far more common than LLCs in the large businesses its likely targeted at. McDonald’s is probably not an LLC. Walmart is probably not an LLC. Those mutual funds and investment banks that cause so much trouble? Not likely to be simple LLCs. Though I’m willing to bet there are LLCs all over the place in any example of the internecine corporate structures that are standard these days.

Its largely in the massive webs of inter-related (and varied) business entities, in multiple countries, that scum bag business really finds protection from the consequences of their actions. So you tamp down on LLCs. Fine, my 6 different kinds of corporations and trust still have me covered. And then I’ll just move my LLCs to the US where those rules don’t exist. And shift paper around my 247 different “companies” till I some how make a profit on it.


#10

A far better solution than some roundabout way that penalizes some companies for not doing so, but leaves other companies untouched.

“Other companies” in this case being any limited liability company that isn’t a PLC and therefore doesn’t have stockholders to pay dividends to, and any PLC that doesn’t pay dividends. For instance: Amazon has been targeted by living wage campaigns in the UK. As they have never paid a dividend in their company history, such a regulation would do nothing to encourage them to improve treatment of employees.


#11

It needs a more rounded approach that can affect many of the other ways value is extracted from companies - bonuses, options, LLC protections - all have to be brought into play to make it “not worth it” for companies to screw their employees - and customers for that matter.

Imagine the behavior of boards and executives that loose their LLC shield or have their compensation packages frozen due to low wages or unfair labor practices. Dividends is too narrow a tool which by itself has too many workarounds.


#12

Well said, and there’s nothing wrong with taxpayers receiving valuable consideration in exchange for a special benefit, like limited liability.


#13

I agree with the sentiment, but not the method here.

This seems something companies could wriggle out of somehow. Surely it’s simpler just to make the minimum wage for the area the living wage for the area… job done.

Still, even an inept method to improve things is better than actively making things worse, so he has my support still :slightly_smiling:


#14

Sometimes inept attempt to make things worse makes things less bad than an inept attempt to make things better.

Caution has to be exercised in all cases.


#15

From the sounds of the comments so far, Corbyn would do well to gather some finer minds around him over the next five four years. Let’s hope he does so.


#16

And Murdoch needs to die.


#17


#18

FTFY :no_mouth:


#19

Nothing a bit of patience can not solve.


#20

But its been aaaaaagessssss!