Twisting a GOP Tax Win


Maybe it’s a subtle thing, but the bias of an AP article by Linda Johnson, to which the Providence Journal gave the online headline, “Johnson & Johnson loses $10.7B after sweeping U.S. tax changes,” seems indicative of a larger issue:

Johnson & Johnson posted a rare quarterly loss, a whopping $10.71 billion, due to a $13.6 billion charge related to last month’s U.S. tax overhaul.

While the loss was expected and the company’s adjusted results beat Wall Street expectations, shares fell more than 4 percent, an unusually big swing for the health care giant.

On Tuesday, J&J reported a big jump in sales, but that was offset by sharply higher spending on production, marketing, administration and research, partly due to one-time charges.

All of this is true, but one must read the whole article — and even between the lines — to understand what happened.  Because of the corporate tax cut, J&J repatriated money the company had been holding oversees because high taxes made that option preferable, and in doing so, the company paid taxes.  This appears to be related to the boost in expenditures, because the corporation had an inflow of newly domestic money to invest in itself.

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Far from being a negative consequence of the Republicans’ tax reform, this was an intended benefit and a win for President Trump and his party.  As for the loss in share prices, they appear to be largely (if not wholly) related to other question marks, like competition from generic drug makers.

The relentless negativity of the mainstream news media toward anything that can possibly be tied to President Trump makes it more difficult for Americans to get an accurate picture of what’s happening in the world.  Once upon a time, I didn’t understand that to be the purpose of journalism.