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Walmart got a $2.2 billion tax cut — now it’s laying off workers

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Walmart announced it will lay off hundreds of workers in North Carolina despite receiving billions in tax cuts that the Republican Party and President Trump claimed would spur job growth.

The giant retailer will lay off about 570 employees and close its corporate office near the Charlotte airport, despite signing a 12-year lease just four years earlier, the Charlotte Business Journal reported.

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The work done at the Charlotte facility will be outsourced to a firm in Arkansas, according to the report.

Layoffs are expected to begin in September and continue into 2020.

“This was a difficult decision that affects friends and associates we care about deeply,” the company said in a statement to the Charlotte Business Journal. “We appreciate their important contributions, and we’re committed to handling every transition over the next seven months smoothly and respectfully. We are maintaining a corporate presence in Charlotte. As our company continues evolving, we’ve said we must strike the right balance between managing the needs of our business, our associates and our customers.”

The layoffs come as Walmart reaps billions in tax cuts thanks to the 2017 Republican tax cuts. Walmart saved $1.6 billion through the first three quarters of 2018, The New York Times reported in December, and experts say the tax law will save the company $2.2 billion in taxes per year, roughly a 40 percent cut from past years.

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Trump touted Walmart’s decision to give employees one-time $1,000 bonuses as proof that his tax cuts were working. “Great news, as a result of our TAX CUTS & JOBS ACT!” the president tweeted last year.

The tweet came just hours before Walmart announced that it would be closing 63 of its Sam’s Club stores and laying off thousands of employees. The closures came after the company announced a $20 billion stock buyback.

Walmart is not the only major company laying off workers despite saving billions.

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The technology giant Qualcomm announced last year a $10 billion stock buyback, which benefits wealthy shareholders, while laying off more than 1,500 people in California.

“Consistent with our commitment to return capital to our stockholders, we are pleased that our Board has approved a new stock repurchase authorization,” the company said at the time.

Kimberly-Clark, the makers of products like Kleenex and Huggies, claimed that the tax cut would be “the equivalent of a 6% increase in earnings,” only to lay off 5,500 people, or 13 percent of its workforce, immediately following the tax cuts, The Washington Post reported.

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“We also anticipate ongoing annual cash flow benefits from tax reform,” company COO Maria Henry said, “that provides us flexibility to allocate significant capital to shareholders.”

CNBC reported last year that stock buybacks averaged $4.8 billion per year in 2018, double the rate from the previous year. Companies made a record $1.1 trillion in stock buybacks in 2018 and are expected to surpass that number this year, according to Axios.

Axios reported that despite a huge windfall from the tax cuts, the top 1 percent of earners and big companies are “sitting on record levels of unused cash.” Instead of reinvesting the money into their businesses, the International Monetary Fund reports that companies are instead using it to buy back stock.

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Companies could use that money pay their workers more, Capital Economics chief economist Neil Shearing told the outlet, but “that would be terrible for the stock market.”


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2020 Election

‘I don’t care’: Watch Kamala Harris shut down Chris Hayes for asking a dumb question about Trump

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Sen. Kamala Harris shut down MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes during a post-debate interview on Tuesday evening.

Hayes questioned Harris about her call for Twitter to follow their terms of service and kick President Donald Trump off of the platform.

"Do you think he puts people’s lives in danger when he targets them in tweets?" Hayes asked.

"Absolutely," Harris replied.

"Do you think he knows that?" Hayes asked.

"Does it matter?" Harris replied.

"The fact is he did it. The fact is that he is irresponsible, he is erratic," she explained. "He is like a 2-year-old with a machine gun."

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2020 Election

Democrats blast Trump and demand his impeachment at CNN debate

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Democratic White House hopefuls united in searing condemnation of Donald Trump during their fourth debate Tuesday, saying the president has broken the law, abused his power, and deserves to be impeached.

From the opening moments, most of the dozen candidates on stage launched fierce broadsides against Trump over the Ukrainian scandal at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

"The impeachment must go forward," said Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is neck and neck with former vice president Joe Biden at the head of the 2020 nominations race.

"Impeachment is the way that we establish that this man will not be permitted to break the law over and over without consequences," she thundered.

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2020 Election

Here are 3 winners and 4 losers from the CNN/NYT Democratic presidential primary debate

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Twelve Democrats took to the stage Tuesday night for yet another debate in the party's 2020 president primary hosted by CNN and the New York Times.

After only ten candidates qualified for the previous debate, an additional two — Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and wealthy donor and former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer — made it to the stage this round for an even more crowded event.

The candidates discussed a range of important policy issues, but since the format was a debate, and they're all competing for the same nomination, it is ultimately most critical who won and who lost the night. Here are three winners and four losers — necessarily a subjective assessment, of course — from the debate:

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