Investment Club of America (ICOA) unanimously demands Congress to cease bailouts. While the economic effects of COVID-19 are not lost on anyone, those effects are especially not lost on ICOA. To date, this group of primarily accredited investors has invested over $30M in over a dozen small businesses, all of which are currently being harmed by the virus that has decimated the global landscape. It is from the perspective of those harmed that we demand Congress to cease any discussion of a bailout to any airline that has participated in share buybacks for the past five years.
The Big Four Airlines
The main offenders to the above proposition are Delta, American, Southwest, and United Airlines, collectively spending $39 Billion on share buybacks to artificially increase their share price, triggering millions in executive compensation and bonuses. These businesses took part in informal collusion to keep their cash positions low (97% of all earnings were used for share buybacks or dividends), knowing that if the market took a drastic turn, their elastic industry would be the first to take a hit. The purposeful nature of keeping low cash positions in an elastic sector was not one of negligence. Airlines know that they will be bailed out by a government that fears their power over the consumer. ICOA urges Congress to understand what the airline industry is doing and allow the free market to replace these business practices.
The Worst Offender – Boeing
If we accept the rational position that the big four airlines cooperated in something between deliberate manipulation and negligence, there is no room for a counterargument from the worst offender Boeing. Boeing is standing on the following proposition for their request for a bailout: Do not touch our dividend or executive payment structure because we would much rather use bailout money.
Boeing is conducting an internal Ponzi scheme, and the Fed gets to fund it.
Within the lack of transparency regarding Boeing’s current request for a $60 billion bailout, Boeing has made one thing abundantly clear; they will not be cutting their dividend. Boeing is borrowing against their high credit rating to support their unsustainable dividend, which in turn supports Boeing’s unrealistic share price (multiples compared across the industry), which, finally, in turn, supports Boeing’s staggering pension fund. Operating in this fashion is akin to building a financial house of cards. Over the last six years, Boeing has returned over $60 Billion to their shareholders and executives through share buybacks and dividends but now expects the American taxpayer to pick up the tab when they have failed to create value for any party involved.
At the very Least Take an Equity Position
If Congress goes through with the various bailouts, ICOA urges the Federal Government to make the offer in the way of a position that is convertible to an equity stake. Not only would this position allow the taxpayers to profit off of the money they are bailing the airlines out with but would also enable the government to establish a precedent that there is a monetary price to pay for treating the American citizen
like a bank account.
Investment Club of America
For an response, inquiry, or rebuttal please respond to the Mike Lathigee (Chairman@highmarklv.com)
or Evan Dotta (Evan@VentureFit.com)
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