Feb 27, 2018

Companies spending Trump tax cuts on themselves

Man walks by the New York Stock Exchange. Photo: Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Trump has touted that the recent tax code overhaul would prompt companies to use extra funds to hike up their employees’ paychecks. While some companies have announced plans like this, others are using much of the extra cash to invest in their own companies by buying back shares, NYT’s Matt Phillips reports.

Why it matters: That’s an investment back into the companies which will likely enhance their stock prices, but it is “most likely to worsen economic inequality because the benefits of stocks purchases flow disproportionately to the richest Americans,” Phillips writes. The bottom line is what companies do with their extra wiggle room will determine how successful the tax code overhaul is for Republicans.

  • The White House knows buybacks are more popular than wage investments now. “Right now we’re going to have an adjustment where you see probably more dividends and share buybacks than wage increases,” the head of White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, Keven Hassett said last week.

But, but, but:

  • Buybacks are a boon for the stock market. The fact that buybacks were coming down the pipeline helped the stock market recover from some its losses earlier this month, Phillips says.
  • The causality for the buybacks isn’t necessarily about the tax code overhaul. Some economists believe the recent uptick in buybacks is due to a decline in capital investments.

Go deeper

Updated 5 mins ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. enters 6th day of nationwide protests over George Floyd's killing

A protest in Philadelphia on May 31. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Local news footage captured a tanker truck appearing to drive toward protesters at a peaceful demonstration in Minneapolis, as demonstrators quickly got out of the way of the incoming vehicle on Sunday evening.

The big picture: Protests have continued across the country for six days, as demonstrators call for justice in response to the deaths of George Floyd and other other black Americans who have died in police custody or who have been killed in racist attacks.

Updated 12 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Tanker truck appears to plow into Minneapolis protesters

A tanker truck appears to have driven toward thousands of protesters during a demonstration in Minneapolis, video from the scene shows.

Details: Minnesota Department of Public Safety tweeted, "Very disturbing actions by a truck driver on I-35W, inciting a crowd of peaceful demonstrators. The truck driver was injured & taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He is under arrest. It doesn’t appear any protesters were hit by the truck."

  • The incident happened as protesters gathered at the Interstate 35W Bridge across the Mississippi River just before 6 p.m. on Sunday, per CBS Minnesota.
  • Gov. Tim Walz had "ordered highways and interstates to start closing at 5 p.m.," according to the Star Tribune.

Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

Inside Trump's antifa tweet

President Trump at Cape Canaveral on May 30. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

As recently as Saturday night, senior administration officials told me that the designation of a violent cohort of far-left activists, antifa, as a terrorist organization was not being seriously discussed at the White House. But that was Saturday.

Behind the scenes: The situation changed dramatically a few hours later, after prominent conservative allies of the president, such as his friend media commentator Dan Bongino, publicly urged a tough response against people associated with antifa (short for "anti-fascist").