Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Intel's Brian Krzanich last week became the latest CEO to appear alongside President Trump, pledging to create thousands of new, high-paying American manufacturing jobs. Never mind that Intel last year laid off thousands of workers. Or that it had requested thousands of H1-B visas. Or that the factory in question was actually built long before the election (albeit not put online). That was all rear-view. Looking forward, Intel would invest under the aegis of tax and regulatory reforms aimed at improving its domestic bliss.

And it all makes sense, except for one pesky problem: Almost none of these reforms have been formally proposed yet, let alone become law. And at least some other CEOs seem to have noticed, judging by the relative paucity of corporate mergers and acquisitions so far this year.

To be clear, I do believe we'll see some sort of corporate tax reform in 2017. And of course there will be regulatory changes (likely including to Intel's beloved H1-B program). But it seems strange to make major corporate play calls, let alone multi-billion dollar investments, before seeing the rules of the game.

But there does seem to be one area where corporate America is standing pat, waiting for the GOP's grand vision to solidify: Mergers and acquisitions.

According to Thomson Reuters, strategic M&A for U.S. targets was down 2% through Feb. 9 from the year-earlier period. The overall M&A figure was up 11%, but that was based on a whopping 340% increase in private equity-backed deals.

This is a pretty large disconnect. If CEOs are basing hiring and facilities decisions on expectations of lowered costs, then shouldn't they be buying? If you can commit billions to a new factory in Arizona based on last November election, certainly there's been enough time to sign merger agreements. Or perhaps folks like Krzanich, hawking their silicon wares from the Oval Office, are over-publicized exceptions to the rule.

Go deeper

Updated 35 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Tim Scott says Trump "misspoke" when he told Proud Boys to "stand by"

Photo: Bonnie Cash/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) told reporters on Wednesday that he believes President Trump "misspoke" when he told the far-right "Proud Boys" group to "stand back and stand by" in response to a question about condemning white supremacy at the first presidential debate.

Catch up quick: Moderator Chris Wallace asked Trump on Tuesday, "Are you willing, tonight, to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down?" Trump asked who specifically he should condemn, and then responded, "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. But I'll tell you what, somebody's got to do something about antifa and the left."

Updated 43 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Commission on Presidential Debates wants changes

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Commission on Presidential Debates announced Wednesday that it plans to implement changes to rules for the remaining debates, after Tuesday night's head-to-head between Joe Biden and Donald Trump was practically incoherent for most of the night.

What they are saying: "Last night's debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues," the CPD said in a statement.

Trump says he doesn't know who Proud Boys are after telling them to "stand by"

President Trump told reporters on Wednesday that he doesn't know who the Proud Boys are, after saying at the presidential debate last night that the far-right group should "stand back and stand by" in response to a question asking him to condemn white supremacists.

Why it matters: The comments set off outrage and calls for clarification from a number of Republican senators. After being asked several times on Wednesday whether he will condemn white supremacy, Trump responded, "I have always denounced any form — any form of any of that, you have to denounce. But I also — Joe Biden has to say something about antifa."

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