By Heather Long | Washington Post

President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, looked out from the stage at a sea of CEOs and top executives in the audience Tuesday for The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council meeting. As Cohn sat comfortably on stage, a Journal editor asked the crowd to raise their hands if their company plans to invest more if the tax reform bill passes.

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Very few hands went up.

Cohn looked surprised. “Why aren’t the other hands up?” he said.

He laughed a little to lighten the mood, but it didn’t cause many more hands to rise. Maybe the CEOs were tired. Maybe they didn’t hear the question. It was a casual poll, but the lukewarm response seemed in tension with the much of the public enthusiasm among corporations for a tax overhaul.

The president and his senior team have kept arguing the tax plan would unleash business investment in the United States – new factories, more equipment and more jobs. But, perhaps as the informal poll suggested, there are reasons to be doubtful that a great business investment boom would materialize.

First, American businesses are already enjoying record profits. If they wanted to invest, they have plenty of money on hand already to do it, says Howard Silverblatt, a senior analyst at S & P Dow Jones Indices, where he tracks all the financial decisions of S & P 500 companies.

Second, executives themselves have indicated they probably won’t use extra profits to invest. A Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey this summer asked over 300 executives at major U.S. corporations what they would do after a “tax holiday” that would allow them to bring back money held overseas at a low tax rate. The No. 1 response? Pay down debt. The second most …read more

Source:: East Bay – Business

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Analysis: Cohn shocked CEOs aren’t planning to trickle-down

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