Trump's multi-trillion-dollar giveaway to the richest Americans and largest US corporations led to a rise in GDP, but it was a short-lived sugar-high: the major effect was a trillion dollars in stock buybacks that padded the bottom lines of super-rich investors who barely touch the real economy (you can only own so many super-yachts and operating costs are funneled through offshore flags-of-convenience anyway).
But investment in "factories, software and new equipment" only rose modestly for a single quarter, and has now fallen again.
"There hasn't been a huge surge in response to tax reform," said Eric Zwick, a professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business who studies the interaction between public policy and corporate behavior.
Real nonresidential fixed investment increased by just 2.5% in the third quarter, a sharp slowdown compared to 8.7% in the second quarter and 11.5% in the first quarter.
It's not that business spending is weak. It's just not booming.
"It now appears the investment recovery was short-lived," Ethan Harris, global economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, wrote in a report last week titled, "The investment boom that wasn't."
The tax cut investment 'boom' is already over. Some say it never really started [Matt Egan/CNN]
In 2017, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson campaigned for Trump's massive tax-cuts by promising that they would create 7,000 jobs with the $3,000,000,000 they stood to gain, as well as investing in new infrastructure: instead, the company has reduced its headcount by 23,328 workers (6,000 in the first three months of 2019!) while reducing capital expenditures […]
Politicians love introducing tax-cuts, because they're reliable vote-getters, even if they're structured to blow up later by giving massive breaks to the super-rich and more modest breaks to middle-class voters, resulting in mounting deficits and eventual service cuts.
Amazon doubled its profits in 2018, to $11.2 billion; the company will receive a $129 million tax rebate for the year.
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