Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Representatives of progressive political activist groups join members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus for a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 4, 2017. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Support for GOP Tax Scam Drops as Corporate America Gorges on Record Stock Buybacks

The buyback bonanza further undercuts the White House claims that benefits from the tax package would go to workers

Andrea Germanos

Roughly six months after President Donald Trump put his signature on the GOP "tax scam," a new poll reveals dwindling support for the corporate-friendly law whose benefits went mostly to the nation's wealthiest.

The finding from the POLITICO/Morning Consult polling out Wednesday comes as financial reporting this week showed that corporations have broken their own record of stock buybacks—a tactic deemed illegal and akin to stock market manipulation until 1982—used to reward executives and wealthy investors but that do nothing for consumers, workers, or regular taxpayers.

According to Politico, just 37 percent of registered voters now say they support the tax package, a drop from the 44 percent that said they backed it back in April.

The poll also found that a majority of workers, 52 percent, reported seeing no increase in their paychecks, as promised by Trump and Republican lawmakers, while only 25 percent said they did.

The drop comes as evidence continues to roll in that the unpopular tax law is bearing the fruit it was intended to—benefits for the wealthy few, and crumbs for the many.

One way wealthy executives are rewarding themselves thanks to the windfall they're reaping is through "a record stock buyback and dividend spree."  As NBC News explains, "Buybacks reduce the number of shares on the market, immediately increasing the value of the shares that investors already hold."

The Associated Press reported,

Stock repurchases hit $189.1 billion in the first quarter for the S&P 500, according to preliminary results from S&P Dow Jones Indices. That tops the prior record of $171.9 billion set during the summer of 2007, just before the Great Recession struck.

The robust buying of their own shares continues a yearslong trend where companies have returned more and more cash to their investors through buybacks and dividends. S&P 500 companies returned a total of $1 trillion to their shareholders in the 12 months through March, the first time they've passed that threshold.

Buybacks, or open-market stock repurchases, as William Lazonick, professor of economics at University of Massachusetts Lowell explains, "wreak immense damage on households, companies, and the economy. The profits that major corporations reinvest in productive capabilities form the foundation for a prosperous middle class. Buybacks deprive companies of that investment capital, instead serving as a prime mode of making the richest households richer while eroding middle-class employment opportunities."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Big Win for Open Internet as Court Upholds California Net Neutrality Law

One legal advocate called the Ninth Circuit's opinion "a great decision and a major victory for internet users in California and nationwide."

Kenny Stancil ·


Poll Shows Majority in US Want Diplomacy, Not War With Russia Over Ukraine

The survey's findings echo the pleas of progressive lawmakers, who assert "there is no military solution" to the crisis involving the world's two foremost nuclear powers.

Brett Wilkins ·


'Abortion Bans Kill People': Death of Woman Unleashes Protests in Poland

"The politicized tribunal has caused hell for women in Poland that must end as soon as possible—before another one of us dies."

Jessica Corbett ·


Clyburn Asks: Who Would Oppose Means-Testing Child Tax Credit? Answer: Lots of People

"There is literally not a single thing that the means-tested approach is better at than the universal approach," said one policy expert.

Jake Johnson ·


'Time to Rebuild This Nation': Fetterman Speaks Out After Pittsburgh Bridge Collapse

"This collapse is just the latest in a long line of preventable, man-made disasters that prove what so many of us in Pennsylvania and around the country have been saying for years: Our infrastructure is failing our people."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo