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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."


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