Companies in the United States have begun buying back their own shares at a very fast tempo. This, in turn, is creating heated dialogues in both Washington and over on Wall Street concerning why the huge savings that some corporations are reaping from corporate tax cuts from the new tax laws are not being applied to expanding the job market, but seem, instead, to be going straight into shareholder’s pockets. In the past 3 months over 200 billion dollars has changed hands for stock buybacks from virtually every major company and corporation in America. That is exactly double the buyback amount for the whole of 2017.
Some of the biggest stock buyback schemes this year so far have been engineered by Wells Fargo, for around 21 billion dollars, Cisco Systems Inc., for 25 billion dollars, PepsiCo Inc. at roughly 15 billion dollars, Amgen Inc. with ten bellion, and Alphabet Inc. at just under 9 billion dollars.
Buybacks in December of last year were energized as financial institutions and their clients realized that Congress was serious about getting the new tax bill passed and put into practice before the first of the year. Up until December there had been some serious doubt that the partisan lawmakers would be able to come together long enough to pass the tax package. Once that became a certainty, the bean counters began toting up the best way to take advantage of the new rules for their company’s benefit.
So far in 2018 over 2 trillion dollars in overseas profits have been brought back to the United States by corporations, who seem more willing to enrich their stockholders with the windfall than use it to create more jobs.