Workers or Wall Street?

What the Boom in Stock Buybacks Means for Working Americans

Corporate share buybacks stand at the intersection of multiple policy debates around for whom America’s economy is working—workers, communities, or Wall Street. Many Wall Street leaders and corporate executives are so focused on extracting ever-larger short-term payouts that companies are slashing productivity-enhancing investments in their long-term future—and especially in their workers. Long-term investors, workers, and economic growth suffer.

The corporate tax cut that President Donald Trump and Congress enacted last year gave a massive windfall for corporations that were already enjoying historically high after-tax profits. As economists and Wall Street analysts predicted before the bill passed, corporate America is using its tax cut windfall primarily to reward shareholders rather than invest in American workers. Since the bill’s passage, companies have announced that they are paying out more than $400 billion to shareholders through stock buybacks—a record high level. With the current Congress and the Trump administration steadily rolling back the Wall Street reforms put in place after the 2008 crisis, now more than ever, buybacks epitomize an economy rigged for the benefit of Wall Street and corporate executives at the expense of working Americans.

Please join the Center for American Progress as we present new analysis from SEC Commissioner Robert J. Jackson Jr. on share buybacks and executive compensation. A panel will discuss the recent surge in corporate buybacks as they intersect with the new tax law, worker wages, and long-term corporate investment.

Welcome:
Neera Tanden, President and CEO, Center for American Progress

Remarks:
Commissioner Robert J. Jackson Jr., U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Panelists:
Ben Harris, Visiting Associate Professor, Kellogg School of Management
Chye-Ching Huang, Deputy Director, Federal Tax Policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Alison Omens, Managing Director, Programs and Strategic Engagement, JUST Capital
Brandon Rees, Deputy Director, Office of Investment, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)

Moderator:
Andy Green, Managing Director, Economic Policy, Center for American Progress

Location

1333 H Street Northwest, Washington, DC, USA

Transit instructions

Metro:
Blue/Orange/Silver lines to McPherson Square
Red Line to Metro Center

Additional information

A light lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m.