John Cochrane recently noted:
Stock Buybacks Are Proof of Tax Reform’s Success… A short oped for the Wall Street Journal here on stock buybacks. As usual, they ask me not to post the whole thing for 30 days though you can find it ungated if you search.
I did search and found this. Does the Wall Street Journal get the fact that rebutting weak arguments against a policy are not exactly making an affirmative case for the policy? Permit me to note two places where Cochrane and I agree:
echoing illogical claims is not a contribution to that debate. Granted, Republicans invited the attack by trumpeting worker bonuses. But a bad argument for the cut does not redeem a worse counterargument.
Well thanks for that and now an argument from the left that is also weak:
To cast corporate tax cuts as a “scam” and redistribution to the wealthy, opponents have shifted their focus to the evils of stock buybacks and dividends…Share buybacks and dividends are great. They get cash out of companies that don’t have worthwhile ideas and into companies that do. An increase in buybacks is a sign the tax law and the economy are working. Buybacks do not automatically make shareholders wealthier. Suppose Company A has $100 cash and a factory worth $100. It has issued two shares, each worth $100. The company’s shareholders have $200 in wealth. Imagine the company uses its $100 in cash to buy back one share. Now its shareholders have one share worth $100, and $100 in cash. Their wealth remains the same.
When I read this argument over at Cochrane’s blog, I decided to provide this link: