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Trump Tax Plan Induces Firms to Repatriate Hundreds of Billions



(p. A23) Apple's announcement on Wednesday [January 17, 2018] that it will repatriate most of the estimated $274 billion that it holds in offshore earnings is great news for the United States. Uncle Sam will get a one-time $38 billion tax payment. The company promises to add 20,000 jobs to its U.S. work force, a 24 percent increase, and build a new campus. Another $5 billion will go toward a fund for advanced manufacturing in America.

C'mon. What's with the long face?

In December this column warned that hysterical opposition to the Republican tax bill was a fool's game for Democrats that could only help Donald Trump. Yes, there were things to dislike in the legislation, from both a liberal and a conservative perspective.

But it was not the moral and fiscal apocalypse its critics claimed. And its central achievement -- a dramatic cut in corporate rates to 21 percent from 35 percent -- was an economic no-brainer that many Democrats, including President Obama, had supported (albeit less steeply) just a few years ago.

Apple will not be the only multinational that will soon bring back gigantic profits to take advantage of new low repatriation rates. Microsoft holds $146 billion in overseas earnings, Pfizer $178 billion, General Electric $82 billion, Alphabet $78 billion, and Cisco $71 billion, according to estimates from the Zion Research Group. The total stash is about $3 trillion -- by one measure nearly three times what it was just a decade ago.

Assume that just half of that money comes home to the United States. It's still the equivalent of Canada's entire gross domestic product. Not too shabby, especially considering all the hyperbolic predictions of economic doom that went with Trump's election



For the full commentary, see:


Stephens, Bret. "Clueless Versus Trump." The New York Times (Sat., January 20, 2018): A23.

(Note: bracketed date added.)

(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date JAN. 19, 2018.)






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