February 23, 2018  |  

Mike Pence’s Fake News on Corporate Investment

At the conservative CPAC conference on Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence claimed that the Trump tax cuts are responsible for hundreds of billions in new corporate investment. Pence boasted, “Since the President’s tax cuts became the law of the land, businesses large and small have actually announced more than $480 billion in new investments in American jobs, American workers, in just the past two months.”

This has no basis in fact if he’s including $450 billion (94% of the total) in purported new investments from Apple, ExxonMobil and Comcast, the vast majority of which are not new investments at all, but just a continuation of existing trends.

  • Apple is getting credit for $350 billion in new “investments” over the next five years, but a close read of its announcement shows this is roughly what it will “contribute” to the economy through normal operations—salaries, domestic purchases, investments. Meanwhile, Apple pocketed a $40 billion tax break on its offshore profits, but it’s shelling out less than 1% of that ($300 million) in one-time bonuses to employees
  • Giving the new tax law partial credit, ExxonMobil recently announced $50 billion in new investments over five years, but acknowledged that almost one-third of it was for projects planned before the law was enacted. And the company’s financial reports reveal it made over $50 billion in domestic investment in the recent 2012-16 five-year period, when oil prices hit rock bottom and the company would presumably be most reluctant to invest.
  • Comcast claims it will spend $50 billion for infrastructure investments over 5 years, in part because of the GOP tax cuts and repeal of the net neutrality rule. It was likely to spend that much anyway. In 2017, Comcast spent $9.6 billion—or $50 billion over five years counting inflation.

Pence’s statement is yet another example of the GOP taking credit for corporate investments that likely would have occurred with or without the passage of the tax bill. These corporations are happy to be complicit in this lie, as they stand to reap billions from the tax cuts they are now helping to sell to the public with their exaggerated claims of “new” investments.