Big business CEOs gravitating to a winning president

· January 26, 2018  
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President Donald Trump
Carolyn Kaster | AP Images

Everybody loves a winner, and President Trump’s tax cuts are winning over his big business CEO critics. More than 250 companies are giving employees a range of financial benefits directly because of President Trump’s tax cuts, including bonuses, wage boosts, and stock.

In addition, some companies are responding to the tax cuts by announcing plans to invest in the U.S. by expanding factories and building new facilities. The new investments will create jobs. For example, Fiat Chrysler plans to invest $1 billion in the company’s Michigan and Ohio factories, adding an estimated 2,000 jobs. JPMorgan Chase announced a $20 billion investment in the U.S., including raising pay for workers and opening more branches.

Amid an originally rocky relationship, big business leaders are now complimenting the president and his polices. From the start, CEOs were uncomfortable with President Trump. Silicon Valley and Wall Street showered Hillary Clinton with campaign funds. NBC News reported that Hillary Clinton got 60 times the political donations of then-candidate Donald Trump. In total, Clinton got $3 million compared to only $50,000 for Trump.

Wall Street also hugely supported Clinton. Banks gave 10 times as much money to Clinton as to Trump, while private equity and hedge funds donated $56 million to the former secretary of state and Trump got only $243,000. Goldman Sachs was especially excited about Clinton. The Wall Street firm gave Clinton $675,000 for three speeches, and the company set a policy allowing partners to donate to the Clinton campaign but not to the Trump campaign.

After the election, CEOs were extremely critical of President Trump’s policies. Starbucks then-CEO Howard Schultz blasted the president’s first immigration pause executive order last January, as did Apple CEO Tim Cook and other Silicon Valley business heads.

The technology companies matched their words with action.  Over 100 companies supported the State of Washington lawsuit against the president in an effort to block the executive order.

A number of Clinton-supporting CEOs participated in President Trump’s business advisory boards, but the relationship was shaky. Some advisory board participants slammed the president over his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate change agreement. In a Tweet, Apple CEO Cook said the decision was “wrong for our planet.” Going further, Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger quit their advisory roles. A tweet from Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein targeted President Trump over the Paris decision. Blankfein said the decision was “a setback for the environment and for the U.S.’s leadership in the world.”

CEOs’ relationships with President Trump accelerated downward after the president’s comments following the violence at the Charlottesville’s protest. Blankfein blasted President Trump in a tweet quoting President Lincoln, “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” and added those who divide us should be isolated.

A number of CEOs decided to halt their participation in the White House advisory boards in protest, and President Trump disbanded the business advisory groups. At that point, it appeared that the relationship between big business leaders and President Trump was permanently soured.

What a difference a pro-growth policy can make.

Following the tax cuts, a number of CEOs, including the president’s primary critics, are taking advantage of the incentives for their businesses and employees, attributing their actions to President Trump’s policies. A few CEO critics are now even complimenting the president.

In describing Apple’s decision to invest $30 billion in the U.S. and repatriate about $250 billion from overseas, Cook told ABC News that part of the business decision was a result of the tax cuts. Goldman Sachs’ Blankfein, initially a critic of tax cuts last November, is now a fan. During a recent CNBC interview, Blankfein said of President Trump, “I’ve really liked what he’s done for the economy …” Asked whether was pleased with the results of the election, Blankfein said the stock “market would be lower” and there would be “too much regulation” if Clinton had won.

Last November, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said he would bet President Trump will be a one-term president. This week, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Dimon was bullish on the tax cuts, saying they will boost wages and result in four percent economic growth.

Higher economic growth and higher wages are great for business and for President Trump’s “America first” agenda. Big business CEOs, even progressive ones, are following economic incentives and gravitating to a winning president.


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Author: Dr. Tom Borelli

Dr. Tom Borelli is a contributor to Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @tomborelli.