Pulse: Fiscal Policy
The striking differences between the plans for the US economy of President Donald Trump and his challenger, former vice president Joe Biden, are being pushed off center stage by the theatrics of a willful, unpredictable White House incumbent in the midst of a suddenly very challenging campaign.
While an optimistic consensus in corporate America is growing around last year’s passage of a sweeping US tax bill, corporate boards would be wise to pivot their spending deliberations to how companies can catalyze new technologies on behalf of improvements in real wages, growing jobs and educating the workforce. This should be the preference over stock buybacks and shareholder dividends if the US economy is to realize more than a one-time, feel-good growth spurt.
In the mid-1800s, English philosopher and political economist John Stuart Mill developed “Utilitarianism,” a framework for making moral decisions. In Mill’s formulation, an action achieves optimal social utility when it advances the well-being of the most people, i.e. “the greatest good for the greatest number.”