On the heels of the tax package that gave a boost to the country’s wealthiest, corporations returned much of their tax-cut-fueled earnings back to shareholders in the form of stock buybacks and juicier dividends. Goldman Sachs said $1 trillion in buybacks, a record, were authorized in 2018. More granularly, S&P Dow Jones Indices estimated in May that corporations spent $564 billion on buybacks and $428 billion on dividends in one year through that month.

Conclusion: More than $1 trillion has disappeared into the pockets of wealthy investors. The U.S. middle-class and the poor received virtually nothing.

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