US share buybacks are near record levels in absolute dollar terms and incrementally the discussion has shifted from academic finance journals to political stump speeches.
Given the impact of the 2018 tax cuts and the upcoming 2020 US Presidential election where some are pushing for a reset of the form of American capitalism. Proponents argue that buybacks optimize capital allocation for companies unable to invest at a higher rate of return than its cost of capital, particularly when agency costs exist between corporate management and investors. On the other side of the argument, opponents of buybacks, however, contend that they are shortsighted and lead to less innovation and investment, suppress job growth and exacerbate income equality.
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