OPIOID SERIES:

Trump economic adviser appears surprised by CEO tax proposal response

White House economic adviser Gary Cohn appeared surprised at an event after few CEOs said they planned to invest more if the GOP's tax plan is passed.

During an event for the Wall Street Journal's CEO Council, an editor at The Wall Street Journal asked the room: "If the tax reform bill goes through, do you plan to increase investment — your company's investment, capital investment?"

People were asked to raise their hand.

ADVERTISEMENT

When few hands were raised, Cohn, the White House Economic Council director, asked: "Why aren't the other hands up?"

President Trump and congressional Republicans are currently pushing tax reform.

Last month, the White House released a paper arguing slashing the corporate tax rate would increase average household income.

Kevin Hassett, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said on a call last month the main reason why cutting the corporate tax rate would boost wages is because doing so would make it less expensive for companies to invest in capital assets such as machines.

“More assets like machines let workers produce more, and when workers can produce more, businesses can afford to pay their workers more,” he said last month.

House Republicans are nearing an initial victory on tax reform and plan to hold a floor vote on their tax bill before Thanksgiving.

Senate Republicans released their own tax bill last week — a measure that has several differences from the House bill.

The Senate bill cuts individual and corporate tax rates and eliminates some tax preferences in the current code, but not as many as are repealed in the House bill.