Gary Cohn had an awkward moment when CEOs appeared to shoot down one of the biggest arguments for the GOP tax plan

Gary cohnGetty Images/PoolNational Economic Council director Gary Cohn
  • The Trump administration has argued the GOP tax cuts will lead to a boom in private investment.
  • During an event with White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, CEOs were asked if they would increase investment if the GOP’s tax overhaul passed.
  • Not many did, prompting Cohn to ask: “Why aren’t the other hands up?”

A group of CEOs on Tuesday appeared to cast doubt one of the White House’s biggest arguments for tax reform — right in front of top economic adviser Gary Cohn.

At Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council, an interview with Cohn — the National Economic Council director and former Goldman Sachs executive — prompted discussion about the amount of investment the GOP tax bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA,) would generate.

Republicans and the Trump administration have argued that tax cuts for businesses would lead companies to investment more and raise wages for workers.

The moderator then asked those in attendance if they were planning to increase their business investment if the TCJA became law. The CEOs in attendance did not seem to be on the same wavelength as Cohn.

While there was a smattering of raised hands in the auditorium, it was clearly not as many as Cohn would have liked.

“Why aren’t the other hands up?” Cohn asked before moving on to another question.

Democrats and other critics of the tax bill have said the Trump administration grossly overstates the potential economic boost from the cuts and that actual increase in investment would not be as substantial as predicted.

You can watch the exchange here:

1. Tax-overhaul backers say corporate rate cut will encourage investment by businesses

2. During #wsjceocouncil interview with Gary Cohn, WSJ asks CEOs to raise hands if they will boost investment if rates cut

3. Few CEOS raise hands

4. Cohn asks: “Why aren’t the other hands up?”
— Tim Hanrahan (@TimJHanrahan) November 14, 2017

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.