The “meh” economy that accounts for some of the sourness in the American electorate is partly due to a design flaw in the US corporate governance system. One proffered diagnosis is that companies invest for the short term and are too quick to return cash to shareholders through stock repurchases.
Why? It’s the attack of hedge funds, shareholder activists looking for short term gain even at the expense of investments that would produce higher returns over the long run, and, along the way, would lead to employment gains and then wage gains. What follows, then, is a prescription for changes in tax policy and legal rules that would hamper the activists, all to promote the “long run.”
But this is a misdiagnosis, which fails to realize that the shareholders activists’ success reveals a major shortfall in corporate governance for large public corporations.