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

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Gary Cohn, Donald Trump's top economic adviser, wasn't happy with the number of CEOs who said they'd up their business investment because of the GOP tax bill.

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gary cohn

(Getty Images/Pool)
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  • The Trump administration has argued that the proposed GOP tax cuts will lead to a boom in private investment.
  • During an event with the top White House economic adviser, Gary Cohn, CEOs were asked whether they would increase investment if the GOP's tax overhaul passed.
  • Few did, prompting Cohn to ask, "Why aren't the other hands up?"


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

At a meeting of The Wall Street Journal's CEO Council, an interview with Cohn — the National Economic Council director who previously worked as an executive at Goldman Sachs — prompted discussion about the amount of investment the GOP tax bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, 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 whether they were planning to increase their business investment if the tax bill 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 that 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: