Shareholders Gorge on Payouts as Tax Hike Nears

Photograph by Jodi Jacobson

One boom, megabust, and sort-of-boom after they first went into effect, the expiration of George W. Bush-era tax cuts could goose the top individual dividend income-tax rates to more than 43 percent from the current 15 percent. This comes at a time when companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index lug about $900 billion in cash, a 40 percent jump since 2008 that has made them net suppliers of cash to the rest of the economy.

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