Apple Has 10 Percent of America's Corporate Cash

A blog about business and economics.
Jan. 22 2014 7:32 AM

Apple Has 10 Percent of America's Corporate Cash

Yep, I've got the money right here in my socks.

Photo by ChinaFotoPress

A fair amount has been written, some of it by me, about the extraordinarily large volumes of cash that U.S. corporations have amassed due to a combination of weak investment and tax avoidance strategies. But as Richard Waters points out, this is hardly an across-the-board phenomenon. Instead, a handful of firms account for a huge share of the money:

By the middle of last year, the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few tech winners had left just six companies – Apple, Microsoft, Google, Cisco, Oracle and Qualcomm – with more than a quarter of the $1.5tn held by US non-financial corporations, according to rating agency Moody’s.
With nearly $150bn in its coffers, Apple alone was sitting on close to 10 per cent of corporate America’s cash.

This is so much money that individual firms' decisions arguably become macroeconomically relevant. That Apple cash is about 1 percent of U.S. gross domestic product. Of course with many earnings coming from abroad these days you expect to see some detachment between firm decision-making and the state of the American domestic economy. But as a practical matter were this money to be spent a large share of it would likely be spent in North America.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.


Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

  News & Politics
Sept. 23 2014 12:43 PM Occupy Wall Street How can Hillary Clinton be both a limousine liberal and a Saul Alinsky radical?
Sept. 23 2014 2:08 PM Home Depot’s Former Head of Security Had a Legacy of Sabotage
Sept. 23 2014 1:57 PM Would A Second Sarkozy Presidency End Marriage Equality in France?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 2:32 PM Politico Asks: Why Is Gabby Giffords So “Ruthless” on Gun Control?
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 2:31 PM 3 Simpsons Showrunners Reflect on New Fans and the “Classic Era” Myth
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 1:50 PM Oh, the Futility! Frogs Try to Catch Worms Off of an iPhone Video.
  Health & Science
Sept. 23 2014 1:38 PM Why Is Fall Red in America but Yellow in Europe? A possible explanation, 35 million years in the making.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.