Despite strong incentives in the Republican tax plan for American executives to expand, invest, and ultimately boost the U.S. economy's growth potential, a lot of the debt companies are issuing appears to be motivated by something else.

Non-financial corporate debt stands at 45.6 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), near the highest level in post-war recordkeeping. Despite that, non-residential investment—a broad category in the national accounts that includes everything from office buildings to software—has only been bouncing around the 13 percent of GDP range since 2012.

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