Regardless of what you might hear, it hasn’t just been bonuses an pay raises since the GOP tax plan passed

While I fought against the Republican tax plan, I’m not personally against the idea of cutting taxes. I think, in certain instances, cutting taxes can make sense, especially in tough economic times, when those cuts are being directed at non-wealthy Americans, who are more likely to put the money they receive back into circulation, creating jobs, and boosting the overall economy. What I objected to about this most recent Republican tax plan was that a) it wasn’t necessary, given that the fact the economy was already growing, and b) the money could have been used better elsewhere, like assisting in our transition away from fossil fuels. [note: Global climate change is real.] And, of course, I objected to the fact that most of the $1.5 trillion in tax cuts would be directed toward America’s super-wealthy, at the expense of America’s non-wealthy, who would see programs that they depend upon cut as the government contracted to offset the loss in federal revenue. The Republicans, of course, argued that, ultimately, the non-wealthy would benefit as well, as the rich would take this new-found wealth, re-invest in their businesses, start paying better wages, and create new jobs, but, having lived through the lie of trickle down economics one time, I knew that was bullshit. The truth, as the economists told us going into this, was that the money being handed back to the rich would not, on the whole, be used to make the lives of non-wealthy Americans better, and that the money being given back to corporations would more likely be spent buying back corporate stock, to drive up share prices, than handing out pay raises to loyal employees. And, in the wake of the Republican tax bill passing, that’s pretty much what we’ve seen.

Yes, some corporations, at the urging of Republicans in Congress, are announcing employee bonuses. Generally speaking, however, it’s playing out exactly like some of us had feared. Sure, companies like War-Mart announced “$1,000 Bonuses” and minimum wage bumps, but, on the very same day, they also announced 7,500 layoffs and 63 store closings. And, just a day later, the company announced the firing of 3,500 co-managers and plans to eliminate 1,000 jobs at their Arkansas headquarters. Oh, and those $1,000 bonuses weren’t for everyone. They were just for people who had been with the company 20 or more years.

As some of you will no doubt argue, $1,000 bonuses can make a huge difference in the life of an hourly worker. And you’re absolutely right. Which is why I believe that the entire tax plan should have been directed at this segment of our population, and not at the wealthy, in hopes that they might do the right thing, and allow some of their new-found fortune to trickle down upon those beneath them. So, yes, it’s good that Wal-Mart is doing this, but, to be honest, it’s a drop in the bucket when you consider that the Republican tax deal, which dropped the corporate tax rate to 21%, is expected to save the retailer between $1 billion and $2 billion each and every year.

And Wal-Mart, by the way, isn’t alone in announcing significant layoffs. Since the Republican tax giveaway to the rich was signed into law, we’ve seen several companies announce layoffs. Macy’s announced the closure of 68 stores, and the termination of 10,000 jobs. [Yesterday, Macy’s raised their projection, adding 5,000 moe job cuts, and 7 new store closures.] And Toys R Us is closing 182 stores. And JCPenny announced it would be closing 138 stores. And it’s not just retailers that are laying people off in response to increased competition from online retailers like Amazon. AT&T announced plans to cut 80,000 more job. And Disney announced plans to layoff 5,000-10,000. And, just yesterday, Kimberly-Clarke announced that they’d be firing 5,500, and shuttering 10 manufacturing plants, in spite of having $3.3 billion in operating profit. Oh, and remember that Carrier plant in Indianapolis, where Trump went during the campaign and told the employees that he’d stop their jobs from being sent to Mexico? Well, he lied. The company just announced that another wave of jobs – this time 215 – would be moving across the southern border.

Oh, and here’s the sweetest part. The Republican tax bill, according to economists, is actually incentivizing American companies to move jobs outside our country’s border… American First, indeed… And, get this, Kimberly-Clark execs say they’ll be paying for their restructuring, which will cost 5,500 people their jobs, using the money they’ll receive from the Republican corporate tax cut.

So, yes, what Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan are saying about a few companies giving 2018 bonuses as a result of the Republican tax bill may well be true. I would argue, however, it doesn’t change the larger narrative, which is one of wealth increasingly concentrating in the hands of the super-rich. And, here, with more on that, is an excerpt from USA Today.

A new billionaire is created every other day. The three richest Americans have the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the U.S. population. And 82% of the global wealth generated last year went to just 1% of the world’s population.

These are among the findings of a study released Sunday by Oxfam, a British campaigning group, as political and business leaders, including President Trump, prepared to gather in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting. Income inequality will be a major topic at the conference, which runs from Tuesday through Friday.

“There’s a billionaire boom,” said Paul O’Brien, Oxfam America’s vice president for policy and campaigns. “A perfect storm is driving up the bargaining power of those at the top while driving down the bargaining power of those at the bottom. If such inequality remains unaddressed, it will trap people in poverty and further fracture our society.”…

So it was against this backdrop that our elected Republicans chose to hand $1.5 trillion over to the rich, instead of investing it in the American people. They could have passed laws that incentivized corporations to keep their jobs in the United States. They chose not to. Knowing that they retail sector was imploding, they could have invested these funds in green energy job training programs. Instead they handed it over to the super-wealthy. And, as a result, the division between rich and poor is once again becoming untenable, with the middle class, and the security it provided, once again fading away.

Again, I don’t have a problem with the Republican taking to social media to crow about these one-time bonuses being doled out by bug business. I just think, if they want to talk credit for that, they should also take credit for the other things that have happened since they passed their tax bill. They should also send tweets out, alerting people to the fact that, for instance, after receiving their $5 billion tax cut, Pfizer announced that they’d be firing 300 scientists, shutting down their Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s research programs, and using their money instead to buy back their corporate stock. It’s only fair.

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24 Comments

  1. M
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    The Republicans own this economy, and not only the parts that they like.

    From today’s Washington Post: “U.S. economic growth slowed in 2017’s fourth quarter, missing Trump’s targets”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/the-us-economy-grew-23-percent-in-2017-as-growth-slowed-in-fourth-quarter/2018/01/26/ee7efb56-029a-11e8-bb03-722769454f82_story.html

  2. M
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Republican Senator Bob Corker said that the positive news concerning the Republican tax plan was coordinated. I wouldn’t doubt it if the bad news coming out now wasn’t also held back by companies until after the tax bill passed.

  3. Eel
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Trump, during a Q&A at Davos, says these bonuses are like “a waterfall, a big, beautiful, waterfall”

    https://twitter.com/atrupar/status/956882633451102208

  4. anonymous
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Salon has an article on this very thing today.

    “Wilbur Ross touts worker bonuses, ignores mass layoffs by same companies”

    http://ow.ly/snj730i0dl1

  5. Jean Henry
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    I believe the GOP strategy is to filter and spin the information the public receives just as they filter and spin the information Trump receives. Only good news, and flattering to Trump. I hope the American public is not THAT stupid. We’ll find out.

    There is something very science fiction like about a news channel forming the perspectives of the public so counter to reality and then placing in power a man reflecting that distortion, who then depends on that same bogus news feed to govern, and whose mind is so cooked by propaganda that he can not bear any contrary information.

  6. Jean Henry
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    What outrages Trump is anything that counters his perception of reality– by which ‘anything’ I mean reality.

  7. Jcp2
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    What outrages HW is anything that counters his perception of reality– by which ‘anything’ I mean reality.

    FTFY

  8. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I mean the fourth quarter growth was not as high as the others but still better than Obama’s limping 2.1%. That’s on the heels of a record number of hurricanes. Now the tax cut is here. Get ready for an upgrade to our economic engine. Vroom vroom.

  9. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    https://www.digitaltrends.com/business/walmart-cuts-jobs-for-robots/

  10. Lynne
    Posted January 26, 2018 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    This tax scheme was designed deliberately to have the worst effects occur after the elections in 2018 and 2020. Either they will still be in power (doubtful) or they will be able to blame the worst effects on whoever is in power. They are good at that.

    The good news though is that the worst effects of this will not really occur until after 2020. We still have time to reverse the damage and maybe have a different tax plan that includes significant breaks to those at the bottom. Maybe even a negative income tax!

  11. Posted January 28, 2018 at 11:30 am | Permalink

  12. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted January 28, 2018 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Anyone get paid last Friday?

  13. Jean Henry
    Posted January 28, 2018 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    No one cares about the crumbs, HW. We aren’t so easily bought off.

    Did you listen to this? https://www.wnyc.org/story/memos-storms-right-wing-media

  14. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted January 28, 2018 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Superficial, inadequate understanding of what is happening. Trump named it himself when he said the evening with his assembled military personnel represented The Calm Before The Storm. Too many Q Anon posts have been authenticated by later events for it to be fantasy.

  15. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted January 28, 2018 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    How could someone be bought off with their own money?

  16. Iron lung
    Posted January 28, 2018 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Lol

    420

  17. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted January 28, 2018 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    You don’t even know what “420” is. Did you ever even try it?

  18. Iron Lung
    Posted January 28, 2018 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    I heard it cures cancer.

    I know that because some people I know know some people who smoked weed and were cured of cancer.

    No need to spend money on clinical trials or following research protocols, we have stoners in Ypsi that are able to do all the work from home, now, for free.

  19. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted January 28, 2018 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    That’s as ignorant as your comment on hemp seed nutrition. Anti-tumor effects are from eating decarboxylated cannabinoid concentrate, not smoking. Because it is a Schedule I substance Cannabis research is tightly controlled by NIDA. They almost never grant human research unless it is geared toward negative findings. There is a ton of in vitro and in vivo research that is very promising. It’s so promising it’s insane to not have extensive research on humans by now. I’ve studied this a lot for a layperson. I’ve heard all the arguments and answered them. Right now I’m walking you through the basis of your confusion.

  20. Jean Henry
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    I don’t think IL was arguing against the need for research…

  21. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    He said “No need to spend money on clinical trials or following research protocols, we have stoners in Ypsi that are able to do all the work from home, now, for free.” Trying to say Cannabis people don’t think research is necessary.

  22. wobblie
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    A good summary of what has been proven and not proven to date.

    https://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-institute-of-medicine-report-on-the-health-effects-of-marijuana/

    My physician recommended that I switch to eatables.

  23. wobblie
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Only 2% report receiving a bonus or pay increase since the tax “reform”.

    http://thehill.com/policy/finance/domestic-taxes/371163-poll-2-percent-say-theyve-benefited-from-gop-tax-plan-with

  24. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted January 29, 2018 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    “They survey was conducted from Jan. 12-23”

    Durf

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  1. […] performance over the past three months. The hight point, as you’ll note, corresponds with the the passage of the Republican tax bill, which, while marketed as a “middle class tax cut,” was really a massive, $1 trillion […]

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