Tax Reform Catastrophe: Major Restaurant Company Announces $20 Million Investment in Workforce, Visa to Boost Benefits

Posted: Jan 09, 2018 10:25 AM

Shall this darkness and despair never relent?  You already know that more than one million US workers have received tax reform-spurred bonuses, with at least 100 companies getting in on the act thus far, as even more corporations announcing new investment plans seemingly every day.  We've covered the immediate fallout of the Republican tax law very closely, tracking the crimes against humanity wrought by this destructive Frankenstein monster, also known as the worst piece of legislation ever considered by Congress -- ranging from increased compensation, to enhanced hourly wages, to new hiring, to upgraded investments, to massive charitable contributions.  Here is the latest atrocity, via the Darden restaurant group, which owns large national chains like Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse:

Details from the Orlando Sentinel:

Restaurant companies are joining the corporate chorus rushing to praise the tax bill Congress passed last month as Orlando-based Darden Restaurants said the legislation will save it about $70 million. Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse parent company Darden Restaurants said the new tax reform plan will cut taxes by about $70 million in the third quarter. The Orlando-based restaurant chain said Monday the tax cut will prompt it to spend an additional $20 million on its 175,000-plus employees this year, but did not give specifics. Darden (NYSE: DRI) said its effective tax rate will drop from 25 percent to 18 percent going forward. "One of the best investments we can make is in our people," said a statement from CEO Gene Lee. "During the remainder of fiscal 2018, we will invest approximately $20 million in initiatives directly benefiting our workforce. This investment will strengthen one of our most important competitive advantages – a results-oriented culture – as we continue to improve on the guest experience, and position Darden and our brands for long-term success."...With the tax boost, Darden raised its fiscal outlook for the year by about 25 cents a share to $4.70 to $4.78.

This is precisely what many liberal doomsayers confidently predicted would not happen, quoting some CEOs, while ignoring others.  Other players in the industry are also thrilled with the new results, with one executive saying the new tax climate will allow his company to bring more money back into the United States.  The river of tears keeps flowing:

Ruth’s Hospitality Group chief operating officer Arne Haak said the tax changes will also benefit the Winter Park-based parent of Ruth’s Chris Steak Houses. “The tax reform is very good for us,” Haak said at the ICR Conference Monday, a gathering of restaurant and retail industry companies in Orlando. The tax reform bill will allow Brazilian steakhouse chain Fogo de Chao to lower its tax rate and bring money back from overseas, said chief financial officer Tony Laday. “We are an international company — we do have operations in Brazil — and we were prohibited from a tax perspective from bringing some of that cash back home,” Laday said at the ICR Conference. “There’s a net benefit from the tax perspective and greater flexibility from a tax perspective."

Meanwhile, here's the latest indignity from credit card behemoth Visa:

Visa is just the latest in a host of companies, including Boeing, AT&T, Fifth Third Bancorp and Wells Fargo, to share proceeds from the GOP corporate tax cut with employees. In all, there was $5.3 trillion in 401(k) plans as of Sept. 30, 2017, according to the Investment Company Institute. The median balance in a 401(k) account was $24,713, according to Vanguard. Unlike bonuses, which employees could either save up or blow on shopping, an increase to a retirement plan match is useful for workers' long-term financial planning, said Gregg Levinson, senior retirement consultant at Willis Towers Watson.

That's a meaningful lasting investment that will help fortify employees' retirement plans, with additional "sustainable" benefits in the works.  Finally, we've heard a lot of griping from the Left about how the tax law's new individual and family tax rates (which are going down for 80 percent of all Americans) have a sunset date, whereas the corporate cuts are permanent.  As I've written, Republicans should pressure Democrats to extend the middle class tax cuts (91 percent of middle income households will get a tax reduction) indefinitely, but there is a strong economic argument for making the US corporate rate both significantly lower and stable, which this law achieves.  Prior to reform, American companies faced the highest statutory tax rate in the developed world, and one of the highest effective rates, as well.  The GOP-supported law brings the US more in line with the OECD average, vastly improving competitiveness and efficiency.  This Mercatus chart illustrates the point nicely:

I'll leave you with Trump doing what he ought to be doing every day -- highlighting the strong economy, touting tax reform (about which the Left has lied incessantly), and hitting Democrats for their knee-jerk and lockstep opposition to a law that benefits the vast majority of the American people.  Less tweeting about salacious book allegations (catnip for the media), and more of this: