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Armageddon's Crumbs: Time for Another Burst of Companies Unveiling Tax Reform Benefits

First, they claimed the bill would be a catastrophe, lying about its effects and hyperventilating about the looming destruction it would cause.  Next, once passage and implementation immediately started proving them wrong, they shifted to whining that the concrete benefits being felt by millions of workers and taxpayers from coast to coast were a mirage -- and that people who are happy with the results are too foolish to understand the raw deal they're really getting.  Now, as good news continues to pour in, Democrats seem to be stuck with grimacing and sneering mode, having made their bed with bad strategy and short-sighted messaging.  Our condolences, Chuck and Nancy.  Impacted Americans are nearly universally pleased, but we know it's a difficult time for you:

"We're pleased that the lower income tax rate from the tax law change will result in savings of approximately $40 [million] to $50 million in 2018," Chipotle CFO Jack Hartung said Tuesday. Hartung said that about a third of those savings will go directly to its employees in the form of a one-time cash bonus. The company will also award a one-time stock bonus to a group of staff. In addition, Chipotle plans to expand its benefits program, which includes paid maternity and paternity leave, short-term disability and life insurance plans to its hourly restaurant managers. Hartung said the remainder of Chipotle's tax savings would help fund the company's $50 million investment in enhancing its existing restaurant locations. The company plans to spend about $20,000 per store to upgrade the dining area and improve the guest experience.

Those investments don't just mean more pay and better benefits for Chipotle's nationwide workforce; they also mean more jobs and more work for companies and workers responsible for the renovations all over the country.   The company was already struggling before the tax law, and continues to face issues related to bad press over food-borne illness issues, but these moves will undoubtedly help its employees, and would not have been possible without tax reform.  Chipotle may be the main course, but there are other celebratory tax reform announcements cropping up for smaller and regional businesses, too.  Bonuses, charity, and expansion in Pennsylvania:

Recent changes in the U.S. tax law are not only benefiting employees of large companies, smaller companies such as The Good Life Companies are sharing the tax cut windfall with employees with bonuses up to $1,000. Because of President Trump's tax cuts, The Good Life Companies headquartered in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania  are both yielding savings as well as seeing optimism in forecasts for the growth of the organization.  This will enable the company to pass rewards to more than 30 full time employees. Additionally, The Good Life Companies also plans to increase budgetary commitments towards community projects and charitable donations.  They are looking to create dozens of new jobs to enhance their offering, support their robust technology projects, and increase client service." ... The Good Life Companies have also sparked their local economy by purchasing and renovating a 24,000-square foot commercial property in Cumru Township, Pennsylvania.  The renovation has provided over $2,500,000 in revenue to local companies and employment for 100 people.  The result will give Good Life and its local partners more than 100 white-collar jobs in the greater Berks County  region.  

Bonuses of $1500 per employee at a local bank in Illinois

LincolnWay Community Bank announced plans to award a one-time $1,500 bonus to most of its employees on Tuesday. "We are pleased to be able to provide this additional reward to our employees for continuing to deliver outstanding service to our customers", said LincolnWay Community Bank President Mark Stevens. "This investment in our employees was made possible by the new tax reform law." LincolnWay Community Bank currently has 33 permanent employees at three branches in New Lenox, Mokena and Chicago who are eligible to receive the tax reform bonus. “Approximately 85 percent of our employee base, from the most junior and up, will get this bonus,” Stevens said...Many banks, such as LincolnWay Community Bank, are investing resources previously devoted to federal taxes to directly benefit their employees.

And more money in the pockets of employees at a Michigan-based real estate firm, arriving mid-month:

A real estate firm in the area is offering bonuses to all employees as a result of the recent federal tax overhaul. Wyoming-based Land and Company said yesterday it will give its 177 employees special one-time bonuses. Full-time staff will receive a $1,000 bonus, part-timers will receive $500 and seasonal employees will receive $250. All employees will see the bonus in their Feb. 16 paychecks. Land and Company said it believes the federal tax plan has generated “a more optimistic vision for the future of business in West Michigan and the U.S.”

Question, though: Even as all of these developments continue to boost the popularity of the once-unpopular law, will that translate into sunnier fortunes for the Republicans?  On one hand, the GOP will definitely get some mileage out of attacking Democrats on the issue, as the entire opposition party voted 'no' on a plan that's vastly outperforming their apocalyptic predictions.  A number of recent polls have shown the generic Congressional ballot tightening considerably, shrinking to mid-single-digits vs. large Democratic leads in recent months.  And another national survey shows the president bouncing out to his best approval rating more than half a year:

Quinnipiac's (very Dem-friendly) series also shows Trump's approval on tax policy gaining 21 net points since December, and the generic ballot swinging five points toward the GOP (from down 13 to down 9).  So the overall trend has moved from disastrous to more competitive.  On the other hand, a 40 percent approval rating is...not good, and more importantly, an enduring enthusiasm gap is palpable:

Democrats are passionate to win elections right now.  Republicans are sleepwalking.  A total role-reversal from 2010.  Either GOP voters wake up and turn out in the fall, or a blue wave is coming, regardless of Americans' improving outlook on the economy and the tax law.  I'll leave you with this -- if you're interested in tracking an upcoming bellwether, Jim Geraghty has you covered on a closely-watched special Congressional election in Pennsylvania:

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