'Unpatriotic:' New Wave of Horrible Tax Reform Bonuses Arrives, Utility Bills Lowered in 39 States

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Posted: Feb 23, 2018 11:05 AM
'Unpatriotic:' New Wave of Horrible Tax Reform Bonuses Arrives, Utility Bills Lowered in 39 States

We noted earlier in the week that Nancy Pelosi has evolved from issuing cartoonishly dire warnings about the consequences of tax reform, to sneering at the unmistakably positive results of the law passed over her objections (along with every Congressional Democrat), to muttering about how making US businesses more competitive and allowing taxpayers to keep more of the money they earn is 'unpatriotic,' or something.  Her messaging is an elitist, counter-productive mess, but it's all they've got.  It's not working.  Public polling has tracked the tax reform bill bouncing from underwater by double digits, to tied, to supported by a majority of voters -- all in about two months.  

The needle hasn't moved that significantly because Republicans have undertaken a masterful communications strategy while Democrats have fallen asleep at the switch.  It's moved because in many respect, the results speak for themselves.  As I put it on television a few days ago, Democrats don't have a messaging problem on tax reform; they have a reality problem.  And reality keeps interfering with their efforts to attack the GOP-passed law.  Here is the latest cascade of examples of employers handing down tax reform-caused benefits to employees, from a Minnesota-based food company:

Hormel Foods Corp. this morning announced that it plans to use savings from the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to award stock options to its employees and raise starting wages to $13 an hour...“Tax reform will have a clear benefit to all Hormel Foods stakeholders — our shareholders, our employees, and the communities in which we operate,” Hormel President and CEO Jim Snee said in the announcement. “The ongoing cash tax benefit will provide additional funds, allowing us to accelerate the growth of our business...Snee also announced that Hormel will continue to raise its starting wages following the $13 an hour increase. The company plans to bump the starting wage to $14 an hour by the end of fiscal 2020. “We also pledged an additional $25 million in donations over the next five years as supporting our communities through product and monetary donations is important to us,” he added. Hormel also expects to pass some of the tax savings on to its shareholders.

To an international air shipping company:

Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: AAWW) today announced record fourth-quarter and full-year 2017 revenue, record fourth-quarter earnings and robust full-year earnings growth, and a continued strong outlook in 2018...We expect the new tax legislation to have a positive impact on economic activity and corporate growth. On passage of the law, we were pleased to provide a one-time bonus of $1,000 to our global personnel in recognition of their hard work and commitment to the company's growth.” Turning to 2018 and beyond, Mr. Flynn stated: “We are operating in a strong airfreight environment, underpinned by global economic growth.

To a transportation company headquartered in Ohio:

Wilmington-based global transportation company R+L Carriers announced this week it would issue bonuses of up to $1,000 for all its employees, citing the economic benefits from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act...Family owned and operated, R+L Carriers began in 1965 with Ralph L. “Larry” Roberts Sr.’s purchase of a single truck. Today, the company serves all 50 states, Canada, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and many Caribbean islands with nearly 15,000 tractors and trailers, and more than 12,000 employees...

Remaining in Ohio, here's a furniture business doling out bonuses and rolling out a major expansion:

Over 140 employees for a local furniture store will feel their wallets get a lot bigger. Sheely’s Furniture and Appliance President and CEO, Dale Sheely Jr. announced the bonuses Tuesday morning. The cause — tax reform, a growing retail footprint, and creating a better working environment for employees. The bonuses will be given throughout the first quarter of 2018. Full-time employees will receive $1,000 in cash and part-time employees will get $500. The store also announced a 4,500 square foot expansion to make Sheely’s Bargain Bonus center.

To a bank in Virginia:

Employees of F & M Bank were surprised on Tuesday to learn they would receive a bonus, which the institution attributes to additional earnings expected as a result of the GOP tax plan. This is an opportunity we haven't seen during my career, as far as cuts in corporate tax rates," said Executive Vice President Neil Hayslett. "Rather than just banking all that, so to speak, we wanted to share it with the employees." The GOP tax plan cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. Those who work more than 30 hours a week were given a one-time bonus of $1,100 and those who work less were handed $750. The Timberville-based bank also announced a special dividend to shareholders and the formation of a community fund. During a scheduled training session, the company awarded $250,000 to three community foundations.

And I'll leave you with this data point from the Speaker of the House, whose office has been tallying the results of the GOP-passed law. Not only are millions of workers experiencing benefits, and not only are 80-90 percent of taxpayers receiving a tax cut, many consumers around the country are getting helpful breaks, too:

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This is the opposite of the Obama position on energy costs, which he sought to increase through his preferred policies.  Higher energy bills -- like (ahem) gas taxes -- are extremely regressive.  They hammer the people who can least afford it.