Last week, Speaker Paul Ryan said he believes the Republican tax bill would help workers.
Today’s Savannah Guthrie asked Ryan, “Are you living in a fantasy world?” quoting tax plan critic, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Then a number of major corporations announced they would begin increasing wages and doling out bonuses to their employees because of the Republican tax bill. These are moves that would presumably help workers.
The response from some on the left? They’re just sucking up to Donald Trump. It’s all PR. It really doesn’t matter.
I’m not kidding.
Democratic strategist and former Hillary Clinton presidential campaign spokesman Jesse Ferguson said of the bonuses, “The clearest way to curry favor with this government is to play to the ego of the president…” Nancy Pelosi dismissed the $1,000 bonuses AT&T announced it would give 200,000 employees had been planned before the tax bill’s passage, only to find out it was an additional bonus on top of the old one.
MSNBC’s Joy Reid said “This is corporate America trying to convince you that their naked greed is charity.”
Are these moves by major corporations like AT&T, Comcast, Wells Fargo and others mostly political? Just “currying favor” with Donald Trump? Probably. But doesn’t any time the corporate world responds to Washington policy qualify as “political?” If an administration, Republican or Democrat, knocked my company’s tax rate down from 39 percent to 21, I would probably want to make that president and his party look good, too.
But more importantly, these decisions are economical. These companies would likely not be putting more dollars in their employees’ pockets if they didn’t anticipate being able to budget accordingly. Even if these are purely PR stunts, as many Democrats now claim, they still benefit employees.
It’s one thing to say corporate tax savings won’t trickle down to workers. It’s quite another to get mad when they trickle down to workers.
Major companies have been asking for decades why the U.S. has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. Free market advocates have long argued that lowering it would mean more investment domestically. Right now some foreign countries are worried some companies might relocate to the U.S., which could hurt their economies. National Review’s Jim Geraghty has an ongoing round-up of smaller companies, everything from truck dealers to jewelry stores, that are altering their plans due to the tax bill in ways that benefit their employees and will likely create new jobs.
Time will tell whether free marketeers on the right or anti-business forces on the left are right about what this tax bill will ultimately produce. But you can’t complain about governments not raising the minimum wage and then get mad when some private corporations do it on their own. That’s just asinine, if you actually care about workers having more money.
The right-leaning New York Post editorial board nailed it, “It’s classic left-wing disdain for anything big business does, even when it’s rewarding its workers…” It’s as if the left spends so much time demonizing big business, they can’t wrap their heads around corporate America doing something any reasonable observer would consider good.
This current round of bonus giving and wage raising might be “pro-Trump.” But it’s pro-worker, too.