Democrats such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts insist the historic tax-reform bill passed by Congress last month does nothing for the middle class.
Yet, already, more than 50 companies have announced employee bonuses and/or wage increases in response to the bill’s tax cuts.
And, now, the nation’s largest private employer is raising its minimum hourly wage and handing out bonuses of up to $1,000.
Walmart, which has more than 1 million U.S. hourly employees, said Trump’s corporate tax cut “gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.”
The new legislation cut the U.S. corporate tax rate cut from 35 percent to 21 percent.
“Today, we are building on investments we’ve been making in associates, in their wages and skills development,” said Walmart CEO Doug McMillon in a statement.
“It’s our people who make the difference and we appreciate how they work hard to make every day easier for busy families.”
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Meanwhile, in an interview Wednesday with the Fox News Channel’s “Special Report with Bret Baier,” Warren continued to insist the tax-reform bill, which House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called “Armageddon,” is all about appeasing “billionaires and giant corporations.”
“We’ve got to change it,” Warren said. “You’ve gotta take out the parts that are giant giveaways to big corporations that, right now, the Republicans plan for hard-working Americans to pay for.”
Baier interjected that there are companies such as the Massachusetts electricity company Eversource announcing “they’re going to give a big break to consumers.”
Warren commented: “And good for them. I’m delighted to hear that.”
Baier asked, “So, which (companies) do you take out of the list?”
Warren replied: “Look, it is a trillion-and-a-half dollars that the Republicans gave away to billionaires and giant corporations, and they expect hard-working families to just pick up the ticket on that. I want those breaks to go directly to hard-working families, not to a bunch of rich folks.”
Immediately after the bill passed Dec. 20, AT&T and Comcast announced bonuses of $1,000 to non-management workers, and Wells Fargo and Fifth Third Bancorp increased base hourly pay to $15. Boeing announced a gift of $300 million in investment in its employee-related charitable program “to support our heroes, our homes and our future.”
Comcast NBC Universal gave $1,000 bonuses to more than 100,000 non-executive employees, announcing the move was not only tied, like all the others, to the tax cut but to the Federal Communications Commission’s elimination of government regulation of the Internet. The company said it plans to spend more than $50 billion in the next five years on infrastructure investments that he expects will create “thousands of new direct and indirect jobs.”
Before the bill passed, Kroger Chief Executive Officer W. Rodney McMullen offered that the legislation would influence his company “to continue to invest in our business, which will grow jobs.”
Walmart said its wage increase will take effect in February. The company also plans to boost its paid maternity leave policy for full-time hourly workers to 10 weeks at full pay. The current policy is six to eight weeks at half pay. Walmart also announced it will offer financial help to full-time hourly and salaried employees seeking to adopt children.
Passed in both chambers with no Democrat votes, the bill cuts the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. It also doubles the standard deduction to $24,000 for married couples and doubles the child-tax credit to $2,000, with up to $1,400 available in refunds for families who owe little or no taxes. The bill maintains seven personal income tax brackets and lowers the tax rates for most brackets, reducing the top rate to 37 percent from 39.6 percent.
The Republican leadership promised the impact of the tax bill will begin to show up in paychecks in February as the amount withheld for federal taxes is reduced.
Some Republican members of Congress in the high-tax states of California, New Jersey and New York opposed the bill because it puts a $10,000 cap on the deduction of state, local and property taxes.
The left-leaning Tax Policy Center concluded 80 percent of taxpayers will get a significant tax cut while less than 5 percent will see a tax increase of more than $10.
The Congressional Budget Office’s “static” score of the bill, which doesn’t include projected economic growth, concludes the deficit would grow by about $1.5 trillion in the next decade. However, Republicans, pointing to the tax cuts of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, argue the bill will result in economic growth that will produce more revenue and, therefore, more taxes collected.