House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi dismissed the bonuses and wage hikes announced by businesses in response to the Republican tax-reform bill as mere “crumbs.”
“In terms of the bonus that corporate America receives versus the crumbs they are giving to workers to put the schmooze on is so pathetic. It’s so pathetic,” Pelosi, a Democrat from California, told reporters Thursday.
More than 50 companies have announced employee bonuses and/or wage increases in response to the bill’s tax cuts. On Thursday, the nation’s largest private employer, Walmart announced it was raising its minimum hourly wage and handing out bonuses of up to $1,000.
Pelosi, nevertheless, sees the bill passed in December as a sop to the rich.
“I would hope that with their big advantage of bringing money home at a very low rate that they would invest in infrastructure and things, but our experience has been that they will do dividends, do stock buybacks and things like that,” she said. “I think it’s insignificant.”
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Fox News Channel host Laura Ingraham reacted to Pelosi’s comments, taking note of the former House speaker’s personal wealth.
“Maybe it’s a crumb if you live in Pacific Heights or the Sea Cliff neighborhood of San Francisco and you’re married to Paul Pelosi; maybe then it’s a crumb,” Ingraham said.
“But for most people it’s real money.”
Roll Call’s Wealth of Congress Index in 2014 reported Pelosi’s net worth was $29.35 million, ranking 15th of the 50 wealthiest members of Congress.
On Wednesday, in an interview with the Fox News Channel’s “Special Report with Bret Baier,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., insisted the tax-reform bill 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.”
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, and Walmart said the cut will directly benefit workers.
“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.”
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.