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A Closer Look At Those Corporate "Bonus" Announcements

Category: Economy
Posted: 01/28/18 09:12

by Dave Mindeman

Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform is keeping a running list of American companies who are adding employee benefits "because" of Trump's tax plan.

So far they list 270 companies - affecting 3 million Americans.

Let's put that in a little more perspective.

1) The American workers getting these benefits is less than 1% of the population.

2) Of the 270 companies listed - 101 of them are banks. The banking industry has had a particularly good year and generally would be giving out bonuses anyway, as is the custom. But tying it to the Trump tax plan makes for good PR and political clout as Trump continues to pursue deregulation in the industry.

3) 167 of the 270 companies will be giving one time bonuses of $1,000 or less. Which in the big scheme of things is a lot of money in the aggregate but pales in comparison to the ongoing company savings.

4) 12 companies gave larger bonuses of up to $2,000.

5) 49 companies increased their minimum wage to $15 per hour. Now that may seem generous also, but consider that minimum wages are rising across the country and the $15 standard is a basic goal. These companies just decided to give Trump the credit for the inevitable.

6) 9 companies increased their 401(K) contribution which is a more significant long term benefit.

7) Every public utility company in the list noted (with press releases) that all savings from the tax plan will be passed on to their customers - which, ironically, they would have to do anyway as a public non-profit.

In this list of 270 companies (which again is a very small microcosm of corporate America) there were other oddities.

A company called Jones Auto and Towing was included in the list with a press release that stated: "Thanks to President Trump we will be hiring 2 new full time employees! #MAGA".

The College of the Ozarks announced a $204 bonus for employees. (Why $204????)

Minnesota's Ecolab announced an additional $25 million in charitable contributions - which would make tax sense because beginning with the new tax law, charitable contributions will have less benefit.

So, these 270 companies, for the most part, are just doing some pro-Trump public relations. Granted, the employees ARE getting a needed benefit, but when you consider that the tax cut is permanent while personal tax cuts are temporary - this one time largesse doesn't quite stack up as the big giveaway it is promoted to be.

There is one notable exception to all of this:

APPLE.

"$2,500 employee bonuses in the form of restricted stock units; $30 billion in additional capital expenditures over five years; 20,000 new employees will be hired; increased support of coding education and science, technology, engineering, arts, and math; increased support for U.S. manufacturing."

Apple is one of the few major companies that is doing what the tax plan intended. They are bringing money back from overseas and actually investing it in a notable expansion plan. They also plan to upgrade our education system where they can.... and they are building a second major plant. It was impossible to find another company in the entire list of 270 which even comes close to this type of investment.

Which proves that Trump's master plan is just another dud. There will be short term benefits which I am sure he will be happy to extol, but this short term gain could end up being another heavy downturn later when the glow of tax reform sifts into reality.

All of these corporate announcements, a small list of companies that it is, are just a distraction from the massive corporate giveaway that excretes from this legislation. It is another explosion of income disparity.

82% of benefits of this tax plan go to the richest 1%.

Trump is pro-business alright - but more precisely, he is pro wealth.
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Gimmicks, Games, and Greed

Category: Economy
Posted: 05/09/17 14:06

by Dave Mindeman

When Republicans are in charge of the legislature, we seem to get subjected to the most ridiculous budget gimmicks and games.

Even though the GOP controls both Houses of the legislature, they can't send Governor Dayton a unified budget. What is that about? Can't they figure this out between them. Do they have to send these confusing mixed messages?

And what kind of game are they playing by send up their budgets in the dead of night? Do they like the intrigue? Are they afraid of what might be seen in the light of day?

It can never be simple. Especially when Kurt Daudt is in charge of the House. He has to make it complicated. And he has to make it impossible for the Governor to be involved in a fair negotiation.

When their is a choice, and there always is a choice, between up front negotiations and confrontation, Daudt always chooses the latter.

But good feelings seemed to be abandoned as evening came. After dark, with no budget hearings or advance notice, the Legislature finalized most of their budget measures for votes as soon as Tuesday, the precursor to delivering them to Dayton. The governor found out about the move Monday night from aides monitoring Twitter. Specifically, legislative leaders had members of joint committees negotiating compromises on the budget sign off on GOP-written versions of the bills.

No outside input. Communication on Twitter. And dead of night sign-offs.

This is a new game, even for Republicans.

And the end result is trying to ram a budget through to get tax cuts to fuel a gimmicky budget which leaves out a number of priorities.

Why do we ever put Republicans in charge of anything?

It is always a disaster. Gimmicks and games - the Republican way.
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Trump's Magic Bullet

Category: Economy
Posted: 09/13/16 13:03

by Dave Mindeman

Here is something to ponder....

The incomes of typical Americans rose in 2015 by 5.2 percent, the first significant boost to middle-class pay since the end of the Great Recession and the fastest increase ever recorded by the federal government, the Census Bureau reported on Tuesday morning.

You are going to get two completely different takes on that from any Republican or any Democrat. A Democrat will say this is proof that our economy is headed in the right direction. Republicans will either ignore it or simply state it is not true.

The problem with economic numbers is that you can almost always talk about these numbers with opposite arguments. You can make them say whatever you want them to say.

Donald Trump has made trashing the economy the focus of his campaign. After all you can't make America great AGAIN, if it already is great.

And, when you get right down to it, there are always enough people, in good times and in bad, who are dissatisfied with their economic lot.... negative aspersions will resonate with them. And there will always be enough to make a significant counter argument.

Donald Trump is pretty much wrong about everything regarding the economy. But it doesn't matter. He has managed to get a megaphone to reach out to anyone who is behind in this economy.

It is OK to do that. They need a voice. But they need a voice who won't distort the reality as well.

I would venture to say that if Donald Trump gets elected, the new spin on the economy will be that everything is fine - no changes will be needed - the magic force of him taking charge will suddenly make all of those numbers make perfect sense.

Those people who have been left behind will lose their "voice". Once Donald Trump is elected it will be back to the business of the 1% - business as usual.
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