Congratulations America. Not only have you managed to maintain life on earth, but you’ve successfully navigated Armageddon! What a fantastic start to the New Year.
Confused? Remember back to December when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi claimed: “If [Republicans tax bill] goes through, kiss life on earth goodbye. The debate on health care is like death. This is Armageddon.”
In some of her more restrained comments Rep. Pelosi called the legislation “the worst bill in the history of the United States Congress” (maybe next time, Alien and Sedition Acts, Indian Removal Acts and Fugitive Slave Act) and “monumental, brazen theft from the American middle class.”
Unsurprisingly, none of Democrats’ doom and gloom has come to pass. Quite the contrary, Republicans’ tax reform legislation has directly benefited millions of workers, not just by keeping more money in their pockets this tax season, but allowing companies to offer bonuses, increase investments in worker benefits, or stay in business altogether.
We’ve recounted many of those companies already, but new announcements continue to pour in as businesses finalize their analyses of the tax cut plan and begin to pass the benefits along to their workers. For instance:
- Aflac: Announced that they would increase their 401(k) match from 50% to 100% on the first 4% of employee contribution and make a $500 one-time contribution to employees retirement plan “as a result of the recent tax reforms enacted by Congress.”
- American Airlines: Distributed $1,000 bonuses to each team member, totaling $130 million in payouts, as a result of the “new tax structure” which allows the company “to invest even more in aircraft and facilities” and share the positive impact with “the very people who produce the profits at American – all of you.”
- Nationwide: Will give a $1,000 discretionary bonus to non-senior employees and managers and will increase its 401(k) match for employees to 50% on the first 7% as a result of the “combination of new tax legislation, including a reduced corporate tax reate, and our associates’ ongoing commitment to our members.”
- Southwest: Awarding employees with a $1,000 bonus and committed to give $5 million to charities as the tax reform bill created “savings and additional capital, which we intend to put to work in several forms…”
- Travelers: Pledged to give $1,000 bonuses to thousands of employees who earn less than $75,000 and promised to increase its minimum hourly wage to $15 to help fulfill the legislation’s intent to “provide some economic relief to those among us who need it most.”
Of course, this is just a small smattering of the more than 100 companies (and counting) that have publicly announced their intentions to offer employee bonuses, pay hikes and benefit increases asa result of tax reform. In reality, the number is likely much higher, the result of medium and smaller-sized companies making quieter announcements that don’t achieve national attention.
And those are just some of the benefits the economy is seeing as a result of the law. Another, more unforeseen consequence, has been a string of utility companies announcing that they’d be passing along their federal tax savings to customers. For instance, Baltimore Gas & Electric announced it would give “$82 million in annual tax savings to customers, resulting from federal tax cost reductions.” Others such as Portland’s Pacific Power, Utah-based Rocky Mountain Power, and Washington, DC-based Potomac Electric Power Company have similarly pledged to pass savings on to their customers, meaning lower electricity bills for millions of families.
“The tax law will result in lower bills for our customers and lower taxes for Pepco,” said Dave Velazquez, President and CEO, Pepco Holdings, which includes Pepco. “We are pleased to provide these savings to our customers, while at the same time ensuring we are making prudent investments in the local power grid to maintain the safe, reliable, and affordable service our customers have come to expect.”
Lower taxes, lower costs and more investment. That’s what Republicans’ tax reform bill is all about. So while Democrats continue to try and paint the legislation as a historic disaster, just remember the reality: Companies from sea to sea are enjoying a wave of economic confidence that is encouraging them to make renewed investments in their workers and facilities. If that’s “armageddon,” then sign us up for the end times.