Tax Cut Bonuses, Wage Increases Keep on Coming

The National Association of Manufacturers has compiled a partial list of companies whose employees are benefitting from the projected cash flow savings from the Republican tax cut of 2017. These companies are authorizing hundreds of millions of dollars in wage increases and bonuses.

Walmart, probably the nation’s largest retail employer, is boosting its minimum hourly wage for its U.S. employees to $11 and awarding bonuses of up to $1,000.
The store chain, which has more than 1 million U.S. hourly employees, credited the Republican-passed tax cut signed by President Trump. A low unemployment rate that increases competition by employers, is also being credited with the move.

“Today, we are building on investments we’ve been making in associates, in their wages and skills development,” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said. He said Trump’s corporate tax cut “gives us the opportunity to be more competitive globally and to accelerate plans for the U.S.” (Walmart is also boosting paid maternity leave policy, offering or increasing paid leave for new fathers and non-birthing mothers to six weeks at full pay for full-time hourly workers.)

In addition, AT&T and Comcast promised one-time bonuses of $1,000 to non-management workers, while Wells Fargo and Fifth Third Bancorp boosted base hourly pay to $15. The reaction to the tax cut is an indication that the cut’s trickle-down effect is happening.


Yogi Berra once said, “Déjà vu all over again,” or if you remember the movie, Groundhog Day where the character played by Bill Murray keeps experiencing the same situation over and over again?

Well, here’s the latest version: The U.S. House is considering another short-term government spending bill that would be needed before the current spending authorization ends at midnight Jan. 19 in order to avoid a government shutdown.

That would be the fourth temporary continuing resolution since September. (Congress passes spending resolutions extending current budget amounts because it’s been unable to produce fiscal year budgets.)

“If we get a budget agreement, we’ll need some time for the appropriators to do their work,” U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said. Republican leaders have not decided the length of the short-term spending authorization, the Hill reported, but some are guessing through early March, nearly six months after the start of the 2017-18 fiscal year.

Instead of allowing across-the-board spending cuts to take effect later this month, Congressional leaders are trying to reach bipartisan agreement on boosting spending caps, which will put more pressure on the need for taxes and the deficit.

Republicans want certain President Trump initiatives and Democrats are using DACA immigration as a filibuster tactic.


President Trump Opens Doors to Let States Impose Medicaid Work Requirements

Washington Post (Goldstein 1/11) “The Trump administration issued guidance to states early Thursday that will allow them to compel people to work or prepare for jobs in order to receive Medicaid for the first time in the half-century history of this pillar of the nation’s social safety net.

“The letter to state Medicaid directors opens the door for states to cut off Medicaid benefits to Americans unless they have a job, are in school, are a caregiver, volunteer or participate in other approved forms of ‘community engagement’ – an idea that some states had broached over the past several years but that the Obama administration had consistently rebuffed.

“The Trump administration has signaled from the outset that it wanted to set a more conservative tone for Medicaid, a 1960s-era program that was part of Lyndon Johnson’s anti-poverty Great Society. On the day in March when she was sworn in as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Seema Verma dispatched a letter to governors encouraging ‘innovations that build on the human dignity that comes with training, employment and independence.’

“In a CMS call with reporters Thursday morning, Verma countered, ‘This policy is about helping people achieve the American Dream.” She quoted from a presidential speech Johnson gave a half-century ago, when he said that Medicaid’s aim ‘is not only to relieve the symptoms of poverty but cure it.’ The most recent federal figures show that Medicaid enrolls more than 68 million low-income Americans, including children, pregnant women, people with disabilities and the elderly.”