Wednesday, 17 January, 2018

Tax Reform: Media Companies Among Those Giving Bonuses

Fifth-Third CEO: Bank Workers Will Get Minimum Wage Boost Due To New Tax Reform Comcast and AT&T announce fresh investment plan
Heather Davidson | 22 December, 2017, 01:34

Boeing was first out of the gate, followed by AT&T, which said it would give more than 200,000 unionized employees a special bonus of $1,000 once the tax bill is signed.

Trump and other Republicans promoted the announced wage raises as proof that Americans would immediately enjoy the windfalls of tax cuts to corporations, a concept known as trickle-down economics. Sen. Wells Fargo & Co. and Fifth Third Bancorp said they would raise their minimum wage to $15 an hour. The Dallas-based carrier will also pay a $1,000 bonus to more than 200,000 US -based employees who are union-represented, non-management, and front-line managers. If this time around that also means some extra money in workers' pockets, all the better. It says it was pre-planned, the Los Angeles Times reported. Bloomberg Intelligence analysts also point out AT&T would avoid hundreds of millions in bond fees if it's able to settle with the Justice Department. The president has been a vocal critic of AT&T's proposed $85 billion merger with Time Warner, which also owns CNN - the media outlet the Trump administration has treated as a nemesis. Neither company needed a tax overhaul to make these investments possible. Boeing successfully pushed the Trump administration to slap heavy trade tariffs on Canadian rival Bombardier Inc., but that commercial war is starting to backfire.

Boeing: $300 million in investments for employee training, better workplace infrastructure and corporate giving.

Neither Boeing nor AT&T is exactly short on funds.

"Congress, working closely with the President, took a monumental step to bring taxes paid by USA businesses in line with the rest of the industrialized world", said AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson in a statement, adding that his own company would invest in its employees. With these investments, we expect to add thousands of new direct and indirect jobs. (Q4 2016 was the high point at $2.6 billion.) Continuing to spend $9.4 billion annually without any inflation-related increases would result in $47 billion over the next five years, a few billion below the "new" target.

As for Fifth Third Bancorp and Wells Fargo, both stand to benefit from the tax plan, and Wells Fargo probably would like to get the government off its back a bit.

Others expressed skepticism and called the announced bonuses a public relations stunt that came off as disingenuous, given the pay gap between average workers and executives, and given the timing of those bonuses that some say were earned through union negotiations. The bank will also earmark $100 million of capital "and other resources" for small-business and community-focused lending.

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