Shocker: The Tax Cuts Didn't Trickle Down

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Hey, remember the argument that the Trump tax cuts were going to create jobs, even as CEOs that stood to benefit from the law admitted that the cuts would be used to pay down corporate debt and fund more stock buybacks? As a new survey shows, we got played, again.


The National Association for Business Economics released a survey on “business conditions” on Monday, and found that, contra to GOP claims during the 2017 tax debate, the tax cuts have not spurred hiring or increased investment, an insight virtually unchanged from its last report released in October. In other words, that money is not going back into the pockets of workers and the economy at large. The tax cut changed absolutely nothing for everyday people but certainly provided further padding to corporate revenues.

“A large majority of respondents—84%—indicate that one year after its passage, the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has not caused their firms to change hiring or investment plans,” NABE president Kevin Swift said in a press release. “Seventy-seven percent of respondents indicate that trade concerns have not caused their firms to change investment, hiring, and pricing plans, a result similar to that in the previous survey.” The only industry seemingly affected was the “goods-producing sector”; Swift said that “most” respondents reported increased investments and “some” reported increased hiring.

This is all par for the course considering everything we’ve seen following the tax cuts. In the immediate aftermath of the law, companies like AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and others got a ton of good press for giving out some holiday bonuses. A year later, Verizon has cut seven percent of its workforce through buyouts and layoffs—over 10,000 people in all—and AT&T, whose chairman Randall Stephenson heavily lobbied for the cut and claimed AT&T would create thousands of jobs because of it, cut over 10,000 union jobs in 2018, according to the Communications Workers of America union, and is planning even more, according to a Motherboard report from earlier this month.

AT&T even took the extra step of preparing its managers for dealing with questions about why this is happening while conditions could not possibly be any more favorable to businesses, per Motherboard:

In a memo of talking points advising managers on how to address employee concerns obtained by Motherboard, AT&T attempts to explain away the disconnect between the company’s words and its actions.

“What we’ve said was that AT&T planned to invest an additional $1 billion in the United States this year as a result of tax reform, and that research shows that every $1 billion in capital invested in the telecom industry creates about 7,000 good-paying jobs for American workers, across the broader economy,” the memo states.

If “trickle down” means the government and business come together to piss on workers, we’re in good shape. If it means something else, then corporations and the GOP lied, again, and got away with it, again.

News editor, Splinter