Photo: AP

Thermo Fisher Scientific is an $86 billion biotech company whose CEO is attempting to pull off his greatest feat yet: convincing his employees that their $500 bonuses are a result of the brilliant economic policies of Donald Trump.

Ever since the Republicans passed their tax cut bill—a bill that slashed taxes on corporations as well as slashing taxes on the corporate executives who reap huge salaries, and their heirs—companies have been handing out small bonuses to workers as a way to publicly proclaim that the tax cut bill is “working,” in the sense that regular working people are getting more money. (Though advocates of the tax cut said it would raise wages for the typical American household by $4,000, companies have instead chosen to brag about giving one-time bonuses of far less than $4,000. Even right wing economists can recognize a PR stunt when they see it.) Once this is done, the companies can feel free to go ahead and spend a few billion buying back their own shares to enrich investors, which is where the real money will go.

Most companies, including Walmart and AT&T, have given $1,000 bonuses. Thermo Fisher Scientific—a company whose stock price has quadrupled in the past five years—couldn’t even do that. They’re giving out five hundred damn bucks. And that five hundred damn bucks was deemed generous enough to merit an all-staff email explicitly attributing this grand generosity to the tax cuts.

No wage increases were announced.

Thermo Fisher CEO Marc Casper, who sent the email below, earned $59 million in cash and stock compensation in 2016.

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