In the latest good economic news following the passage of tax cuts, Home Depot announced that it would be distributing up to $1,000 bonuses to hourly paid workers.
The list of companies now sharing the benefits of tax reform with employees is growing long.
In 2011, Democrats celebrated a temporary payroll tax cut that netted Americans about $40 per month. They even had a hashtag campaign on Twitter, #40Dollars.
But that was during the Obama presidency. Their tune has changed with Donald Trump in the White House.
Despite the sudden boon for American workers, prominent progressives are publicly pooh-poohing the new bonuses and salary increases as no big deal, mere “crumbs,” as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D.-Calif., said.
“In terms of the bonus that corporate America receives versus the crumbs they are giving to workers to put the schmooze on is so pathetic,” Pelosi said in early January.
The median household income in Pelosi’s home district of San Francisco, California, is about $100,000, so it’s natural a $1,000 bonus would seem like peanuts to her.
She may be surprised to learn that nearly 7 in 10 Americans don’t even have $1,000 in savings, according to a recent study. So one can fairly conclude that a sudden $1,000 boost in one’s bank account would be a big deal for most people.
Pelosi wasn’t the only limousine liberal to dismiss the good news about bonuses. At the same event in which Pelosi bemoaned “fat cats” getting more than average Americans, former Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, said:
Frankly, if you look at the bonuses, which I haven’t heard of a corporate bonus more than $1,000 so far. Which, by the way, is taxed, so it’s not $1,000. And then you spread $1,000 over the course of the year—to think of about how much that is—of course they get it all at once. But I’m not sure that $1,000 (which is taxed, taxable) goes very [far] for almost anyone.
It’s an odd thing to hear Wasserman Schultz blame income taxes for diminishing the size of one’s bonus. After all, not a single Democrat in Congress voted in favor of tax cuts.
Certainly, this pessimism toward bonuses and pay raises can at least in part be chalked up to political partisanship. But there may be a deeper reason for their refusal to celebrate good economic news.
It’s the same reason that those who fiercely advocated a federal $15 minimum wage are now utterly dismissive of the significant benefits workers are now experiencing.
As The Daily Signal’s Fred Lucas recently reported, at least 21 companies voluntarily decided to raise their minimum wage to $15 an hour as a result of the tax break. This too received no recognition from liberal minimum wage backers.
The hard fact for progressives is that the economy now appears to be prospering despite their doomsaying, in large part thanks to the reduction in the overall government burden on society—or the expectation of further reduced burdens
This is problematic for progressives who rely on the narrative that the average person can’t do well in life without them swooping in to help, without the government ensuring success.
It’s a rebuke of the “you didn’t build that” mentality of the Obama era that justified big government and redistributive policies based on the idea that the self-made man was a myth, and that free markets are simply exploitative.
It turns out that what Americans needed was not politicians to distribute goods from on high, but to ease up on weighty burden of taxation and regulation that had been strangling them.
Hopefully, this pro-growth pivot is a sign that more bonuses, raises, and jobs are on the way.
It would be nice, for once, if leading progressives would acknowledge the obvious and give credit where credit is due.
This article has been updated since publication.