One persistently pesky problem was explaining how a corporate tax cut and a plan that screams “trickle down” could possibly warrant the “middle class miracle” branding that was slapped on the bill for the purposes of selling it to Trump’s base, which is comprised of working Americans.
There were innumerable issues with that branding effort including, but certainly not limited to, numbers and history, two things that are extraordinarily annoying because they’re hard to argue with.
The numbers problem manifested itself in independent analysis which showed that by 2027, taxpayers in the top 1% of the income distribution would receive an average tax cut of 0.9% of after-tax income, accounting for 83% of the total benefit for that year.
As for the history problem, it looks like this:
When you throw in the fact that this is set to balloon the deficit (unless magic happens and it pays for itself), and also the rather unfortunate optics re: it benefitting Trump’s family to the tune of more than $1 billion, you end up with a rather daunting communications challenge when it comes to explaining how exactly it is that this is aimed at the Middle Class.
Fortunately, Americans are two things (well, actually Americans are more than two things, but these are the two that matter here): 1) not inclined to read the fine print on a bag of Tide Pods let alone on a sweeping tax overhaul, and 2) a myopic bunch.
So, just as people are fascinated enough by the visual similarity between a laundry detergent packet and a Starburst to actually try and eat the detergent, so too are Americans inclined to believe that because corporations are willing to hand out one-off bonuses to employees out of their billions in windfall gains from the tax plan, that plan must be a good thing. “I mean, it looked like a Starburst.”
Now to be fair, it’s always nice to see working people getting a thousand dollars they didn’t expect to receive and for a lot of those folks, a thousand dollars is a big fucking deal. But really, that just kind of underscores the Marie Antoinette-ish character of this whole thing: “Let them eat rounding errors on C-Suite paychecks.” Or better yet, let them eat Ho Hos and Ding Dongs. Here’s Bloomberg:
Hostess Brands Inc., feeling flush after last month’s tax overhaul, will offer bonuses to workers — including [a year’s worth of] free snacks.
Now for one thing, they’re going to inadvertently kill their employees by force-feeding them cupcake variants for a year, so I hope Hostess has a good employee health plan (if not, they can maybe ask Jamie Dimon for pointers).
Beyond that, this represents a literal “let them eat cake” moment. So that’s hilarious.
Mercifully, there’s some actual cash involved here as well. Here’s Bloomberg again:
The company, which makes Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos, is providing its employees one-time payments of $1,250 — with $750 in cash and $500 in the form of a 401(k) contribution. In taking the step, Hostess cited last month’s tax legislation, which slashed the rate for U.S. corporations.
So the bonuses aren’t solely denominated in Ho Hos and Ding Dongs.
As Bloomberg goes on to note, employees won’t get to choose which snack they take home:
They won’t be able to eat all the Ding Dongs they like.
A representative from each of Hostess’s bakeries will choose a product each week, and the employees will be able to take home a multipack of that item.
That’s somewhat unfortunate. I mean who wants a multipack of Donettes when there’s a warehouse full of Ho Hos and Ding Dongs staring at you everyday? “I was told there would be free Ding Dongs!”
On the bright side, thanks to the cash bonuses, any employees who aren’t satisfied with a given bakery’s weekly selection can always go out and buy their own Hos. Or Dongs. Whatever floats your boat.