Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.
The Republican tax scam, passed with only GOP votes and Trump’s signature, has led to a massive Trump Bump in pay for multi-millionaire CEOs while average Americans have been left out to dry.
In a review of SEC filings since the passage of the GOP tax scam, Politico found that executives “have been profiting handsomely by selling shares since Trump signed the law on Dec. 22 and slashed corporate tax rates to 21 percent.”
Further, according to Politico, public companies have announced $600 billion in buybacks this year alone, and approximately 28 percent of S&P 500 companies have announced plans to offer buybacks to shareholders.
Money from stock sales comprise the bulk of compensation for many executives at the highest levels of business, so legislation tilted in favor of big business is a boon to them.
For example, Oracle CEO Safra Catz has sold $250 million in company shares since the tax cuts were enacted. Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga brought home $44.4 million after selling shares, while Eastman Chemical CEO Mark Costa had a $5.4 million stock sales payday.
“Stock buyback announcements in the U.S. have swelled to the highest levels on record in the wake of last year’s corporate tax cut,” a report from TrimTabs Investment Research noted. “Corporate America’s actions suggest that most of the benefits of the corporate tax cut will flow to investors in general and top corporate executives in particular.”
While corporate America has been feasting on the buffet Trump and congressional Republicans prepared for them, wages for regular American workers are falling.
In the first quarter after the tax scam passed, average hourly compensation for American workers fell. As the CEOs were cashing in on their stock sales, the people who work for them have seen their buying power decrease.
Republicans initially tried to claim that their legislation had been a major win for workers. Speaker Paul Ryan desperately tried to scrub a tweet where he touted a $1.50 a week pay increase for a high school secretary as something to be proud of and evidence of the tax scam’s success.
This massive giveaway to corporations and millionaires was supposed to be the Republican secret weapon to holding on to control of Congress. But voters have been unmoved by the scraps the party is offering.
In bellwether races like the special election in March Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District — where Trump won in 2016 by almost 20 points — taxes were an impotent message for the GOP candidate.
The failure of the tax cuts is a big reason the party is now focused on race-baiting ads trying to scare voters about the supposed threat of the MS-13 gang. Similar ads were an absolute failure in Virginia last year, where the race-baiting, Trump-endorsed Republican candidate, Ed Gillespie, was handily defeated by Democrat Ralph Northam.
Trump and congressional Republicans concocted tax legislation in secret with lobbyists watching over their shoulder. The result was a law that gave corporations and the ultra-wealthy exactly what they wanted while leaving middle class Americans out to dry.
The Trump Bump in CEO pay is a clear sign that they got what they wanted. But Americans are now aware of what has been done to them and that the campaign to pass the bill, which remains deeply unpopular, was another pack of lies.
Published with permission of The American Independent.