Not quite everyone. Just … 200,000+ employees.
Damn, that’s good PR. Expensive PR, sure. But good PR.
The telecom giant said in a press release on Wednesday that it would give more than 200,000 U.S. union members a special bonus of $1,000. The company also increased its capital expenditures budget by $1 billion in the U.S…
AT&T had previously said it would invest $1 billion in the U.S. if “competitive” tax reform legislation was passed, and has said that tax reform framework could increase demand for AT&T’s services. The new tax laws are expected to drop the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from the current 35 percent and includes other measures that Republicans say will spur businesses to invest domestically.
“All union-represented, non-management and front-line managers” are eligible for the bonus. How’s AT&T going to pay for it? Well, the corporate tax rate is being cut by 40 percent; that’s the centerpiece of the new bill. There’s also that little matter of net neutrality repeal, which could allow the company to charge higher rates for faster content delivery. And then there’s the mega-merger pending with Time-Warner that Trump’s DOJ is currently suing them over. What’ll happen to that lawsuit now that the company’s handed POTUS a gift-wrapped populist talking point for his tax reform victory lap?
Coincidentally, news of the bonuses broke shortly before this afternoon’s presidential press conference, giving Trump an opportunity to do this:
Following passage of tax reform bill, Pres. Trump says "AT&T plans to increase U.S. capital spending $1 billion and provide $1,000 special bonus to more than 200,000 U.S. employees." https://t.co/kNOuzmzTLh pic.twitter.com/45CPXatMKX
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 20, 2017
Heh. Now that’s a PR victory, presumably to be followed by total victory when POTUS suddenly starts sounding bullish on the AT&T/Time-Warner merger. $200 million in bonuses is a big number but Axios puts it in perspective, noting that it’s “far less than the $500 million breakup fee the telco would owe Time Warner if regulators block the deal.” The idea that the new tax cuts will necessarily pay for themselves by generating federal revenue growth is dubious; the idea that the AT&T bonuses might pay for themselves by smoothing the way for merger approval isn’t.
It’s not just AT&T, though:
— The Boeing Company (@Boeing) December 20, 2017
And it’s not just AT&T and Boeing:
JUST IN: Fifth Third Bancorp announces plan "to raise its minimum hourly wage for all employees to $15, and distribute a one-time bonus of $1,000 for more than 13,500 employees" following passage of tax bill. https://t.co/iv4i2MTAkO
— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) December 20, 2017
More taxpayer money in private hands is cause for celebration, whatever the reason. In lieu of an exit question, via the Free Beacon, here’s Chuck Schumer this afternoon complaining about corporations hoarding tax breaks for their CEOs instead of sharing the wealth with employees. The company he mentions as a prime offender: Er, AT&T.
Update: Wells Fargo too!
JUST IN: Wells Fargo hikes its hourly pay rate to $15 & will aim for $400M in philanthropic donations next year due to the newly-passed GOP tax bill. https://t.co/GmM8bT0zjh
— CNBC (@CNBC) December 20, 2017
This is already the best day of Trump’s presidency. The only thing that could make it better would be arresting Rosie O’Donnell for bribery.