First it was House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., describing tax reform-related bonuses and wage increases as “crumbs.”
Now we have the following headline from the Huffington Post: “Congratulations On Your $1,000 GOP Tax Reform Bonus!*”
The story’s subhead adds, “*If you have 20 years on the job, that is.”
This desire by left-leaning voices to dismiss or downplay the money that people are getting following the passage of tax reform is an odd one, considering how mightily they praised a one-shot Obama-era payroll tax break that produced even smaller benefits for workers as potentially stimulating the economy.
But talk about a losing argument. It’s even stranger that the people doing the downplaying are also explicitly linking the increases to GOP-led tax reform efforts. It’s not clear whether the Huffington Post authors realize the inherent silliness of a political criticism aimed at bonuses and wage increases, but it seems clear that they recognize the danger in linking the increases to the Republican Party.
Perhaps that’s why they added the following lines 14 paragraphs deep into the story:
“To be clear, any bonus is a good thing for a worker. Having $200 is better than having nothing, especially if you stock shelves for $11 an hour and live paycheck to paycheck. And if you’re getting that $200 unexpectedly, you probably don’t care whether your company attributes it to Republican tax cuts, a tightening labor market, growing corporate profits or the Eagles making it to the Super Bowl.”
The problem with this passage, however, is that it contradicts the story’s headline, which explicitly called the $1,000 a “GOP tax reform bonus.”
Further, on what do they base the claim that the recipients of $200 or $11 increases “don’t care” about who made it possible? Again, would they have said this about the temporary payroll tax cut in former President Barack Obama's stimulus package?
Their assumption, notes attorney Gabriel Malor, is a big one, and the story offers nothing substantive to back it. In fact, the only people quoted in the Huffington Post article are Pelosi, a Walmart spokesperson, and Vice President Mike Pence.
But what about, you know, the people who are actually getting wage increases and bonuses? Here’s a thought: Maybe they should talk to one of them and see what they think. Crazy.
There are substantive criticisms of the GOP’s approach to tax reform. And in fact, if the tax reform bill does nothing more than produce these one-off bonuses, it will have failed on its own terms, because Republicans have much higher hopes about what it can accomplish. But this weird trend of pooh-poohing bonuses and wage increases — it all seems like the dumbest, most self-defeating line of attack Democrats could possibly adopt.