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22 December 2017, 01:37 | Gordon Grant
These Companies Are Promising More Money to Employees After the Passage of the GOP Tax Bill
"Congress, working closely with the president, took a monumental step to bring taxes paid by USA businesses in line with the rest of the industrialized world", Randall Stephenson, chairman and CEO of AT&T, said in a statement.
The announcement by the company Wednesday had raised questions about whether it was attempting to curry favor with Trump. The Justice Department is now suing to block a proposed $85 billion merger between AT&T and Time Warner, a deal Trump has objected to as "not good for the country".
For its part, Comcast said it would also dole out "special" $1,000 holiday bonuses to more than 100,000 "frontline and non-executive" employees. The official insisted on anonymity to discuss private conversations. FCC also announced auction to enhance broadband coverage in rural America.
The business community initially embraced and courted Trump, only to back away after his failure to strongly condemn white nationalists whose August rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, lead to the death of a counter-protester.
Other companies, including Fifth Third Bancorp, Wells Fargo and Boeing, also announced that they would pass along tax savings to their workers.
The stock market has soared in anticipation of the cuts with the expectation that they will lead to higher profits, bigger dividend payments and share buybacks.
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Wells Fargo was one of a number of companies that released statements on Wednesday that linked increased pay or bonuses to employees to the tax bill.
Alberto Gallo, partner at Algebris Investments, said in a note that the tax cuts "will support growth in 2018, acting as a tailwind to both consumption and capital spending".
Some of the cash windfall from corporate tax cuts is already trickling down to Main Street workers. Neither company needed a tax overhaul to make these investments possible. "They're trying to make an unpopular tax bill a little less unpopular".
It remains to be seen whether such actions - and other corporate gambits that may follow - will turn up the arrow quickly on American public opinion about Republicans' tax cuts and reforms. Analysts estimate AT&T's net income will be close to $14 billion this year. Wells Fargo will also invest $100 million over three years to provide small businesses access to capital. Trump said on Twitter this month that fines and penalties against the bank "will be pursued and, if anything, substantially increased".
After the story was published, Gilchrist contacted the news organization again to say a hike in minimum pay at Wells Fargo to $15 per hour came as a direct result of the tax bill approved by Congress this week.
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