Apr 18, 2019

Americans have gotten $0.01 more in bonuses since Trump's tax cuts

Data: Economic Policy Institute analysis of BLS data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Companies made headlines last year as they gave out a bounty of bonuses to their employees thanks to 2017's Tax Cut and Jobs Act. But those bonuses ended up totaling just 1 red cent in extra compensation for American workers, according to data analysis from the Economic Policy Institute.

What it means: The left-leaning think tank's inflation-adjusted calculations based on Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employer Costs for Employee Compensation showed that bonuses fell $0.22 from December 2017 to December 2018, and the average bonus for 2018 was just $0.01 higher than in 2017.

Details: EPI's analysis of the government data shows very little increase in private sector pay or W-2 wages since the end of 2017. W-2 wages fell 2% from December 2017 to December 2018, and total compensation fell by 0.9%. For the full year, W-2 wages and compensation in 2018 rose by 0.2% and 0.1%, respectively, over their 2017 levels.

What they're saying: "This is not what the tax cutters promised, or bragged about soon after the tax bill passed," Lawrence Mishel, a distinguished fellow at EPI, said in the report.

  • "They claimed that their bill would raise the wages of rank-and-file workers, with congressional Republicans and members of the Trump administration promising raises of many thousands of dollars within ten years. The Trump administration’s chair of the Council of Economic Advisers argued last April that we were already seeing the positive wage impact of the tax cuts."

Go deeper: A closer look at Trump's invisible tax cut

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