Remember early this year when Republicans (including here in Nevada, Sen. Dean Heller) were crowing about all the bonuses and raises that workers were getting as a result of the tax cut bill that became law last year about this time?
Yeah, not so much.
Economic Policy Institute economist Lawrence Mishel analyzed recently released Bureau of Labor Statistics data. “The bottom line,” Mishel wrote…
…is that there has been very little increase in private sector compensation or W-2 wages since the end of 2017. The $0.02 per hour (inflation-adjusted) bump in bonuses between December 2017 and September 2018 is very small. Nonproduction bonuses as a share of total compensation grew from 2.73 percent in December 2017 to 2.78 percent in September 2018, an imperceptible growth. Moreover, whatever growth in bonuses has taken place is not necessarily attributable to the tax cuts, rather than employer efforts to recruit workers in a continued low unemployment environment.
Much of the tax cut hype at the time was fueled when several firms immediately announced one-time bonuses shortly after the tax cut bill was passed. Many of the bonuses and wage increases announced to coincide with the bill, however, had already been planned, and in cases had already begun to be implemented, well before the tax cuts became law.
“An examination of overall wage and compensation growth does not provide much in the way of bragging rights for tax cutters, especially given the expectation of rising wages and compensation amidst low unemployment,” Mishel wrote.