Give Your Workers a Tax-Cut Bonus
It’s not a Valentine’s Day bonus. It’s a lasting pay raise thanks to the Republican tax cut. That’s the message employers should give their employees who—according to tax withholding guidelines the IRS released last week—will receive bigger paychecks by Feb. 15.
Paychecks for the average employee earning $50,000 a year will increase by $100 a month. Those with children will get even bigger increases. For many Americans, this increased take-home pay may cover gasoline or cellphones for a year. For others, it will help with utility bills in a cold winter. The cuts will bring real relief to the four-fifths of working Americans who live paycheck-to-paycheck.
More than 120 major employers have announced significant tax-cut-induced wage increases and employee bonuses. Small businesses rarely make such announcements, but rest assured many are following suit as they compete for employees.
If you’re an employer who increased wages or bonuses due to the Republican tax cuts, it’s time to tell your employees why. Also, let them know their take-home pay is even larger because the federal government is taking less of their earnings. These employees are benefiting from the business and individual tax cuts. Democrats—and the media—told them they would benefit from neither.
For employers who haven’t granted wage increases or bonuses, you should seriously consider doing so. Otherwise, your employees will wonder where your increased profits are going. The left has put every ounce of its formidable media presence into convincing them that you are getting a windfall. The liberal media has so successfully mischaracterized these tax cuts that one recent poll found three-quarters of Americans thought their taxes would increase or stay the same. Some of them probably work for you. At the very least, let your employees know their paychecks—not just yours—are bigger because of the tax cuts.
Employers are well-positioned to discuss economic policy with employees, because you can use the business as a reference point. Employers have a special credibility and can often get through to younger generations, who distrust authority. Neither you nor your employees have an interest in letting that credibility go to waste.
Educating employees about the tax cuts isn’t entirely altruistic. Not a single Democrat voted for these cuts. By explaining to employees who is wholly responsible for their pay increase and who opposed it, employers can help elect pro-business Republicans in November. There would be no further business-friendly legislation—none—with a Speaker Nancy Pelosi under the influence of the Sanders-Warren Democrats.
Employers must do their part. Otherwise employees may take their pay increase and bonus and not give Republicans the credit they deserve. In that case, tax cuts and economic growth could indeed be just short-term bonuses.
Mr. Puzder is a member of the Job Creators Network board and a former CEO of CKE Restaurants.