The narrative of the Trump tax cuts was that they would create jobs. This has turned out to be a farce, as businesses repeatedly took the tax breaks and then fired workers anyway.
AT&T, which received $21 billion from Trump’s tax plan, has cut more than 23,000 jobs since the tax code went into effect. It also reduced its capital investments. AT&T initially promised that the Trump tax plan would result in more jobs. But despite record profits, the telecom giant continues to shrink its workforce and outsource.
AT&T is hardly alone.
Banks took in billions in tax breaks and still let go thousands of workers. Verizon got $4 billion and cut over 10,000 jobs. Walmart closed 63 stores while praising its tax cuts. Time and time again, it was illustrated that while corporations benefited from the tax cuts, that benefit did not ‘trickle down’ to workers.
“The evidence continues to mount that the Trump-GOP tax cuts were a scam, a giant bait-and-switch that promised workers big pay raises, a lot more jobs, and new investments, but they largely enriched CEOs and the already wealthy,” said Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness.
Where the money has largely gone instead is toward stock buybacks. $1 trillion has gone into buying back stock, which primarily benefits the already-wealthy. Half of America owns no stocks whatsoever. This tends to fuel a booming stock market despite a lackluster economy.
Despite assertions that the stock market is a good rubric for measuring the heath of the economy, it is not. The labor market provides a better measurement. Between jobs shed despite the Trump tax cuts, jobs lost to Trump’s tariffs, and jobs threatened by automation, the labor market cannot maintain the performance Trump constantly touts. In fact, the increased difficulty in obtaining unemployment benefits has potentially helped artificially improve the apparent employment rate.
And the money saved from mass layoffs and garnered through tax cuts and stock buybacks hasn’t improved the lives of employees that manage to keep their jobs.
“Nobody here saw any of that benefit; if anything, quite the opposite. They changed our healthcare plans in 2019, so the costs for everyone went up, the costs for prescriptions went up,” said Mark Willie, a Wells Fargo employee from Iowa. “We need a voice because we’re often forgotten about in pursuit of profits, and that’s evident with the jobs being sent overseas.”
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.