Murkowski, Sullivan selling tax cut with misleading claims

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, or the staff member she assigns to post in her name on Facebook, is still trying to sell Alaskans on her vote for the GOP tax bill, citing an incomplete and misleading report as evidence.

"It’s great to see individuals, families, and businesses already benefitting from the recent tax reform legislation," Murkowski says on Facebook. 

She promoted a piece by Grover Norquist's  anti-tax organization that says 1 million of the 126 million Americans employed full-time are getting bonuses thanks to the Republican Party tax cut.

One million down. Only 125 million to go.

Sen. Dan Sullivan is right behind her, promoting news that Alaska Airlines is handing out $1,000 bonuses, attributed to the tax bill.  Sullivan, or the staff member who speaks for him on Facebook, says the tax bill is "already having a real impact, with businesses across the country reinvesting in their employees and in their communities."

Had Murkowski or Sullivan chosen to promote this story from CNN, headlined "Only a small slice of corporate America has shared tax savings with workers so far," they would have a much longer reach to pat themselves on the back.

The biggest thing about all this is scale. Airlines could be among the bigger winners under the tax bill, which is not mentioned in the stories about the $1,000 employee bonuses provided by American, Southwest, JetBlue and Alaska. 

All of the companies and GOP politicians publicizing one-time bonuses would rather that no one pay attention to just how small these are compared to the expected boost in corporate profits from a permanent tax cut. Or to the expected increase in the federal deficit.

Wells Fargo, one of the companies desperate to improve its image, has announced a boost in its minimum wage and an increase in charitable giving. (The raise probably has nothing to do with the tax bill as it is close to what the company announced a year ago.)

But it makes sense to claim cause-and-effect. The Wells Fargo largesse amounts to about 5 percent of the benefit it stands to get from the lower tax rate.

"It's a token compared with what companies are actually saving. Where is the rest of the money going?" said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, senior associate dean at the Yale School of Management, told CNN.

Where is the rest of the money going? Sens. Murkowski and Sullivan aren't saying.

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Dermot Cole3 Comments