by Lil Tuttle

The first major legislative victory of this GOP President and Congress delivered on four major promises made to the electorate.

In one bill, Republicans said they were checking off three major parts of their agenda: The massive tax overhaul is coupled with a repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate and authority to drill for oil in a remote Alaska refuge.

The fourth was the expansion of the “hugely popular 529 College Savings Plan to include the opportunity to save and pay for public and private K-12 education.” Middle class voters have long sought a tax break for private and home schooling expenses for their children to offset paying twice for K-12 expenses:  once for public schools they don’t use, and again for private education they do use.  They finally got it in this legislation.

Taxpayers are expected to see a direct personal benefit in their paychecks as early as February 2018, primarily from lower personal income tax rates and higher personal deductions such as a doubled child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000.

About 6.5 million people nationwide – almost 80% of them earning under $50,000 per year – have been hit with the hated Obamacare fines designed to punish people who didn’t purchase, or couldn’t afford to purchase, Obamacare insurance.   This legislation ends the Obamacare mandate and the punishing fines.

Yet the biggest economic boost to the nation is expected to come from the reduction in the corporate tax, from 35% (among the highest in the world) to 21%. This reduction frees millions of corporate earnings previously taken by government in taxes to be used instead for business expansion, jobs, and salaries.

Reaction from American businesses was swift.

Seven American businesses announced on Wednesday that they would … be investing hundreds of millions of dollars in their employees because of the Republican tax reform bill that the Senate passed on Tuesday night.

  • AT&T announced it would “invest an additional $1 billion in the United States in 2018 and pay a special $1,000 bonus to more than 200,000 AT&T US employees.”
  • Boeing announced an “immediate commitment” to invest an additional $300 million in US staff and facilities.
  • Fifth Third Bancorp and Wells Fargo banks announced they would raise the minimum hourly wage for employees to $15.
  • Comcast announced it will give $1,000 bonuses to over 100,000 frontline and non-executive employees and invest $50 billion over the next five years in infrastructure.
  • FedEx announced it will ramp up hiring, new equipment and technology.
  • CVS Health plans to create 3,000 permanent new jobs.

Economic optimism in the nation is soaring, according to a December CNBC All-America Economic Survey:

  • For the first time in at least 11 years, more than half of the respondents to the survey rated the economy as good or excellent.
  • Forty-one percent expect the economy to improve in the next year, near a record.

Merry Christmas!