Hate to break it to you, but unless the CEO of your company got a call from The Donald himself, that bonus check your boss says is on its way did not result from anything the federal government did. The suits at your company didn’t one day discover that their meeting room was stuffed to the rafters with money, and decide to give you some of it just to free up the space, or out of the goodness of their hearts, or because of some half-baked “trickle-down” economic theory, the classic explanation of which doesn’t even apply here.

You see, that’s not how economics works. People don’t just hand out money for no good reason, or because they just got more of it, or any other lame reason the Trumpster down the street might offer. Low unemployment? That might explain it better. Competition for higher quality labor? Now we’re talking. Making people think twice about leaving their soul-sucking job for a better one now that it’s possible? OK. I’ll buy that. Who wants to work at Walmart, really? There is a good reason the Army hands out bonuses to people who sign up for certain jobs, and that’s because Army life kind of sucks and Army recruiting is the single hardest job in all of HR.

There have been a number of these stories in the news lately, where Company We All Love To Hate is handing out four-figure bonuses to all their clock-punchers, and making it a point to mention that these were being made possible by the tax reform bill signed by Donald Trump. Again, people getting money because the company they work for suddenly has more of it, with no more explanation than that, is not how the economy works. I’ve taken a few courses in economics; I know these things.

CNN/Money has thoughtfully provided a list of some of the companies offering raises and bonuses - check it out:


Notice anything? A lot of these companies are on a lot of your personal lists of companies whose guts you hate, where you’d rather be working almost anywhere else. These are also the companies who pour every last cent they legally can into Republican campaign coffers. There are catches, of course. That fat $1000 bonus only goes to people who have worked there for 20 years. Everybody else’s check gets prorated - severely. Disney’s $1000 bonus is split into two tranches, the second coming after summer vacation. I guess they don’t want you just taking the money and leaving Orlando as fast as you can.

If you really want to know what I think, these are campaign contributions under another name. How many people will try to connect the dots, only to find a few missing, like how handing out a hundred million dollars benefits, say, Bank of America? You know, the company that tried to foreclose on people’s houses after the mortgages have been paid in full, who would sort checks in such a way as to maximize the number of NSF charges they get to inflict on their customers, and who claimed the loudest that they were too big to fail. Yeah, that Bank of America. They can’t just give the money to the RNC; that would be illegal, so they’re trying to bribe the 145,000-odd people who work for them instead. And the 200,000 who work for AT&T, and the 130,000 who work for American Airlines, and the 100,000 who work for Comcast, and the 60,000 who work for FCA, and the...you get the picture. It adds up, and you start hearing people talking about their bonuses, raises, 401K matches, etc., in November, well, you heard it here first.