On Saturday, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) tweeted — and then deleted — an item about a public school employee seeing an extra $1.50 in her weekly paycheck thanks to the Republican tax bill. After being slammed on social media, the Wisconsin Republican apparently figured out the amount isn’t exactly something to write home about — let alone highlight as a major feature of a $1.5 trillion tax cut.
Ryan tweeted a link to an Associated Press report detailing how the tax bill, passed in December, is starting to deliver bigger paychecks to workers. The section of the story he chose to highlight raised eyebrows: Julia Ketchum, a Pennsylvania high school secretary, saw her paycheck increase $78 a year — enough to cover the cost of her yearly Costco membership.
According to the Tax Policy Center’s analysis of the bill, the top 1 percent of earners will receive an average tax cut of $51,000, or about 650 times what Julia’s getting.
Twitter was quick to criticize Ryan’s snafu.
Zach Moller, a senior policy analyst at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, noted that if gains from the tax cut were evenly distributed across all Americans, each person would see an extra $446 per year.
$1.50 x 52 weeks = $78 over the year— Zach Moller (@econwonk) February 3, 2018
$1.46 trillion (cost of tax bill) / 327 million in US / 10 year score = $446 (without interest) https://t.co/MaeOil2NLj
Vox’s Matt Yglesias pointed out that Julia’s pay boost of $78 per year, multiplied by 125 workers in America, is $9.75 billion a year. The tax cut costs $1.5 trillion over 10 years. Where’d the money go? (Wealthy people and corporations.)
$1.50 a week for 52 weeks equals $78 per year, times 125 million workers that equals $9.75 billion a year.— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) February 3, 2018
Yet the tax cut costs $1.5 trillion — with a t — over ten years.
Where’d the money go? https://t.co/RQKEPM75GC
Ryan deleted the tweet after it was widely dragged.
As a thank you for passing a $1 trillion corporate tax cut, Paul Ryan received $500,000 in campaign contributions from the Koch brothers, which would probably cover the cost of buying a Costco. https://t.co/piiWqzOEGo— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) February 3, 2018
Wells Fargo, fresh off of defrauding millions of Americans, gets $3.4 billion. https://t.co/HT4yq3znxw— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) February 3, 2018
Paul Ryan deleted the tweet not because it's wrong, but because it's both accurate and laughable. https://t.co/H1DcoPHYsN— Matt Stoller (@matthewstoller) February 3, 2018
That extra $1.50 Paul Ryan gave me a week in 2018 was totally worth giving up my mom's Medicaid.— LOLGOP (@LOLGOP) February 3, 2018
- A voter Paul Ryan keeps imagining he'll meet
Plenty of people — and companies — are seeing a meaningful change in their pay because of the tax bill. Not Julia.
It’s not clear why Ryan chose to highlight Ketchum’s $1.50 a week raise; the story also mentions a Florida managed care worker who saw an extra $200 in his paycheck, a pair of educators who saw an extra combined $200 in their pay, and an aerospace engineer who saw a 4 percent bump in his check.
Friday’s jobs report also showed that January saw the fastest wage growth since 2009. Plenty of US corporations have made quite a bit of fanfare about paying bonuses and upping investments in America thanks to the tax bill. (Many of the announcements are quite cynical.)
But Ryan’s tweet also reveals an important truth about the Republican tax bill: It is disproportionately beneficial to wealthy people and corporations, and there’s not a great way to spin that. While Julia will be able to afford a $60 Costco Gold Star card, she won’t be able to be a Gold Star Executive member. That goes for $120.