But getting inside somebody's brain-establishing a motive-can be tricky. "It's the single-most important thing we can do to drive innovation, support quality jobs and accelerate capital investment in our country". In reality, they already have the evidence they need. Trump hailed a "historic" victory Wednesday as the US Congress passed a massive Republican tax cut plan, handing the president his first major legislative achievement since taking office almost a year ago.
Both the House and Senate passed the final version of the Republican tax bill on Wednesday, and a number of companies took the opportunity to announce special bonuses or pay hikes.
"$100 million for corporate giving, with funds used to support demand for employee gift-match programs and for investments in Boeing's focus areas for charitable giving: in education, in our communities, and for veterans and military personnel".
Telecommunications giant AT&T said in a press release Wednesday that once the bill came into effect it would invest an additional $1 billion into the US over the next year and "pay a special $1,000 bonus to more than 200,000 AT&T USA employees". Comcast said it would pay $1,000 bonuses to 100,000 workers and spend $50 billion on infrastructure in the next five years. Wells Fargo, the San Francisco bank that has been hurt by a scandal involving the opening of 3.5 million unauthorized client accounts, also said it would boost its minimum wage to $15 per hour, an 11% increase from its current hourly rate of $13.50, once the law was passed. Analysts expect more such announcements.
That's not to say average Americans won't benefit at all from the tax bill. Companies anticipate having more money, and they are spending at least some of it on their workers because it is good business.
But the post-passage announcements served as yet another illustration of where middle-income earners fit into this once-in-a-generation tax cut: afterthoughts. If businesses invest more, that means more jobs and higher wages.
Of course, we should never ascribe pure Christmas-spirit altruism to large corporations whose goal, after all, is to make money for shareholders.
Boeing released a statement announcing "immediate commitments for an additional $300 million in investments that will move forward as a result of the new tax law".
Companies such as AT&T and Comcast are providing the clearest link yet between the recently passed tax cuts and extra money for regular taxpayers. Would they have spent some of this money anyway, even without a tax bill? Sooner than expected, the evidence points to "yes".
Then there is this question: Do workers benefit?