By Alan Murray and Geoffrey Smith
December 21, 2017

Good morning.

Republicans celebrated their big tax win yesterday at the White House, with President Trump, Mitch McConnell, and Paul Ryan acting like BFFs. Trump hugged McConnell. Ryan said “something this big, this profound, could not have been done without exquisite presidential leadership.”

There were quieter celebrations in corporate offices around the country, where an overhaul of a broken corporate tax system has been sought in vain for years. A few companies, recognizing the danger of voter backlash, had the good sense to promise the tax changes will result in investment and jobs in the U.S., as well as benefits for workers.

AT&T, for instance, issued a press release saying that once the bill is passed into law, it will “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 U.S. employees.” Boeing said it will earmark $300 million for “employee-related and charitable investment” as a result of the tax bill. And Fifth Third Bancorp said it would “raise its minimum hourly wage for all employees to $15, and distribute a one-time bonus of $1,000 for more than 13,5000 employees.”

While most businesses will benefit from the change, the biggest winners include:

  • Retailers, who pay among the highest average corporate tax rates and need help competing against more lightly taxed Amazon;
  • Health insurers, who could reap an estimated 15% to 20% increase in earnings as a result, according to some analysts;
  • Telecom companies, like AT&T, who earn most of their income in the U.S.;
  • Refiners, who could reap more than $150 billion in tax savings next year; and
  • Pharmaceutical companies and tech companies, who may repatriate some of the trillions of dollars in earnings they have stashed overseas, at reduced rates.

You can read a more thorough review of the effects on various industries here. While businesses are the big winners, most individuals will get tax cuts as well. For individuals, tax brackets will change as of January 1, and new guidance about tax withholding should be out by the end of the month, leading to paycheck changes as early as February.

Other news below.

Alan Murray


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