“Year-over-year, the real average hourly earnings number has dropped by 0.1 percent,” reports the Washington Post. In describing the “sobering” new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the Washington Post continues:
After the recession, that figure has generally increased. Over the past year, though, it has been flat — despite the signing of that bill in December. The tax bill, which Trump promised would serve as “rocket fuel” for the economy, hasn’t led to any liftoff whatsoever in real average hourly earnings. Since December, the number hasn’t gone up; year over year, it hasn’t gone up.
The report goes on to note that the only increase in weekly earnings comes from more hours worked, not increased wages.
Stagnant wages are a far cry from the premature exclamations of success from Knight shortly after the bill passed.
As SoCal Daily reported in January, Knight bragged about companies like Wal-Mart raising wages (failing to note that many states, including California, required them to do so because of laws increasing the minimum wage). But Knight’s cherry-picking of isolated examples ignores the broader economic data, which shows the tax bill he supported is failing to increase wages for Americans on the whole.
Even after this data were released, Knight used Twitter to peddle in falsehoods, saying, “American worker’s paychecks rising,” despite evidence that real earnings are decreasing.
The data released by BLS mirrors multiple national surveys where Americans said they have not seen an increase in their paychecks. However, several studies show that taxes for Californians will go up because of provisions supported by Knight in the tax bill. For example, Los Angeles-area homeowners could pay up to $76,000 more for a 30-year mortgage.
While Knight betrayed Americans on Main Street, his buddies on Wall Street are seeing billions of dollars in kickbacks from stock buybacks as wealthy corporations are seeing multi-billion dollar tax breaks.
Californians knew they would be getting the short end of the stick. As the tax bill was being debated, Californians were especially worried about the impact of the legislation on state and local tax deductions. The outline of the bill showed “the potential repeal of the federal deduction for state and local taxes, which would hit especially hard in wealthier states like New York and California.”
Before Knight voted for the bill, he said this issue was his “number one priority.” When he voted for the House bill, he promised constituents that if negotiations with the Senate could not fix the problems with state and local tax deductions, “then we’re going to have problems.”
After all that tough talk, Knight had a choice to make when the final bill came to the House floor: Would he keep his word to his constituents, or would he side with Donald Trump?
Ultimately, Knight sided with Trump, turning his back on his constituents, and failing to fulfill his very own “number one priority.”
And even after he went back on his word, the bill he helped pass has not done what he promised.
Knight broke his word, and all Americans have to show for it is a 0.1 percent drop in real hourly average earnings.
This post was updated with a misleading June 23 Tweet from Rep. Steve Knight.