BY: RYAN YOUNG
After a new tax bill was passed in January, Walmart gave away bonuses and raised its minimum hourly rate for employees. The company made these positive changes, though, on the same day they shut down 63 affiliate Sam’s Club stores
With the end of President Donald Trump’s first year in office, many changes have been made, both beneficial and burdensome, that will affect the next generation of students entering the workforce. Among the most notable changes is a new tax bill that was passed at the beginning of 2018, which changed the corporate tax rate for businesses from 35 percent to 21 percent, the lowest since 1939.
This change has led to many major companies providing one-time bonuses as well as raising minimum hourly wages. Among many companies to make salary changes and give bonuses were AT&T, who offered their employees a one-time bonus of $1,000; Comcast, who also gave a one-time bonus of $1,000; Fifth Third Bancorp, who raised its minimum hourly rate to $15; and Wells Fargo, who also raised their minimum hourly rate to $15.
Another change in the new tax bill is the near doubling of standard deductions, money that can be subtracted from a person’s overall tax.
“The standard deduction increasing will save some money for young individuals going into the job market,” CHS history teacher Joe McCarty says, “because most young kids don’t have enough deductions to itemize.”
Although many individuals, corporations and young adults could benefit, families could be hurt.
“Before the Act, taxpayers subtracted $4,150 from income for each person claimed,” writes Kimberly Amadeo, president of worldmoneywatch.com and author of multiple economic books. “As a result, some families with many children will pay higher taxes despite the act’s increased standard deductions.”
Another important legislative change that will impact the next generation of workers is an executive order passed by President Trump that allocates $200 million each year to grant funds for the areas of science, technology, engineering and math.
“I think it’s very important that there’s funding there, but it has to be more than just funding,” CHS math teacher Juan Gomez says. “I personally have trouble understanding the let’s-just-give-$200-million, because $200 million is a drop in the bucket.”
While President Trump has passed an executive order that will supposedly help STEM students, he has also decreased reserve funding for the Pell Grant. This grant is a key source of support for mainly undergraduate students looking to further their education.
“Anything you can do to make college more successful is a good idea,” lawyer and CHS history teacher Bill Schrier believes.
The new budget bill has reduced reserve funds for the Pell Grant by 3.9 billion, but it is important to include that the Pell Grant Award has increased by $100 for recipients.
Another executive order signed by the president is one that expands apprenticeships in America. According to the order, “Expanding apprenticeships and reforming ineffective education and workforce development programs will help address these issues, enabling more Americans to obtain relevant skills and high-paying jobs.”
Among many other changes to impact future workers are the creation of 1.7 million new jobs from companies deciding to no longer operate offshore and the success of the stock market at an all-time high.
When asked if Trump has had any effect on these changes, Schrier says, “It’s a fool’s errand to attribute economic change one way or another to any individual, including the president.”