Paul Ryan Deletes Tweet Lauding a $1.50 Benefit From the New Tax Law
WASHINGTON — Speaker Paul D. Ryan faced a backlash on Saturday after he pointed to a secretary’s $1.50 weekly increase in take-home pay as a sign of the Republican tax plan’s success.
“A secretary at a public high school in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, said she was pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week … she said [that] will more than cover her Costco membership for the year,” Mr. Ryan posted on Twitter, sharing an Associated Press report about paycheck increases under the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul.
The article describes a high school secretary, Julia Ketchum, as “pleasantly surprised” that her pay went up $1.50 a week, or $78 a year, more than enough to cover an annual Costco membership. Mr. Ryan deleted the Twitter post in hours, however, after lawmakers and social media users criticized him for appearing out of touch.
“That tweet about the $1.50 a week is not a PR mistake,” Senator Brian Schatz, Democrat of Hawaii, wrote on Twitter. “It is really what they think.”
Randy Bryce, a Democrat waging a long-shot bid to unseat Mr. Ryan, quickly used the tweet in a fund-raising effort.
According to an analysis of the bill by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, “in general, higher income households receive larger average tax cuts as a percentage of after-tax income.” Middle-income taxpayers would receive an average tax cut of $930 this year, and those in the top 1 percent would receive an average cut of $51,000.
Last month, Mr. Ryan was one of several Republicans who denounced Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, for dismissing the bonuses some companies had offered their employees as “crumbs.”
“I’m sad and surprised she said that,” Mr. Ryan said on C-Span. “To somebody working at Walmart at the starting wage, who just went from $9 an hour to $11 an hour — I don’t think that’s crumbs. To a person working paycheck to paycheck, just got a $1,000 bonus — that’s not crumbs.”
Several retailers and large companies have offered bonuses — which they have said is part of their savings from the tax law — to workers, but several of them come with strings attached or vary based on tenure and how many hours employees work.
Economists from across the political spectrum have said that it is too early to tell what kind of impact the tax bill will have on the economy and wages.