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People In Chrysler Country Are About To Show You What Trump's Tax Cuts Mean To Them

By newadmin / Published on Wednesday, 31 Jan 2018 04:14 AM / No Comments / 5 views


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The FCA assembly plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

In a company town for Fiat Chrysler Automotive, we’re about to begin seeing first-hand what difference the Republican tax overhaul&nbsp;could&nbsp;make. The automaker recently joined the long and growing roster of companies that plan to share some of their largesse from the cut in the corporate tax rate with their employees, in the form of a $2,000 bonus paid to 60,000 of its U.S. workers. Add that to optimism FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne recently has expressed about the company’s profitability and future, and 2018 could present a nice upside for the folks.

The majority of those 60,000 employees&nbsp;live&nbsp;north of Detroit in Oakland and Macomb counties, and it’ll be fascinating to see first-hand how FCA’s distribution might goose&nbsp;the local economy in an area that already has been benefiting from strong surges in employment, income, housing values and home sales. That’s not to mention the ongoing effects of lower individual income-tax rates that will benefit the vast majority of those employees.

There’s also good reason for optimism as Marchionne projects positivity&nbsp;about the imminent launch of a new-but-not-radically-new version of the company’s iconic Jeep Wrangler nameplate and, later this year, of an improved version of FCA’s most profitable franchise, the Ram pickup truck.

What ensues in Chrysler Country now also will present an interesting political microcosm as thousands of local “Trump Democrats” and many Republicans face a choice between their personal animus for the man in the Oval Office and the crystallizing&nbsp;benefits of his economic policies to date — which presumably will become apparent&nbsp;in even greater measure going forward.

Despite his “s—hole comments,” the continuation of the Russia investigation on Capitol Hill, and generally abysmal poll ratings, Trump remains afloat politically — and it’s almost entirely because of what’s beginning to happen out here in the hustings, out where companies are wisely passing on some of their tax savings, out where people are building and buying cars and buying and selling houses, and perhaps understanding that they can live with just about any president who comes through on his promise to supercharge the economy. That’s the tension that will be resolved in coming months.

Meanwhile, Democrats have staked their hopes for taking back Congress this year on a failure of the tax cuts to stimulate the economy, and the alleged unfair tilt of tax reform toward&nbsp;corporations, which looks like a bad bet in the early going. The best thing Trump’s foes can offer is the possibility — and, for them, is it a hope? — that the economic spur provided by the tax cuts, and actions like FCA’s, will peter out after a while and maybe become forgotten. There’s also the rising meme in the media that there’s a danger in all this spending and optimism because Americans are dipping into their savings too much.

Of course, all of that is noise. The reality will unfold, as reality does, on the streets and in the homes of places like Auburn Hills, Sterling Heights, Rochester Hills, Warren, Royal Oak and Lake Orion, Michigan. Fiat Chrysler, its employees, the places that rely on them,&nbsp;and — writ large — the fate of Trump’s presidency depend in large measure on what happens.

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The FCA assembly plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

In a company town for Fiat Chrysler Automotive, we’re about to begin seeing first-hand what difference the Republican tax overhaul could make. The automaker recently joined the long and growing roster of companies that plan to share some of their largesse from the cut in the corporate tax rate with their employees, in the form of a $2,000 bonus paid to 60,000 of its U.S. workers. Add that to optimism FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne recently has expressed about the company’s profitability and future, and 2018 could present a nice upside for the folks.

The majority of those 60,000 employees live north of Detroit in Oakland and Macomb counties, and it’ll be fascinating to see first-hand how FCA’s distribution might goose the local economy in an area that already has been benefiting from strong surges in employment, income, housing values and home sales. That’s not to mention the ongoing effects of lower individual income-tax rates that will benefit the vast majority of those employees.

There’s also good reason for optimism as Marchionne projects positivity about the imminent launch of a new-but-not-radically-new version of the company’s iconic Jeep Wrangler nameplate and, later this year, of an improved version of FCA’s most profitable franchise, the Ram pickup truck.

What ensues in Chrysler Country now also will present an interesting political microcosm as thousands of local “Trump Democrats” and many Republicans face a choice between their personal animus for the man in the Oval Office and the crystallizing benefits of his economic policies to date — which presumably will become apparent in even greater measure going forward.

Despite his “s—hole comments,” the continuation of the Russia investigation on Capitol Hill, and generally abysmal poll ratings, Trump remains afloat politically — and it’s almost entirely because of what’s beginning to happen out here in the hustings, out where companies are wisely passing on some of their tax savings, out where people are building and buying cars and buying and selling houses, and perhaps understanding that they can live with just about any president who comes through on his promise to supercharge the economy. That’s the tension that will be resolved in coming months.

Meanwhile, Democrats have staked their hopes for taking back Congress this year on a failure of the tax cuts to stimulate the economy, and the alleged unfair tilt of tax reform toward corporations, which looks like a bad bet in the early going. The best thing Trump’s foes can offer is the possibility — and, for them, is it a hope? — that the economic spur provided by the tax cuts, and actions like FCA’s, will peter out after a while and maybe become forgotten. There’s also the rising meme in the media that there’s a danger in all this spending and optimism because Americans are dipping into their savings too much.

Of course, all of that is noise. The reality will unfold, as reality does, on the streets and in the homes of places like Auburn Hills, Sterling Heights, Rochester Hills, Warren, Royal Oak and Lake Orion, Michigan. Fiat Chrysler, its employees, the places that rely on them, and — writ large — the fate of Trump’s presidency depend in large measure on what happens.

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