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January 25 2018

Walt Disney Heiress Thrashed Tax Reform, but Disney Company Gives Employees Tax Reform Bonuses, Investments

by Patrice Lee Onwuka

Before, the tax reform bill was passed a Disney heiress slammed the bill as only benefiting the wealthy like her.

In light of the Walt Disney Company’s announcement this week that it was giving 125,000 employees a $1,000 bonus and investing over $50 billion in their education and training – because of the GOP tax reform bill passed at the end of last year – we revisit what this Disney heiress had to say about the bill. Her predictions could not have been more wrong.

Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of Walt Disney Company co-founder Roy O. Disney, is a self-described rebel of the Disney family. Last December, she came out swinging against the tax reform bill in a video for Huffington Post.

Disney made claims about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that turned out to be misleading or just plain false:

  1. Claim: “You might have heard it called a “tax cut.” And yes, it is a very fat tax cut for me along with some other people and corporations mostly in the 1%. But it’s probably not going to be a meaningful tax cut for you.”
    False: Some 90 percent of workers who receive a paycheck will likely see more take-home pay as early as February according to the U.S. Treasury and IRS because of lower taxes rates, new tax brackets, a near doubling of the standard deduction, and the elimination of exemptions from tax reform. The left-leaning Tax Policy Center found that over 80 percent of tax units will receive a tax cut of $2,140 on average, while just 4.8 percent of units will see a tax hike. The Washington Post gave two Pinocchios to a statement from a senator who claimed tax cuts wouldn’t help people living in her state over the long-run. It’s a big short-term tax cut that will likely be extended by Congress into the future.
     
  2. Claim: “This bill will give me this tax cut while also killing health insurance for over 13 million people.”
    Misleading: The bill did not stop health care coverage for 13 million people. It ended the unpopular individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) that taxed Americans who did not have healthcare coverage in the previous year. Currently, that penalty is the higher of $695 or 2.5 percent of AGI. This tax was a burden on middle class and poor Americans. According to IRS data, 79 percent of taxpayers who pay the mandate tax make less than $50,000 and 37 percent make less than $25,000. Americans may choose not to purchase healthcare as a result.
     
  3. Claim: “You can say goodbye to any of the state and local taxes you write-off.”
    False: The deduction for state and local taxes paid on your federal returns was maintained although capped at $10,000.
     
  4. Claim: “And if you’re a teacher, you can goodbye to writing off school supplies.”
    False: The final tax bill maintained the $250 tax deduction that teachers can use for classroom supplies. The House version of the tax bill stripped it out, but the Senate version actually proposed doubling the deduction to $500. Congress landed n just keeping it as is. Disney must have gotten her information from the same place that “The Office” actress Jenna Fischer did. Fischer had to apologize for using outdated talking points to rile people up.

Not only was Disney wrong on a lot of facts, because the bill didn’t end up being the wealth give-away she toted, but it triggered surprising corporate giveaways that are helping millions of American workers.

Corporations like her family business have announced cash bonuses, paid leave benefits, salary increases, hiring, investments in continuing education, and more for their workers. Abigail Disney should check out this growing list.

More importantly, the social mobility she describes as the backbone of the American Dream that her dad achieved is possible because corporations are allowed to grow and thrive by less burdensome taxes and regulations – not (just) public investment.

Let’s see if Abigail Disney will put out a new video that clarifies her statements from this one. Even admitting that she was proven wrong, does not hurt her and it’s a chance to highlight the great news for the many workers at her family business and families across the nation who are better off because of tax reform.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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