May 14, 2018
I seldom go inside a post office. I like to drop off letters in the big blue box from the comfort of my car. Recently this changed. As I was about to run some errands, I asked my wife if she needed me to get anything. She mentioned a roll of stamps might be nice. I hate to admit it, but I had to ask her the cost of a stamp, as it turns out that “forever” is not a price. Ready with a $50.00 bill, I walked into my local post office confident I could afford to purchase the requested stamps. I expected a mad house of people waiting in line to send packages. To my surprise and delight, there was not a single customer there. What a lucky day for me (maybe I should have bought a lottery ticket as well). I walked towards the counter and overheard a most unusual conversation between two female postal workers.
Julie :”Hey, Liz did we get a raise?”
Liz: “What do you mean, Julie?”
Julie: “We got paid today and my pay check is up a little over $100.00!”
Liz: “Are you kidding me? I’m going to go check with our supervisor.”
As I began my assigned stamp transaction, Liz returned from the back.
Liz: “Julie, the boss said no raise but the tax rates were adjusted.”
Julie: “What do you mean?”
I could not hold it in any more and mumbled something about Trump being the one to thank for that.
Liz: “What do you mean thank Trump?”
I responded carefully, aware of the ever present risk of someone actually going postal in a post office. I explained that Congress had recently passed a new tax bill under Trump’s leadership. The bill lowered tax rates for a lot of people, and that was likely why their pay checks had gone up.
The response was a simple shrug of the shoulders, so I got my stamps and started to walk out. As I was leaving, I overheard my two postal workers discussing what they were going to do with the extra cash. It seemed that WalMart might be getting some new traffic over the next several days.
I share this with you because small events, when manifested millions of times, can lead to meaningful outcomes. We are getting more and more reports that trends for spending and job creation in the US economy are really positive. Economic data is the collective actions of millions of folks. If you want a job you can get one. If you want to buy a house, get in line. The unemployment claims for laid off workers is the lowest it has been in over 14 years. If postal workers are beginning to feel the effects of more money in their paycheck, it should not be any surprise that the frequency of shopping trips to the mall or the internet is going to go to stay high.