Maybe Heidi Heitkamp’s State of the Union Guest Wishes She’d Voted for Tax Reform

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, Democrat from North Dakota, addresses a crowd at the F-M Labor Temple in Fargo on Monday, Aug. 15. Robin Huebner / The Forum

Part of the political theater surrounding the annual State of the Union address is politicians making hay with the guests they invite. Case in point, to this week’s address, Senator Heidi Heitkamp invited Dennis Kooren. He’s a former UPS driver who has been “a leader of the effort to protect the pensions of North Dakota workers and retirees,” according to the Bismarck Tribune.

Today Mr. Kooren’s former employer announced $12 billion in new investments including a $5 billion contribution to the company’s three employee pension plans, an amount that works out to about $13,000 per employee.

The reason UPS is making this investment?

The tax reform bill.

You know, the one Senator Heitkamp voted against.

“This $12 billion investment program is an outgrowth of the opportunity for tax savings created by the Tax and Jobs Act,” said David Abney, UPS Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said in a statement. “We will increase network investments and accelerate pension funding to strengthen the company for the long term, so that we maximize the benefit to our global customers, employees and shareowners.”

UPS isn’t the only company increasing investments in its employees, including in contributions to pensions, but the fact that the company which once employed Heitkamp’s State of the Union guest is making those investments as a result of the bill Heitkamp is trying to convince us all wouldn’t help middle class Americans is some high octane irony.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and the host of the Rob (Re)Port on Fargo-based WDAY AM970 from noon-2pm weekdays.

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