Donald Trump, who claimed to be uniquely positioned to fight special interests in Washington and vowed to crack down hard on companies that send jobs overseas, is now taking credit for cutting a deal that epitomizes corporate socialism at the expense of American taxpayers.
The details of the agreement he brokered with Carrier to keep some of the 2,100 manufacturing jobs the company had planned to move to Monterrey, Mexico – where workers typically make $19 per day – are still hazy. But CNBC reports that it entails “new inducements” for the company, arranged by Indiana Governor and vice president-elect Mike Pence, in exchange for keeping what CNN says will be “nearly 1,000” jobs in the Hoosier State.
Trump is flying to Indiana tomorrow to hail his great negotiating skills. But make no mistake, using tax dollars to bribe the company is nothing like what he promised on the stump. In March, The New York Times reported that Trump “cited Carrier again and again on the campaign trail, threatening to phone executives at the company and its parent, United Technologies, and to hit them with 35 percent tariffs on any furnaces and air-conditioners they imported from Mexico. To the cheers of his supporters, he predicted at rallies that Carrier would call him up as president and say, ‘Sir, we’ve decided to stay in the United States.’” One Carrier worker who supported Trump specifically because of that promise told the Times, “If he doesn’t pass that tariff, I will vote the other way next time.” But Trump appears to have abandoned talk of steep tariffs – which would likely lead to retaliatory measures by countries that import U.S. goods – and was instead talking to Carrier officials about easing regulations once he took office. Pence then arranged a package of new incentives from the state, according to reports.
Trump will no doubt be lionized by his supporters for “saving” those jobs, but dig down a bit and it’s clear that this deal represents the worst kind of corporate welfare. First, Carrier, and United Technologies, are already heavily subsidized by the government – and many of those subsidies were specifically dedicated to keeping the very jobs it threatened to offshore here at home.