Da trumpeter is patting himself on the back today. He pats himself on the back entirely too much, for one with such small hands. Today, on the surface, it might seem as if he has good reason, but before you jump on his bandwagon marked “praise da trumpeter”, let us look at the whole picture.
Donald J. Trump had been vowing for months on the campaign trail to call the head of Carrier from the Oval Office and hit the company with huge tariffs if it followed through on its decision to close two Indiana factories and move more than 2,000 jobs to Mexico. “This is so easy,” he told cheering crowds last spring. “It’s not presidential when the president calls up the head of a damn air-conditioning company, but it’s so much fun for me.” Well, today Trump is patting himself on the back and tooting his horn loudly. On Wednesday, Carrier issued the following press release:
“We have negotiated an agreement with the incoming administration that we believe benefits our workers, the state of Indiana and our company.
We are announcing today that Carrier will continue to manufacture gas furnaces in Indianapolis, in addition to retaining engineering and headquarters staff, preserving more than 1,000 jobs.
Today’s announcement is possible because the incoming Trump-Pence administration has emphasized to us its commitment to support the business community and create an improved, more competitive U.S. business climate. The incentives offered by the state were an important consideration.
This agreement in no way diminishes our belief in the benefits of free trade and that the forces of globalization will continue to require solutions for the long-term competitiveness of the U.S. and of American workers moving forward.”
The keyword here is in the last sentence of the third paragraph: incentives. The incentives will cost the taxpayers of Indiana $7 million. And even with that, the Wall Street Journal reports that Carrier “still plans to move 600 jobs from the Carrier plant to Mexico,” plus moving another 700 other jobs that will be lost when it closes a separate plant in Huntington, Ind. In other words, under Trump’s alleged triumph, Carrier is shipping 1,300 jobs from Indiana to Mexico, even as it receives millions of dollars from the taxpayers of Indiana. In fact, the deal keeps about 800 of the 2,100 jobs that were scheduled to relocate, in Indiana.
The news, according to the Indiana Star, was greeted by some with a sigh of relief, and by others with concern and skepticism. Some fear that they will be forced to make concessions, such as lower pay, additional responsibilities or something else.
Trump had initially threatened to impose a 35% tariff on businesses that relocated jobs outside the U.S., and his supporters applauded that. But what they apparently were not considering was that the consumers would pay for that tariff in the form of higher product prices. At the same time, Trump had criticized government efforts to keep businesses and therefore jobs, in the U.S. by offering incentives such as tax breaks. Yet, this is exactly what led to Carrier’s decision to maintain approximately 1,000 jobs in Indiana. Now the concern among some analysts is that other companies will see this as an opportunity, whether they had plans to outsource jobs or not, to receive incentives to keep their operations based in the U.S. A valid concern, I believe. In the words of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, “In essence, United Technologies [Carrier’s parent company] took Trump hostage and won.”
One might ask, also, if Mr. Trump plans to bring his own companies back to the U.S., or if he will be charging himself a 35% tariff? Funny, isn’t it, how this isn’t talked about much, but it is a legitimate question.
- The Donald J. Trump Collection includes ties, suits, dress shirts, eyeglasses and other accessories. Trump shirts were made in China, Bangladesh, Honduras and Vietnam. Some Trump sport coats are made in India.
- Trump Home products has a range of items, including chandeliers, mirrors, bedding, table lamps, cabinets, sofas, barstools, cocktail tables and more, some of which are made in Turkey, China, India, and Slovenia.
So, might we expect Trump to actually put his money where his mouth is, or do the rules, as he has said about other things, not apply to him?
Trump is, according to all reports, gleefully gloating, giving himself kudos, and even taking a ‘victory tour’ through the Midwest, beginning, of all places, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Here is how he spent his time in Cincinnati: he encouraged chants of “Lock her up” by invoking Hillary Clinton’s name, incited boos of home state Governor John Kasich, mocked independent candidate Evan McMullin as a nobody and spent close to four minutes attacking the “nasty, dishonest press.” This is presidential behaviour??? Can anyone imagine President Obama doing this? Can we all imagine what the critics would have to say about President Obama if he acted in this fashion? Even if Trump had done a wonderful thing, and in my opinion, he did not, such childish, juvenile behaviour would be extremely inappropriate and decidedly un-presidential!
The jury is out on the Carrier deal, as far as this writer is concerned. The governor of Indiana could have just as easily worked the deal for Carrier to retain approximately 1,000 jobs in exchange for $7 million of taxpayer money. That said, I imagine a relative few in Indiana will sleep a bit better tonight, and that is a good thing, though they need to thank the taxpayers of Indiana rather than Mr. Trump. As for his ‘victory tour’ … I see it as just another opportunity for the narcissist to toot his horn, or blow his trumpet, if you will.