On Wednesday, President-elect Donald Trump delivered on a campaign promise to prevent HVAC systems manufacturer, Carrier, from transferring 1,100 manufacturing jobs from Indianapolis, Indiana to Mexico.
What Trump won’t be tweeting in between reviews of SNL episodes and Broadway musicals is that Carrier will still be moving 600 Indianapolis jobs to Mexico. Carrier’s parent company, United Technologies, will also close their Huntington, Indiana plant.
1,100 jobs saved is a great headline. It’s also inaccurate. The Trump deal saves 800 union jobs. Receiving confirmation from Carrier, CNN reported Trump and the company are including 300 administrative and engineering jobs that were never in danger of leaving. Hold on, it gets better.
Team Trump saved 800 jobs by providing Carrier $7 million in subsidies, paid for by the taxpayers of Indiana over ten years. It clearly doesn’t hurt that Trump’s VP-elect is current Indiana Governor Mike Pence.
Trump’s deal could be viewed as crony capitalism, something Trump supporting-Mama grizzly and former Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin was quick to point out on Friday.
“When government steps in arbitrarily with individual subsidies, favoring one business over others, it sets inconsistent, unfair illogical precedent,” Palin wrote for the Young Conservatives.
Agreeing with Sarah Palin is yet another head-scratching 2016 moment in which I find myself.
What does this mean for the future? Two other companies, Manitowoc and Rexnord, have also announced plans to move Indiana-based plants to Mexico.
On Sunday, Trump unleashed his economic policy in a fury of tweets, stating the U.S. would “…substantialy [sic] reduce taxes and regulations on businesses.” PEOTUS also threatened any company that moved production out of the country would face a 35% tariff on goods coming into the U.S.
Was Carrier aware of these provisions when they made their deal with Trump?
Trump previously mentioned the possibility of a 35% tariff in September when discussing Ford moving production of its small cars to Mexico (a move which Ford said would not lose American jobs).
A 35% tariff on Ford for the year of 2016 would total $2.8 billion, which far exceeds their most recent quarter’s profits of $1 billion. You can guarantee the difference will be made up by the American consumer through higher prices.
The very clear loophole in Trump’s Twitter economic policy is companies could establish new plants in foreign countries, working around the 35% tax on goods for moving plants out of the U.S.
Maybe this guy needs to spend less time watching Saturday Night Live and re-reading The Art of the Deal before January 20th.