UPDATE: Trump has found a new target:
Rexnord of Indiana is moving to Mexico and rather viciously firing all of its 300 workers. This is happening all over our country. No more!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 3, 2016
This is political gold if he keeps it up. Just like with political correctness, Trump can have a major impact just by running his mouth on Twitter and generating news cycles.
Before we get into that, John Cassidy in The New Yorker:
“Still, it would be dangerous for Democrats to dismiss the Carrier deal as merely a stunt. Three weeks after his election victory, Trump has confirmed that, in the key area of the economy and jobs, he doesn’t intend to abandon his aggressive campaign rhetoric. In place of the traditional Republican bromides about the wonders of the free market and free trade, he’s using a language of economic nativism and nationalism that harkens back to Pat Buchanan in the nineteen-nineties, when the current wave of globalization was just kicking into high gear. And not just that. Trump is making it personal, singling out individual corporations and chief executives for cajoling and threats. …”
We’re already in a good place if Bernie Sanders is trying to up the ante on Trump by calling for tariffs to keep White working class jobs in the United States. That’s a big improvement over the neo-liberal status quo. By voting for Trump is such overwhelming numbers, the White working class has new political power.
“One particularly tough and indigestible nugget of talk-radio stupidity afflicting the guts of conservatism is the idea that there is some sort of fundamental difference between bribing a business with tax cuts and bribing it with a wheelbarrow full of cash. The Trump-Pence bailout of Carrier’s operations in Indiana provides an illustrative case. …”
Hey look, the White working class communities ought to die guy who writes for National Review isn’t happy about the Carrier deal, so that is a clear sign Trump has scored a political victory.
“In September of 2015, I wrote a G-File on how Trump’s popularity was corrupting conservatism. Then, almost exactly a year ago, I wrote a “news”letter arguing that Donald Trump’s cult of personality is corrupting conservatism. It was titled, “Trump’s Cult of Personality Is Corrupting Conservatism.” Then last March, I wrote about how many lifelong conservatives seemed like pod-people in the Invasion of the Body Snatchers, changing positions and attitudes almost overnight as Trump gained in popularity. The more traction Trump got, the weaker the grip traditional conservative ideology had on quite a few famous ideologues. …
If the only casualties of a Trump presidency were the opportunists, courtiers, and comment-section trolls, I’d be pretty giddy. But this Carrier decision shows that the damage will not be nearly so surgical. The rot is already setting in. (You knew the recap thing at the beginning of this “news”letter meant I would return to the subject of corruption, right?) As a political act, it is very, very easy to exaggerate the economic importance of the Carrier intervention. It’s less than a thousand jobs. Save for the workers and families directly involved, it’s all symbolism. …
Trump’s Carrier intervention may just send an equally loud, but nearly opposite signal: that the White House is going to pick winners and losers, that it can be rolled, that industrial policy is back, that Trump cares more about seeming like a savior than sticking to clear and universal rules, and that there is now no major political party in America that rejects crony capitalism as a matter of principle. After all, don’t expect the GOP to recycle the language it used for the bailouts, Cash for Clunkers, Solyndra, etc., when it comes to Carrier. The RNC belongs to Trump …”
Save for the workers and their families as we approach Christmas … When you have lost Jonah Goldberg, you have lost Middle America.
“A giant flaw in President Obama’s economic policy has been the politicized allocation of capital, from green energy to housing. Donald Trump suffers from a similar industrial-policy temptation, as we’ve seen this week with his arm-twisting of Carrier to change its decision to move a plant to Mexico from Indiana.
Carrier announced Wednesday that it will retain about 1,000 jobs in Indianapolis that would have moved to Mexico over the next three years, and on Thursday Mr. Trump held a rally at the plant and claimed…”
If anyone knows what makes the White working class prosper, it is The Wall Street Journal editorial board. Just ask the White working class in the Rust Belt!
“The fatal conceit of any populist movement is that it is non-ideological. It is entirely practical, its advocates insist. It has no use for theoreticians and philosophers. After all, what have they ever produced? The urgency of the present crisis demands of us the resolve to use every tool in the toolbox. What crisis, you ask? And what tools? The questions alone betray a suspicious lack of revolutionary consciousness. They mark the incredulous inquisitor as unfit to share the fruits of the new enlightenment. These sentiments aren’t anything to celebrate. When ideology, and the thoughtfulness that goes into its development, becomes a convenient scapegoat, you’re entering into a dangerous period. …
Trump ran for the presidency not only as a new kind of Republican who owed no fealty to conservatism—the party’s guiding ethos since at least the Reagan administration and perhaps earlier—but as someone who was outright hostile toward the philosophy. Trump’s war on ideology has entered a new phase with a salvo aimed squarely at conservatism’s central pillar: free-market economics. …”
Noah Rothman is one of those pundits whose track record shows he doesn’t know shit about anything in the world, but who nevertheless chimes in on many subjects and gets paid a lot for it. I’ve always found him to be a useful barometer of the conservative conventional wisdom on Twitter.
“There’s no doubt Team Trump is delighted by Carrier’s decision to keep in Indiana roughly half of the 2,100 jobs that the maker of heating and air conditioning equipment had planned to shift to Mexico. As Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s pick for treasury secretary, told CNBC yesterday, “This is a great first win without us even having to take the job.”
Actually, it’s their second win. Trump also lobbied/nudged/cajoled Ford into changing its mind about shifting a sport utility vehicle production line to Mexico from Kentucky, not that doing so actually would have cost American jobs. But Carrier, especially, had become a potent symbol of Trump’s economic nationalism after video of Carrier’s initial offshoring decision went viral. And in response to Carrier’s reversal, Trump took a victory lap on Twitter: “Big day on Thursday for Indiana and the great workers of that wonderful state. We will keep our companies and jobs in the U.S. Thanks Carrier.”
But how many Trump “wins” can the American economy afford?
I’m usually in favor of virtually everything James Pethokoukis opposes. He called Trump’s Carrier speech “absolutely chilling” on CNBC so make of that what you will.
Note: BTW, there wasn’t anything really new about the Carrier deal. Southern state governments have been luring and retaining industries with tax incentives and right-to-work laws for decades now. We’ve long been practicing an “industrial policy.”