During the campaign cycle, the “one” issue Donald Trump arguably had my personal and populist support for — the only issue — was how he ensured that companies making their products outside this country would pay a tariff to sell that product back in this nation.
Specifically, he was speaking about Carrier because it was then announced the corporation was going to move about 1400 jobs down to Mexico.
While I could in no way support his candidacy due to the rest of Mr. Trump’s baggage, I felt Mr. Trump’s “position of placing a tariff” on those companies shipping jobs to other countries should they try to sell their respective products back in the States, resonated with populists across this land, especially those who felt their jobs were lost due to ineffective trade deals.
Fast forward to Mr. Trump winning the election, and you will recall how Governor Christie from New Jersey was appointed as head of Mr. Trump’s transition team, despite the conviction of two former aides to the Governor on the scandal known as Bridgegate? Then, something radical happened about ten days after the election: Mr. Christie was promptly relieved of his duties as head of the Trump transition team, and Mike Pence, Mr. Trump’s Vice Presidential pick was his replacement.
This seemed odd at first, because Mr. Pence had already made clear that he was going to remain in his position as Governor of the State of Indiana until January 9, 2017. Notwithstanding the oddity of that particular decision by Governor Pence, political analysts like myself began asking: how is it that Mr. Pence can handle the transition team AND continue being Governor? Which job would command his attention?
Enter, the Carrier Corporation jobs deal. Of course, this was not the leading subject in the news cycle this past week, was it? Oh no, far from it. In fact, the story which commanded the media, and the internet’s attention, was how Mr. Trump believes it appropriate for a United States citizen to lose his or her citizenship — or worse — go to jail for one year, should he or she burn the flag.
This in turn generated some of the most feverish debate in the news, media, and on the internet. But please note: THIS was a mere distraction from his taking action on an issue he promised voters in this nation, especially those embracing a populist message! In other words, in influence and persuasion parlance, this was Mr. Trump’s bait!
Why do I say this? Because the Carrier deal is emblematic of how Donald Trump TOLD his supporters and our nation ONE THING during the campaign cycle only to do the exact opposite.
Said Mr. Trump regarding Carrier: “I say to Carrier, if you take your business to Mexico, enjoy your new building, but understand if you want to sell your unit here in the United States you will pay a 35% tax or tariff on that unit.”
People seeking a populist candidate roared with approval! In another speech said Trump, “Politicians throw incentives to these corporations, tax breaks, and they have been working on this for years but the problem never gets solved, because they are DUMB! They don’t know what they are doing.”
So, let’s sum up here: Mr. Trump told the American people in no uncertain terms that HE personally did not agree with providing tax incentives or tax breaks to corporations who decided to move their business over to another country as a means of persuading those corporations to keeping the planned outsourced jobs in this nation. Instead, he believed in imposing a “tariff” which would motivate corporations to remain in the United States. Even after the Carrier deal, Mr. Trump has been doubling down on the his supposed position of the “tariff.”
However, what just took place at Carrier, IS the exact opposite of what Mr. Trump promised his supporters and the American people, and furthermore, Mr. Mike Pence was key in facilitating the deal which in turn provided Mr. Trump the “bragging rights” that he was already keeping his promises from the campaign.
Of course, this did not stop Donald Trump from taking to social media and bragging on how he saved over 1000 jobs from being moved to Mexico at Carrier, and neither did it stop him from embarking on a “Thank You,” tour while touting that supposed accomplishment.
As late as last Thursday, Mr. Trump was still touting his supposed success on the deal, and most media outlets were and continue to report the deal just as Mr. Trump states, with the exception of a few outlets pointing out how Mr. Trump did the exact opposite of what he PROMISED! You know, a campaign promise?
Of course, when Mr. Trump met with Carrier, I would be remiss to not make clear that the Workers Union was left out of these negotiations, and of course, the media was deprived of access to the plant, albeit at the hands of Carrier.
So what happened here, in this deal struck with Carrier? Good question!
According to MSNBC, who obtained their information from United Technology — the parent company which Trump is now alleged to have business interest in no less — Carrier received $7,000,000 dollars in tax INCENTIVES (remember folks, the exact opposite of what he said during the campaign) in exchange to keep “roughly 800 jobs in Indiana.”
Please re-read that last portion again, and I will assist by printing: In exchange for the roughly 800 jobs Mr. Trump persuaded Carrier to keep in Indiana, SEVEN MILLION DOLLARS IN TAX INCENTIVES were paid to Carrier. But wait! Mr. Trump is not President yet, despite the several talking heads of conservative persuasion calling him so, now is he? No! So, who paid the seven million dollars? Ready folks? The taxpayers of Indiana.
Seven million dollars to save roughly 800 jobs. This, despite the candidate swearing in rallies “how he would place a tariff on companies if they relocated to other countries and then tried to sell their products over in this nation. This, after Mr. Trump railed against tax incentives to keep companies here and stated in no uncertain terms how “he would make America great again,” by imposing said tariff, as well as engaging in the other actions which many Americans simply cannot swallow.
Of course, Mr. Trump never told us what he would do with his own gaudy necktie company which manufacturers his company’s product over in China, now did he? Neither does this action explain how in the world Donald J Trump “can negotiate the best deals,” as he promised during the campaign cycle and come up short in the Carrier deal, this when even Fortune writes that, “While Trump says he is the great negotiator, the evidence suggests otherwise.”
While I applaud the fact that 800 families still have jobs and are able to maintain their way of life, I want each of you to remember: 7 MILLION in exchange for 800 jobs? Does that sound like a great negotiated deal? Not!
But here is another question: How much of that seven million was provided to the employees? Did they get a cut in the deal, or are Trump supporters just going to tell us, “those employees ought to be grateful they still have jobs?” I am sure they are, however the core message of a populist is how corporations are getting wealthier at the expense of those who work for them. While I am not a proponent of socialism, I do hope these employees got some sort of bonus for going through all of this emotional turmoil!
And of course, the media has not been discussing in detail — until yesterday — how the President-Elect is doing “nothing different” than the politicians he termed, “dumb” during the campaign.
Mr. Trump’s flag statement was nothing more than a diversion to keep Americans from seeing how this deal went down. Thankfully, Mr. Sanders — former Democratic candidate — pointed in his Op-Ed how Mr. Trump just paved the way for other corporations to now extort him. All they need do is say: We are moving jobs overseas, and Mr. Trump will gladly provide them with an incentive too.
The worst part? Mr. Trump’s supporters see nothing wrong with this, and would probably argue how “all politicians don’t keep campaign promises.”
There is one problem with that however, and that is Mr. Trump is no ordinary politician now, is he?