The bad economics of Trump's Carrier deal

The private sector has just been sent a strong signal that playing ball with Trump might be part of what it now means to run an American company

Don't get too excited.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

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."

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