On Thursday, President-elect Donald Trump visited Carrier Corp. in Indiana and claimed victory for a deal that, according to The Wall Street Journal, will result in 800 factory jobs staying in Indianapolis that had been slated to go to Mexico. Carrier still plans to move 600 jobs from that plant to Mexico, plus 700 more from a factory in nearby Huntington owned by Carrier's parent company, United Technologies. In return, Indiana will give United Technologies $7 million in tax breaks and other financial incentives over 10 years, and Carrier will invest some $16 million in Indiana. Carrier said Wednesday the "incentives" were "an important consideration" in its decision.
The deal was hammered out by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the vice president-elect, who seemed as surprised as Trump that Carrier agreed to reverse itself on outsourcing the jobs. Not everyone thinks $7 million in tax breaks is a good trade for 800 jobs, especially since 1,300 United Technologies jobs are still leaving for Mexico (Carrier also gets credit in the deal for keeping 300 white collar jobs in Indiana that were not leaving). And the criticism comes from both the right and left.
Trump's "Carrier shakedown is a short-term political victory that will hurt workers and the economy if it becomes the norm for the next four years," says The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. Along with his Ford bullying, "Trump has now muscled his way into at least two corporate decisions about where and how to do business. But who would you rather have making a decision about where to make furnaces or cars? A company whose profitability depends on making good decisions, or a branding executive turned politician who wants to claim political credit?"
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) would pick the president, and in a Washington Post op-ed, he took issue with Trump's tactics, not his meddling. Trump has promised to threaten businesses who outsource jobs with a 35 percent tariff — The Wall Street Journal finds this horrifying — but "instead of a damn tax, the company will be rewarded with a damn tax cut," Sanders wrote. "Wow! How's that for standing up to corporate greed? How's that for punishing corporations that shut down in the United States and move abroad? In essence, United Technologies took Trump hostage and won. And that should send a shock wave of fear through all workers across the country." You can hear more of Sanders' critique in the MSNBC interview below. Peter Weber