With his deal to keep Carrier's factory in Indianapolis open, Donald Trump has fulfilled a big campaign promise, saved 1,100 highly paid American jobs—and, once again, created an enormous controversy. Carrier, which had planned to shift production to Mexico, will receive at least $7 million in financial incentives from Indiana. Critics say this sets a dangerous precedent, and wonder whether Trump is planning to make deals with every company that threatens to move jobs overseas. A round-up of coverage:
- Trump praised the deal in a visit to the factory Thursday, CBS reports. "Companies are not going to leave the United States anymore without consequences. It’s not gonna happen," he said.
- United Technologies, Carrier's parent company, "took Trump hostage and won. And that should send a shock wave of fear through all workers across the country," Bernie Sanders writes in a Washington Post op-ed. With the deal, he writes Trump has endangered previously safe jobs by signaling "to every corporation in America that they can threaten to offshore jobs in exchange for business-friendly tax benefits and incentives."
- White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters the deal is "obviously good news," but hardly comparable to the 804,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector he said President Obama created, the Guardian reports. Trump would need to "make 804 more announcements just like that" to equal what Obama did, Earnest said.
- Trump revealed to Carrier workers that despite his promise to keep jobs there, he hadn't really been talking about that particular factory. "I said Carrier will never leave," he said. "But that was a euphemism. I was talking about Carrier like all the other companies from here on in." He said he decided to get on the phone to execs anyway "because of the love affair I’ve had—this has been a very special state to us."
- Jimmy Pethokoukis, an analyst at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, didn't pull his punches in an interview with CNBC. He said Trump's remarks were the worst economic speech since Walter Mondale's attack on Reaganomics in 1984. He says it is "absolutely chilling" that American corporations will now have to make business decisions based on "fear of punitive actions based on who knows what criteria exactly from a presidential administration."
- NPR notes that United Technologies makes a lot of money from government contracts, suggesting "strong-arm" tactics played a role in the deal. Analysts including George Mason University professor of economics Tyler Cowen, a libertarian, warns that "crony capitalism" could prevail under Trump, with plenty of rewards flowing to companies that please the president.
- But at the Carrier plant itself, the mood is unsurprisingly jubilant—and pro-Trump. The announcement was a "Christmas miracle," Jeffery Blackford, who was worked for the company for 25 years, tells the Indianapolis Star, which reports that under the deal, the average wage will be $30.91 an hour. "Hopefully this right here will be a start of a new beginning, where we can stop manufacturing from leaving this country."
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