On Carrier deal, what just happened with media really is crazy

Trump Twitter Thank you Ohio

On Trump’s Twitter page, he wrote, “Thank you Ohio! Together, we made history – and now, the real work begins. America will start winning again! #AmericaFirst” Media are having difficulties adjusting to a president who puts the US first. (Snip: @realDonaldTrump on Twitter)

It’s no secret most US establishment media on right and left preferred another Clinton term to a President Donald Trump administration. The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post—all of these media were hysterically critical about Trump the candidate.

Election acrimony is nothing new. What is new, and what really is crazy about media at this moment, is the criticism being directed at Trump over a deal with Carrier. Carrier agreed to keep approximately 1,000 jobs in the United States instead of moving those jobs to Mexico. That deal followed a deal with Ford to continue to make an SUV model in the US instead of sending jobs to Mexico.

How crazy did the response to Trump’s deal get? 

Trump

Photo of Donald Trump via The Remembrance Project

In a normal world where the everyday American has value, Trump’s deals would be praised. Instead, media are attacking him.

That is really really crazy.

One editorial at predictably left of center Yahoo News was penned by a finance writer who opined, “What happened with Carrier is crazy.” 

The writer went on to compare Trump’s deal—reportedly coming in at around $7 million in tax incentives spread over a period of years—to “megadeals” so generous the per job cost for those big deals came in at around $456,000 a year.

The Yahoo story linked to a study on “giant job subsidy packages.” That study linked to a spreadsheet. Apparently the Yahoo finance writer didn’t look at the spreadsheet because the data actually make Trump look pretty smart.

The vast majority of the deals in the study topped $100 million. There were a couple deals with Grow New Jersey—one was worth $12,831,765 for 723 jobs. Another was worth $33,599,000 for 1,050 jobs. Those were two of the smallest deals. Many others listed on the spread sheet were like a deal for aerospace production—1800 jobs for a deal offering $500 million.

Good Jobs First, the site containing the study the Yahoo writer cited, explained in a summary:

“In dollar terms, New York is spending the most, with megadeals totaling $11.4 billion. Next is Michigan with $7.1 billion, followed by five states in the $3 billion range: Oregon, New Mexico, Washington, Louisiana, and Texas.”

Compared to those figures, a $7 million deal spread over years is one heckuva deal.

Incentive packages are standard practice in today’s global marketplace where developed countries like the US compete against “developing” (ahem) countries like China.

Governors routinely negotiate incentives as a carrot, often offering tax breaks as a factor in the deal.

The Carrier and Ford deals, however, aren’t just all about incentives in my opinion. Some media have accused Trump of “arm twisting.” I’d say “arm twisting” has long been part of deals whether you’re buying a house as an individual or or a finance guru sealing a deal with a public company.

What most media ignore is the fact the forthcoming Trump administration has established a positive attitude towards business in general, the exact opposite of the attitude in Washington since President Barack Obama took office.

When a president’s administration targets a guitar manufacturer—sending in federal officers in tactical gear, no less—because of the design of fingerboards on imported wood, that sends a very negative signal to any corporation. When an administration targets, via the Dept. of Labor, a trucking company because the company let two employees go for valid reasons, that sends a terrible signal to any corporation. The trucking company carried deliveries of alcohol. Two employees refused to deliver it. In came the feds, claiming discrimination.

What is crazy about Trump’s negotiations with Carrier? The stone cold deafness of political class media who have no idea what it is like for a person to sit at her table while trying to figure out how to pay bills once her job heads south of the US border.

Right now, workers who manufacture that SUV at Ford and the roughly 1,000 employees at Carrier are probably not questioning Trump’s ability to negotiate. Those workers, unlike the pundit and wonk class, live in the real world. This president-elect hasn’t even been inaugurated yet, and he is already fulfilling promises he made to the people who supported him and to some who didn’t.

The man who said he’d put America First actually did what he promised. That, in the scheme of politics past, is crazy crazy.

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Dec. 2, 2016)

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About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.
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