For the second time as president-elect, Donald Trump has saved hundreds of American jobs, this time at a Carrier plant in Indiana. Trump took to Twitter to spike the football before returning to his regularly scheduled refugee-bashing.
Trump is reading from the Cory Booker Book of Political Optics here, swooping in to save the day and making sure the cameras are on when he gets there. And it seems to be working. Here, for instance, is The New York Times on What It All Means:
It also signals that Mr. Trump is a different kind of Republican, willing to take on big business, at least in individual cases.
And just as only a confirmed anti-Communist like Richard Nixon could go to China, so only a businessman like Mr. Trump could take on corporate America without being called a Bernie Sanders-style socialist. If Barack Obama had tried the same maneuver, he’d probably have drawn criticism for intervening in the free market.
In exchange for keeping the factory running in Indianapolis, Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence are expected to reiterate their campaign pledges to be friendlier to businesses by easing regulations and overhauling the corporate tax code, according to a spokeswoman for Mr. Trump.
This is triumphant language—Trump in Indiana is the new Nixon in China, breaking new frontiers on behalf of the American worker. Except that’s not really what happened at all.
Trump’s pledge to be “friendlier to businesses by easing regulations and overhauling the corporate tax code” means that the 1,000 jobs Trump reportedly saved—1,000 are still going to Mexico—are now going to be used as a wedge to pass a massive tax cut that will overwhelmingly benefit the Carrier workers’ bosses, while the “easing” of regulations could hurt their ability to make a living wage, stay safe at work, keep their jobs, or all three. So Trump went to Indiana with a deal that benefited the people who wanted to move jobs to Mexico—and are still moving 1,000 jobs there—and declared it a victory for workers when it’s a victory for their bosses.
And by negotiating with Carrier in the first place, Trump is also signaling to businesses around the country that they can get huge tax cuts and regulatory breaks for the small price of 1,000 jobs—a pretty good deal in many cases. American business owners can now treat their workers as hostages, demanding that the president of the United States pay them ransom in the form of tax breaks and other favorable policies.