December 03, 2016

Maybe Trump will tie both parties, and #neoliberals, into knots on #freetrade (updated)

Most people have heard about the keeping of 1,000 850 Carrier jobs in the US, with the flip side of approximately $7 million in incentives for Carrier's parent company, United Technologies. (It should be noted that the deal doesn't save as many jobs in the US as Trump first claimed, but, does require Carrier to make new investments in the Indiana plant.)

Setting aside issues of the military-industrial complex, it seems the biggest mouth-foamers on this one (Kevin Drum was the first I saw) are majority neoliberals, follow by people who, whether neoliberal or not, would be identified as Democratic Party apparatchiks above all.

Well, Trumpy ain't done yet.

First, he's targeted another company, Rexnord, that has announced plans to move jobs to Mexico. This one, like Carrier, is headquartered in Indiana, which makes one wonder how much power to cut deals like the Carrier one Trump will have after Jan. 20, 2017, when Mike Pence becomes vice president and stops being governor of Indiana. No matter. That bridge will be crossed then.

Second, and in clear disagreement with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Trump has openly espoused a "buy American" requirement for iron and steel in water infrastructure projects. Yes, per the story, he's arguably hypocritical, as his skyscrapers have used imported steel.

So what? If he wins this battle, it will send out shock waves. First, by the number of Congressional Democrats that are already supporting him, Trump may force those Party apparatchiks to do what they don't want to do on their own — accept non-free trader, non-hardcore neolibertarians into party leadership, and apropos the just finished presidential primaries, to accept them as candidates, as well.

As the likes of Matt Stoller have already said on Twitter, Trump may well actually deliver more on jobs protection than Obama promised.

And, on cost savings from federal contractors, too.

It remains to be seen how it pans out, but, The Donald bashing Boeing over estimated costs for a new Air Force One is refreshing. (And, contra Politico, on paper at least, more robust than Presidents Obama or Clinton on the Democratic side.)

And, even St. Bernard of Sanders is wrong on this one, and I presume acting as Democratic (because he really is a Democrat) apparatchik first, labor backer second.

As Stoller has also noted, as have others, in the case of Carrier, presidential administrations both Democrat and Republican have given trade preferences to defense-related industries. And (although I disagree with them) states and municipalities have long had economic incentive grants. Bet you did as Burlington mayor, Bernie.

Survey says?

Per this piece, Mayor Bernie supported a bond issue that helped benefit a high-end development. When it didn't get a two-thirds majority, he used an eminent-domain lawsuit in conjunction with the state. Per The Nation (which mentions part of the Lake Champlain development but "overlooks" the suit) Bernie provided seed money for start-up businesses. The Nation also says he "helped" other businesses, not just start-ups, but again, no details, except in one case where it says he "provided capital." This was all part of the Community and Economic Development Office that Sanders created as mayor.

Yes, Bernie did help nonprofits, help get affordable housing, and more, but! He gave already established businesses money — possibly after hints they'd move elsewhere or something.

And we haven't even mentioned Senator Sanders voting to increase federal handouts to Big Ag dairy farmers, and Rep. and Sen. Sanders lusting after F-35s.

Of course, when other people are having buyer's regret over voting for a man whose Treasury Secretary-designee foreclosed on their houses during the Great Recession (setting aside that the woman in question induced her own moral hazard by buying the property in the SoCal bubble market for rental income), things will be very fluid politically for some time. That itself is generally good.

And, even there, blame Obama's Treasury Secretary, Tim Geither, and Obama himself, for setting up an alleged "bailout" plan for homebuyers that was really a way to launder more money to banksters. Trump is replacing an incrementalist and knocked off another; again, the fluidity is generally good, IMO.

And, Trump might upend the GOP as well. Paul Ryan's Wisconsin district has a fair amount of blue-collar workers. If he opposes Trump on issues like this repeatedly, I would in no way be surprised if Trump tried to get Ryan "primaried" in 2018.

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