Sign of Things to Come?

Friday, Nov 25, 2016 –

Is President Trump going to personally strong-arm companies into doing what he wants?


The Associated Press reports:

  • Trump talked of saving jobs on Thanksgiving in his own tweet.
  • During the presidential campaign he often cited Carrier’s decision last February to relocate some 1,400 jobs to its plant in Mexico as an example of jobs leaving the country — and how he as president would slap a tax on any units manufactured in Mexico and sold in the U.S.
  • “I am working hard, even on Thanksgiving, trying to get Carrier A.C. Company to stay in the U.S.,” Trump tweeted on Thursday. “MAKING PROGRESS – Will know soon!”
  • The company confirmed Thursday that it had discussed the move with the incoming administration but that there was nothing to announce.
  • Carrier has since confirmed that with a deal worked out with Pence, the parent company of Carrier Corp. will receive $7 million in financial incentives over 10 years in exchange for a guarantee that the air and heating conditioning company would retain at least 1,000 jobs. But some Carrier jobs are still moving to Mexico.
  • The company will keep roughly 800 jobs in Indiana, but The Wall Street Journal reports that Carrier “still plans to move 600 jobs from the Carrier plant to Mexico,” plus moving another 700 other jobs that will be lost when it closes a separate plant in Huntington, Ind.
  • In other words, under Trump’s alleged triumph, the one that will teach a valuable lesson to American companies, Carrier is shipping 1,300 jobs from Indiana to Mexico, even as it receives millions of dollars from the state.

It isn’t difficult to imagine companies bending to personal pressure from the president of the United States even when it’s a bad idea economically.

And that’s dangerous. This sort of direct manipulation of companies’ choices by the president has no place in a free market. It’s better suited perhaps to something like mercantilism, the restrictive, oppressive, and ultimately unsuccessful economic system that was a major source of the America’s Founders’ discontent with Britain.

If this Thanksgiving negotiation is a portent of things to come, the Trump administration may well change the U.S. economy for the worse in far more serious ways than his recent predecessors ever attempted.

Monday, Dec 19, 2016 –

Brazenly crooked: Trump’s team pressured Kuwaiti ambassador to move an event to Trump’s own hotel

the Kuwaiti Embassy had already contracted to hold their planned yearly event at the Four Seasons as usual:

But after the election, members of the Trump Organization contacted the Ambassador of Kuwait, Salem Al-Sabah, and encouraged him to move his event to Trump’s D.C. hotel, the source said.

Kuwait has now signed a contract with the Trump International Hotel, the source said, adding that a representative with the embassy described the decision as political.