With Car­rier coup, Trump of­fers win­dow to his pres­i­dency

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Mercedes Sch­lapp

Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump is send­ing a di­rect and sim­ple mes­sage: “Amer­ica is back in busi­ness.” Weeks be­fore even tak­ing the oath of of­fice, Mr. Trump on Thurs­day struck a deal with Car­rier Corp. to keep 1,100 man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs in In­di­ana that the com­pany had planned to move to Mex­ico. Dur­ing the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, there were more sto­ries about jobs leav­ing the United States than those that were stay­ing.

Mr. Trump’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to per­son­ally woo Amer­i­can busi­nesses to stay put and re-en­er­gize the Amer­i­can econ­omy could be­come the corner­stone of his time in of­fice. The Trump-Car­rier deal is a pos­i­tive step in pre­serv­ing jobs in Amer­ica and en­cour­ag­ing a healthy di­a­logue be­tween com­pa­nies and the gov­ern­ment. It’s about fig­ur­ing out the in­cen­tives that mo­ti­vate com­pa­nies to stay. And what we are learn­ing is that with Mr. Trump, this is not just a one­time of­fer but a “pack­age deal” where com­pa­nies will find a busi­ness-friendly en­vi­ron­ment, ac­tively nur­tured by the gov­ern­ment, that leads them nat­u­rally to in­vest in Amer­i­can work­ers.

Be­yond talk­ing to in­di­vid­ual com­pa­nies, Mr. Trump is also push­ing tax re­form and reg­u­la­tory re­lief that would also bring cap­i­tal and in­vest­ment back to the United States. His ad­min­is­tra­tion would fo­cus on re­duc­ing the cor­po­rate tax to 15 per­cent, cut­ting taxes and re­peal­ing Oba­macare. Sec­re­tary of Trea­sury nom­i­nee Steven Mnuchin has al­ready ad­dressed one of the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s top pri­or­i­ties, which is to “strip back” the Dodd-Frank fi­nan­cial over­haul law and re­duce the reg­u­la­tory bur­den on the na­tion’s lenders. It’s an ap­proach that would help re­gional banks and al­low for more lend­ing to small and mid-size busi­nesses, the real en­gine of our econ­omy.

Crit­ics ar­gue that moves like Mr. Trump’s Car­rier gam­bit are purely sym­bolic — too lit­tle and too late to save the coun­try’s man­u­fac­tur­ers from se­vere low-cost for­eign com­pe­ti­tion. The man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try has been in de­cline for decades due to au­to­ma­tion and la­bor cost. Those fac­tors may be real, but Mr. Trump is prov­ing un­will­ing to give up the fight that eas­ily, es­pe­cially when good Amer­i­can jobs are at stake.

White House press sec­re­tary Josh Earnest tried to knock Mr. Trump’s suc­cess, ar­gu­ing Pres­i­dent Obama’s poli­cies had cre­ated and saved far more jobs than the 1,100 or so at stake at Car­rier.

“If Trump is suc­cess­ful in do­ing that 804 more times, then he will meet the record num­ber of man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs” Mr. Obama “cre­ated,” Mr. Earnest sniped. Jeal­ously, per­haps?

Mr. Obama, who once con­ceded the “jobs of the past are just not go­ing to come back,” un­wisely ridiculed what he said was Mr. Trump’s over­es­ti­ma­tion of his own ne­go­ti­at­ing skills dur­ing the cam­paign.

The out­go­ing pres­i­dent re­marked Mr. Trump “just says, ‘Well, I’m go­ing to ne­go­ti­ate a bet­ter deal.’ Well, how ex­actly are you go­ing to ne­go­ti­ate that? What magic wand do you have? And usu­ally, the an­swer is he doesn’t have an an­swer.” This week Mr. Trump’s re­sponse would be: “Car­rier.”

Mr. Obama’s time is up, and the ver­dict is al­ready in: Un­der his watch, mil­lions of man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs left the United States. In April 2016 Mr. Obama him­self stated: “We have so many com­pa­nies leav­ing us, it is dis­grace­ful” when he crit­i­cized com­pa­nies that shield profit over­seas through cor­po­rate in­ver­sions, set­ting up their head­quar­ters in more tax-friendly for­eign mar­kets.

Mr. Trump promised to bring those com­pa­nies and their tax rev­enues back, and the Amer­i­can worker is count­ing on him. The Car­rier deal gives them hope that Mr. Trump sticks to his word. For now, it’s 1,100 jobs pre­served, but the larger ques­tion will be how many more jobs the pres­i­dent-elect will be able to cre­ate with his pro-in­vest­ment, pro­mar­ket poli­cies.

Mr. Trump’s lat­est tri­umph is an ex­am­ple of how he will lead. He is re­sults­driven, an un­con­ven­tional leader who re­fuses to ac­cept busi­ness as usual and a slow-mov­ing bu­reau­cracy. The di­rect con­tact with busi­nesses like Car­rier shows how he can get re­sults. His style of lead­er­ship is al­ready forc­ing U.S. com­pa­nies to re-eval­u­ate their own plans and ad­just­ing how they will do busi­ness.

This is a win-win for our econ­omy, as both Amer­i­can work­ers and the com­mu­ni­ties dev­as­tated by man­u­fac­tur­ing’s de­cline pros­per.

Mercedes Sch­lapp is a Fox News con­trib­u­tor, co-founder of Cove Strate­gies and for­mer White House direc­tor of spe­cialty me­dia un­der Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush.

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