Carrier, Trump and Fallows

I can’t remember ever seeing a President-Elect take steps toward fulfilling a campaign promise before he even takes office. Yet that is exactly what Donald Trump has done in convincing Carrier Corp. to roll back part of its plan to move jobs from Indiana to Mexico. One may take issue with the details, but even some of Trump’s detractors in the press seem to be giving the action some grudging praise.

Carrier is an ironic example, because in the past it was a favorite poster firm of New York Times columnist Tom Friedman regarding the glories of globalization. Yes, Friedman has conceded, Carrier’s IT jobs might be offshored to India, but wait! — those offices in Indian where the IT work will be done will use Carrier air conditioners! A net win for U.S. workers, Friedman explained.

“Well, not so fast,” I countered. Sales of a few more air conditioners in India isn’t going to lead to Carrier hiring more engineers; the design work has already been done, more or less a fixed cost. What about factory jobs? Well, no, no such effect there either, since it will make sense for Carrier to manufacture locally there in India. Yes, Carrier’s profits will go up, but for U.S. workers the offshoring to India is probably a net loss.

Trump’s action with Carrier is arguably Democratic Party-ish. Indeed, it is something that — dare I make the comparison? — Bernie Sanders might have done. It is certainly NOT the kind of thing President Obama has done.

Meanwhile many Trump-ophobes can’t bear to give him any credit. James Fallows of The Atlantic magazine was on one of the SF NPR stations this morning, as a guest on Michael Krasny’s highbrow talk show, KQED Forum. Fallows and the two other journalists on the panel were complaining that Trump is telling his followers not to believe the mainstream press. To be sure, the guests and Krasny made a number of good points, but they also unwittingly showed why the media should indeed be viewed with a skeptical eye.

Fallows is a good case in point. The Atlantic urged its readers not to vote for Trump, only the third presidential election endorsement in its 159-year history, calling Trump a “huckster” and worse. The magazine even ran a major article psychoanalyzing The Donald, and as Fallows pointed out this morning, “We” (the magazine, via the article) concluded that Trump is a narcissist. And the article makes a good case for that claim.

But what did Fallows NOT quote from that article this morning? He said nothing, for instance, on this passage:

In a 2013 Psychological Science research article, behavioral scientists ranked U.S. presidents on characteristics of what the authors called “grandiose narcissism.” Lyndon Johnson scored the highest, followed closely by Teddy Roosevelt and Andrew Jackson. Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Nixon, and Clinton were next. Millard Fillmore ranked the lowest. Correlating these ranks with objective indices of presidential performance, the researchers found that narcissism in presidents is something of a double-edged sword. On the positive side, grandiose narcissism is associated with initiating legislation, public persuasiveness, agenda setting, and historians’ ratings of “greatness.” On the negative side, it is also associated with unethical behavior and congressional impeachment resolutions.

But no, all KQED listeners heard from Fallows this morning was that the article found that, Oh my god, we’re doomed, Trump is a narcissist! If one actually reads the article, one finds that the situation is far more nuanced than that.

It remains to be seen whether Trump, once he settles into the Oval Office, will “dance with the one what brung ‘im.” Other than Sessions and maybe Nikki Haley, Trump’s cabinet picks so far raise concerns that Trump will be talked out of loyalty to the ones who put him into office. Yet another Goldman Sachs alum in Treasury? Really? But his action with Carrier, with whatever flaws, is a heck of a good start.


25 thoughts on “Carrier, Trump and Fallows

  1. Could you put that in the form of a question, please?

    The MSM is utterly corrupt and morally bankrupt, their ranting about Trump, before and after the election, is the height of an illness, a craziness, that the worst of the Soviet era Pravda never reached. It’s right out of Orwell’s “1984”. Fallows was a clever fellow, about thirty years ago. He should have quit while he was ahead. Friedman was a clever fellow about forty years ago, and ditto.

    There is some intellectual, cultural illness around the US and the world these days, that cannot acknowledge facts, that slanders anyone who simply points at the obvious. This is not a new invention, but it’s rampant today. It’s “the emperor’s new clothes” updated for the twenty-first century. Trump was that small boy, who pointed out a few plain facts, and sent the grandees into a tizzy. Well, in the old story, they didn’t put that small boy on the throne, that’s our new invention. Have to see how it turns out. But what was the alternative, more and worse nonsense?

    BTW you will note that crazy Uncle Bernie has blasted Trump’s moves and the whole Carrier thing as nine kinds of bad news.


  2. Thomas FriedMAN is a globalist enemy of America. In 1998 he promised, as Al Gore did, that Globalization would be good for the American people. Instead it has been a disaster.

    TWENTY years and still waiting. TWENTY.

    No one can take seriously anything FriedMAN or KurgMAN say or think.

    Globalization is a massive failure for America, as this election has shown, the MSM and pundits are idiots, and no one listens to anything the MSM says anymore. They have failed and been proven not only wrong but liars as well.


  3. That is why it is up to us, the American People, Displaced Americans for the most part, to continue to remind him of why he was elected.

    I too have my worries about Trump, especially when I read this

    President-elect Donald Trump holds a media event in Indiana to talk about a deal to keep Carrier jobs in the US, but also addressed other issues such as the Mexican border.

    Trump pointed out that some people have questioned whether he will indeed follow through with his promise to have a wall along the border and he said, “trust me we are going to build the wall and by the way people are going to come through that wall. We are going to have doors in that wall, but they are going to come through legally and people are going to come through on worker permits to work the fields. We are going to have people a lot of people are going to come through, but it’s going to be done through a legal process but one thing that is not going to come through is drugs. The drugs are going to stop.”

    See that part about working in the fields?

    That is a reference to the H-2B for those not familiar with the term.

    Until Trump does the unthinkable and imports more H-1B’s, I will support him.

    But I will also attempt to use my keyboard to light a fire under his ??? if he does not put American Citizens, native born, and naturalized, ahead of non-immigrant guest workers.


  4. I disagree with your comment, “I can’t remember ever seeing a President-Elect take steps toward fulfilling a campaign promise before he even takes office. Yet that is exactly what Donald Trump has done in convincing Carrier Corp. to roll back part of its plan to move jobs from Indiana to Mexico.” Some critics say Trump threaten to cut Federal Government contracts with Carrier-Bryant if that company moved the remaining Indianapolis operations to Mexico. I am all in favor of helping American workers retain jobs, but I disagree with the false, self-serving, and misleading publicity Trump and Pence are trying to create.

    My points why the Carrier-Bryant plant closure discussions should not be part of a campaign promise are:

    1.) Trump did not participate in the Carrier-Bryant negotiations, Pence did since the early Spring. It seems Trump is trying to “jump on the Bandwagon” and shower himself in free publicity when he had little to do – if anything – with the actual negotiations. Besides, this is a negotiation between Indiana and Carrier-Bryant where the Federal Government is not and should not be involved unless asked by the State of Indiana.

    2.) Carrier-Bryant is still shifting some of these Indianapolis jobs (?40%?) from the USA to Mexico and the tax abatement cost for taxpayers to retain the remaining jobs in Indiana may be excessive. An old axiom says, “the devil is in the details” and the full context of the Carrier Bryant agreement with the State of Indiana has not been disclosed. I wonder what this alleged agreement will cost Indiana taxpayers to retain each of the Carrier-Bryant job in Indianapolis…

    3.) The US Media Press has claimed the Carrier-Bryant agreement will supposedly cost Indiana $7 million in tax abatements to retain SOME employment at the Indianapolis plant. It seems that Gov. Pence has bypassed discussions with the Indiana State Legislature and violated open-disclosure rules in Indiana for public discussions.

    4.) Trump has opened the floodgates for future government negotiation problems with large businesses because he has signaled to Business CEOs if they want free tax dollars from state or Federal governments – all the CEOs have to do is threaten to move some company operations overseas to a different country.

    IMHO, Trump is trying to claim this State Government issue as a problem he solved when he did not have any involvement. Trump seems to misuse issues such as the undisclosed details of the possible Carrier-Bryant Agreement to gloss over relevant facts that should be made public and feed his excessive personal ego with self-serving publicity. Unfortunately, the US news media seems starved for news about Trump and has inflated this possible Carrier-Bryant agreement to far more importance than it deserves in the national discussion. The real question is whether the US news media will look further into Carrier-Bryant “deal” and whether their reporting will be noticed by the public.


  5. I was wondering your thoughts on Carrier. Can you clarify how this is “a heck of a good start”? I’m playing a little point-counterpoint with you.

    Consider Mexico pays $3 and Carrier pays the Americans $26 an hour (a working class rate). Carrier will now keep a small number of jobs from moving to Mexico (700), not all. It seems more out of a fear of losing federal contracts. Taypayers subsidize their employee pay and compensation. $7 million over 10 years, $16 million invested in operations. Other companies will follow, this will more firmly become the “business model” with taxpayers funding jobs and company upgrades.

    Granted this is done all the time by states and beyond to keep companies from leaving a state or prevent layoffs. But taxpayers do have a continuing and growing “tax” to prevent globalization.


  6. While there are some issues with the Carrier situation which may come back to bite him, Trump has scored a victory for working people with the deal. As you note, Obama and the Dems are big on claiming that they are the party of working people without doing much to actually help actual working people. Trump has set a standard now for jobs. Watching them go south is not going to happen. Will it take tariffs? Will it take punitive rules? Whatever. Tariffs are overly castigated. The role of tariffs in the 1929 situation is NOT 100% clear. Many things worked together to cause the great depression. Our most recent Great Recession in 2008 was not affected by tariffs, but rather by a huge housing bubble. In 1929, there was a huge housing bubble as well.


  7. Sorry, but I am in violent disagree member on this point. In fact, I’ve been banging the drum for years for a federal law to prevent state and local governments to offer special incentives to private businesses.

    Either offer to all, or none. If your state’s taxing policies stink so bad that you need to create incentives (hear that NY?) then you’re doing something wrong.

    During his campaign, Trump trumpeted to Carrier specifically, “…you’re going to pay a damn tax when you leave this country and you think you’re going to sell product [here] because we’re all so stupid.”

    Reality is that in exchange for not outsourcing some jobs, United Technology, which made a profit of $7.6 billion last year and owns Carrier, will reportedly receive $7 million over 10 years in state economic incentives. The company was also assured the Trump administration will lower corporations’ federal tax burden and ease regulations.

    In a Wednesday press release, Carrier acknowledged both the federal and state incentives: “Today’s announcement is possible because the incoming Trump-Pence administration has emphasized to us its commitment to support the business community and create an improved, more competitive U.S. business climate,” it says. “The incentives offered by the state were an important consideration.”

    Ok, let me hold the US hostage for tax breaks. Oh that’s right, I’m a small business owner who created most of the jobs in the USA. I only have 84 employees. Once again, Donald Trump benefits the 1%ers while screwing many American workers whose employers weren’t part of his “special deal cabal.”


  8. Unfortunately the devil is in the details. Trump didn’t save the factory by driving a hard bargain or use the government’s leverage against the company ($6 billion in military contracts, for instance) rather, he did it by simply bribing the company to the tune of $7 million per year.

    And it didn’t even save all of the factories Carrier is planning to outsource, just the one. The rest are still on the chopping block. So $7 million per year to save 1000 of 2100 jobs they intended to cut.


  9. Interesting note: Pres. Obama created an “office of the President-elect” to cover his pre-inauguration activities from Nov. 2008 through Jan. 2009. President-elect Trump has followed that example himself… And the media is howling about his negotations, his phone conversations with world leaders, and his cautious approach to selecting a Sec. of State.

    The exact opposite of Pres. Obama’s first term… The media gave him a pass on everything. Trump has not even been sworn in yet, and already the media “outraged” over details large and small.

    I suspect we will hear the crescendo right before Dec. 19th, the date that state Electors meet and finalize their votes. The goal appears to be, Plant seeds of doubt and worry, then claim that “Electors will probably make the ‘safe’ choice after all.” It’s election tampering of the Electoral round.


  10. It’s a real pity to see James Fallows involved in this way. He is a brilliant writer and does terrific research.

    What we’ve got here is something similar to Robert Reich’s belief that citing a figure clinches an argument, regardless of whether the figure is relevant. It seems that many journalists are accustomed to using their ability to verify details, trivial or otherwise, as a lever to pressure political figures.

    Political figures who come up through the ranks conform to this agenda and confirm the power that journalists have given themselves.

    Trump did not come up through the ranks and has no interest in the game. That’s what infuriates so many otherwise good journalists.


  11. Common professor norm, you’re obviously smart enough to see that this is a PR stunt. And i doubt breitbart readers visit your website. He basically threatened to cancel their defense contracts. That is not only unethical, it is unscalable and against the very ethos of free market capitalism. You are right though, this is not the conservative party anymore, haha. OTOH, I see why you’d spin it this way though, he’s the best chance to curb H1-B abuse (along with Jeff Sessions) in the last 20-25 yrs. However, if they approve stamping greencards after Ms/PhD, then LOL. Americans might as well stop studying Computer Science, haha.


    • I read breitbart occasionally and all kinds of other sites.

      I also work daily to plant the seed that it is not only unethical, but immoral for government agencies to use the money that American Taxpayers paid in to hire companies that do NOT hire Americans in America.

      That is NOT the federal governments money to use to put americans out of work.
      It IS the money that americans in america paid in to take care of america and americans


  12. I didn’t know Friedman had ever spoken about Carrier, but as soon as I read your opening, I anticipated his retort because it’s essentially the same silly retort he repeated (I guess until IBM sold its PC business to Lenovo) about the fact that the computers he saw at Infosys (or Wipro or Tata?) were IBM equipment.

    But what sort of empathy with the working man can one expect from someone like Tom Friedman, who is a clever writer and married into wealth?


    • This has now really backfired. Today’s news – what about Rexnord also in Indianapolis ? Announced moving to Mexico, too. They are asking Trump to come back to town and save them. “What about me?” Rexnord will save $65 million a year moving to Mexico.

      CNN says Rexnord wasn’t a campaign issue, not a household name, doesn’t have a parent company with billions of dollars in federal defense contracts. I think Trump is ignoring this one.

      Even if the future is reduction of business taxes, that is lost revenue that local taxpayers have to make up unless there is severe reduction in local services, like less money for schools, etc.


      • Clearly Trump is going to have to decide on a general policy. He may not have any leverage with companies that don’t have government contracts, and thus would need Congress’ help to impose tariffs. That may be a hard sell. It appears, though, that Trump is a hard sell for you, no matter what he does.


        • My opinion on Trump will be after seeing what he actually does or doesn’t do. Some of his promises will not be possible unless Congress goes along with him. We’ll see how he handles the negotiations.

          I was more “Bernie”, although it seems the DNC did him harm.

          Knowing your background, do you think Trump’s call with Taiwan was intentional strategy, or an error due to lack of experience, or neither and he’s just not bothered by it? The media is starting to have info on China’s push back via the current government channels.


          • Who knows what happened with the Taiwan call? I suspect that Pres. Tsai outsmarted Trump here. But I believe that (a) Trump doesn’t care and (b) this will be a 1- or 2-day news story at most.


      • to me, all of these are not issues.

        If they will save 65 million moving to mexico, we make it so that they don’t sell in America.

        if you look at the geographical segment of their earnings statement, you will see that THE MARKET is America.

        It is time to call their bluff

        67.9% of their sales comes from america according to page 5 of their 2016 annual report

        Let them save 65 million, and lose 67.9% of 1,923.8 in millions



  13. As I read the reactions to the Carrier situation, what is emerging can be summed in in a headline: TRUMP SAVES 1000 JOBS. DEMOCRATS AND MEDIA OPPOSE DEAL. DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS BLAH BLAH BLAH.

    I don’t remember these fainting spells when for example, liberal democrat controlled Oregon gave Nike $2 billion in tax breaks to keep 500 jobs in Oregon. In fact, the only opposition I read to it was in the comment sections of various local media outlets. At least Trump negotiated a better deal.

    I would really like all the critics of the deal such as newly minted establishment democrat Bernie Sanders and others to be in a town hall meeting with Carrier employees and explain to them why the deal is horrible. These attacks on the deal are hard to take given that the democratic party and the media went full out for the corporate lackey Clinton,These attacks really expose that democrats as having nothing to offer American workers (republicans aren’t much better). As much as I can can tell Hillary’s message was that workers should not oppose globalization, accept their job loss, and then get trained for non-existent jobs or jobs with min. levels of compensation. And oh, get out the way, have lunch with Clooney.

    Just a note about the Taiwan thing. I find criticism rather ironic. Hillary Clinton made a point to equate Russia and China as basic enemies during the debates. She would constantly called them out together. So Trump has a conversation with the President of a country opposing ;mainland China and the smelling salts have to be broken out with all the fainting from supporters who approved of Clinton’s war mongering.


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