And so the Master Negotiator, the man so skilled at making deals that his name is practically synonymous with wheeling and dealing, has struck again. He's not even in the White House yet and already he managed to convince Carrier to keep a medium-sized factory in Indianapolis open. Does this guy know how to talk people into doing what he wants or what??


"Incentives." The deal involves "incentives." So like, he walked into a meeting with their people and said, "If you stay I will give you this bag of money. The money is not mine, but I have the power to give it to you. Giving it to you costs me literally nothing." Then they said "OK, we will let you give us this big bag of free money"?

Those fabled Trump negotiating skills really are a thing to behold. I don't think there's anyone else alive who could have made this deal, taking a big bag of free tax money and handing it to a major defense contractor in exchange for a lukewarm promise to keep 700 Indiana factory workers employed for a little while longer. This is more incredible than when the Dutch swindled the Indians out of Manhattan.

What. A. Deal.


  • And the New York Times is just licking his asshole.

    “It also signals that Mr. Trump is a different kind of Republican, willing to take on big business, at least in individual cases.”

  • I'll just sit here and wait for the free market conservatives to get up in arms about the government picking winners and losers . . .

  • What Chris said. How in any way can they defend this? If national interests are so important (in this case), then what about the Panama Papers?

  • Let's not forget that there is a history of companies taking "incentives" and then moving anyway in a couple of years.

  • There's been a giant sucking sound for years coming from companies moving from the northeast/midwest/west coast (i.e. "higher cost states") to the south. The southern states give huge tax breaks/free land/non-union workers/lower wages.

    Then they're not willing to tax their citizens enough to pay to run the state. They're low tax states after all. If you look at the chart of states that get more money from the federal government than they send to Washington you'll see most of the old Confederacy.

    The company moving south will take some of the workers south with them but many aren't asked to move or aren't willing to move. Their jobs are now gone and in many cases a town loses its biggest employer.

    The problem isn't that all our manufacturing jobs have gone overseas.

    Also all these mergers and cost savings by cutting jobs don't help either. Look at the consolidation in hardware stores/lumber yards (Home Depot, Lowes etc), stationery stores (Staples), drug stores (CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid), sporting goods stores etc. These used to be small businesses in every town. The small business owners are gone. Their employees are gone. The giant stores don't need as many people. But we're "saving" money.

    Maybe the Democrats keep making the same mistake when they get into office of trying to reduce the debt left by Republicans.

    They should just cut taxes and borrow the money to fund what they want to do. The Republicans do it.

    As Dick Cheney famously said "deficits don't matter".

  • It's such a pity, Ed, that you weren't there to guide the Canarsee to a better deal.

    That's what distinguishes liberals, right? Even though they have no experience of running a business, they will insist that they are ideally qualified to impose their view on a process which has no need of them.

    There was no 'swindle', Manhattan was worth $25 and a few shells to the Canarsee, the price agreed confirms it.

  • @mm

    If you're so concerned about the disappearing small shopkeeper, why do you shop at Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Staples, CVS, Walgreens or Rite Aid?

    You happily ignore the contribution the shopkeeper and his family have made to the kids' baseball team, the scouts and other local activities over the years so that you can get 13 cents off a mop at Walmart.

    And then you blame Walmart for the changing face of Main Street – it's laughable.

  • When I see a billboard for a local city declaring that it's "Good For Business!" I know what that means. It means tons of free money, a promise of "wink, wink" at violations of regulations, tax-free buildings and land and "we'll balance our budget on the backs of the people you will pay minimum wage to".

  • @xulon,
    I live a mile from one of these "cities." It's really just a huge suburban/rural municipality with no urban center, no "there there." It doesn't even have it's own police department, instead it kind of rents them from the Sheriff. They have billboards up about how business friendly it is and how easy building permits get approved. What else does it got? Shitty transit service, few sidewalks, underfunded libraries and a lot of used car lots. But some of the highest property taxes in the area. As it is, I'm in a sliver of no-man's land of urbanish density that is only in the county.

  • In other news, looks like Romney's going to smack and slurp on Trump's smegma after all.

    "He was begging for my endorsement. I could have said, 'Mitt, drop to your knees' — he would have dropped to his knees," Trump said.

  • @ Templar

    So much for the First Amendment.

    Not responding to me is the equivalent of a baying BLM protest on mute and the funnier for that. It's an admission that you have no response to my brilliant insights, but then, an exchange of ideas is not part of your credo, is it?

  • I certainly hold no brief for the Giant Evil President-Elect Baby, but the sitting President certainly never seemed to make any moves like this (with the exception of rescuing GM, of course). Sure it's probably bullshit, but it looks good to the people who voted for him, and that's what counts. Nominating another Goldman guy as Treasury Secretary, however, not so much.

  • I'm not a moderator, but when someone comes here without a point to make and is only here to try to piss everyone off… that's when I'd give the heave-ho, personally. I'm all for a good exchange of alternate viewpoints, but spewing nonsense just to piss everyone off actually gets in the way of that exchange of viewpoints.

  • @MM To name a couple companies that have moved south for tax breaks and the economic effects those moves have had; a few years ago Nissan moved it's US HQ to TN, and Toyota is currently in the process of moving their US HQ to TX. Both were long established in an area we call the So. Bay here in So. CA, and while their move hasn't been devastating, it has certainly left some communities reeling. In both cases it made me wonder what the hell local government was doing when they were approached with the threat of these moves. Having dealt with city officials in the past I can imagine they said something to the effect of "sure, go ahead and move…".

  • Andrew Laurence says:

    @SeaTea1967: How does one accurately determine whether a person who expresses an alternate viewpoint is doing so sincerely or in a trolling manner? I've been accused of being a troll on this very blog in the past, when I was really quite sincere in my desire to express an alternate viewpoint and learn why others disagreed with it. I also think Carrstone is a troll, but I can't be certain.

  • Paul B:

    Very few local governments would respond with a "Meh, go ahead and move" for a major employer. That is a little silly, I have to say.

    Most cities have economic development departments that spend their time schmoozing local businesses vigorously. Still, when a major employer is bought out by a competitor who elects to consolidate in another city, there is often not a lot one can do. Especially if the consolidation is intrastate and there are no state level grants or funding available for a Manteca versus Dublin (for example) kind of move.

    The bottom line is the race to the bottom plus the endless rivers of free money that localities and states try to dangle. Throw in the vast difference in housing costs between a mid sized southern city and Southern California, and it is hard to compete. Not impossible, but not as easy as you imply. (For example: There is almost no land in commuting distance of a city with trained workers in California that would be as cheap as the desert outside of Reno where the Gigafactory is being built.)

  • "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances"

    Not sure where being an asshole on a comments section falls….

  • Trump in Billings, MT, 5/26: "We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of winning, you’re going to come to me and go ‘Please, please, we can’t win anymore.’ "

    I'm there already.

  • Andrew Laurence says:

    @Madmax: You're probably right, but an alternate explanation is that the person literally doesn't understand the First Amendment correctly. Remember that most people are neither very intelligent nor very politically savvy. So I think you're on the right track, but "solid evidence" may be overstating your case.

    @seniorscrub: It doesn't. The First Amendment guarantee of freedom of expression only applies to government, and only to criminal penalties imposed by government. It does not require individuals or corporations to allow all manner and content of speech in their homes, in their businesses, in their places of worship, on their blogs, or anywhere else. All it guarantees is that the content of your speech can't land you in prison, net you a fine, or subject you to the death penalty. One thing it definitely DOESN'T do is insulate you from the unpleasantness of hearing someone else's free expression in direct opposition to, and as a result of, yours. Anyone who doesn't understand this is either a troll or very, very naive. The latter may be correctable. The former is not. This is why my general policy with suspected trolls is a maximum of one calm, reasonable reply per suspected troll, then I'm done.

  • @Andrew Laurence
    Is the reason you may conclude that I'm a troll not influenced by everyone in this thread shouting that I am?

    I'm not about to apologize for my points of view nor am I going to go along to get along – I don't need the plaudits of the commenters to validate what I think.

    Consider this:
    1.) I reject Ed's supposition that 'the Dutch swindled the Indians out of Manhattan'. Both sides freely agreed a price and both sides delivered, what's wrong with that?
    2.) It's self-evident that the small shopkeepers are a vanishing breed, not because of Walmart, but because their customers don't have a shred of loyalty.
    3.) Isn't it sad that there's not one cogent counter-argument proffered by this bunch of pseudos?

    Is it any wonder, in the face of all the childish tantrums exhibited here, that I tremble at the thought of what's to become of this country?

  • Andrew Laurence says:

    @carrstone: I have no idea why I think you're a troll, but I do. Nonetheless, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and address your points one by one.

    1. A free market requires perfect transparency and information symmetry in order to operate. It seems doubtful that this existed when the Dutch purchased Manhattan for $24 worth of beads.
    2. Very little is self-evident. I have a friend who insists on shopping locally and paying more, but since few if any other people in her neighborhood feel the same way, the local businesses inevitably shut down and are replaced by Wal-Mart, and her money is wasted. It is economically rational to seek the best price for the items you want, which is what I do and (I suspect) what you do. Loyalty to a small business makes no sense. Business is not a charity, and it's belittling to treat a business owner as a recipient of your charity.
    3. I'm pretty sure I've offered cogent counter-arguments to both of your points. Now I'm finished. Have a nice day.

  • old white person says:

    My take when I heard the Carrier news was that Trump told Pence, who is still governor of Indiana, to make a deal, any deal that would keep a few Carrier workers on the job. Using taxpayer money of course.

  • If you walk up to a mentally handicapped person and offer to trade them a pack of gum for their car, and they agree to those terms, then "Both sides freely agreed to a price and both sides delivered". You still swindled that person, because any reasonably-savvy person is aware that it is not an even exchange of value by anyone's measure — except the measure of someone who is not equipped to make that deal in the first place. Being mentally handicapped is not a prerequisite for being ill-equipped to make such a deal, it is used here merely as a clear example.

    That kind of "screw you I got mine" attitude is what sours people on the concept of capitalism, by the by. No decent person believes it is okay to prey on ignorance to bilk someone out of value.

    I happen to agree with you on the point regarding the economics of small business — the readiness of Americans to support places like Walmart is the root cause of that particular problem. Then again, I consider the willful embrace of rampant, unchecked consumerism as a whole to be a severe problem with American society — what happens every year during Black Friday should be a great national embarrassment, but it isn't because our society is so obsessed with the acquisition of Stuff.

  • old white person says:

    Sorry to feed the troll, but:
    You assume that we all shop at Walmart and the big box stores. I don't, nor do many others. Sadly, if you live in a small town, Wally World is the only game in town, which is why they locate in those places.

  • Robert Walker-Smith says:

    We have an excellent independent locally owned bookstore here. My husband and I routinely buy our books there instead of using Amazon. He (my husband) is also a small business owner with a loyal and growing customer base. It happens, at least here it does.

    But then, here is Oakland California. It's curious how few of the urban pathologies Our Gracious Host routinely dissects afflict my home town, despite its image and reputation.

  • Leading Edge Boomer says:

    Re shopping local vs. "big boxes": In my town there is a very small independent store that carries a specialized selection of hardware along with hardwoods milled to order. I seldom have a need for it. The most competent independent hardware store I know is McGuckin's in Boulder, CO. The registers are covered by young people, and the old guys who know exactly how to solve my problem are in the aisles. Alas, that is a six-hour drive from here, and when I need a widget I need it now.

    I avoid big boxes when possible, probably would shop at CostCo if we had one. The real competition to mom-and-pop stores is not big boxes, but internet stores. My motto is "If you shop it local, then buy it local."

  • @Andrew Lawrence
    I'm no expert but maybe I can help you.
    Evidence of trolling:
    Carrstone 8:59 am entire 2nd paragraph
    At 9:10 am, his entire comment
    At 9:48 am, again his entire comment.
    Last at 11:51 am,just about the entire comment.
    Mixed in with the trolling are a couple of valid comments that several have addressed and does not constitute feeding.
    Hope that clears it up and helps you refrain from feeding him while still filtering for relevant parts to address.
    And, yes, carrstone is a troll. If it were up to me, I'd boot him.

  • Andrew Laurence says:

    @Rich S: I appreciate your efforts, but you've merely pointed out which of his "contributions" you believe constitute evidence of trolling, not WHY you feel that way. I guess I have "skankhunt42" from the current season of South Park in mind when I think of trolls – basically someone whose response to any comments is crude and insulting and often comes with a picture of his interlocutor sucking a giant dick. Mere disagreement doesn't really qualify, in my mind. I agree with almost none of carrstone's expressed opinions, and they don't really qualify as original, but then how many written expressions are truly original?

  • There's a lot of criticism of disloyal customers here, but I think these comments underestimate the need for leadership and structure before people can behave in sustainable ways.
    What I mean is:

    Most people are getting by on the edge of their incomes, and are essentially obligated to buy cheap.

    Traditionally, small businesses are protected by national
    government intervention such as antitrust laws that, before Reagan/Bork era, were interpreted as protecting small competitors from being bankruoted by big competitors who could afford the short-term costs of crushing little guys. The government's reason to do so is to make a healthy economy in which most people are well off, so no, it is not 'welfare' but a commonweal, people doing well by sticking together.

    The example of Toyota moving to Texas is a good example of the need for national leadership, because they had a lot of their HQ in Kentucky, but had to move when Delta got bought out and moved their hub to Detroit BUT kept all their slots at Cincinnati airport. For years, Cincinnati has been the U.S.'s most expensive destination, and inconvenient to boot. Cincinnati, Kentucky, and Ohio couldn't do jack about it, and neither could Toyota. So, instead of forcing their executives to travel on crappy
    schedukes, they are moving HQ to TX one piece at a time.

    The leadership actually matters, so can we stop talking about how crappy the mores are of America's consumers. The Confucians had a better take: "When the rulers
    lack vision
    the people perish."

    There is no better place to place the responsibility, even in a democratic era and for democratic organizers. So, who are the leaders?

  • Now that I am at a real keyboard, I can clarify:
    "That's what distinguishes liberals, right?"
    (This is a gross generalization stating that there is a total exclusion of the undefined set known as liberals from small business ownership).
    "Even though they have no experience of running a business,"
    (again the same unsubstantiated generalization that only serves to generate disdain for members of this set among those who claim to be outside the set. It can't be construed as an insult to those who may be (again, the set is undefined) in the set).
    "they will insist that they are ideally qualified to impose their view on a process which has no need of them."
    (You know, Andrew, I thought this was a good use of 5 minutes, but I changed my mind. This example from carrstone is a clear and unmistakable example of trolling. If you can't identify trolling by now, I can't help you. And it has nothing to do with whether I agree with the asshole or not. You should at least know that much about it. As a matter of fact, just by throwing that out at me, you have arguably crossed the line into trolling. Enjoy this little meal, for it shall be your last.

  • @GunstarGreen
    You're obviously a racist accusing the Indians as you do of being 'mentally handicapped'. Do you have any evidence that they were?

    And why would you assume that the Dutch preyed on 'ignorance' bilking 'the Indians out of value'? If anything, the Dutch were taking a leap in the dark buying, as they did, from people who had vastly superior knowledge about what they were selling.

    Walmart is a 'particular problem'? How so?

    @old white person

    Of course you don't shop at Walmart and many of your friends don't either, that goes without saying. That's why Walmart is only the nation’s second-largest corporation; all because nobody shops there.

    'They locate in those places' because the local Mom and Pop stores are ripping off the local populace and thus create tailor-made opportunities for Walmart.

    @Andrew Laurence

    Slightly off-target, I'm afraid, when you qualify the free market the way you do. A free market is only 'free' if there are no Argus eyes overseeing transactions by insisting on 'perfect transparency and information symmetry'.

    Allow me to update you: 'The VOC, referred to by the British as the Dutch East India Company, was originally established as a chartered company in 1602. It is often considered to have been the first multinational corporation in the world and it was the first company to issue stock.' [Wikipedia]

    This construction not only pre-dates the Manhattan Purchase but is preceded by years of trading on an international scale and it is safe to assume that the Dutch, historically, and the Indians, in insisting on guilders, were familiar with making deals.

    I'd love to know where my 'response to any comments is crude and insulting' – seems an unnecessarily harsh judgment to me

  • Andrew Laurence says:

    @Rich S: That one example was extremely helpful. I am now convinced that carrstone is a troll and will ignore him henceforth. Thank you!

  • Trolls used to live under bridges; about twenty years ago the "Great Troll Migration" occurred and millions of trolls began to move into their moms' basements.

    They exist on Hot Pockets and internet comments, and only produce bad writing.

    Don't feed the unemployed troll.

  • My definition of a troll is someone who will make their point in as insulting and personal a manner as possible. The simple disagreement isn't enough – there has to be animosity as well. I think Carrstone qualifies.

    "It's such a pity, Ed, that you weren't there to guide the Canarsee to a better deal.

    That's what distinguishes liberals, right? Even though they have no experience of running a business, they will insist that they are ideally qualified to impose their view on a process which has no need of them."

    By calling out Ed in particular, Carrstone isn't simply offering a differing viewpoint. And generalizing about liberals delivers the animosity without any real evidence.


  • Not sure why this convo turned into main street vs. wall street.

    Nobody reads Sinclair Lewis. Main Street never been better for employees than big business. Working for small family owned businesses sucks. Unless you're the kind of person who likes knowing the owner is personally screwing you over…

    This article was not about that. This is about local big biz vs. outsourced big biz and the government subsidizing the first one with tax dollars.

  • Miles: You do make an interesting point. We do tend to idealize the little guy, the small business owner.

    One can argue that having a locally based "aristocracy" versus bureaucratic corporate managers who report to New York or Dallas or Tokyo does have benefits for a local community. I am not sure "liberal" attitudes and policies are among them…it is often the large corporation who, at least for publicity/image reasons, introduces liberal social attitudes into often reactionary local communities (hence calls from Real Murika to boycott Target).

    As Marx observed, the replacement of local business with big corporations is inevitable Especially as the latter capture the regulatory system better and impose what can be costly requirements. Even if the requirements have a rationale, it is often easier for the big guys to comply-or work around.

  • It would be interesting to hear what one would think the advantages of a 'local aristocracy' actually are.

    Based on my own admittedly anecdotal experience living in a small town during the pre-walmart era, the local businessmen reap many advantages but their employees do not.

    The advantages for the businessman are often negative for the community as a whole, such as the ability to pressure law enforcement and local judges to get kids off the hook for drunk driving and other crimes. (the Ethan Couch case is a contemporary example)

    Even local customers don't get much advantage, especially in terms of price and selection.

    Other local businessmen often get benefits though, in terms of price collusion, off the books loans, gifts and other favors.

  • Okay. I appreciate you all's initial solid effort, but the idea is to not dignify any of that baiting bullshit with ANY response. Some red flags that someone's angling for an argument:

    -Trying to redefine reality or tell you that your perceptions are wrong and that they know the real truth (gaslighting).
    -Accusing you of behavior or having experiences or thoughts that they could not possibly know, especially when followed by judgements about you based on said behavior/experiences/thoughts.
    -Passive-aggressive needling comments directed at an entire group as a monolith (this is a net-casting technique)

    These baiting techniques are rooted in conjecture and vague assumptions and actually rely heavily on being at least partially false for them to work. The troll casts the bait, then the trollee (Victim? Recipient?) responds by correcting them. AND IT BEGINS.

    Skip right by it like it never even happened and continue the discussion with the adults. Sometimes, it's better in the long run to just allow people to be wrong. You will not get anywhere with a troll, because the truth is not the point. The conflict and attention is the point.

    Alright, so enough of that. Back to our regularly scheduled discussion.

  • Andrew Laurence says:

    @Aurora S: Thanks for that. By that definition, I was indeed falsely accused, some months ago, of being a troll. I really dislike negative attention, so attention is rarely, if ever, the point for me. I don't mind polite conflict if there's some movement toward mutual understanding, but conflict is never the point for me anyway. Now that I'm clearer about what the signs are, I can safely ignore trolls and police my own comments for troll-like signs. Thanks again.

  • Back to the main story: I'm having a hard time understanding what exactly the problem is with this news. Sure, Trump may have agreed to a big giveaway behind closed doors. But is that necessarily worse than our current practice of letting companies move offshore without any resistance whatsoever?

    True, we don't know the value of the "incentives" – and Ed's obvious assumption is that they will constitute a net loss for the public. But how do we know that? Looking purely at the financial picture, all Carrier would need is an incentive worth more than their potential savings from offshoring. That very well could be a relatively small amount, compared to the public cost of losing hundreds of jobs in perpetuity. We just don't know.

    And because we lack so much information, it's hard for me not to think that this post is trying to work backwards from the predetermined conclusion that Trump is bad – and therefore we must criticize everything he does. Isn't that the same irrational rhetoric that Republicans used against Obama for the last 8 years?

  • It's just that this has a whiff of tokenism about it. Let's not get complacent with this guy. He's spending OUR money to bribe these companies to keep their factories open in America…for a piddly thousand people…and we're impressed? Why don't we give him a damn trophy for putting on his pants in the morning? Frankly, if this is all it takes–if we're just pleasantly surprised that he hasn't set the country on fire yet–fuck us.

  • @ Jado
    A 'troll is someone who will make their point in as insulting and personal a manner as possible', hmm?

    What about these archly malicious phrases:
    "… the Master Negotiator, the man so skilled at making deals….Does this guy know how to talk people into doing what he wants or what??…..Those fabled Trump negotiating skills really are a thing to behold. I don't think there's anyone else alive who could have made this deal….This is more incredible than when the Dutch swindled the Indians out of Manhattan."

    Wouldn't you say that language conforms to your definition of 'trollish'? As you say, "…there has to be animosity as well."

    I think Ed qualifies, don't you?

  • Andrew Laurence says:

    @Heisenberg: It's nontrivial to compare the value of a one-time incentive to the value of a continuing stream of savings resulting from offshoring jobs. First you have to determine how long the offshoring is going to last and any increases in costs that will occur over that time. Then you have to apply a discount rate because the promise of money later is worth less than the promise of money now, even if the promise is ironclad.

    Giveaways like this are inherently bad for two reasons: 1. They violate free market principles which Trump claims to hold dear; and 2. The companies that receive them are basically behaving as extortionists. Nothing will stop them from demanding more money next week, next month, or next year or they'll outsource the jobs anyway.

    A decade or so ago my town passed a parcel tax to keep the library open longer hours, and then a year or two later it passed another parcel tax to keep the library open the same hours that the previous parcel tax, which was still being collected, was supposed to have already paid for. I understand costs do rise over time, but this was during a period of low inflation, so I was skeptical about it, to say the least.

  • Andrew Laurence says:

    @Aurora S: More of a stench than a whiff. It's a taxpayer-funded publicity stunt, nothing more. If companies can't keep jobs in the US without bribes from the public purse, those jobs should move. We can use the bribe money for unemployment compensation and food stamps for the displaced, instead. It's bound to be a better deal.

  • @Andrew Laurence

    "Poor reading comprehension"? Tee-hee!

    Sticks and stones, Andy, sticks and stones …

    To echo Nixon, "We're all trolls now."

  • Heisenberg:
    As Aurora S. and so many others have pointed out, the problem with this is that it is a taxpayer-funded publicity stunt and, I dare say, a diversionary tactic. Media were starting to feast on the many and myriad ways Trump, Inc. will profit off of the presidency and also that taxpayers are actually actively putting money in Trump's pocket and feathering his nest. So what does Trump do? Tell Pence to go and offer Carrier whatever they want to keep at least some jobs in Indiana. So Carrier laughed all the way to the bank and took Pence's offer to stay a little longer. They'll move on in a couple of years, but everyone will forget about the issue because there will be something else going on by then.

    The reason we reflexively react to any news of Trump "accomplishing" something is because he is a huckster, a con man and a compulsive liar. We have not been given any reason to NOT believe this is a con.

  • I'm surprised nobody has brought this up. Native Americans didn't believe in land ownership. You can't sell what you can't own. "Sure, I'll take 24 bucks for that cloud above my head. He he he." I'm sure there was big-time WTFing when the white men moved in. "Wait – you were SERIOUS about that??"

    To include my obligatory China ref – no one owns land in China. It all belongs to the guv'ment. All land is long-term (usually 40 years) lease only.

    OT – "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon" by Yong Zhao is THE book that describes/explains the Chinese education system.

  • Oh, and that book also explains why China will never eat the West's lunch in innovation. (Although just living here for 10 minutes will explain that too.)

  • April: It seems like in the United States "innovation" is limited to inventing financial scams and gambling scenarios (FIRE sector). marketing campaigns, trivial internet services and toys to make things even cushier for the top 5% professional class, and weapons that don't even work.

    Other "western" countries may be more innovative. :)

  • @Andrew: Interesting that we've suddenly become ardent free-marketeers here, now that Trump is the one offering the incentives. Did you similarly oppose Obama's rescue of the auto industry? Or the "incentives" he gave to Solyndra and the like?

    As a liberal, I strongly disagree with your claim that there is something "inherently" bad about the government providing incentives for private behavior that it deems beneficial to society. In fact, this is one of the primary functions of public policy. The goodness or badness of a government incentive is not "inherent," but rather depends on the specific terms of each deal. But we have no knowledge of the terms of this deal. So how do you know it's bad? You don't.

    @mothra: Like others, you're making a lot of assumptions about the terms of this deal based on no knowledge whatsoever. You started with the core assumption that Trump is "a huckster, a con man and a compulsive liar," and then you made up an entire story to fit that premise. This is exactly the behavior that we've excoriated Republicans for over the last 8+ years.

    I'm not saying Trump made a good deal here – I'm saying we don't know enough to pass judgment on it, like so many of you are.

  • @April, just finished watching a Nat Geo special on the Great Wall of China–in the past, the Chinese were quite innovative. Do you know the secret ingredient in the mortar that keeps the bricks together? Sticky rice! It's resistant to earthquakes and holds for literally centuries. Now that's amazing.

  • Oh, and also – How about we liberals express a just tiny bit of happiness for our fellow workers, however few, whose jobs were just preserved? There seems to be an undercurrent of spite in this post and most of the comments – mostly based on a general dislike of Trump and the pure assumption (hope?) that it's a raw deal for the public.

    It reminds me of the mean-spirited, tribal attitude that I abhor in so many conservatives.

  • The point of Ed's post is not that it's a huge handout to a company (which it is) it's that someone who prides himself on being a great "deal maker" and who claims that only he can "fix" America did what every single government official does, or what anyone of us could have done negotiating from a position of weakness, just hand out some money to a company to get them to stay.

  • @Katydid The book recommendation I just posted discusses why the Chinese stopped being innovative before the industrial age.

    "Justin Yifu Lin, a former vice president of the World Bank and well-known professor of economics at Peking University, reviewed the literature about premodern China and concluded: “Most scholars believe that, as early as in the early period of Ming Dynasty (14th century), China had acquired all the major elements that were essential for the British industrial revolution in the 18th century.” In other words, China was almost ready for the Industrial Revolution four hundred years before Great Britain was. “However, industrial revolution occurred in Britain instead of China and Chinese economy was quickly overtaken and lagged behind by western countries,” writes Lin. “Why did the industrial revolution not originate from China, the place that first acquired all the major conditions?” Lin asks the question first posed by Max Weber, and Joseph Needham had puzzled over the same questions: “Why had China been so far in advance of other civilizations” and “Why is not China now ahead of the rest of world?”13 … According to Lin, China was able to achieve so many technological and scientific innovations because of the size of its population. Rudimentary technological innovations can be made by accident. The probability of such accidents is the same for all societies, and thus the more people in a society, the higher the probability is of accidental inventions. “Before the industrial revolution in the 18th century, technological innovations were mainly realized through accidental discoveries in production process by craftsmen and peasants,” writes Lin. “Because China had a large population, it had a large amount of craftsmen and peasants.”14
    But keju was also the reason for China's failure to start the Industrial Revolution. After methodically refuting a number of existing hypotheses that attribute the lack of scientific revolution in China to economic reasons (land-people ratio or a repressive political environment), Lin found keju, the imperial exam system, to be the real reason:
    Because of this examination system, curious geniuses were diverted from learning mathematics and conducting controllable experiments. Because of this system, the geniuses could not accumulate crucial human capital that was essential for the scientific revolution. As a result, the discoveries of natural phenomena could only be based on sporadic observations, and could not be upgraded into modern science, which was built upon mathematics and controlled experiments.15 "

    And that's what Chinese education is now…rote memorization of facts, with no critical thinking or imagination or creativity involved.

  • I'm sure that someone other than the Carrstone shaped turdinthepunchbowl will be upset…I really don't think calling a piece of shirt a piece of shirt constitutes "feeding the troll" aside from the fact that Carr stone eats shit. YMMV.

  • 'I don't think there's anyone else alive who could have made this deal'

    Got it. My mistake was not worshipping somebody who bankrupts a casino.

  • Gosh but I get tired of humans and our blahblahblah.

    Troll = scroll. Life too short.

    There's something so loathsome about the word "cuck." Please gods don't let it go mainstream, even in jest or irony. It's creepy and I just fucking hate it.

  • April – am keenly interested in China, as they seem to have suffered through the absolute worst of the 20th century. Do you follow Michael Pettis on his blog?

    What intrigues me – OK, let's be honest, horrifies me – is the parallel between one-party CCP government in China and now, one-party defacto Republican government here in the US.

    The stories of ex-pat Qiu Xiaolong have been insightful, especially Years of Red Dust.

  • Talk about Main St. vs. Wall St., tis the season for watching "It's A Wonderful Life". I know my mortgage check goes to one of the big banks on Wall St., and I'll bet most of y'all do too. Would be much better if I could instead pay a local Credit Union, which invests locally, but they just can't compete at all due to the volume problem. CU rates would have me going broke much sooner than currently scheduled.

  • @Miles Bjornstam: I spent some time pondering your local-businessman-vs-large-conglomerate idea, and damn, you're right! Anecdotally, I live in a large metro area that attracts large, national businesses and small start-ups. My career has mostly been working with the larger companies, but I have two experiences with small, family-run companies (20 years apart) that were just horrific with nepotism and graft-run-amok and shady accounting practices. Not that huge companies can't have that (isn't it pretty much a guarantee they do?), but it's usually better hidden from the employees than the daily "Nyah-nyah, I'm getting stuff and YOU'RE NOT". I'm currently with a mid-sized company that seems to be okay; I have far more interaction with the primary customer (whole different circle of hell), but what I've seen of the company itself has been fine–my paycheck doesn't bounce, my health insurance is as okay as any health plan can be, and they don't bug me too much.

  • As far as the Manhattan transaction, if you calculate what the locals might have earned by investing (the value of) those beads in commercial markets of the time, they could now buy back Manhattan and have enough left over to throw a hell of a party.

  • @Heisenberg

    I appreciate your optimism, but there's no reason to believe we're not being screwed. Trump IS a huckster, a con man, and a serial liar. Don't forget about Trump University, his 1000+ lawsuits, his refusal to pay contractors for services rendered, his multiple bankruptcies, and his nonsensical and easily-disproven lies throughout his campaign.

    Of course people keeping their jobs is a Good Thing, IF true. This might be about tribalism if he'd given us any reason to believe that he's in any way sincere, but he truly hasn't. We have every reason to believe we're getting dicked, and, as he is uniquely unqualified and unfit to lead, all we can do is fill in the blanks from his past behavior in business and entertainment, because he *has no resume*. We can't compare "what conservatives said about Obama" to "what liberals are saying about Trump" because it's apples and oranges–Obama is a politician and Trump is not. (Wasn't that part of the point, or so his supporters allege?)

  • This is political grandstanding, nothing more. I suspect this will be the M.O. for this "non-politician" in that he will claim credit for a series of small time "coups" to show the rubes he is "helping" them and cares about them. Check back on this deal in a year.

  • Mr. Heisenberg,
    I think the sarcastic point of the OP was that it is not justified for one to claim to be a 'master negotiator' if your tactics amount to bribery using someone else's money.
    Also, do you really think that the 'Beggar thy neighbor' economic policy that this tactic exemplifies is proper or sustainable? Is this the only, or even preferred method of keeping these jobs in the country? I don't think so. I never liked to see this happen even between US states.
    And, how much time did the bag of money buy Mr. Trump? Until after the 2018 midterms? The 2020 election?
    You mention the auto bailout. I understand the arguments made supporting it, but I didn't like that either. That goes for the Chrysler bailout in the 80's as well. I would have been inclined to let them die. This also goes for the banks. Should have let them die as well. And, yes, I am aware of the potential ramifications of that.
    As shitty as I have been feeling about things since about 2009, I am still a bit idealistic. I think the way to keep jobs here is to establish and properly support infrastructure (air and rail travel), public education at all levels including trade schools because robots can't do all those jobs, and not everyone can go to university to become a rocket surgeon, or brain scientist.
    So, good public schools, affordable access to good medical care regardless of wealth, accessible and affordable efficient transportation, good roads, properly funded criminal justice system including public defenders, happier, healthier, reasonably educated and productive citizens is what could keep jobs here. A government that does not clandestinely change the results of a scientific study in order to benefit gas fracking is also needed. Thanks Obama. I will not miss you one bit.
    Many US employers would have to think twice about moving to a country where 40 students are murdered and buried in the desert with the full knowledge of the local government. A country that exhibits such a dysfunctional institution of justice is not where anyone would rather be. Are you going to find a good environment for sustained growth and innovation in such a place? No.
    These are basic things that are achievable in theory and are what most liberals want in our society. I realize this is advocating for the 'Star Trek' economy, but you have to have some aspirations, otherwise what's the fucking point? Let the sociopaths win without a fight? That's not what we need from liberals in the future.
    American conservatives do not want these things. As evidence for that assertion, I point you to just about every policy they have supported or resisted since the New Deal. They are sociopaths who would like to turn the country into Pottersville. There is ample evidence for this.

  • @Heisenberg
    Comparing the Carrier Aid Package to the Auto bailout and Solyndra is pretty outrageous. Carrier was going to leave for Mexico, so Trump basically gave him money from the pockets of the people of Indiana as a reward for staying. The Auto companies were going bankrupt in a horrendous economy on the brink of disaster. The Solyndra was part of a strategy to improve the solar energy industry. The Chinese solar industry is heavily subsidised in China by the state, making it tough for american comanies to compete with businesses that get free money. The fact that you bring up Solyndra, a long time talking point of republican tv amongst other things, makes me chuckle at the thought that you're a liberal.

  • From Bob Cesca on the Twittwat machine: "Attention CEOs! Want $7 million in tax incentives? 1) Announce you're moving to Mexico. 2) Wait for Trump to arrive with the check."

    'Bout sums it up.

  • I'm watching the news right now–Most of the jobs are *still* going to Mexico; they're only keeping one of the functions (I think it was coils).

    Also, one of the white guys the news spoke to just gave the statement that Trump is a 'self-made millionaire' (bzzzzt! He inherited money from his father and lost a great deal of it over the years) and therefore was the right choice for President.

  • Andrew Laurence says:

    @Katydid: He IS a self-made millionaire. His father made him a billionaire, and he lost a lot of it with stupid business deals, thus making himself a millionaire.

  • Even after Trump's father gave him a lot of cash to help him keep the casino, he still lost it. Just how does an owner lose money at a casino? I mean all you have to do is open the door and people run for the tables and slots. Trump said that he had too many slots when interviewed.

    Oh. I see.

  • Does anyone remember "Billionaires for Bush"? I used to attend meetings (drink beer) at Quincy Market with the Bahstun chaptuh.

    I'm hoping that there will be a "Trillionaire for Trump" movement.

  • Andrew Laurence says:

    You can't HAVE too many slots. Those are guaranteed moneymakers. Hell, rip out the table games and put in MORE slots, and you'll make MORE money.

  • After he's managed to make more of a shambles of the U.S. economy than Shrub did Trump will say that there weren't enough tax breaks.

  • Mark Smeraldi says:

    Although I am happy for those Carrier employees who will keep their jobs, the lack of details about the deal that kept them is troubling. I'll admit I'm biased toward a photo-op paid for with other peoples money but I'm open too counter argument when Trump makes this broad-based.

  • @Mo. No, I had never heard of Michael Pettis. Thanks. I had a Chinese govnt bigwig explain to me that the reason there are tons and tons of construction everywhere is because local – city and provincial – governments are required to show an increase in GDP all the time, and the easiest way to do that is to build stuff. So a giant mall is built right next to an already brand new giant mall (which is mostly empty). Massive housing projects with no tenants go on for miles and miles. (These are really creepy to drive by at night.)
    @Katydid – Another book I'm almost finished with is "Poorly made in China" by Paul Middler. Again, this is a very accurate description of people over here.

  • Ed – The Dutch were the ones who were swindled by the deal.

    The Canarsee didn't even live in Manhattan; they lived in what is now Brooklyn. Lower Manhattan was home to the Weckquaesgeeks, who weren't even consulted.

  • @Ed, sorry to see your blog missed being named to the Washington Post's list of OPENLY RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA/ USEFUL IDIOTS/ FAKE NEWS outlets as so many of my other favorites were. (E.g. Naked Capitalism, Consortium News, Counterpunch, etc.) You'd think your CLEARLY COMMUNIST-INSPIRED wallpaper alone woulda done the job. Maybe change the name to Vodka and Tacos? Vodka And Pirozhki?? Best of luck, comrade!!

  • Off topic, but I think it relates to "no libertarians on a plane".

    Major Kong, what do you think about the plane crash involving the Brazillian soccer team Chapacoense?

  • @Khaled

    Like most accidents it was probably a combination of errors.

    From what I've heard fuel starvation was a major factor. Reportedly they asked for priority landing clearance and were denied.

    Not sure why they didn't declare "emergency for low fuel" and landed anyway.

    I've flown in South America and Air Traffic Control is different down there. You need to be much more directive with the controllers than you would be in the US or Europe. I've found it's better to tell them what you want to do then wait for them to direct you.

  • Andrew Laurence says:

    @Major Kong: Fascinating. I always assumed ATC was similar all around the world, especially since they all speak English, but of course I'm not a pilot so what do I know?

    Speaking of South America, Uruguay will issue a permanent residence card to anyone who has a clean police record, enough income to last a year without working, and wants one. After three years if married, and five if unmarried, you can become an Uruguayan citizen while retaining your current citizenship (unless your current country forbids this – the USA does not).

    I was considering it after the election, but my wife doesn't speak any Spanish and mine is very rusty. It looks like a nice place to retire, though. Citizens can buy weed from the government for $1/gram. It's max 15% THC, but at those prices, just smoke more!

  • @Andrew Laurence

    Air Traffic Controllers worldwide speak English, but to varying degrees.

    The Europeans in general are quite good, except for the Brits who I find hard to understand. The Germans, Dutch and Scandinavians tend to speak it perfectly.

    Controllers in South America seem to understand the canned phrases like "Cleared for takeoff" but if you ask for anything out of the ordinary they may not understand.

    We used to fly a trip from Valencia Venezuela to Bogota. The Venezuelan controller would get us pointed out of their airspace and then just stop talking to us because they really didn't want to deal with us.

    Between that and the rugged terrain, South America is a very challenging place to fly.

    Thanks for the tip about Uruguay. If things get crazy enough here I may be looking for someplace else to retire someday.

  • @Vinny

    I AM a liberal, thank you very much. I used the Solyndra example precisely BECAUSE it's been a Republican talking point against Obama – to which most liberals responded (like you just did) by vociferously defending the use of government incentives to encourage certain behavior.

    It's a good example because it highlights your double standard.

  • There's a difference between structured payouts in service of a long-term goal and pant-on-fire caving to corporate blackmail in order to put up a "win" ASAP.

  • @Heisenberg
    I wasn't exactly "vociferously defending", as you put it, the Solyndra example. I was pointing out that you were putting on par the Auto Industry bailout and Solyndra loan with the Carrier (coincidentally in mike pence's backyard) tax giveaway. The Solyndra loan was part of an effort to move the country forward with alternate alternate energy options with innovative products. If you think that's on par with giving money to Carrier so that they don't move to Mexico, when they're probably going to move anyway, I'll have to disagree.
    As for Solyndra, read this:
    From the article:
    "When the Bush Administration wanted to complete its first clean-energy loan guarantee before leaving office, it chose Solyndra from 143 applicants. The Energy Department’s civil servants objected to the rush job in January 2009, but suggested the loan had merit; when Obama took over, Solyndra’s application was already at the top of the pile."
    Maybe you've been watching and listening to too much republican tv, because they probably never told you that the Bush administration was all in on Solyndra.
    Double standard my eye.

  • I dunno. Kinda miss NPF. Maybe something sometime on air traffic control.

    Wait. No. That's political.

    Shit. What isn't?

  • @carrstone

    "I don't need the plaudits of the commenters to validate what I think."

    Objection! Assumes cognitive capacities not in evidence.

  • @ Vinny

    I think you misunderstand my position. I support subsidies for Solyndra and other green energy companies. What I was arguing against was the hypocrisy of some commenters on here, who are arguing against the Carrier deal because… it's the government providing financial incentives for a company to do something.

    Democrats provide financial incentives to advance the solar industry = good
    Trump provides financial incentives to preserve middle class American jobs = bad

    The government provdiing financial incentives is not inherently bad, and is something that most liberals tend to support. The quality of a govt incentive depends on: a) the specific cost-benefit economics of each deal, and b) the overall goal the incentive.

    In this case, as I've noted, a lot of commenters are criticizing the cost-benefit of this deal without much evidence that it's a net loss for the public – because they don't like Trump, they WANT it to be a bad deal. I guess I'm willing to give it more of a chance, because I do agree with the overall goal of trying to keep jobs in the US.

    Yes, perhaps the jobs will leave eventually anyway. The structural forces in the global economy are strong. But at least Trump is trying something that I haven't seen much in my lifetime… When is the last time you saw a Democratic leader stand up and publicly criticize an American corporation for offshoring jobs?

  • Matt Fitzgerald says:

    This is Indiana economic development money. Why is no one asking why Governor Pence rufused to help these workers for so long.

  • Heisenberg:

    The problem is that it's not just a boring old government bailout or incentive in a vacuum. It's a return to a pre-globalist fantasy that low-quality manufacturing jobs can be retained in the US if only we were xenophobic/patriotic enough to re-instate protectionism (don't get me wrong, protectionism has its place in a developing economy, but not when trying to save dying sectors in the first world). Good incentives/bailouts either attempt to spur innovation or let a corporation ride out the toughest part of a market adjustment. Naked protectionism just attempts to rewind the clock on broader social and economic movements (coal jobs) or feeds into a xenophobic desire for Autarky (Bannon's interest in so-called "nationalist economics"). If there is a win for the workers, it's very minor compared to the 1) resulting PR for nonsense protectionism and 2) the opportunity costs of taking the wrong approach on addressing the dwindling number of good jobs in general. As the world becomes more automated, we need to spend more time looking at a complete restructuring of how we view work and compensation (Guaranteed Minimum Income, etc) and not fall back on pretty ancient ideas about "keeping the jobs over here" (which is equivalient in intent to "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps"). To problematize my own thesis a bit, it is possible to maintain both Autarky and total automation, but that's not going to look like anything we've seen in the past as a species.

  • @jcdenton

    My god, where've you been all my life? It's so uplifting to see a little bit of sense in this blog that I'm encouraged to continue to contribute to it.

    Not that I agree with everything you say, of course. I don't think it's a good idea for the government to pump our tax dollars into failing or unproven products but I understand why it's a popular political tactic.

    It's a bit like giving a life-saving injection to a terminally ill patient rather than advice about euthanasia. Just about the only thing Keynes ever said with which I agree is that 'in the long run, we're all dead.'

  • Just to avoid any seriously simplistic overreach I'm going to quickly re-iterate why protectionism is a valid tool in a first-world government's toolbox of fiscal and social policy. Why am I doing this? Because economic theory and policy is far more complex than a few simple truisms gleaned from 19th Century thinkers (i.e. the theory of comparative advantage is about as valid today as the labour theory of value). 1) Strategic interest. See farm subsidies during the Cold War. Don't subcontract out your porn filters to the Chinese either. 2) Easing out dying industries instead of letting them collapse and leading to serious social ills (see almost all steel industries in the West) 3) Diversification of industry (being a wealthy country with one or two key industries is still bad policy overall. See natural resource-based economies.) 4) Retaining the skills embodied by those industries locally – you can't build a subway if you no longer have the experience to build one (this is a real issue in the UK and elsewhere) 5) Promoting Environmental security. Protecting local industries that may use better, more expensive methodologies may be the only way to deal with the general indifference of internationals to global warming and ecological damage. 6) Protecting projects undertaken on behalf of the public good (public transportation, urban planning, electrical grid etc), where level of access, not the profit motive, must be the arbiter of success.

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