Trump’s dangerous game with Carrier

The hypocrisy and abandonment of free-market principles with "conservatives" applauding Carrier's imploding to external political pressure should be the cause of great concern.  For what is popularly seen as "Making America Great Again" by retaining jobs here in the U.S. is really an abuse of the office of the presidency using its bully pulpit to pressure companies into economic decisions it would otherwise not make.  It is a shameful use of political power and is symptomatic of the corrupt elements inherent within demagoguery.  But then again, a demagogue is whom the people elected.

The pressure applied to Carrier (and Ford) is nothing other than a stealth welfare scheme because the reality of this is that consumers will be subsidizing these workers' pay by paying higher prices for products that would otherwise be lower.  This also puts the manufacturer at risk against foreign competitors who will now gain a competitive edge in labor costs.  Are free-market principles now subordinated to the exercise of national condemnation to oppress companies from acting in their own self-interest – the very self-interest that fuels the beneficial effects of capitalism?  Are U.S.-based companies now the provincial vassals, indentured to serve a master no matter how inhospitable his rules are?  Where is the liberty in all of this?

There is the argument about the unfairness of poorer worker conditions and lower or nonexistent benefits for foreign workers.  This argument overlooks the fact that all developing countries, including our own past development, experience an evolution of workplace reforms as the bargaining power and leverage of its workers increase.  And with increasing prosperity, other environmental and aesthetic standards can be imposed for the simple fact that it can be afforded.  But to impose the advanced standards of a developed country onto a developing one not only ignores the realpolitik of industrial growth, but also ignores the present-day exploitation of immigrant workers performing menial and labor-intensive tasks that Americans avoid.  In other words, what type of elitism is it that excludes an orange picker or a maid from being paid $26 an hour when that same worker can be easily trained to assemble an air conditioner?

With the vast amount of inexpensive foreign labor and the rapidly advancing technology of robotics, what does the future hold for unskilled and semi-skilled American workers?  There is a joke about people with an inflated sense of value – that you can make money off them by buying them for what they're worth and selling them for what they think they're worth.  Should we then continue to coddle this workforce, protect them from the competitive pressures of the outside world, pay them a "living wage," all the while nurturing their self-esteem by praising their blue-collar nobility?  Would this be the sign of an forward-thinking workforce policy?

News reports of the Carrier decision to retain jobs here in the U.S. have hinted that there might also be state-sponsored incentives, presumably lowered or deferred taxation, as a further enticement.  One can then wonder what other back-room deals are being made perhaps the hush-hush wink-and-nods that will provide Carrier with an ideal bargain in exchange for headlines and adulation that Trump so insatiably craves.

So what else does this open the door to?  Will governors seek to publicly shame those wealthy residents the precious few who provide the lion's share of state income tax revenue if those residents contemplate moving to another state?  Will secret meetings ensue with back-slapping deals in which both the state and the wealthy resident emerge as winners while the remaining residents pick up the slack?  And is it now completely out of the realm of possibility that states may impose an exit tax upon outgoing residents?  With state deficits and pension liabilities ballooning, couldn't the states make the argument that since a resident benefited from these expenses, he should therefore remain liable to pay the tab no matter where he or she moves?  If you think this cannot come about, explain how it's different that some Americans must pay an exit tax if they choose to renounce their citizenship.