News & Politics

Carrier Blinks, Jobs Stay, Trump Wins

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik, file)

More #winning:

From the earliest days of his campaign, Donald J. Trump made keeping manufacturing jobs in the United States his signature economic issue, and the decision by Carrier, the big air-conditioner company, to move over 2,000 of them from Indiana to Mexico was a tailor-made talking point for him on the stump.

On Thursday, Mr. Trump and Mike Pence, Indiana’s governor and the vice president-elect, plan to appear at Carrier’s Indianapolis factory to announce a deal with the company to keep roughly 1,000 jobs in the state, according to officials with the transition team as well as Carrier.

Mr. Trump will be hard-pressed to alter the economic forces that have hammered the Rust Belt for decades, but forcing Carrier and its parent company, United Technologies, to reverse course is a powerful tactical strike that will hearten his followers even before he takes office.

“I’m ready for him to come,” said Robin Maynard, a 24-year veteran of Carrier who builds high-efficiency furnaces and earns almost $24 an hour as a team leader. “Now I can put my daughter through college without having to look for another job.”

This was one of those campaign promises the How Not to Do It Left assured us would be impossible to keep. But the Circumlocution Office failed. Leave it to the New York Times to put a “progressive” spin on the decision, and compare Trump, favorably if indirectly, to Bernie Sanders:

It also signals that Mr. Trump is a different kind of Republican, willing to take on Big Business, at least in individual cases.

And just as only a confirmed anti-Communist like Richard Nixon could go to China, so only a businessman like Mr. Trump could take on corporate America without being called a Bernie Sanders-style socialist. If Barack Obama had tried the same maneuver, he’d probably have drawn criticism for intervening in the free market.

Trump understands that if he makes an example out of one of these corporate relocaters, the others will fall quickly into line, lest they see their heads on pikes in the morning. So first Ford, now Carrier:

“I think it’s pretty clear Carrier did this because the public relations cost to them was far greater than the short-term savings,” said Robert Reich, a prominent liberal Democrat who served as secretary of labor in the Clinton administration. “Even though it’s political theater, these are real people and the longer they are employed at Carrier, the better.”

Over the long term, and for less prominent firms, however, the temptation to move to cheaper locales for manufacturing will be just as great as it was for Carrier, Mr. Reich said.

Oh, shut up.