President-elect Donald Trump announced earlier this week that he had cut a deal with air conditioning manufacturer Carrier to keep 800 jobs in Indiana. The company had planned to send those jobs to Mexico.
As part of the deal, the state of Indiana is going to give Carrier $7 million in tax incentives. President-elect Trump also promised to push corporate tax cuts and deregulation after he’s sworn into office.
Not everyone is happy. Among those upset that 800 Indianians will keep their jobs this Christmas is none other than Bernie Sanders, who took to the Washington Post’s op-ed page to argue that “working people” are the real losers here.
Here’s what Bernie said:
President-elect Donald Trump will reportedly announce a deal with United Technologies, the corporation that owns Carrier, that keeps less than 1,000 of the 2,100 jobs in America that were previously scheduled to be transferred to Mexico. Let’s be clear: It is not good enough to save some of these jobs. Trump made a promise that he would save all of these jobs, and we cannot rest until an ironclad contract is signed to ensure that all of these workers are able to continue working in Indiana without having their pay or benefits slashed.
In exchange for allowing United Technologies to continue to offshore more than 1,000 jobs, Trump will reportedly give the company tax and regulatory favors that the corporation has sought. Just a short few months ago, Trump was pledging to force United Technologies to “pay a damn tax.” He was insisting on very steep tariffs for companies like Carrier that left the United States and wanted to sell their foreign-made products back in the United States. Instead of a damn tax, the company will be rewarded with a damn tax cut.
First of all, Bernie has a point. There are reasons to question the tax incentives that Carrier was granted for staying in the country, first among them that it’s receiving benefits its competitors do not have. This is the government picking and choosing winners, the very definition of cronyism. It’s wrong. But Bernie has no room to talk on this topic because he supported the bailout of the auto industry in December 2008.
Having said that, cutting corporate taxes and regulations are a good thing and desperately needed. The Obama administration has hampered the economy, setting a record for imposing the most regulations. The U.S. has one of the world’s highest corporate tax rates. American companies simply cannot compete with corporations based in countries with lower tax rates unless they receive special carve-outs.
Bernie Sanders has a different solution to stop companies from outsourcing: make them pay even more taxes!
If United Technologies or any other company wants to keep outsourcing decent-paying American jobs, those companies must pay an outsourcing tax equal to the amount of money they expect to save by moving factories to Mexico or other low-wage countries. They should not receive federal contracts or other forms of corporate welfare. They must pay back all of the tax breaks and other corporate welfare they have received from the federal government. And they must not be allowed to reward their executives with stock options, bonuses or golden parachutes for outsourcing jobs to low-wage countries. I will soon be introducing the Outsourcing Prevention Act, which will address exactly that.
First of all, a man who praised Fidel Castro’s Cuba and the communist Sandinistas in Nicaragua talking about “economic patriotism” is a farce. Second, the only duty a corporation has is to turn a profit for its shareholders. Finally, there is evidence that outsourcing actually benefits the U.S. economy. Companies often use the money saved to expand other operations in the United States.
If Sanders gets his “outsourcing tax,” that loud noise you’ll hear will be the jobs stampeding out of our country to evade getting hit. The way to stop tax incentives like those given to Carrier is to push for lower taxes and less regulation for everyone. President-elect Trump understands this; Bernie Sanders doesn’t. Ask yourself: Which one is really fighting for American workers?