Be wary of a Trump bearing gifts.
Just before kicking off his victory tour, the Trump media machine released a notice that Trump had "saved" 1,000 Carrier jobs from being moved to Mexico.
That's great news. Now, can he also pull the same rabbit out of the hat for every other industry, company, and manufacturing base in the United States?
As the Washington Post notes, we don't have details of the deal. We don't know if the jobs were part of the deal that Indiana already made with Carrier. We don't know if Trump threatened Carrier's parent company, United Technologies—you keep the jobs here, or you can forget those extremely lucrative military contracts.
If Trump promised a tax break, he can't give it. As it is, United Technologies already pays less than the 35% corporate tax. If he's promising "relaxed regulations", he can't deliver if doing so is in violation of existing laws. If he threatened them with a tariff, he can't follow through on the threat with NAFTA in place. If he's just benefiting from the work Indiana put into saving the jobs, then he didn't really save the jobs, he's only taking credit for Indiana's work. If he made a deal related to the lucrative military contracts United Technologies has then I'm fairly sure US laws were broken.
Then there's that plant in Mexico: is United Technologies just going to move another of its businesses to Mexico when the Press moves on to the next Trump show? In other words, is the US really ahead 1,000 jobs? Or is this more smoke and mirrors?
We don't know. What we do know is that all of this happened behind doors, in secrecy, with a complete and total lack of transparency. But it makes great Press, and the TV news will just eat it up. And that's what Trump wants more than anything: great Press.
In less than two months, no more closed doors and no more secret meetings and suspicious deals. In less than two months Trump will have to operate under laws requiring transparency, especially with deals like this.
It can't happen a moment too soon because I'm getting sick of the con man games.