Last night, President-Elect Donald Trump toured the Carrier factory in Indiana and bragged that he had used the power of the federal government to leverage the company into keeping jobs in the United States.Shapiro is correct in what he writes here on the spineless "free market" conservatives supporting this mad Carrier move and that they are being soul-sucked, but this isn't standard crony capitalism.This is Banana Republic Capitalism.
To recount from yesterday, here were the basic details of the deal: Vice President-Elect Mike Pence, who is also Governor of Indiana, offered $7 million in tax breaks to Carrier. They turned it down originally, since it would cost them $65 million to keep the jobs in Indiana. What changed their mind? Trump reportedly threatened the withdrawal of federal defense contracts from Carrier’s parent company, United Technologies, which has $6.7 billion in business with the feds. Trump also threatened to increase tariffs on companies reimporting product after shipping jobs out of the country....
Trump bragged about this small dose of economic fascism while visiting Carrier. “This is the way it’s going to be,” he said. “Corporate America is going to have to understand that we have to take care of our workers also.” He added, “I don’t want them moving out of the country without consequences.” Mike Pence, supposed voice of conservatism, piped up, “The free market has been sorting it out and America’s been losing. Every time, every time.”
If you oppose this, you’re a cuck.
I’m old enough to remember when former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin railed against crony capitalism (“It’s not the capitalism of free men and free markets, of innovation and hard work and ethics, of sacrifice and of risk. No, this is the capitalism of connections and government bailouts and handouts…and influence peddling and corporate welfare” – Palin, September 2011). I’m old enough to remember when Ann Coulter wrote, “Democrats’ crony capitalism is the worst of both worlds: risk-taking without any real risk. It’s like gambling with your rich daddy’s money, except we taxpayers are the rich daddy.” I’m old enough to have worked for new White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon when he made documentaries about Washington D.C. as a “Boomtown” and a “District of Corruption” and complained about government involvement in the economy. Now he pledges trillion dollar spending packages and claps while Trump threatens companies for operating along free market principles. And I’m old enough to remember when Sean Hannity hosted such documentaries (“So, can we anticipate cronyism and corruption until 2016?” Hannity asked Bannon in November 2012. Bannon answered, “I think Washington became an imperial city”).
This is hypocrisy of the highest order. And it’s evidence that a soul-suck has already taken place inside the Republican Party. Yes, other presidents have engaged in this sort of economic tyranny. Those presidents include Republicans like George W. Bush. But conservatives opposed Bush’s steel tariffs – and they certainly didn’t castigate other conservatives for opposing them, or whitewash protectionism. We’ll see whether conservatives begin to grow a spine now that Hillary Clinton is out of the way. But the early evidence isn’t particularly promising.
It must be understood this Carrier deal wasn't some broad policy effort. This wasn't even a "deal" that Carrier or its parent United Technologies wanted. If they would have been in favor of it or tried to advance it and get it done, it would have been Crony Capitalism. But this wasn't the case.
This was Trump muscling Carrier and United Technologies so he could get a photo op--or in his case a crowd op. This is Banana Republic Capitalism.