Trump, Carrier, and Single Income Families

3 mins read

Several weeks ago in this space, I laid out my vision for the right wing: America should be a society where a man working full time can provide for his family using only one income. While much digital ink has been spilled on How To Restore America, not to mention the inevitable follow ups and addenda clarifying that There Can Only Be One Way To Restore America And All Other Proposals Are Heresy, I have tried to distill in the simplest way possible one way of moving forward. It is certainly not the only way, nor is it Most Sacred And Holy Writ. In addition to setting out the vision of a single income family, I proposed that every proposal should be judged by that metric: does it further a single income society or not?
In light of this vision, one of the bigger news events of last week was the Carrier deal, in which the multinational corporation agreed to keep roughly a thousand jobs in an Indiana plant instead of moving them to Mexico. In exchange, the company received tax credits of roughly seven million dollars. President Elect (or God-Emperor Ascendant if your tastes lean that way) Trump kept his campaign promise to Indiana workers and Indiana voters. Does the Carrier deal help America to become a society where a man working full time can provide for his family using only one income? Absolutely. By that standard, the Carrier deal passes.
The deal is not without its critics. As Trump would say, many many people have said these things. On the left, the message is that Carrier called Trump’s bluff and won favorable tax treatment while still moving jobs to Mexico. On the right, the message is that Trump is doubling down on the Obama policy of picking winners and losers and abandoning the free market. While I have not seen any polling conducted since the deal was announced, I would assume that a majority of Americans would approve of it.
The greatest fault in the Carrier deal is not the left’s message of crony capitalism and corporate welfare, nor the right’s message of government intervention and free market betrayal. The greatest danger is that it worked, and because it worked, Trump is going to save other plants from closing by making deals (ed. note: great deals, the best deals, terrific deals, classy deals). Already Trump is tweeting about another plant closing in Indiana—a Rexford plant that employs 350 people. While having the PEOTUS use the bully pulpit and direct negotiation is a good sign for the American worker—finally someone in Washington (or soon to be in Washington) is taking their side. However, there are too many plants that are scheduled to be closed and not enough hours in the week for President Elect Trump to save all of them.
So what? At least he’s doing something, at least he’s trying, why do you hate America? It’s a similar matter of economics. Economics exists because of scarcity. Time is a scarce resource. Particularly the time of the leader of the free world. Trump intervening on a transactional, plant-by-plant, deal-by-deal approach will result in many jobs being saved and many positive news stories. However, it is akin to the CEO of a Fortune 500 company trying to boost earnings per share by trying to negotiate a discount with every single office supply order. His time is more valuable and should be spent on matters where it can make the most difference.

However, as previously stated, this deal enables more men to provide for their families on their income, and that alone is enough for us to endorse it. While many are quick to tell you what this means about a Trump labor policy, a Trump jobs policy, or a Trump economic policy, we will leave that to the experts. As Joe Friday would say, “just the facts, ma’am.” These are the facts: a thousand families will celebrate a Christmas without fearing that their mom or dad will lose their job. And any time that happens, it is a good thing.

The most important question to ask about the Carrier deal is not “what does this tell us about the Trump Administration.” The most important question is “why did it make economic sense for Carrier to build furnaces in Mexico?” The second most important question is “what do we need to change so that it makes sense for Carrier to build furnaces in America?” Luckily for us, freedom-oriented economists and thinkers have a long list of ideas that might change our economy so that companies are no longer threatened by the siren song of outsourcing, globalization, and cheap labor. We can make America great again when Americans start making things in America again. We can make America great again when Americans go back to work.

14 Comments

  1. As President Elect, he can’t do the big tax and regulatory things, but he can signal. Carrier was a big outrage in the campaign, so it is crony, symbolic, and in Pence’s state. Much like accepting the phone call from the leader of Taiwan.
    IIRC, General Patton ate in the mess hall with his troops, not in the general’s tent.
    One thing that the cuckservatives did was to allow the fake stream media to control the Narrative.
    Trump simultaneously shatters the left’s narratives and creates his own (I care about working people). Carrier is the new narrative in a way that some abstruse economic, fiscal, and tax policy can’t be.
    Culture precedes politics, and Trump is changing the culture or revitalizing the traditional part of it.
    It’s cool to be Christian, wish “Merry Christmas”, etc. except on the left coast, but they will be defunded since they will be not so much sanctuary but (insane) asylum cities.
    He is also flipping the minorities that aren’t totally psycho to his side. Do you care about some bakery not catering to weddings or do you care about having a great job instead of welfare?

  2. We need to practice economic nationalism if we are to remain a viable nation.
    Just about anyone reading here can drive around a larger town or city in their home state and see the casualties of free trade in the closed down factories, machine shops, fabricators, and related businesses, even in the most pro-business states like Alabama and Texas.
    I think Trump understands he is at war with globalism and globalists.
    Thinking it about it in terms that William Lind used in his book “On War” published by Castalia House,
    Trump saved manufacturing jobs before taking office and won at the moral level of the conflict, the highest level you can win at in war.
    He will continue to unite the working class behind him as he goes after other companies that want to leave the USA.
    However, it was a tactical win, a small battle that was won. Sort of like in World War 2 when Jimmy Doolittle’s raid on Japan used about 25-30 B-25 bombers taking off from aircraft carriers to bomb Tokyo and other cities. It was a YUUGE morale booster on the home front.
    For him to win the war, he needs to develop a grand strategy to bring manufacturing back to the USA.
    He knows this, and he will craft policies to address the economic reasons why business leave the USA.
    I expect that in his first 1 – 100 days he will roll out policies to cut taxes, regulations, renegotiate bad trade deals, impose tariffs on imports, and reduce other barriers to manufacturing in the USA.
    I expect him to roll out a blue print of his strategy before he is sworn in.

  3. They need to roll back some of the more ridiculous and expensive environmental sanctions, guaranteed it would help some of these factories stay in business in the US. Also and something that would help me and those like me, it would be awesome if there was a tax break on overtime work hours. It sucks to see a quarter of my paycheck disappear, and there tends to be a maximum amount of hours where its worth working versus loosing a shit ton in taxes.

    • Re-look at the math, Jake. I heard this a ton at my job. And it is a bit disheartening, but that’s just how most jobs figure your withholding.
      But you always earn more overall at the end of the year for every hour of OT earned.

      • Not arguing the math, it’s more how disheartening it is to see all that time wasted on taxes. The main reason most people work OT is to make extra, I think it would be more of a boost to the work ethic of people if they knew they weren’t getting screwed out of so much.

  4. He should fire 5/6 of the federal employees and outsource them as call centres to India. That way they get paid what they are worth and it reduces the federal budget as well as simplifies the tax code to a nice flat tax.
    Then give California to Mexico and China to rebalance the debt and include it on the outside of the new wall.
    I’d make a great adviser to Trump. The best adviser. Everyone says so.

  5. There are absolutely not enough hours in the day for Trump to save every job. But even two or three deals like this – big publicity, right at the start – set the tone for his administration and the expectations for his subordinates. He’s leading, and for this, he’s leading in the direction we want.
    Single income families is an issue I can rally behind. Best, it’s impossible to argue against without sounding like an apex psychotic patriarchy conspiracy theorist. DEUS VULT.

  6. “America should be a society where a man working full time can provide for his family using only one income.”
    This is available now. What’s changed between what was considered the golden age for single income families and today is that today there is simply far, FAR, more to buy and do. It’s in fact incredibly easy to support a family of a fairly large number (eight or more), if you live as our grandparents and great-grandparents did:
    – Travel used to be a luxury afforded only to the very wealthy and our grand parents and great grandparents didn’t venture more than 50 to 100 miles from their homes once settled into their lives. Today, pretty much any American can afford to fly around the world at least once in their lives. And many often do.
    – Eat homemade meals, much of it from the garden, instead of going out to not just McDonald’s, but high end places. There are always crowds of middle to low income places at even somewhat upscale places.
    – Live without electronics or even just a few, which means no TV, no cable, no cell phone, no gaming console, etc., but even today, those who are said to live in poverty have multiple TVs, multiple gaming consoles, multiple cell phones and plans, etc.
    – One car, instead of one for all adults in the house.
    – Live in a smallish house, having your kids double or triple up in a room and everyone shared a single bathroom or had an outhouse, no garage, etc., rather than buying what our grandparents would consider mansions so that every member of the family could have a bedroom, complete with a masters suite that, alone, has the same square footage as the house your grandparents or great-grandparents had. New houses today are a full 1000 square feet larger than new homes built in 1980.
    – Have just a few changes of clothes, one or two pairs of shoes, rather than dozens of shirts, pants, shoes, etc.
    Modern Americans, though, feel entitled to TV, cable, phones, equipped with the latest and greatest hardware available. I mean, can you imagine using flip phones, when it’s obvs you have to have a new smart phone every year. And, of course, no 18 year old should be expected to move out of the house to support himself, but should be encouraged to “find himself”, which takes some into their late 20s and even into their 30s. My monther didn’t even have electricity till she was five (1953), which means my grandparents didn’t have electricity till their 30’s or 40’s. And both sets of my maternal great grandparents raised nine kids earning less than $15,000 in today’s dollars.
    Living on a single income is quite easy, even when living at standards far above our grand parents and great grand parents, if you’re willing to live simply and pragmatically. Not so much, when you want to buy everything put in front of you. I don’t mind people buying everything they can afford. But I’m not interested in listening to people’s tails of financial woes when they own multiple cars, living in a 2000 sq ft plus house with a two car garage, filled with gadgets, electronics, and all the services available to modern Americans.
    I agree with much of the rest of your post about the awfulness of crony capitalism. And as happy as I am that Trump is president, America is greater today than at any other time. However, the hedonic treadmill is real. What was once considered luxury is now considered a necessity and people are just entitled to them. It’s a disgraceful lack of historical awareness.

    • Ken, there are lots of people living in apartments, NO car, grown kids, both people working, being frugal, that still barely manage to make ends meet. Heck, that was me and mine until about 5 years ago, when i finally got my business off the ground.
      This is not the kind of deal a military retiree expects. especially not living in a ‘cheap’ place like flyover country. You may have trouble believing this, but lots of places it is BRUTALLY difficult for someone older than 25 trying to reenter the workforce. And retiring for real? Don’t make me laugh.

  7. I make a decent living, in a major urban area, and my wife is not obliged to work outside our home. We shop at aldi, have a big garden and drive 16 year old cars. This will allow us to send our kids (who always shared bedrooms) to a good big 10 Uni with no debt, and our contemporaries ask us how we do it. A generation ago, lawyers who did what I do lived in tony suburbs on the Lake, drove new cars, and sent their kids to private schools. Im convinced that women entering the workforce and the accelerating devaluation of the Dollar are the two biggest factors in the shift away from prosperity for the middle class.

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