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.