Carrier Deal: Corporate Welfare, Extortion – or Both

It doesn’t matter how you parse it, the case for Carrier is corporate welfare, corporate extortion, or both.

The deal struck between Carrier, the State of Indiana – on behalf of Mike Pence – and Donald Trump exemplifies the long standing, and growing, welfare payments to American corporations disguised as incentives and tax breaks.  Never mind the stigma of the dreaded “W” word (welfare), and it’s use to stigmatize, castigate and otherwise demean those recipients who are truly deserving of governmental assistance, it’s hailed as a good and honorable thing  as long as it’s the corporate conglomerates who are the sucklings on the nipples of the welfare pig.

Listening to the employees of Carrier harp about the greatness of their savior Donald Trump, for having saved their jobs so easily, and subsequently living up to his campaign promise to slap tariffs on companies like Carrier from moving their operations to places like Mexico, highlights just how gullible America’s uniformed and uneducated voters are. Never mind the fact that there is no magic performed here -none at all – when you consider the enormous tax breaks, and other incentives doled out by the State of Indiana for Carriers “stay in America free card”, or the fact that the number of jobs to remain in Indiana are less than what Trump hyped, or the fact that the number still going to Mexico maybe higher (still) than the number remaining in Indiana.

As reported by several news sources, Politicus USA for one reported The deal that Donald Trump negotiated with United Technologies to keep Carrier jobs in Indiana is getting even worse. Trump and Pence gave United Technologies $7 million of taxpayer money in exchange for only keeping 800 jobs in the US.”  In return for keeping less in the US than they are moving to Mexico, United Technologies is getting a tax cut and incentive package worth $7 million over the next ten years.  The Wall Street Journal reported reported “that the deal only covers 800 Carrier jobs in the Indianapolis furnace plant and an additional 300 research and development jobs that were not going to Mexico. Carrier parent company United Technologies still intends to move 1,300 jobs to Mexico.”

While an early report suggest that the deal cost the State of Indiana $7,000,000, it’s highly likely the incentives by the state of Indiana will be substantially higher.  One of the most detailed discussions about how this corporate welfare program (disguised as incentives) works, was done in December 5, 2012, titled: A Thin Line: Economic Development or Corporate Welfare?” on NPR’s program – FRESH AIR, hosted by Terry Gross, and written by her guest Louise Story, a reporter with the Times Investigations Unit.  This story is a must read/listen. It can be heard on podcast at:
http://www.npr.org/2012/12/05/166489199/a-thin-line-economic-growth-or-corporate-welfare.

A transcript of the interview between FRESH AIR’s, Terry Gross and the NY Times Investigations Unit reporter, Louise Story can be read here:
http://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=166489199.

In her new series for The New York Times called “The United States of Subsidies,” investigative reporter Louise Story examines how states, counties and cities are giving up more than $80 billion each year in tax breaks and other financial incentives to lure companies or persuade them to stay put.  One of the fundamental questions raised by Ms. Story – a reporter with the New York Times Investigations Unit – and discussed in detail in the three-part New York Times series program “United States of Subsidies, “was, where does economic development end and corporate welfare begin?

The states and localities want jobs and economic growth; the companies want free land, free buildings, property tax abatement, “anything you can think of that would be financially beneficial,” Story tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross.

Another example from Texas – as reported by the New York Times story, Amazon has promised to open new distribution facilities there and hire 2,500 workers in exchange for about $250 million in tax revenues, revenues that they wouldn’t have to pay. So you do the math and say this amounts to about $100,000 per job in lost tax revenues, and most of the workers who would be paid, you know, with this new facility would get about 20 to $30,000 a year.

So if you’re losing $100,000 in tax revenues per job, and each worker’s only getting 20 to $30,000, you’re paying a fortune for every job.

The bottom line is that states and local municipalities are, and have been for some time, paying through the nose for this false appearance of job creation; when in actuality, they are giving away the store at taxpayers’ expense.  The tax payers are in essence paying for many of the “pseudo” jobs they’re getting through a sort of black market, back door scheme.  What’s even more troubling is that few people really know the details of these lucrative deals struck between their state and local governments.  In fairness, there are situations where, say in the case of some of the large automobile plants popping up throughout the South, these plants are locating to what amounts to desolate, unforgiving and remotely rural places where, even giving the land away would be no great loss to anyone.   However, when you drive by some of these places, you will see massive and enormous infrastructure improvements being made to the interstate highways and local roadways.  It’s only my guess, especially in the case of the interstate highway improvements, these improvements cost tens of millions of dollars and have to be paid for by the states, and the federal government, since the interstate highways are constructed, operated and maintained by the states and the federal government.

If a hungry child gets a free or reduced lunch at school through the USDA’s Child Nutrition program, he or she is viewed as leech on an entitled program.

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The Winners Dilemma, of Reconciliation

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It has become acutely apparent, as voiced by so many of the self-serving political pundits, that if Hillary Clinton had won the current presidential contest, she would have had to court, appease and otherwise pamper those deplorable voters who so viciously supported the other side, and attacked her in some of the most mean-spirited, nasty and rabid ways imaginable.

These are some of the same political pundits and haters, that along the way, did all they could to disparage, demean and discredit her Most of them gave not a hint that they would even remotely extend an olive branch to her or her supporters should their vile candidate win the election.  Why then, would Secretary Clinton have been held to yet another (different) standard; a standard of being (expected) to heal the land and ease the pain of those voters and opponents – who I believe – will do something quite the contrary now  that it appears they will be in power.  Heck, Donald Trump had openly stated he may, or may not, accept the results of the election unless he won.

Never mind, that no where along the way did Donald Trump himself, even hint of reconciliation with the opposing party’s voters, or signal he would reach out to those voters, ethnic groups or factions who did not support him if he were to win.  Instead, he unambiguously and boldly stated the direful actions he would take, the type of post-election actions that are generally seen only in the so-called Banana Republics and dictatorships; things like jailing his opponent.  Even more spine-chilling, is when his deplorable rally goers often chanted very venomously chilling chants like, lock her up and electrocute her, he did and said absolutely nothing to quill their abhorrent and misguided fever and thirst for her blood.

Hillary Clinton has repeatedly said she wanted to be the President of all of the people, even those who voted against her.  This is generally the mantra of the more sane, civil and reasonable politicians – even that of many republican politicians – leading up to, and after an election – win or lose.  This is just one of the many discernible, and yes, rational differences between Hillary Clinton and the dismal, hate filled and racist views of Donald Trump.  If anyone believes Donald Trump and his staunchest supporters would have demonstrated the calm, rationalism, courtesy and civility Hillary Clinton demonstrated the day after the election, they’re either outright lairs at best, or delusional at worst. Again, every indication by Donald Trump – through his rhetoric – was that this was not going to be the case if he had lost the election.

Then, there is the graceful and dignified offer by the current President to welcome and offer his, and his staff’s, full support to President-Elect trump to ensure he had a smooth transition into the white house.  Let’s not so easily forget that this graciousness of President Obama is being extended to the man who spent the last four years (at minimum), ridiculing him, and using a blitzkrieg of demeaning and demoralizing racist attacks against him – through his constant barrage of brither assaults – even to the point that our first black President was forced to produce his long form birth certificate. Through the eyes of those of us who are African-Americans, the descendents of slaves, was an unpleasant reminder of an act that was a throwback to the days when slaves had to carry (ownership) papers with them, showing their master’s ownership of them; thereby, allowing them (somewhat safe) passage through the maze of plantations, towns, back roads and pass the vicious  bands slave catchers.

One thing for sure, Donald Trump is a very vindictive person, and while he has been unequivocally evasive about his governance philosophy on so many fronts and, based on his actions and implied threats thus far, we can assume he will spend quite a bit of time performing acts of retribution on those he feels were against him.  Trump made it crystal clear he was test the tenants of our peaceful transfer of power y publicly stating he wouldn’t accept the outcome of the election – unless of course, he won.  There is an eeriness that hovers over Trump’s election victory and Hillary’s loss to him.

He was very transparent and luminous about his desire to jail Hillary Clinton, and often relished in the boisterous chants offered up by his supporters chanting “lock her up.” Photos of some of his rally goers with handcuffs began surfacing on various social media outlets. One can only wonder what she would have been up against, or what aggravating taunts and petty challenges she would have had to endure by him and his minions if she had won.  Not to mention, he being the one who exploited and fueled all of the ugliness of a sequestered racial divide, often referred to as the “elephant in the room.”

No sane or civil person would suggest that the winner of this – or any other Presidential election – ignore, punish or otherwise seek retribution against those who voted against them. Besides, it wouldn’t work in our system of government, where there are systems in place to put in check anyone who would attempt to exert such actions.  One could make the argument; however, that if Hillary Clinton were the winner of this political election, she would have every right to (at least) flirt with the idea that her opponent should have to soak in the sweat of his defeat for some undetermined period.

Why is it then, that if Hillary Clinton had won the election, she would have been expected to spend her valuable time consoling those bigots who voted for Donald Trump while they licked their wounds.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, I believe that if she had won, she would done just that, not because it would have been demanded of her, but because that’s who she is.  Unfortunately, win or lose, it seemed okay that Hillary Clinton was subjected to some of the worse insults ever witnessed by an unapologetic misogynist, she is called on by the pundits, before the ink dries on the election results, to take the lead in reconciliation.  Had she won, she would have been called upon throughout her tenure in office to appease and comfort the losers.

The dilemma of reconciliation maybe, just maybe, a headache Hillary Clinton will not have to contend with.