How to Understand Trump’s Carrier “Win”

Trump needs no help in claiming wins — he even claims to be a winner when he’s a clear loser, and his ardent supporters believe him. His “victory lap” in saving 1000 jobs at Carrier  Corp. in Indiana is true to type. So was the nastiness of his speech at the next stop. He’s still gloating over the election.

How do the rest of us understand the Carrier deal? Here’s a really good, really simple explanation:

In the two hours that President-elect Donald J. Trump spent flying to Indiana on Thursday to boast that he saved 1,000 jobs, about 6,000 private-sector jobs in the United States were probably destroyed.

It’s a surprising statistic — one that speaks to the constant state of change in the labor market. My calculation is based on government data that shows that every three months roughly 6.7 million private-sector jobs are destroyed, which in an expanding labor market is offset by the creation of nearly 7.2 million jobs.

Over a full presidential term, more than 100 million jobs will be destroyed. Mr. Trump can’t expect to stanch much of that flow.

Of course, not all jobs that go away are gone forever: Public beaches need lifeguards every summer, and Macy’s hires elves around Christmastime. Not that this is necessarily much comfort to a jobless elf in January.

One lesson here is that Mr. Trump’s deal-cutting approach is wholly inadequate — and impractical — in view of the size of the American labor market. While the workers at Carrier benefited from Mr. Trump’s attention, the problem is that this approach doesn’t scale.”

Read the whole article; it’s not very long. Basically, it shows what a simplistic and dated notion of job creation Trump has.

Since 2010, 15 million jobs have been created; that begins the count two years after the financial crisis President Obama inherited in 2008. By all measures, the economy — including the manufacturing economy — is healthy and growing. President Obama could take a lot of victory laps, if he were that kind of guy.

Trump is claiming a win for 1000 jobs kept in Indiana, at a cost of 7M in tax breaks and other incentives. The optics are good, I guess, but the reality less so.

The half of the equation that Trump supporters don’t seem to get is that jobs go where they can be done most efficiently. If we prop up those jobs and force them to remain here, things can indeed be produced here — but at a much higher cost with no appreciable difference in quality or value to a similar product made overseas.

I don’t shop at WalMart, but I’ll bet a lot of Trump voters do. Those everyday low prices come about because the products are made overseas.

For now.


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