Tea party standard-bearer Sarah Palin, under consideration to join Donald Trump’s cabinet, has just blasted the tax deal the president-elect negotiated with Carrier, condemning it as “crony capitalism.”
Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence helped arrange $7 million in Indiana tax breaks over 10 years for Carrier in exchange for the company’s promise to keep about 800 of 1,400 jobs in the U.S. instead of moving them to Mexico. In addition, Trump threatened to impose a stiff tariff on Carrier products if they sent all of the work across the border.
“Republicans oppose this, remember?” Palin wrote in an op-ed Friday on the Young Conservatives website. “Instead, we support competition on a level playing field, remember? Because we know special interest crony capitalism is one big fail.
“A business must have freedom to locate where it wishes,” the piece continued. “In a free market, if a business makes a mistake (including a marketing mistake that perhaps Carrier executives made), threatening to move elsewhere claiming efficiency’s sake, then the market’s invisible hand punishes. Thankfully, that same hand rewards, based on good business decisions.”
She warned that “picking and choosing” which company darlings receive “corporate welfare” is a “hallmark of corruption” and “socialism.”
A “$20 trillion debt-ridden country can’t afford this sinfully stupid practice, so vigilantly guard against its continuance, or we’re doomed,” she urged.
Palin left wiggle room in the piece for Trump to redeem himself. “Gotta have faith that the Trump team knows all of this,” she wrote hopefully, and promised to be the first to dismiss concerns if details of the deal prove her wrong once they’re publicly released.
In a bit of cognitive dissonance, Palin also said she was “ecstatic” for Carrier workers. “What a relief for hundreds of workers. Merry Christmas Indiana!” she gushed.
Palin is hardly the only “free market” Republican disturbed by the deal. The Wall Street Journal issued its own op-ed Thursday called “Trump’s Carrier Shakedown” noting that real job security depends on a company’s strength in the marketplace.
“If the extra costs of staying in Indianapolis erode that business, those workers will lose their jobs eventually in any case,” the Journal warned, adding: “Workers don’t prosper when politicians force companies to make noneconomic decisions.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has also attacked Trump’s deal, saying it signals to corporations that they can get significant tax breaks as long as they threaten to export jobs.
Despite the deal, Carrier is still shifting some production to Mexico, and at least 600 Carrier positions will be cut. Carrier’s parent company, United Technologies, will also move ahead with closing a separate Indiana plant and laying off 700 workers.
The union at the Carrier factory was cut out of negotiations to save their jobs, Chuck Jones, president of the local chapter of the United Steelworkers union that represents the plant, told The Huffington Post.
There was no immediate reaction from Trump on the criticisms from Palin or the Journal.
He has touted the deal and this week did a victory tour of the Indianapolis factory.