The Trump Carrier Scam: Laid Off Workers and Corporate Tax Cuts

Chuck Jones, president of United Steelworkers 1999, reminds us that it was a year ago this week that the president-elect engaged in a complete scam.

At the Carrier plant on the west side of Indianapolis, we’re coming up on a bitter anniversary. One year ago this week, President-elect Donald Trump stood before hundreds of cheering workers and declared that he had saved our jobs from moving to Mexico. It was a symbolic moment that cemented Trump’s campaign image as a working-class champion — a blue-collar billionaire who would stand with workers, not CEOs…

A year later, we feel betrayed. Carrier has announced that more than 600 workers are being laid off, with the last line scheduled to work their final shift right after the holidays.

The workers at Carrier aren’t the only ones who feel victimized by Trump’s false promises. United Technologies, Carrier’s parent company, is laying off another 700 workers right up the road from the Carrier plant in Huntington. And Rexnord, another plant in Indianapolis, just closed its doors, too. Workers at both plants hoped that Trump would come to the rescue, but he never showed up.

This is but one example of how Trump has pulled a bait-and-switch on American workers. He didn’t save any Carrier jobs, the president got a photo-op out of a temporary reprieve that has now disappeared, along with the jobs.

It is also worth noting that the same week Jones reminded us of this anniversary, the Senate is at work on the Republican tax cut plan. Most people won’t make the connection. But back when Trump was staging that photo-op, Alan Murray explained the price we were all likely to pay for it.

A source close to the company said President-elect Trump called Greg Hayes, CEO of Carrier’s parent company United Technologies, two weeks ago and asked him to rethink the decision to close the Carrier plant in Indiana.

Hayes explained that the jobs were lower-wage and had high turnover, and the move was necessary to keep the plant competitive, according to the source. He said the plan would save the company $65 million a year.

President-elect Trump replied that those savings would be dwarfed by the savings UTC would enjoy from corporate tax-rate reductions he planned to put in place.

The price tag for the bait-and-switch included the promise of huge corporate tax cuts—which Trump said would dwarf the $65 million UTC claimed it would cost them to keep the jobs here in the U.S.

The White House constantly suggests that these corporate tax cuts will trickle down into more jobs and higher wages for working Americans. But we can now close the loop on what happened at Carrier. All the jobs that Trump claimed to save are gone and, if Republicans pass their tax cut bill, the parent company will still pocket over $65 million a year.

Apparently Carrier and its parent company UTC aren’t the only ones who won’t be investing their tax cuts in workers.

Major companies including Cisco Systems Inc., Pfizer Inc. and Coca-Cola Co. say they’ll turn over most gains from proposed corporate tax cuts to their shareholders, undercutting President Donald Trump’s promise that his plan will create jobs and boost wages for the middle class.

It is beyond time for everyone to figure out that when Trump talks about making America great again, he’s not referring to the post-WWII growth of the white middle class in this country. It is more likely a throw-back to the late 19th century Gilded Age.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .