Trump has yet to take office and he’s already delivered on one of his campaign promises. Tuesday evening president elect Trump struck a deal with Carrier Corporation to keep 1,000 jobs previously scheduled to be outsourced to Mexico in the United States.
Back in February Carrier announced they would close their Indianapolis plant and send 2,000 jobs to Mexico. This announcement was much maligned by Trump and Bernie Sanders whose campaigns were in part built on anti-outsourcing platforms. Both candidates believe that a key to maintaining a strong US economy is to keep jobs, particularly manufacturing jobs which have been heavily outsourced in the past few decades, in the US. This message helped Trump win in “Rustbelt” states like Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania whose economies have been hurt as manufacturing jobs have left the United States.
While reading happy statements from Carrier workers who will keep their jobs is heartening, it’s hard to ignore the downside of this deal. Carrier will have to continue to pay these workers between $17 and $25 an hour rather than the $2 to $3 they would pay Mexican workers. This of course means that Carrier products will be more expensive and US consumers will be faced with higher prices. And while it’s nice that 1,000 Indianans are keeping their jobs the fact there are 1,000 Mexicans who will now have to find other means of employment is hard to ignore.
This is especially true considering the foregone benefits from trade, both for the Mexican and US economies, all for the sake of keeping a dying sector alive. There’s always a trade-off between keeping US citizens employed and promoting trade and it seems as though Trump will deliver on his promise to keep jobs in the U.S., for better or worse.