Former Gov. Sarah Palin has criticized President-elect Donald Trump's deal with the Carrier, in which as reported previously the air conditioner company would not outsource 1,100 workers to Mexico in exchange for $7 million in tax incentives over 10 years, saying that it yet another example of "corporate welfare." The harsh criticism of Trump's economic policy comes as she is reportedly under consideration to serve as Trump's secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Writing an op-ed in the Young Conservatives blog, Palin said that while he is excited for the Carrier employees whose jobs are staying in Indiana, saying the deal is "a relief for hundreds of workers... Merry Christmas Indiana!”, she then joins Bernie Sanders and other critics in vlasting the deal as “crony capitalism" and an example of the "hallmark of corruption" and "socialism", adding the arrangement could set "inconsistent, unfair and illogical precedent."
Suggesting that the Trump deal is a carryover from the Obama administration's "crony" ways of doing business, Palin wrote that “when government steps in arbitrarily with individual subsidies, favoring one business over others, it sets inconsistent, unfair, illogical precedent. Then, special interests creep in and manipulate markets. Republicans oppose this, remember?”
“Instead, we support competition on a level playing field, remember? Because we know special interest crony capitalism is on big fail.”
Palin then made a statement many conservatives and virtually all libertarians would agree with, saying that "however well meaning, burdensome federal government imposition is never the solution. Never. Not in our homes, not in our schools, not in churches, not in businesses.”
Seemingly not concerned that her outburst may potentially cost her an administration position, after Palin was reported to be considered for a spot in Trump’s administration, an aide to Palin said the former governor said “I feel as though the megaphone I have been provided can be used in a productive and positive way to help those desperately in need.”
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The criticism to the Carrier deal came from both sides of the ideological aisle: in addition to Palin, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers likewise blasted Trump’s deal, labeling the president-elect’s intervention as a dangerous shift away from American capitalism.
Summers, a Democrat who was Treasury chief under Bill Clinton, argued that rich and successful countries have a strong foundation of rules-based capitalism. He said Trump skirted that tradition when he used a “combination of carrots and sticks” to prevent United Technologies from sending jobs at its Carrier plant to Mexico. He called that “an act of ad hoc deal capitalism.”
“A principle is being established: it is good for the President to try to figure out what people want and lean on companies to give it to them,” Summers wrote in a blog post Friday. “Presidents have enormous latent power and it is the custom of restraint in its use that is one of the important differences between us and banana republics.” Summers warned that “the negotiation with Carrier is a small thing that is actually a very big thing -- a change very much for the worse with regards to the operating assumptions of American capitalism.”
While Palin's criticism at least conforms with her ideological convictions, the Sanders reaction reeks of hypocricy. Coming from a man who has long urged for relentless government regulation, intervention in aspects of the economy, and has demanded an ever greater role for the fed, we find it painfully ironic, not to mention amusing that a sworn neo-Keynsian is now suggesting that the economy cannot function optimally without government intervention, and as a result is now calling Trump anti-capitalistic.
We expect many more such ideologicial "slips" from both the left and the right in the coming weeks and months, as Trump - for better or worse - engagaes in acts which were previously blasted under the Obama administration, and which will now be mocked and ridiculed by the same people who cheered them on for the past 8 years. Far more interesting will be Trump's reaction to criticism by the likes of Palin and other conservatives, and whether or not he will respond by moderating his approach, or push on.
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The full Sarah Palin op-ed is below:
But… Wait… The Good Guys Won’t Win With More Crony Capitalism
I am ecstatic for Carrier employees! Their bosses just decided to keep shop onshore. What a relief for hundreds of workers. Merry Christmas Indiana!
We don’t yet know terms of the public/private deal that was cut to make the company stay, but let’s hope every business is equally incentivized to keep Americans working in America.
Foundational to our exceptional nation’s sacred private property rights, a business must have freedom to locate where it wishes. 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.
But this time-tested truth assumes we’re operating on a level playing field.
When government steps in arbitrarily with individual subsidies, favoring one business over others, it sets inconsistent, unfair, illogical precedent. Meanwhile, the invisible hand that best orchestrates a free people’s free enterprise system gets amputated. Then, special interests creep in and manipulate markets. Republicans oppose this, remember? Instead, we support competition on a level playing field, remember? Because we know special interest crony capitalism is one big fail.
Politicians picking and choosing recipients of corporate welfare is railed against by fiscal conservatives, for it’s a hallmark of corruption. And socialism. The Obama Administration dealt in it in spades. Recall Solyndra, Stimulus boondoggles, and all their other taxpayer-subsidized anchors on our economy. A $20 trillion debt-ridden country can’t afford this sinfully stupid practice, so vigilantly guard against its continuance, or we’re doomed.
Reaganites learned it is POLICY change that changes economic trajectory. Reagan’s successes were built on establishing a fiscal framework that invigorated our entire economy, revitalized growth and investment while decreasing spending, tax rates, over-reaching regulations, unemployment, and favoritism via individual subsidies. We need Reaganites in the new Administration.
However well meaning, burdensome federal government imposition is never the solution. Never. Not in our homes, not in our schools, not in churches, not in businesses.
Gotta’ have faith the Trump team knows all this. And I’ll be the first to acknowledge concerns over a deal cut by leveraging taxpayer interests to make a manufacturer stay put are unfounded – once terms are made public.
But know that fundamentally, political intrusion using a stick or carrot to bribe or force one individual business to do what politicians insist, versus establishing policy incentivizing our ENTIRE ethical economic engine to roar back to life, isn’t the answer. Cajole only chosen ones on Main St or Wall St and watch lines stretch from Washington to Alaska full of businesses threatening to bail unless taxpayers pony up. The lines strangle competition and really, really, dispiritingly screw with workers’ lives. It’s beyond unacceptable, so let’s anticipate equal incentivizes and positive reform all across the field – to make the economy great again.