The President Likes To Characterize Deals Made By Presidents Before Him As “Disasters”. But What About The One Under His Watch That Handed $1.5-Trillion Mostly To Big Business With No Strings Attached?
We don’t think it’s unfair to point the finger not just at General Motors, when it announced last week it would close several iconic U.S. factories, lay off a huge number of people, and move some operations overseas, but also at Trump and his Republican cohorts in Congress. Here’s a link to G.M.’s news release, which in corporate-speak is entitled “General Motors Accelerates Transformation“.
Because if Trump wants to look at what evils are behind G.M.’s decisions to slash domestic jobs, close some U.S. plants, and move more production overseas, he could look no further than himself. Because Trump and Republicans’ $1.5-billion dollar tax giveaway mostly to American corporations didn’t have to be “no strings attached”. They could’ve attached plenty of strings to make sure more of that money stayed in the U.S. and was used to hire American workers. They didn’t. If they had, then Trump might not have had to resort to desperate threats of pulling subsidies from the automaker’s electric car program, and/or putting 25% tariffs on all imported cars (would those include BMW, Honda, Toyota, etc. vehicles that are now built in the U.S.?) As we’ve noted before BMW is actually a net exporter of cars from the U.S. right now because it makes so many in South Carolina.
Trump was so desperate to get his hands on piles of money U.S. corporations earned overseas but didn’t want to bring back into the U.S. because of high U.S. tax rates, that he and Republicans just slashed those tax rates. A lot of money did come back. But those lower tax rates on overseas profits also incentivized those same corporations to expand business overseas because it suddenly also became cheaper for them.
Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown who just won reelection in a state that otherwise went very red (and who’s been talking about running for President, and who we’ve talked about as someone who should be Democrats’ nominee for Vice-President in 2020), has been on top of this for a long time, and has put forth legislation to attach some more strings to those corporate tax windfalls.
Specifically, he recommends:
- Revoking that huge tax cut on bringing back overseas profits if manufacturers use it as an opening to move production overseas. Very simple: they move jobs out instead of hiring in the U.S., they lose their huge tax break.
- Giving American consumers a $3,500 credit toward buying American-made cars. (We haven’t seen any info. though, including on the Senator’s own website about how he expects to pay for that).
The response from Trump? Blame Brown for G.M.’s imminent closure of a major Ohio plant because he “didn’t get the point across to G.M.”. But then, according to cleveland.com, the two had a phone conversation about Brown’s idea. Although Trump’s preferred solution (on Twitter at least) still seems to be more tariffs. Trump’s also apparently now decided to portray the automaker’s action as an isolated incident, Tweeting:
When Harley Davidson announced earlier this year it was moving production overseas, Trump was also furious and threatened to single out the company for punishment. But then he didn’t really do anything other than call for a boycott. G.M. is a much bigger deal though.