In a six-tweet diatribe sent just before 7 a.m., President-elect Donald Trump proposed a 35 percent tariff on goods imported to the United States by American companies that took their factories and jobs abroad.
It’s unclear what prompted Trump’s latest Twitter screed outlining economic policy, but it comes less than a week after the president-elect announced a deal with Carrier, a heating and cooling systems manufacturing company, to prevent the company from moving a major factory to Mexico, keeping 1,100 jobs in Indiana. However, 300 of those positions were never scheduled to leave.
The Carrier deal included no tax penalty. Instead, it offered instead a mix of tax breaks and other “financial incentives” for Carrier’s parent company, United Technologies, amounting to $7 million over 10 years. The absence of a tax penalty prompted former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders to attack the deal in a Washington Post op-ed as effectively rewarding the company.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence denied that the deal was an example of "crony capitalism," the phrase Trump supporter Sarah Palin used to critique tit as she warned in an op-ed about government intervention in business.
Reports on the exact number vary, but Carrier will still send hundreds of other jobs to Mexico despite Trump's personal appeal. Meanwhile, parent company United Technologies will close a plant in Huntington, Indiana, transferring those 700 jobs south of the border, as well.
A spokesman for the president-elect declined to comment on the United Technologies closure, and it’s unclear whether Carrier would still be subject to the 35 percent tariff Trump outlined in his tweets.
Critics say that imposing big tariffs on U.S. companies, something Trump also touted on the campaign trail, poses potential risks like an increase in consumer costs, increases in production costs and the possibility of a trade war.
Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse — a prominent anti-Trump Republican during the presidential campaign — issued his own tweet Sunday questioning what a tariff would mean for consumers.
“Pres-Elect Trump means well. But won't his 35% tariff idea raise prices on American families? How would it not be a new 35% tax on families?” he asked.