Trump spent much of his campaign pledging to keep companies like Carrier from moving jobs overseas. His focus on manufacturing jobs contributed to his unexpected appeal with working-class voters in states like Michigan, which has long voted for Democrats in presidential elections.
Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Thursday defended President-elect Donald Trump’s deal that offers millions of dollars in tax incentives to prevent an Indiana manufacturer from sending 1,000 jobs to Mexico.
Ryan called it “pretty darn good” that those Americans would remain employed.
Indiana plans to give Carrier Corp.’s parent company $7 million in tax breaks over the next decade to keep those jobs in the state, The Wall Street Journal reported. But Ryan dismissed suggestions that Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s involvement somehow violated the conservative, free-market principles that Ryan has championed during his career.
Pence, Ryan noted, is still the sitting governor of Indiana and would be expected to try to keep jobs in the Hoosier State. Both Trump and Pence will fly to Indianapolis on Thursday to celebrate the Carrier deal.
“I’m pretty happy that we’re keeping jobs in America, aren’t you?” Ryan asked during a news conference in the Capitol. “I don’t know the details of the Carrier arrangement, but what I do know is that Mike Pence is still the sitting governor of Indiana. And I have no doubt that he probably had a hand in helping this, and this is what governors do.”
The Speaker said he talks frequently with his home state’s governor, Scott Walker (R), about keeping jobs in Wisconsin or attracting jobs to the state.
“That’s something that is pretty common for state level of government to do,” Ryan said. “I don’t know the details of this, but I think it’s pretty darn good people are keeping their jobs in Indiana instead of going to Mexico.”
An overhaul of the tax code, Ryan argued, would provide the greatest incentive for businesses to stay and invest in the United States.
“Comprehensive tax reform … is all about making the Tax Code far better and more competitive for American businesses to stay in America,” Ryan said. “I don’t know the contours of what Carrier is experiencing, but we tax our businesses at much higher tax rates than our competitors tax theirs. Our corporate rate is 35 percent, the average in the industrialized world is 24 percent.”
“Tax reform is central to fixing this problem,” he concluded.
Ryan met with Pence on Wednesday in the Capitol, but the Speaker said the Carrier deal was not discussed.
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