The Washington Post reports that six Democratic senators from states that went for Donald Trump are supporting punishing corporations that outsource labor.
Six Democratic senators from Rust Belt states won by President-elect Donald Trump called Tuesday for a swift congressional crackdown on U.S. companies that send manufacturing jobs abroad, claiming common cause with Trump’s crusade against outsourcing.
Trump on Sunday tweeted that “any business that leaves our country for another country, fires its employees, builds a new factory or plant in the other country, and then thinks it will sell its product back into the U.S. without retribution or consequence, is WRONG!” He threatened to impose a 35 percent tariff on goods those companies seek to import.
I don’t think that this is sound economic policy…whether Mr. Trump is saying it or my senator is saying it…and what I find troubling is…my senator is saying it.
The Democratic senators from Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin stopped short of calling for a protectionist tariff regime. But in a letter to congressional leaders Tuesday, they applauded “the recent attention President-elect Trump has brought to the issue of outsourcing and its impact on middle-class families” and called for legislation that would penalize companies that send jobs abroad.
Those penalties, they say, should include taking into consideration any history of outsourcing while awarding federal contracts and potentially keeping outsourcers from receiving tax breaks and other federal incentives, and “clawing back” those incentives if companies later ship jobs out of the country.
“The loss of manufacturing jobs in our states has contributed to the decades-long trend of the declining middle class,” the letter reads. “We believe these principles — which we intend to introduce as legislation — are critical to our shared commitment to encourage companies to invest in the United States and in American workers.”
Yes it is time to have a national discussion on economic issues in this country…a discussion on trade…on tariffs…on sanctions…on inducements. But there needs to be sound discussions. Educational discussions. Not shoot from the hip emotional reactions. There is far more going on in corporate decisions that deserve to be examined and discussed.
But I have to wonder if the six senators are serious? Or calling Mr. Trump’s bluff? Or patronizing their local constituency who voted for Mr. Trump? All three possibilities make me even more uneasy about the future relationships between Congress and the White House.
The lead signer of the letter was Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), who praised the decision last month by Carrier Corp., under pressure from Trump, to reverse its decision to send hundreds of Indianapolis manufacturing jobs to Mexico. Also signing the letter were Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Robert P. Casey Jr. (D-Pa.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).