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Trump’s Defective Industrial Policy

CAMBRIDGE – US President-elect Donald Trump has yet to take office, but his brand of flawed industrial policy has been on full display since his surprise win in November.

Within weeks of the election, Trump had already claimed a victory. Through a mix of inducements and intimidation, he prevailed on the heating and cooling firm Carrier to keep some of its operations in Indiana, “saving” around 1,000 American jobs. Touring the Carrier plant subsequently, he warned other US firms that he would impose stiff tariffs on them if they moved plants overseas and shipped products back home.

His Twitter account has produced a stream of commentary in the same vein. He has taken credit for Ford’s decision keep a Lincoln plant in Kentucky, rather than move it to Mexico. He has threatened General Motors with import tariffs if it continues to import Chevrolet Cruzes from Mexico instead of making them in the United States.

Trump has also hounded defense contractors for cost overruns, berating the aerospace giants Boeing and Lockheed Martin on separate occasions for producing planes that are too expensive.