Politics

Declaring U.S. 'Open for Business,' Trump Warns Tax Penalty for Offshoring

President-elect says firms should be ‘forewarned’ before making ‘expensive mistake’

Donald Trump early Sunday tweeted more threats to U.S. firms that want to move their operations abroad. (Getty Images file photo)

Donald Trump on Sunday morning tweeted that he intends to slash business taxes and regulations, but the early rising president-elect again warned companies that move all or parts of their operations offshore will face “retribution or consequence.”

In a series of tweets that kicked off at 6:41 a.m., Trump said he will impose “a tax on our soon to be strong border of 35% for these companies.” He followed that advising companies to be “forewarned” before moving operations offshore, saying such a move would amount to an “expensive mistake!”

His threats suggested the envisioned taxes on items coming into the United States made by American firms outside the U.S. would, at least partially, offset any savings companies achieve via lower wages and operating costs abroad.

They also suggest an administration that could take the GOP away from free-market capitalism, and seem based on an assessment that the market no longer knows best. So far, Trump is signaling he knows best and will ignore market forces, opting for using a heavy hand to change companies’ behavior.

[Trump Threatens US Firms with ‘Consequences’ of Moving Abroad]

To that end, he wrote that companies can move operations within the country at no penalty. “THE UNITED STATES IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS,” the president-elect tweeted in all capital letters.

The proposed tax and declaration that America is ready to make it worth companies’ while to keep factories and jobs at home are the early parts of the president-elect’s emerging strategy to make good on his campaign pledge to keep manufacturing jobs here and create new ones in places like the Rust Belt. States like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio helped him secure the presidency.

Trump often uses Twitter to set the day’s media narrative, with the Sunday morning posts coming as producers and hosts were making final Sunday morning talk show preparations.

The Twitter blasts marked the second time in four days he has issued the warning to American companies.

On Thursday, Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence, Indiana’s governor, visited a Carrier plant in Indianapolis after the duo convinced company executives to keep around 1,000 jobs there rather than move them to Mexico.

[Feisty Trump Says Democrats Are Ready to Stop ‘Endless Gridlock’]

“Companies are not going to leave the United States anymore without consequences,” Trump said, in a cadence reminiscent of his populist campaign style. “It’s not going to happen, I’ll tell you right now. We’re losing so much.”

Critics of the Carrier deal say it likely will open the door to other corporations threatening to move abroad with the hopes of getting tax breaks like Carrier will receive.

Despite the rewards Carrier received to keep the Indianapolis plant alive, it still intends to move 1,300 jobs from another Indiana factory to Mexico.

Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee rumored for a Trump Cabinet post, called it “crony capitalism.”

Contact Bennett at johnbennett@cqrollcall.com. Follow him on Twitter @BennettJohnT.

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