Trump’s Carrier deal is the opposite of conservatism

he practices the calculus by which Washington reasons, the political asymmetry between dispersed costs and concentrated benefits. The damages from government interventions are cumulatively large but, individually, are largely invisible. The beneficiaries are few but identifiable, and their gratitude is telegenic.

.. Vice President-elect Mike Pence said, “The free market has been sorting it out and America’s been losing,” Donald Trump chimed in, “Every time, every time.”

.. Indiana’s involvement in the Carrier drama exemplifies “entrepreneurial federalism” — states competing to lure businesses.

.. about the sufferings and pathologies of the white working class, largely of Scots-Irish descent, in Appalachia and the Rust Belt. This cohort, from which Vance comes, is, he says, one of America’s most distinctive subcultures, particularly in its tenacious clinging to traditional mores, many of them destructive.

 .. Vance casts a cool eye on the theory that “if they only had better access to jobs, other parts of their lives would improve as well.” His primary concern is with “lack of agency” and “learned helplessness” — the passive acceptance of victim status.
.. One theory of the 2016 election is that the white working class rebelled not just against economic disappointments but also against condescension, demanding not just material amelioration but, even more, recognition of its dignity. It is, however, difficult for people to believe in their own dignity when they believe that their choices are powerless to alter their lives’ trajectories. Eventually, they will detect the condescension in the government’s message that their fortunes are determined not by things done by them but by things done to them.
.. Such people are susceptible to charismatic presidential leadership, with its promise that executive power without limits can deliver them from unhappiness by delivering to them public goods.

The Problem with Trump’s Closing Argument

First, Donald Trump doesn’t believe any of this. Trump is not a man of the people. He’s a man of the person — himself — and he will do or say what he needs to do or say to attain power. While he surely has certain political impulses or sympathies, he would discard any of them for the sake of personal advantage. At base, there is no true “Trumpism.” There is only Trump, and it’s a mistake to attach too much ideological meaning to one man’s quest for control.

Second, your average American simply isn’t at the mercy of larger forces. It’s not true. The most important factors in the success or failure of any American family’s economic prospects are their own choices. If an American finishes school, gets married, and stay married, the future is bright — even in an age of global competition, relatively free trade, and increased automation.

.. The problem is that global competition, free trade, and increased automation also decrease the margin for error at the very moment when American culture is degraded to the point where our errors multiply.

.. no politician can help you nearly as much as you can help yourself.

no politician can help you nearly as much as you can help yourself.