By Jordan LaPorta
In a Thursday rally in Jacksonville, Fla., Republican Presidential Nominee Donald J. Trump threatened to use the government to punish companies that choose to leave the United States to find cheaper operating costs elsewhere.
“We are living through the greatest job theft in the history of the world,” he said. “A Trump administration will stop the jobs from leaving America…If our companies want to leave, there are consequences.”
In the speech, Trump attacked the North American Free Trade Agreement, and argued that it has had a net negative effect on Americans in the form of lost manufacturing jobs. He said that a Trump Administration would renegotiate NAFTA and end the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Despite its vague nature, Trump’s plan seems to echo the efforts of the Obama Justice Department under Attorney General Loretta Lynch, which has worked to hunt down companies seeking relief from high American corporate taxes overseas.
To reduce their tax burden, many corporations have undergone the process of corporate inversion, wherein a company buys up foreign firms and move its headquarters overseas to receive a lower rate. Notably, Pfizer attempted to do this by acquiring Botox-maker Allergan to move operations to Dublin, Ireland, where the top marginal corporate tax rate is 26.5 percent lower.
The trade and jobs comments in full can be viewed from roughly the 1:37 mark to the 1:40 mark of the video below.