from the magic-man dept
Some of that money could end up in the United States in the form of investment and jobs, but it has never been entirely clear how much. It's even less clear given that Softbank's Sprint here in the states has been trimming thousands of jobs over the last few years as it struggles with soaring debt. Still, all it took was a Manhattan meeting with Softbank Chair Masayoshi Son -- and a few Tweets by the President-elect -- to have the newswires filled with stories about how Donald Trump was somehow already performing miracles before even taking office:
Masa (SoftBank) of Japan has agreed to invest $50 billion in the U.S. toward businesses and 50,000 new jobs....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2016
Masa said he would never do this had we (Trump) not won the election!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2016
"We are excited to work with President-Elect Trump and his Administration to do our part to drive economic growth and create jobs in the U.S.,” said Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure. "We believe it is critical for business and government to partner together to create more job opportunities in the U.S. and ensure prosperity for all Americans."That allowed Trump to launch a new media event at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, again implying the jobs he had absolutely nothing to do with creating were somehow thanks to his incredible business accumen (even as the same reports now try to inform people this just isn't true):
"I was just called by the head people at Sprint, and they are going to be bringing 5,000 jobs back to the United States," Mr. Trump told reporters at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. "They have taken them from other countries. They are bringing them back to the United States."So what's actually happening here? And why would Sprint be encouraging the press to falsely give Trump credit for something he had nothing to do with? Because Masayoshi Son wants regulatory approval for the company's planned acquisition of T-Mobile, which was rejected by U.S. regulators in 2014 because it would have reduced sector competition (and, ironically, jobs). Son has been pushing for another chance ever since, and apparently sees feeding Trump's ego as a smart path to success. Of course, as the New York Times noted today, Softbank and Sprint aren't the only companies pursuing this particular strategy.
...Although Mr. Trump claimed credit for SoftBank’s $50 billion investment in the United States, those plans predated the election, and Mr. Son has owned a controlling stake in Sprint, among other companies, for several years.
Sure, it's possible that Trump is encouraging the false claims and undeserved press just for PR benefit and has no intention of giving Son what he wants.
But there's no real signs that's true. There's every indication that Trump intends to appoint revolving door regulators and telecom sector allies to the FCC. These folks have made it clear they intend to gut the agency and strip back numerous consumer protections, including net neutrality. They've also made it clear they don't think things like telecom monopolies are real, and they're unlikely to appoint any FCC Commissioner eager to use his regulatory authority to thwart job-killing mega-mergers like Sprint T-Mobile. Most analysts believe the telecom sector will soon be getting everything it wants, and then some.
The end result of these policies is going to be something decidedly less pleasant than is being sold, suggesting that everybody may want to keep their receipts.