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Trump taking hands-on approach to jobs

Trump fist up.jpg
FILE - President-elect Donald J. Trump. (CNN Newsource)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) - President-elect Donald Trump met with tech giants Wednesday at Trump Tower. He's taking a hands-on approach to jobs in the country, but there's concern that could backfire.

Trump intervened with Carrier in Indiana by striking a deal to keep less than half the jobs the company was planning to send to Mexico in the United States. Some economists are concerned the president getting involved with individual companies could have unintended consequences.

"It sends an important message to people in the working class, 'I'm on your side,'" said David Gergen, a former presidential adviser to both Republican and Democratic presidents.

IBM announced it plans to add roughly 25,000 jobs over the next four years, while US Steel said it is looking at re-hiring some previously laid-off workers.

"He's [an] obviously successful businessman, but he's also very hands-on," said Bob Clegg, a longtime Republican strategist. "I think he's going to take that same hands-on approach while he's president."

Clegg said Trump is acting more like a governor than a president getting involved at this level, but he said traditionally Republicans have been more hands-off when it comes to the government getting involved in the economy.

Critics have said Trump broke one of his campaign promises with the Carrier deal. That deal included millions of dollars in tax breaks to keep roughly 700 jobs.

"He claimed that he wants to 'drain the swamp' and he wants to get rid of all these special interests and tax breaks and he just approved one," said David Williams with the Taxpayers Protection Alliance in Washington, D.C. "Every company in this country, in America is thinking, 'All I have to do is claim I'm going to ship 1,000 jobs overseas, to Mexico, to wherever. All I have to do, say that and I will get some sort of special handout.'"

Some economists have pointed out the government doesn't have a stellar record picking winners and losers.

"Politically, it may make sense in the short run (for Trump to cut deals with companies to keep jobs)," said Ian Sheldon, an international economist at The Ohio State University. "I'm not sure as a long-term economic strategy it makes much sense."

Sheldon said deals to save hundreds of jobs here or even a few thousand jobs there is a "speck in the ocean" when looking at the country as a whole. He said Trump's plan to cut corporate taxes could have a much bigger effect.