July 11 2012
The Outsourcing Wars
You don’t want to miss this hilarious video of NBC's Andrea Mitchell getting flustered as Romney surrogate John Sununu can't help laughing at Mitchell's pathetic attempts to paint Mitt Romney as an unpatriotic outsourcer of American jobs.
Hot Air comments:
[Mitchell is] out to prove that Romney’s the real offshorer-in-chief despite ample evidence to the contrary; Sununu’s having none of it, and her reaction is so feeble that he can’t help but giggle. I don’t think he’s laughing to spite her either; he’s genuinely tickled by the transparency of the game being played. You can afford to laugh, I guess, when confidence in television news stands at a robust 21 percent nationally [the figure is from a recent Gallup poll on how the media is regarded].
The back and forth between the increasingly irritated Mitchell and the increasingly mirthful Sununu is over whether Bain Capital or the Obama administration has done more alleged outsourcing. Sununu makes the key point: when companies hire abroad it is usually because of bad government policies at home that make it difficult for them to do business here.
On the outsourcing charge, it looks as if the Romney campaign might end up having the last laugh, and not just with Andrea Mitchell. CBS reports:
Mitt Romney went on the offensive Tuesday against President Obama and other Democrats who have been hammering him as an outsourcing pioneer. Turning Obama's phrase against him, Romney argued that it's Obama who is an "outsourcer-in-chief" sending American jobs overseas….
"It's interesting that when it comes to outsourcing that this president has been outsourcing a good deal of American jobs himself by putting money into energy companies, solar and wind energy companies that end up making their products outside the United States," Romney told a crowded gymnasium of several hundred in western Colorado, an area that's friendly territory for Republicans. "If there's an outsourcer in chief, it's the president of the United States, not the guy that's running to replace him."
The Wall Street Journal reports:
The Republican National Committee joined in, unveiling a website intended to spotlight instances when the Obama administration funded projects that ended up awarding work to overseas companies.
Called "Obamanomics Outsourced," the site includes an interactive world map and highlights what Republicans describe as about three dozen cases of spending under the 2009 Recovery Act that rewarded foreign companies and workers. Among them are solar panels built in Mexico, electric delivery trucks assembled in Great Britain and parts used to build U.S. wind-power farms that came from South Korea, Japan and Mexico.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus flew to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Tuesday to draw attention to the GOP attacks just before President Obama made a campaign appearance at the same community college. "This president has an addiction of sending taxpayer money overseas to companies that are not providing jobs in this country," Mr. Priebus said.
Companies that outsource do so to survive and produce profits, which in turn go to shareholders and also create new jobs, including new jobs in the U.S. Jobs produced by stimulus money, by contrast, aren’t real, market-driven jobs. They are created by using taxpayer money to hire people to do jobs that may or may not be viable in a market-oriented environment. So, while it seems justifiable for companies, operating with their own cash, to make a market-driven decisions to outsource, it does seem wrong to send taxpayer money abroad to build solar panels in Mexico. This is our money, my fellow taxpayers. Not only are we not making a profit, we're apparently subsidizing jobs in other countries.
This Just In: Robert Samuelson’s column today is on outsourcing and off shoring (read it to see the distinction between the two). How much does what the campaigns are debating affect job creation? Not much, according to Samuelson.
Offshoring is a powerful political symbol, because it seems unpatriotic (helping foreigners at the expense of Americans) and heartless (putting profits over people). But economics is not politics. The success or failure of the next president in reducing unemployment will depend mostly on how much — or how little — his policies influence Americans to spend, hire and shed their present pessimism. This should be the focus of our attention and of the national debate.