Sunday, July 15, 2012

Insourcing Responsibilty

The Obama Campaign is fired up about outsourcing and insourcing. It's still running an ad that--as I previously noted--is blatantly false, that lambastes Romney for being a supposed "pioneer" in outsourcing. And despite all the fact-checking demonstrating that the ad--along with other similar ones--is misleading at best, the President is staying on message. Obama, from yesterday at a campaign rally in Virginia:
I don't want a pioneer in outsourcing. I want some insourcing. I want to bring companies back.
Not to be outdone, the GOP and the Romney Campaign have returned fire, claiming that Obama has led the way in outsourcing jobs since he took office. Mitt Romney, from just a few days ago:
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. If there is an outsourcer-in-chief, it’s the president of the United States, not the guy who’s running to replace him.
WaPo--which provided the original material for the Obama Campaign's phony claims, then sought to mealy-mouth it's way out of responsibility for the same--actually had the audacity to fact-check the Romney statement and other GOP ads, ultimately concluding thusly:
We understand what the RNC is trying to do. The Obama campaign has made unsupported charges about Romney’s record on outsourcing while at Bain Capital, and now Republicans want to try to argue that the stimulus law is, in effect, Obama’s Bain Capital — and that Obama did even worse things than he is accusing Romney of... 
We wavered between four and three Pinocchios on this. On a broad-brush basis, the RNC’s central claim has a bit of truth in it — some jobs were likely created overseas and some money went overseas — but the details on the Web site are pretty farcical. It is probably more like 3 ½, but we don’t give ½ Pinocchios.
Consider that analysis in context. The WaPo fact-checker didn't award any Pinocchios to Obama and his campaign for the now-debunked ads about Romney and Bain. Instead, it offered an inept excuse about not wanting to engage in "media criticism." Translation: the WaPo story used by Obama was poorly researched and we don't want to make our own writers look bad. And that's funny because the WaPo fact-checker had no problem awarding Pinocchios (four of them, in fact) to the Obama Campaign for the same claims when those claims did not cite a WaPo story directly. Is there an Eleventh Commandment at WaPo? Apparently.

But beyond all of this, there is a more significant issue: exactly what role the President can have in outsourcing/insourcing jobs. Obama is hot to trot on this issue, determined to paint himself as someone who will create American jobs, especially in the manufacturing sector. And he would have us believe Romney would do the exact opposite. But beyond specific government programs that potentially create jobs overseas--like those singled out by the GOP ads--what tools does the Chief Executive actually possess to accomplish such a goal?

Job creation is achieved, ultimately, via economic growth: a growing economy means more jobs, period. But such jobs can be anywhere, based on labor resources and the nature of the work. As we all know, call center jobs have been outsourced for years to places like India. And that's a consequence of two things: simple economics and policy. India, for instance, had--and still has--a labor force with the necessary skill set. And that labor force is more affordable than other ones, including in the United States. That's economics. The nature of the work is such that there were no significant impediments for companies to utilize it. That's policy.

While campaigning for President in 2008, Obama addressed a crowd at Macomb Community College in Warren, Michigan on May 14. In it, he said the following (my boldface):
That's why I'll invest $150 billion over the next ten years in the green energy sector. This will create up to five million new green jobs - and those are jobs that pay well and can't be outsourced.
But we know some of them were outsourced; the WaPo fact-checker even allows this to be the case:
Still, the strongest case of money and jobs flowing overseas concerns the wind farm contracts that were initially awarded. In 2010, the Energy Department found that 60 percent of the 40 largest wind farms then financed by the stimulus relied on foreign manufacturers for their central components, including turbines. But, again, the U.S. domestic industry was not capable of meeting the demand at the time.
Obama clearly promised jobs that could not be outsourced; his policies clearly failed to make that happen (and really, there was no way that they could, short of economic sanctions he could never hope to impose). What we have hear--as is usually the case--is a man who doesn't really understand how the economy functions, who promises the undeliverable. But if that's not enough, he also said--in the same speech--this:
Finally, if we want to fight for manufacturers here at home, we have to fight for them around the world. Now, I believe in trade, but I also believe that for America to compete and win in the global economy, trade has to work for all Americans. That means making sure that our workers are competing on a level playing field, and that countries like China aren't breaking the rules and putting American workers at a disadvantage. Fighting for our workers isn't bad for business; it's good for our economy. And it's how we'll make sure that the costs and benefits of our global economy are being shared more fairly.
Get it? That's Obama promising to even the playing field with countries like China. And that's about policy; it's something he can directly impact as President. And he has, but--despite the rhetoric to the contrary--in exactly the opposite manner. Howard and Raymond Richman at the American Thinker detail the realities of the Obama Administration's trade polices with China. And it's not a pretty picture. The Obama Administration has basically capitulated to China on almost every issue, when it comes to trade and tariffs. China places all sorts of tariffs on American-made products, while Chinese-made products come to American shores with minimal resistance.

Consider just this one example: heavy machinery. China has been building all sorts of infrastructure for the past several decades, to keep pace with it's new middle class (as small as it may be) and wealthy elites. And that would make China a great market for companies that manufacture heavy machinery and equipment, like Caterpillar, Inc. Yet, as the American Thinker piece notes, Obama policy has created a significant roadblock, has actually gotten in the way of creating American jobs (and worse):
Similarly, by letting China place a 30% tariff on American-made excavators, Obama virtually forced Caterpillar, one of America's most efficient manufacturers, to build new small crawler factories in China and give technology to its Chinese partner in order to access the Chinese market, as we pointed out in the October 4, 2010 American Thinker...
This is from the guy who "wants some insourcing," who "wants to bring companies back." Right. Excuse me while I find a trash can for my vomit. Obama's policies--with regard to China--are draining American jobs. Export numbers bear this out:

Looking at all of the data, the Richmans figure that drain is at about a rate of 30,000 per month, each and every month. 30,000 jobs being outsourced, not insourced every month. Anything Romney supposedly did at Bain pales in comparison. Who is the real "outsourcer-in-chief"? Not much doubt there, I think.

Cheers, all.

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