Offshoring is a polarizing topic of debate across the country. American workers, hit hard by the jobless recovery, are worried that their jobs may head overseas. While policies should be forwarded to address this growing concern and the short and long-term implications for the American workforce, many experts also believe, however, that a return to protectionist policies is not in America’s best interests. Many citizens are using newspapers as a forum to voice their concerns about offshoring and the U.S. economy. The following is a sample of editorial opinion from across the country.
Duluth, Minn. – Duluth News Tribune
July 13, 2004 – Editorial
"Corporations have outsourced three million jobs overseas, collecting a tax break for doing so. How is outsourcing jobs good for America?
"You tell us that the economy is getting better and jobs are being created. You fail to say that most of these jobs do not provide a living wage, but are low-paying service jobs. How is this good for America? Why do we continue trade policies and tax policies that threaten the American worker? Please explain this to the families of the Iron Range as they have lost their retirement and medical benefits and now must fight to maintain mining jobs from the threat of corporate scabs."
Indianapolis, Ind. – The Indianapolis Star
July 11, 2004 – Editorial
"Under President Bush, America has lost 1.2 million private sector jobs. Manufacturing has been especially hard hit, with 2.7 million jobs lost, amounting to one out of six manufacturing jobs. Those statistics are not rhetoric=
"To quote your article, ‘Unions and politicians have blamed outsourcing for the nation’s loss of jobs. But much of the job loss stemmed from recession and America’s evolution from a manufacturing-dominant economy to one that is more services-oriented.’
"The evolution mentioned is brought up as if it is a good thing. There are only so many service jobs to go around. That is unless you are Gregory Mankiw, President Bush’s top economic adviser, who would like to start reclassifying fast-food workers as manufacturing employees. Nor are most service-oriented jobs as high paying as manufacturing jobs.
"I think Indiana is the last place to have an article denouncing the…goal of cutting down on outsourcing. Ask anyone in Gary, Marion, Muncie or any other former steel and automotive towns."
Alameda, Calif. – Alameda Times-Star
July 10, 2004 – Letter to the Editor
"A recent study by the U.S. Department of Labor showed that concerns about jobs going overseas, otherwise known as outsourcing, are overblown.
"Unfortunately, some are ignoring these facts and instead using fear and election-year politics to wrongly enact legislation to limit outsourcing, the free and open exchange of jobs and services.
"In California, these bills would limit the free flow of trade, which could invite retaliation by our trading partners.
"Trade accounts for approximately 25 percent of the state’s economy. If California imposes government regulations on foreign trade or jobs, trading partners could retaliate in kind and close their markets to California exports, resulting in lost economic activity, lost wages and lost jobs.
"Proponents of these bills are using red herring arguments such as exaggerated job loss claims and privacy concerns to divert attention from the relevant debate over job creation and our economic climate.
"The fact is that none of these bills will create any new jobs. And none of these bills give consumers any additional privacy protections beyond the strong protections that already exist in California law.
"Proponents of these bills should instead work to change policies that have increased the cost of doing business in California and work to make our state attractive for employers looking to create new jobs."
Phoenix, Ariz. – The Arizona Republic
July 9, 2004 – Letter to the Editor
"I agree almost completely with the report by the Boston Consulting Group that ‘warns American firms that they risk extinction if they hesitate to shift facilities to countries with low costs’…
"My only point for contention is that we should start with the consultants.
"’Bangalore Consulting Group’ has a nice ring to it."
Los Angeles, Calif. – The Daily News
July 9, 2004 – Letter to the Editor – link not available
"U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donohue is promoting overseas outsourcing jobs as a way to boost our economy and increase our employment – and CEOs from Wall Street to Silicon Valley have embraced the theory. Let all the applauding and embracing CEOs set the example and outsource their own jobs to China, India, Pakistan and Russia and we will all be applauding."
Columbus, Ga. – Columbus Ledger-Enquirer
July 15, 2004 – Editorial
"In the last four years, our leadership has flushed jobs down the toilet by embracing outsourcing and refusing to protect American workers.
"In the last 3 1/2 years, we have had a net loss of 1.9 million jobs. This calculates into a "jobs deficit" of nearly 8 million jobs in the last 42 months. Most of those jobs created in recent months are temporary jobs, seasonal jobs, and even part-time jobs, most of which do not normally have health and retirement benefits.
"But the economy is growing," you say? The 3-4 percent growth over the last two years is almost completely the product of outsourcing and deficit spending. Consumer spending being funded by credit cards and liquidation of home equity, not a very solid foundation."
Sacramento, Calif. – Sacramento Bee
July 13, 2004 – Editorial
"The truth…is that international trade, in goods or in services, helps America and California.
"It allows our domestic firms to become more productive. And it creates economic growth overseas, which then translates into more demand for our own products and skills. It lets us do what we do best, while others do what they do best, for the benefit of all.
"Outsourcing also goes both ways. Just as American firms invest overseas, foreign companies also create jobs here. U.S. subsidiaries of foreign firms employ an estimated 6.4 million Americans, many of them in high-skilled jobs. About 700,000 of those jobs are in California, and the number is probably climbing monthly.
"But all of this activity, even if it is ultimately positive, causes some dislocation, as people in jobs that can be done elsewhere either lose their position or fear they might. This kind of discomfort is the inevitable byproduct of our advancing age, ever since the buggy whip industry was extinguished by the automobile. It’s not always pleasant or easy, but it is the price we pay for the breathtaking improvement in our standard of living over the past century.
"The way to deal with that individual pain is to help people through the transitions, with unemployment benefits, re-training, and job placement. It does not help to try to stop the world and get off.
"Opponents of outsourcing often say the practice is short-sighted because it saves money up front while creating costs down the road. But the truth is just the opposite. There is nothing more forward-looking than a policy that sees the entire world engaged in free, open and competitive commerce, improving everyone’s well-being by encouraging each of us to maximize our potential while letting others do what we cannot or should not be doing ourselves."