Tag Archives: outsourcing

Toomey is blocking job creation

Letter, The Times of Chester County, March 16, 2015, from Nathaniel Smith, West Chester

Our state has a proud history as a center of manufacturing. Of course the economy evolves, but we have also sustained self-inflicted damage. US taxpayers have been paying to encourage corporations to outsource their production and even to move their headquarters abroad. What sense does that make (except to the corporations, of course)?

I recall a few years ago, IBM fired a lot of workers and then offered to find them jobs… in India, at prevailing Indian wages. Not helpful. That’s like Wal-Mart advising its employees to see public relief to feed their families.

For years, Congress has been considering bills to give companies incentive to hire in the US, reduce the outflow of capital, and train American workers.

And what does the former head of the lobby group Club for Growth, now the junior senator from PA, have to say? Wrong question; what has he done?

Answer: Sen. Pat Toomey has been part of a filibuster against the Bring Jobs Home Act….

continue reading at The Times of Chester County

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Offshore outsourcing: can it be reversed?

by Nathaniel Smith, Politics: A View from West Chester, 12/9/12

For as long as most of us can remember, our society collectively has been sending work and jobs abroad.

I just saw the holiday exhibit at the Brandywine River Museum, including the usual model train display. What struck me there this time, since I was mulling over my current topic, was that after World War II the US government encouraged the importation of model trains from Japan (some under American brand names), in order to help restore one small part of a defeated enemy’s economy. That was very nice of us. I suppose American importers got a good deal, the taxpayer probably helped, and US model train factories probably lost business and workers.

In the 1950′s I recall struggling along with my father to install in our front hallway a sliding closet door made in Japan. It was a real operational challenge and the instructions were virtually incomprehensible, clearly written by a Japanese worker with a spotty school background in English. Well, that situation evolved rapidly.

For a couple of decades now, Chinese imports (almost entirely cutting off the Japanese and subsequent Mexican sources) have had clear and fluent instructions. Our phone operators in India are trained to speak with American accents, and Dinesh is given a new customer service identity as Dennis. After all, this is globalization, which for us means that everyone should sound like us (or, at a minimum, they should make sense to us).

Will jobs that have been outsourced abroad ever return to the US? …

continue reading at Politics: A View from West Chester

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Have the Super-Rich Seceded From the United States?

by Mike Lofgren, Truthout, 1/10/12

It was in 1993 during Congressional deliberation over the North American Free Trade Agreement. I was having lunch with a staffer for one of the rare Republican members of Congress who opposed the policy of so-called free trade. I distinctly remember something my colleague said: “The rich elites of this country have far more in common with their counterparts in London, Paris and Tokyo than with their own fellow American citizens.”

That was just the beginning of the period when the realities of outsourced manufacturing, financialization of the economy and growing income disparity started to seep into the public consciousness, so at the time it seemed like a striking and novel statement.

…Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it. If one can afford private security, public safety is of no concern; if one owns a Gulfstream jet, crumbling bridges cause less apprehension – and viable public transportation doesn’t even show up on the radar screen. With private doctors on call, who cares about Medicare?

To some degree, the rich have always secluded themselves from the gaze of the common herd; for example, their habit for centuries has been to send their offspring to private schools. But now this habit is exacerbated by the plutocracy’s palpable animosity toward public education and public educators, as Michael Bloomberg has demonstrated. To the extent public education “reform” is popular among billionaires and their tax-exempt foundations, one suspects it is as a lever to divert the more than one-half trillion dollars in federal, state and local education dollars into private hands, meaning themselves and their friends….

Now, the military is for suckers from the laboring classes, whose subprime mortgages you just sliced into CDOs and sold to gullible investors in order to buy your second Bentley or rustle up the cash to employ Rod Stewart to perform at your birthday party. Courtesy of Matt Taibbi, we learn that the sentiment among the super-rich toward the rest of America is often one of contempt rather than noblesse; Bernard Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot, says about the views of the 99 percent: “Who gives a crap about some imbecile?”

Steven Schwarzman, the hedge fund billionaire CEO of the Blackstone Group who hired Rod Stewart for his $5 million birthday party, believes it is the rabble who are socially irresponsible. Speaking about low-income citizens who pay no income tax, he says: “You have to have skin in the game. I’m not saying how much people should do. But we should all be part of the system.” But millions of Americans who do not pay federal income taxes pay federal payroll taxes. These taxes are regressive and the dirty little secret is that over the last several decades they have made up a greater and greater share of federal revenues. In 1950, payroll and other federal retirement contributions constituted 10.9 percent of all federal revenues; by 2007, the last “normal” economic year before federal revenues began falling, they made up 33.9 percent. By contrast, corporate income taxes were 26.4 percent of federal revenues in 1950; by 2007, they had fallen to 14.4 percent….

continue reading at Truthout

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