Ugly Campaign Battle Over Outsourcing Isn’t All Bad

The Obama and Romney campaigns are slinging mud at each other over outsourcing jobs. What most people would think is just an ugly brawl of a typical campaign battle; I consider it a positive development when the national dialogue turns to keeping jobs in America.

Preventing the outsourcing of U.S. jobs must be an issue that is seriously debated by the presidential candidates. Whether or not Mitt Romney created jobs or outsourced jobs while at Bain Capital is irrelevant. The issue is which candidate will be most effective at creating markets and increasing demand for our manufacturers and incentivizing them to keep jobs in America. Or more importantly, which candidate is best at back shoring – bringing overseas jobs back home.

In 2011, after surveying employment data by some of the nation’s largest corporations, The Wall Street Journal concluded that while they cut their workforces by 2.9 million people over the last decade in the U.S., they hired 2.4 million people overseas. That’s not acceptable. And it doesn’t even make good business sense anymore.

The tide is turning. American manufacturers, or even those providing customer service centers overseas, are finding that moving half-a-world away to manage a work force, brings with it unimaginable, hidden costs that eventually erodes any perceived cost advantages.

Once you factor in rising energy and transportation costs, and the growing risk of intellectual property theft, especially in China, moving back to the U.S. makes more and more economic sense – not to mention a significant improvement in product and service quality.

The message is starting to resonate. After years of sending high tech jobs to China, Google’s new wireless home media player now proudly proclaims that its Nexus Q is “Designed and Manufactured in the U.S.A.”

According to a recent New York Times story: “America’s largest consumer and industrial manufacturers, General Electric and Caterpillar, for example, have moved assembly operations back to the United States in the last year. Airbus, a European company, is said to be near a deal to build jets in Alabama.”

After years of building what they hoped would be profit-enhancing overseas operations, they are instead finding their dreams have been constructed on shifting sands. For a growing number, the time has come to head home and build upon the sturdy and sure bedrock of American stability and predictability.

Here’s what I want to hear during the presidential debate:

• The U.S. will significantly reduce our current 39.2 percent corporate tax rate — the highest in the world — to encourage more manufacturers to stay home and bring jobs home. (The U.S. recently surpassed Japan as the nation with the highest global corporate tax rate).

• The U.S. will aggressively expand our free trade agreements so that U.S. companies can trade with other countries on a level playing field – without the high tariffs that drive up the cost of U.S. goods and services while foreign companies can already export to the U.S. with small or zero tariffs.

• The U.S. will stop heaping unnecessary regulations on the backs of business owners who are trying to build and grow their businesses (EPA regulations, for example, are costing millions of U.S. energy jobs).

• The U.S. will commit to retraining American workers so they can move into today’s manufacturing jobs that require different, more advanced skill sets. Vocational schools get very little recognition although they are essential in training our work force for today’s manufacturing jobs.

• The U.S. will encourage highly-skilled foreign workers to remain in this country to become tomorrow’s U.S. entrepreneurs and job creators.

Furthermore we will encourage the worlds brightest to come to America through an immigration policy that builds America, and does not diminish it.

• The U.S. will stop giving priority treatment to trade unions when there are 25 million unemployed or under-employed workers who yearn for a good paying job. As we have seen, unions destroy jobs; they do not create them.

• The U.S. will strive for a healthcare system that doesn’t punish employers and employees alike.

If there is one issue that can bring this country together, it’s agreeing that creating American jobs is the obligation of both parties.

The ugliest thing that can happen in this campaign is not to put Americans back to work.

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