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Democratic manifesto campaigns against outsourcing

September 05, 2012 08:21 IST

Reflecting United States President Obama's consistent refrain in recent weeks while on the stump campaigning for his re-election where he has been railing against the outsourcing of American jobs to China, India, and elsewhere, the national Democratic manifesto unveiled at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, has said, "The Democratic Party believes in insourcing so that America can out-build the rest of the world again."

"We want to cut tax breaks for companies that are shipping jobs overseas and for special interests, and instead, offer tax breaks to companies that are investing right here in the United States of America, betting on American workers who are making American products we sell to the world that are stamped with three proud words -- Made in America," it said.

The platform claimed, "Our strategy is paying off. After decades of watching American companies take jobs to other countries, we're beginning to see entrepreneurs and manufacturers make the decision to keep factories and production factories here in the US -- and even bring back jobs from overseas."

But, it bemoaned, "The Republican Party has nominated a man whose firm invested in companies that were pioneers of outsourcing -- and whose plans would actually encourage outsourcing by eliminating all taxes on the foreign profits of US companies."

As recently as September 1, President Obama at two appearances in the important caucus state of Iowa, referred to the outsourcing of American jobs to China, India and Germany and slammed the Republican Presidential nominee, erstwhile Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, as an architect of outsourcing.

Speaking at Morningside College in Sioux City, Omaba said, "You can choose whether we give up new jobs and new industries to China and India and Germany and other countries, or whether we fight to keep these jobs here in Iowa."

Obama said, "My opponent's experience -- he likes to talk about his private sector experience -- well, a lot of it was investing in companies that were called 'pioneers' in the business of outsourcing jobs. I don't believe in outsourcing. I believe in insourcing."

"I want to stop giving tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas," he said. "I want to start rewarding companies that are creating jobs right here in Sioux City, right here in the US. That's the path I want to travel on."

Later in the day, in an appearance in Des Moines, in almost identical remarks, Obama said, "You can choose whether to cede new jobs and new industries to countries such as China and India or Germany, or whether we fight for those jobs in states like Iowa."

For months, the Obama campaign has been running ads saying that while Romney was the governor of Massachusetts, "Instead of hiring workers from his own state, Romney outsourced call center jobs to India."

The image in the ad -- a darkened Massachusetts workplace juxtaposed with an Indian man wearing a phone headset -- however, according to the Pulitzer-prize winning PolitiFact.com, "Doesn't tell the complete story."

According to PolitiFact.com, a project of the Tampa Bay Times, pointing to the origin of the charge by the Obama campaign, "At the time Massachusetts had a $160,000 a month contract with Citigroup to process debit cards for food stamps. Citigroup outsourced its customer service call center to a facility in India."

"A small but important detail: the state didn't outsource the work -- a state contractor did," PolitiFact.com said.

It noted that the general accountability office report 'looking at all states' outsourcing found that 43 states had some form of outsourcing at work, so Massachusetts was not unique."

"The Bay State also had offshore contracts through its child support enforcement and unemployment insurance programs in 2005, the GAO said."

PolitiFact recalled, "The controversy popped up again in 2006 when then-Senator Edward Kennedy criticised Romney for 'jumping on the offshoring bandwagon," according to a Boston Herald story."

But it said, "A Romney official told the newspaper that by then, only a handful of overseas workers were still working on a Medicaid subcontract. The food stamp contract previously held by Citigroup -- later JP Morgan Chase -- had expired and the new contract was awarded to a company whose call center was in Utah."

PolitiFact said, "Obama's ad charges that 'Romney outsourced call center jobs to India,"
and that, "The Obama campaign's wording suggests a broader, more deliberate policy when the state was sending some work overseas."

It said however that the 'statement leaves out important information', and thus, "We rate it half true."
Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC