Dems: At Bain, Romney was a “pioneer” in outsourcing jobs overseas

posted at 3:21 pm on June 22, 2012 by Erika Johnsen

Ughh. It sickens me that our country’s leaders are thusly engaged in such damaging, cheap populism.

The Washington Post just wheeled out a new report, detailing how “Romney’s Bain Capital invested in companies that moved jobs overseas.” Am I imagining it, or is anybody else detecting a gentle hint that we’re supposed to believe that this is necessarily a bad thing?

Mitt Romney’s financial company, Bain Capital, invested in a series of firms that specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries like China and India.

During the nearly 15 years that Romney was actively involved in running Bain, a private equity firm that he founded, it owned companies that were pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. …

But a Washington Post examination of securities filings shows the extent of Bain’s investment in firms that specialized in helping other companies move or expand operations overseas. While Bain was not the largest player in the outsourcing field, the private equity firm was involved early on, at a time when the departure of jobs from the United States was beginning to accelerate and new companies were emerging as handmaidens to this outflow of employment.

Cue the liberals’ various denunciations of the “vulture capitalism!”-ilk, and other such disgraceful, intellectually shallow talking points:

The campaign’s senior strategist David Axelrod blasted out an email with the Washington Post story, saying it exposed “breathtaking hypocrisy” by a candidate who frequently calls for the need to return American jobs to the United States. …

In a conference call with reporters Friday, Axelrod knocked Romney as an “outsourcer in chief” and asked whether the presumptive GOP nominee’s business experience is the kind of philosophy needed in the White House. He especially questioned Romney’s ability to “stand up to China” on trade.

“It’s particularly egregious when you try to repackage yourself as someone who’s going to be tough on countries that you sent jobs to,” Axelrod said on the call. He later described the report as a “significant moment in this campaign.”

Shaking my head, people — shaking my head.

First of all, when Romney talks about China, he isn’t denying companies’ rights to move their operations out of America if they so please. He’s talking about creating a level international playing field (and no, I don’t mean that like how President Obama uses it). Free trade is spectacular, but it doesn’t work when communist China is consistently doing things like manipulating their currency, pirating our technology, and other such highly nefarious endeavors.

Well, China has an interest in trade. China wants to, as they have 20 million people coming out of the farms and coming into the cities every year, they want to be able to put them to work. They wanna have access to global markets. And so we have right now something they need very badly, which is access to our market and our friends around the world, have that same– power over China. We– to make sure that we let them understand that in order for them to continue to have free and open access to the thing they want so badly, our markets, they have to play by the rules.

They can’t hack into our computer systems and steal from our government. They can’t steal from corporations. They can’t take patents and designs, intellectual property, and, and, and, and duplicate them, and duplicate them and counterfeit them and sell them around the world. And they also can’t manipulate their currency in such a way as to make their prices well below what they otherwise would be.

We have to have China understand that like everybody else on the world stage, they have to play by the rules. And if they do, we’ll have open trade with them and work with them. And they should in every way want to collaborate with us and not become a belligerent nation economically or militarily.

Secondly, if everybody on planet earth could just get the following through their heads so we can all move on and lead more productive lives, that would be great: When businesses find ways to do business less expensively, consumers win. Whether the business can offer their product more cheaply and consumers can then stretch their dollars further, or  if the business is able to then hire more workers and grow their operation — the economy is going to grow. Which, in turn, means that everybody wins. That’s the great thing about free trade: all transactions are voluntary and mutually beneficial. When businesses outsource, they cut costs, and people in other, poorer countries with fewer opportunities are able to find jobs and income.

Everything related to this whole “Buy America” fallacy is just awful — barring even greater costs such as threats to national security, why on earth would you do something more expensively than necessary? That’s not the way to help people — buying goods from where they are most cheaply and efficiently produced is the best way to make everyone wealthier. Prosperity is not a zero-sum game, and a busy, bustling global economic village is probably just about the only true route to world peace in existence.

This sort of populist rhetoric that perpetuates these types of economic myths sorely needs to end.


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