Now that Team Obama has opened up a debate on outsourcing — when they really mean offshoring — they may live to regret it. They’ve been attacking Mitt Romney for having offshore bank accounts, but apparently didn’t bother to vet their own team very well before doing so. Yesterday, the Weekly Standard reported that DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz has some funds in Swiss investment accounts, although that is more of an apple/oranges comparison:
But disclosure forms reveal that in 2010, Wasserman Schultz invested between $1,001-$15,000 in a 401k retirement fund run by Davis Financial Fund. As the fund discloses, it is invested in the Julius Baer Group Ltd. and the State Bank of India GDR Ltd., as well as other financial, insurance, bank institutions.
“The Julius Baer Group is the leading Swiss private banking group, focusing exclusively on the demands of sophisticated private clients, family offices and external asset managers from around the world,” its website explains. “Bank Julius Baer is the principal operating company of the Julius Baer Group, with origins dating back to 1890. The rich Swiss heritage becomes manifest in the values for which the Bank stands, e.g. trustworthiness, accountability, discretion and expertise. However, at the same time Julius Baer is a modern, forward-looking company at the leading edge of a genuine growth industry.”
Similarly, according to disclosure forms from 2004, Wasserman Schultz had holdings in the Fidelity Advisor Overseas Fund. That fund is invested in HSBC bank (a British financial institution), Hengdeli Holdings (a Hong Kong watch company), Novo Nordisk (a Danish drug company), Volkswagen (a German auto company), Rakuten (a Japanese shipping business), Richemont Cie Financiere (a Swiss luxury goods company), and many others.
It’s a fun dig at Wasserman Schultz, who has been one of the more vocal purveyors of this kind of financial Know-Nothingism, but it’s not quite the same thing. Romney opened accounts on his own overseas, while Wasserman Schultz invested in retirement accounts whose managers invested overseas. It’s both qualitatively and quantitatively different; by that measure, practically everyone would qualify as an offshorer, including most union pension recipients, I’m quite sure.
A lot of attention has been focused lately on Mitt Romney’s offshore finances in places like the Cayman Islands and Bermuda.
But the word Bermuda pops up on the financial disclosure forms of one of President Obama’s top advisers too.
Valerie Jarrett’s financial disclosure form filed May 4 lists a line of credit from a Bermuda insurance company valued between $100,000 and $250,000.
Might be more to the point, but might not be, either. The line of credit comes from JP Morgan Chase, and it’s unclear why it was issued from their Bermuda branch rather than New York. ABC’s financial sources say that’s not unusual, and it doesn’t necessarily indicate overseas transactions on the part of the recipient.
On the other hand, Jim Geraghty has a good question about outsourcing under the Obama administration that does go straight to the point:
If offshoring is so bad, Mr. President, why are we paying the Russians to take our astronauts to the ISS? bit.ly/NgniLR
— jimgeraghty (@jimgeraghty) July 10, 2012
Finally, the RNC says if Obama wants a debate on offshoring, they’re happy to have it:
A Department Of Energy Study Found “That 60 Percent Of The 40 Largest Wind Farms Then Financed By The Stimulus Relied On Foreign Manufacturers For Their Central Components, Including Turbines.” “According to some critics, a galling example of the Obama administration fostering overseas work came as part the 2009 stimulus program. They point to millions of dollars meant to develop a domestic clean-energy industry that instead landed in the hands of foreign businesses. An April 2010 study by the Energy Department found that 60 percent of the 40 largest wind farms then financed by the stimulus relied on foreign manufacturers for their central components, including turbines.” (Tom Hamburger, Carol D. Leonnig and Zachary A. Goldfarb, “Obama’s Record On Outsourcing Draws Criticism From The Left,” The Washington Post, 7/9/12) …
Dow Kokam Received A $161 Million Stimulus Award To Build An Electric Vehicle Battery Manufacturing Facility In Midland, MI. (“Grants – Award Summary: Dow Kokam MI, LLC,” Recovery.gov, Accessed 6/27/12)
In December 2011, Dow Kokam Admitted That More Than 180 Korean Nationals Were Setting Up And Testing Equipment At The Stimulus-Funded Battery Plant. “More than 180 Korean nationals are in Midland helping set up and test equipment at the Dow Kokam battery plant, but company officials say the workers are not here for the long haul. ‘These workers, who are Korean nationals, are not employees or contractors of Dow Kokam and will only be at the facility until the warranty runs on the equipment are complete.’ Dow Kokam spokeswoman Kristina Schnepf said in a release.” (Kathryn Lynch-Morin, “Company Official Says Korean Workers At Dow Kokam For Installation Only, Not For Long Term,” Michigan Live, 12/13/11)
“The Unions Insist They’ve Seen Foreign Workers Doing The Very Jobs Americans Could Do.” “The unions insist they’ve seen foreign workers doing the very jobs Americans could do. ‘The thing that was alarming to us was that there are people actually doing the work out there, installing the machinery, doing electrical work, piping work, mill right work, installing the machines in this plant,’ Mangione said.” (Sharyl Attkisson, “Unions Say Foreign Workers Taking Stimulus Jobs,” CBS News , 4/13/12)
Mitt Romney took his own money overseas. Barack Obama took US taxpayer dollars overseas. Which is worse? If Obama wants to have that debate, I’m pretty sure the GOP will be delighted to engage.