One facet of being a patriotic American is looking out for the nation’s best interests at all times and particularly the interests of the people. Indeed, so-called patriots in the Bush administration cited protecting Americans’ as one reason for going to war in Iraq and Afghanistan that garnered support from the populace because they believed fighting terrorists “over there” was preferable to endangering Americans at home. Republicans have not shown much interest in protecting Americans’ jobs though, and even less so when it comes to creating new jobs as they promised in the lead-up to the 2010 midterm elections. In fact, when Democrats and President Obama sought to eliminate tax breaks for companies that sent jobs overseas, Republicans fought to protect corporate profits and foreign jobs to keep unemployment numbers high. Over the past two weeks, news of Romney’s record of outsourcing American jobs has elicited denials, deflections, and accusations of dirty campaign tactics, but the practice of sending Americans’ jobs overseas is a staple of Republican, and Romney’s, corporate-friendly agenda for some time.
Last Thursday, in another attempt to protect corporations and kill American jobs, Republicans blocked a measure to reward companies that brought jobs back to America, and protect their candidate Willard Romney. Republicans in the Senate refused to allow a vote on a bill, The Bring Jobs Home Act, which provided a 20% tax break for costs related to moving jobs back to the United States, at the same time rescinding deductions for companies that moved operations and jobs overseas. The bill was number one on the President’s congressional “to-do list,” but Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to amend it with an Affordable Care Act repeal and Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy extension. Republicans cited the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (COC) and National Association of Manufacturers’ opposition to the bill as reason to block a vote. As usual, the COC sent an official edict to Republicans calling the bill misguided and said it “would hamper American worldwide companies’ competitiveness, increase complexity in the Internal Revenue Code, and threaten economic growth.” The Chamber told Republicans they would monitor senator’s support, or opposition, for inclusion in their annual “How They Voted Scorecard” for future campaign donation considerations. As usual, Republicans demonstrated that when it comes to whose interests they protect, Americans’ jobs are not within their purview of consideration.
This is not the first time Republicans blocked a measure to bring jobs back to America, and it is part and parcel of their corporate profit protection agenda. It is also the agenda that continues to reward presumptive presidential candidate Willard Romney and his financial interest in Bain Capital where he still earns millions each year. During Willard’s time at Bain, they invested in companies that specialized in outsourcing American jobs, and the news engendered pushback from Romney parsing terms like “outsourcing” and “offshoring,” as well as distracting voters with speculation on his choice of a running mate. However, outsourcing was a critical part of Bain’s primary means of wealth creation during Romney’s tenure as CEO continuing today despite sacrificing Americans’ jobs, financial security, and decimating entire communities. With Republicans blocking the Bring Jobs Home Act, they cemented their position of full support for Romney and Bain’s investment strategy of exporting Americans’ jobs to create wealth for a few investors.
Republicans also support government subsidies for companies that send jobs overseas because they reap tax breaks and benefits written into the tax code for “expansion” regardless that it occurs in foreign countries. For his part, Romney has attempted to distance himself from the practice of outsourcing jobs by claiming businesses did not send jobs overseas while he was running Bain, but he is a liar. Bain started outsourcing jobs in 1993, and in 1998, Romney invested heavily in a Chinese manufacturing company that depended on American outsourcing for its profits “explicitly stating that such outsourcing was crucial to its success.” In a report to investors, the Chinese firm noted that U.S. outsourcing was essential to its prospective profits with this statement; “Companies are focusing on their primary strengths of marketing and distribution, while increasingly outsourcing product development and manufacturing. Our ability and commitment to develop products at a low cost has allowed us to benefit from the increased outsourcing of product development and manufacturing by our customers.”
With the Senate Republicans action on Thursday, they exposed their agenda of corporate profit protection at the expense of Americans’ jobs. In one fell swoop, they obeyed the Chamber of Commerce, guaranteed more companies will outsource Americans’ jobs, subsidized outsourcing with taxpayer dollars, provided millions for Romney, created jobs in foreign countries, prevented economic growth, and most importantly, killed millions of Americans’ jobs. Their claim the bill was a political ploy by the Obama Administration is patently false because this is the second time in two years Republicans blocked an anti-outsourcing bill. In 2010 after Republicans blocked a similar bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid commented that the bill was a “simple, common-sense” effort to “keep American jobs here in America” and to “stop forcing taxpayers across the nation to pay for giveaways that reward companies for sending American jobs overseas.” Mitch McConnell said at the time that the bill was “an insult to the millions of Americans who want us to focus on jobs.” Yes, he really said it and since then, he and his job-killing cohorts have taken every step to convince Americans that the GOP is following the will of the people who want Republicans to “focus on jobs” while they ship them overseas.
The Republican focus on jobs since January 2009 has been killing them, not creating them. They voted against the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus), opposed the auto industry bailout, payroll tax cut and extension, all of the President’s jobs bills, and have blocked any new revenue sources that would fund rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure. All of the Republican job-killing measures have as their basis protection of the rich and keeping unemployment figures high, and they are not close to being finished if they win control of the White House and both houses of Congress. One of Romney and Republicans promises is to give corporations more tax cuts and leeway to outsource jobs and the only winners are the corporations and their wealthy investors like Willard Romney.
Rewarding companies that outsource American jobs is more than just enriching corporations, it is about ethics and moral responsibility to the American people who expect their representatives to look out for their interests. Willard Romney and the Chamber of Commerce tell Americans that outsourcing is good for business, and instead of acknowledging the devastating effect on the economy and American workers, Willard said, “the world of finance is not as simple as some would have you believe,” but for Americans who lost their jobs to outsourcing, Romney’s words are no consolation. Outsourcing may be perfectly acceptable in the complicated world of high finance, but it is extremely unpopular with the American people. In a recent Wall Street Journal poll, 83% of blue-collar workers and 95% of professionals and managers believe the weak economy and joblessness is because of outsourcing American jobs. However, continuing tax cuts for the top 2% of income earners is extremely unpopular too, but that has not stopped the GOP from going ahead with plans to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.
It is a mystery why Republicans get any support from Americans when they have spent the past three-and-a-half years deliberately killing jobs and holding up economic recovery. They have, at every step, demonstrated their allegiance to the wealthy and corporations over the American people, and continue claiming a laser-focus on creating jobs while obstructing job creation and giving corporations tax breaks for outsourcing existing ones. Their contempt for Americans looking for work, or barely holding on to their existing jobs, is nothing short of despicable and by blaming President Obama, they reached a new low in hypocrisy. If the American people cannot see, at this point, that Republicans have no interest in this country or its people, then they are truly stupid for supporting politicians who are actively subverting economic growth and deliberately killing American jobs. All the while they have joined vulture capitalists like Willard Romney and Bain Capital in creating wealth for a few at the expense of 98% of Americans and cemented their reputation as enemies of the people they were elected to serve.