Skip to comments.Carly Fiorina: Robber Baron, Traitor — and Outsourcer! (Questioning Barbara Boxer's charge)
Posted on 09/29/2010 7:15:05 AM PDT by WebFocus
One of Sen. Barbara Boxers sharpest charges against challenger Carly Fiorina is that, as CEO of Hewlett-Packard, she allowed thousands of jobs to be outsourced overseas depriving U.S. workers of income while piling up profits for executive grandees like herself.
Outsourcing of both manufacturing and service jobs has become a wedge issue. It stings especially when times are tough. By Election Day, outsourcing will be portrayed as equivalent to child-molesting in its depravity. But the charge of greed and lack of economic patriotism is disingenuous for a variety of reasons.
Remember that outsourcing can be insidious it knows no political bounds. When presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry once equated outsourcing with treason by promising to go after any Benedict Arnold CEO or company [that moves] jobs overseas, he was forgetting that his wifes billion-dollar-plus fortune and thus his own luxury power boat were derived from the profits of the American-based H. J. Heinz Company, which made such gargantuan profits in part because it moved dozens of its American operations all over the globe. Take the most liberal icons of the business world from Bill Gates to George Soros and you will find ownerships of, or investments in, American companies that outsource production overseas.
Second, is there something called insourcing to explain why a Toyota or a Honda relocates plants to the United States, depriving Japanese workers of high-paying jobs in order to maximize profits for its corporate hierarchy? When Mercedes opens an American car-making plant, are we supposed to applaud a foreign companys hiring our workers and attempting to share some of its success with the homeland of its customers or lament the loss of German jobs? Mercedes is a hero to us but a traitor to Germany?
Do we complain that China and India seem to have outsourced most of their higher-education responsibilities from engineering PhDs to MBAs for CEOs to American universities? And in turn are we even angrier that a number of American universities are opening branch campuses in China and the Middle East depriving Americans of both staff and instructional jobs to better capitalize on this new global market in higher education? Are there Japanese Barbara Boxers demanding an end to Nissan plants in the American South or Indian populists running Boxer-like campaigns by crying to stop sending Indian talent to be educated at an outrageously expensive Yale?
So apparently the problem is not so much shipping some jobs overseas, but shipping more jobs out than are shipped in. Or does the anger arise because we draw in foreign capital for our own labor in some areas, but not enough in others to balance it out? Should we worry that we are assembling some American-designed printers overseas or be relieved that we are taking over more and more of the intricate manufacturing of the most sophisticated jumbo jets in the world?
In other words, no one knows exactly all the real costs and benefits of outsourcing, or how to turn the equation to our sole advantage, or why we seem to do well in one area, but not so well in another, or whether outsourcing helps many of the very developing countries that buy our American-designed products. When we fail to beat the competition in high-end, highly skilled manufacturing, then we turn to damn those who sometimes outsource the fabrication of products that require less skill.
Neither a Democratic nor a Republican president has been able to reverse the ongoing trade deficit. As Senator Boxer damns the outsourcing of Hewlett-Packard jobs, she offers little in the way of concrete answers as to how to stop it. Would she raise tariffs on imported goods (in expectation that other countries would not retaliate), or pressure a dollar-rich China to kindly devalue its yuan and politely quit its mercantilist policies, as both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush tried but failed to do? Or perhaps she could reverse her stance on the cutoff of California water deliveries, increase the acreage of the states productive farms, and thereby win back more jobs for California as America was again able to export agricultural products as it once did?
Democrats privately know that free trade and cheap manufacturing abroad result in cheap consumer goods at places like Walmart and Home Depot, which expands the purchasing power of the strapped American consumer. Republicans stress that in the open arena of trade, the more competition, the more pressure on American firms to stay lean and turn out better products at lower costs.
One reason why a Hewlett-Packard, or an Apple or a Microsoft, is so successful is that the skilled engineering, administration, and financing of such global high-profit operations draw on unique American talent and labor, while the often less-skilled fabrication of the resulting consumer goods is in part outsourced to places where labor regulations, wages, and attitudes tend to be very non-American. Would we prefer it the other way around $100,000-a-year Chinese engineers traveling to San Jose or Gilroy to teach our unskilled workers how to assemble their hot-selling, freshly designed electronic gadgets at the rate of $1 an hour?
Because we do not wish to lower wages to Chinas levels, or emulate the working conditions of Mexico or see our companies go bankrupt with goods priced well over unforgiving global going rates the only answer is upping the value of American labor and skill sets. That way we can continue to design the worlds top appurtenances, and to figure out the practical problems of their fabrication, while allowing the less-skilled labor of developing countries to put the actual product together and we can do that to such an overwhelming degree that we keep everyone from design engineers to accountants to manual writers employed at very high wages. They in turn can afford to pay everyone from hard-working baby-sitters to carpenters to restaurant workers wages that are likewise well over the global norm.
But such an idea requires that Americans encourage business innovation, ensure the worlds most educated and flexible work force, and create a tax climate where productivity is encouraged rather than punished. All of that would require a radical change in the political classs understanding of the effects of taxation and regulation. It would also require radical changes in American education questioning the ethics of teachers unions, reconsidering ossified ideas like tenure, and junking an increasingly uncompetitive and therapeutic school curriculum.
Instead, at present given a radical divergence in work ethics, wages, and business climates there is a reason why most foreign automobile manufacturers that locate here do so in the South rather than near Detroit. European or Asian high-tech firms go to places like North Carolinas Research Triangle and Californias Silicon Valley, where the local schools ensure a competent work force, and not to rural California, where school test scores are at or near the bottom of the country in math and English.
But again, all of that is too complicated for a Barbara Boxer. Instead, outsourcing is demagogued as greed versus liberality, patriotism versus treason. The subtext is the looking-glass notion that our middle-class and poor citizens must be able to buy iPods and DVDs at Walmart at rock-bottom prices, while we demand that the workers who manufacture them get paid over $20 an hour.
Like it or not, globalization has done away with such fantasies, especially the notion of a privileged U.S. populace that by birthright deserves its exalted position. From here on out, our lifestyles and our very futures hinge on our collective productivity, innovation, and imagination. If we still had the best educated and most highly skilled work force, the most productive work ethic, the most business-friendly environment, and the most responsive and fiscally sound government, then a flexible and constantly changing America would always be creating high-end jobs for its citizens, well ahead of the competition, with little worry over the fact that some lower-end tasks of assembling consumer products at times might migrate elsewhere.
Anger over outsourcing is thus a symptom of a larger malaise. Our politicians assume that Americans deserve both cheap consumer products and high-wage manufacturing jobs and that we will get both because Americans are the best educated and most productive workers in the world, and our managers and designers operate in the most fertile business and intellectual environment on the planet.
The current financial and political climate suggests that is not quite any longer true. So anger follows when unemployment is over 12 percent in a bankrupt state like California. On cue, in comes a railing Barbara Boxer whose policies had a lot to do with punishing taxes, layers of government red tape, and therapeutic education charging that Hewlett-Packard built some things overseas when it could not make a profit doing so here.
If that is to be the analysis of and solution for outsourcing, then California and this country will see far worse days ahead.
NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, the editor of Makers of Ancient Strategy: From the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome, and the author of The Father of Us All: War and History, Ancient and Modern.
And the obvious answer is that American taxes and regulations make it too expensive to hire Americans for these jobs.
Call it the law of unintended conseqences, stupidity, or whatever. Corporations are in business to make money. If you pass laws that raise the cost of hiring Americans as employees, corporations will simply move those jobs overseas. All corporations.
And the next point should be that ObamaCare will make it even more expensive to hire Americans, which means more jobs will go overseas. Everyone that voted for ObamaCare knew that; a vote for ObamaCare was a vote to send jobs overseas.
Then ask Boxer why she voted to send jobs overseas.
The charge is true. FWIW.
HP bought out Compaq (and Digital Equip Corp with it) then proceeded to kill the best hardware platform because it was better than theirs and then killed off OSF/1 because it was better than HP-SUX.
They are scum sucking bastards.
Barbara Boxer is a fraud Senator who stole her first election as Senator.
Break out the pitchforks: VDH has turned “globalist.”
HP eventually bought Tandem Computers and the robust operating system — OpenVMS (which used to be the flagship of the now defunct, DEC ).
What has happened to these once fine products, I have no clue...
Additionally, labor unions have priced their members out of the global economy.
Even with talk of protectionist barriers in retreat, the topic of offshore outsourcing is still potent enough to generate intense interest. During a recent panel discussion in which I participated with former President Bill Clinton, he expressed broad support for global trade, including, in principle, offshore outsourcing.
“Its good for some companies, and, on balance, its good for the world. As to whether its good or bad for America, its fruitless to close the border to trade,” Clinton told some 300 attendees recently at The Donnelley Groups fifth annual Information Privacy Forum in Aspen, Colo
California, once the Golden State, is in the final stages of descent into oblivian.
Many people will finally abandon their properties when they realize that it is better to go elsewhere, live in freedom, and "build again with worn-out tools"!
What will the liberals do whne their source of revenue is gone?
VMS is in support mode now and support of it shipped to India. The VMS group in Nashua, NH is no more.
RE: VMS is in support mode now and support of it shipped to India. The VMS group in Nashua, NH is no more.
It looks like a lot of things we no longer want to use are being sent to India to support as well.
Look, I empathize with all the skilled technologist who lost their OpenVMS support jobs to India, but let’s face it -— VERY FEW COMPANIES IN THE USA use OpenVMS anymore.
It just isn’t profitable and cost effective to continue maintaining a support center here in the USA with the market trends going where they are.
I am willing to bet the Nashua, NH folks have moved on to other technical pursuits. As for the support group in India... hey, their days are NUMBERED as well — as numbered as the life span of the once venerable OpenVMS.
What about the once venerable TANDEM NON-STOP COMPUTER ? What’s happened to it ? It once used to power the NASDAQ Stock Market’s data center.
There are two acronyms that need to be discussed here: NAFTA and GATT. Where did Boxer stand on these two vehicles that have been used to outsource American jobs overseas since their inception???
You signed up 7 days ago and post THIS?
IT WAS THE BUBBA CLINTON ADMINISTRATION THAT MADE A NICE LITTLE DEAL WITH A SUPPORTER TO INSTALL THE OUTSOURCING POLICIES WE ARE DEALING WITH NOW.
Now, I didn’t check but what you want to bet BOXER voted YEA on that one.
So lets count all of the jobs lost to outsourcing by BOXERS vote on the Clinton Administrations outsourcing gambit.
I hope Carly wins, Boxer is the dumbest Senator out of a 100.
However the Outsourcing issue is going to do her in. Even the Conservatives and Republicans I know hate this with a passion. These are hardworking people not the moucher/looter class.
RALLY TO SUPPORT CARLY
Today, Wednesday, September 29th Pasadena’s KPPC 89.3 is hosting a live debate between Carly Fiorina and Barbara Boxer. Since Moveon.org is organizing a rally to support Ms. Boxer, Carly’s campaign is calling for all available patriots to join a rally beginning at 11:30am in front of the KPPC studios located at 474 South Raymond Avenue in Pasadena . If you aren’t able to participate in the rally, please be sure to tune in at 1pm for the main event!
Barbara Boxer has been consistent in her votes on trade — She’s against free trade.
I checked and she voted NO on NAFTA, and more recently voted NO on CAFTA ( for Central America free-trade ).
Check here for Barbara Boxer’s record on trade for both NAFTA and CAFTA :
The conservatives and republicans you know are against economic freedom? Are they also against lower prices for American consumers? How do they feel about the insourcing of jobs to the US?
Because we do not wish to lower wages to Chinas levels, or emulate the working conditions of Mexico or see our companies go bankrupt with goods priced well over unforgiving global going rates the only answer is upping the value of American labor and skill sets. That way we can continue to design the worlds top appurtenances, and to figure out the practical problems of their fabrication, while allowing the less-skilled labor of developing countries to put the actual product together and we can do that to such an overwhelming degree that we keep everyone from design engineers to accountants to manual writers employed at very high wages. They in turn can afford to pay everyone from hard-working baby-sitters to carpenters to restaurant workers wages that are likewise well over the global norm
That shows how clueless the author is on this subject. They are moving all design as well as manufacturing and support off-shore. Done only to boost their own stock options. Now everyone is scratching their heads wondering what went wrong.
Brookhaven you wrote “And the obvious answer is that American taxes and regulations make it too expensive to hire Americans for these jobs.”
I heard a story in 1992 from a specialty contractor who worked with a computer company in the Bay Area. He was told that in the same amount of time it took to build and start-up a chip board manufacturing facility in Thailand they got an awning on their existing building ‘approved’.
With the rate of excessive regulation since then, how is any manufacturer going to keep up with NIABYE (not in anyone’s backyard EVER)
PS for Hanson: Check out the rates of engineering students in the US. Not keeping up.
better to be an outsourcer than a out-and-out sorcerer