Skip to comments.India gets dragged in Obama-Romney feud (Op-Ed)
Posted on 07/19/2012 2:46:23 PM PDT by Jyotishi
The US President, now in election gear, has repeatedly lashed out at outsourcing by Americans to firms based in India
US President Barack Obama and his Republican opponent Mitt Romney are engaged in a fierce battle about outsourcing, which has become a huge election issue.
Outsourcing was an issue in 2008 polls and also earlier, but this time with the economy sliding, jobs have become a vital issue for the middle class. Both the presidential candidates are targeting this section. Economy has become the issue for the election, overriding all other concerns.
Democrats are generally against outsourcing. The Senator from Massachusetts, Mr John Kerry spoke against it. President Obama spoke against it in his 2008 campaign. He has now sharpened his criticism against American companies which are exporting jobs and wants to tax them more and use that money to keep jobs at home.
The Republicans are generally not that hawkish, but in the present circumstance are unwilling to openly say that they are for outsourcing. It is not the right thing to do politically.
US companies are outsourcing jobs to countries like India, China, the Philippines, Malaysia and Bulgaria in sectors like BPO, legal outsourcing, manufacturing, research, IT, product design and development.
According to an official estimate, the outsourced workers comprise over 25 per cent of the countrys workforce. Americans lose jobs as the outsourcing market is worth more than $100 billion. They see outsourcing as an evil that steals their jobs. Although good economic favours outsourcing as it profits the companies that are outsourcing jobs, but politicians play to the gallery conveniently forgetting that jobs outsources were never done in the US before.
Even the Olympic Games are not left out of this presidential race politics. Some US politicians have spoken against the uniforms for the American sportsmen for the Olympics being made in China.
Recently, six Democrat Senators said they plan to introduce legislation requiring the ceremonial uniforms to be produced in the US. But Reuters quoting Chinese news agency Xinhua said China has hit back in a commentary saying it was hard to believe such hysteria could emerge from American politicians. It quoted Xinhua as saying The Olympic spirit is all about separating sports from politics, but these US politicians are going too far and trying to force a political tag onto the uniforms.
The outsourcing debate flared up afresh after the Washington Post published an article in June on how Mr Romneys company Bain Capital sent jobs outside. It said the company invested in firms that specialised in helping other companies move jobs to low-wage countries like China and India. President Obama picked up this story and is dubbing Mr Romney as the offshore pioneer. In a campaign speech recently, he said, We do not need an outsourcing pioneer in Oval Office adding, we need a President who is going to fight for American jobs.
The Romney camp claims that the company had done so after Mr Romney retired as the CEO. Mr Romney is seeking votes on his business record and his private sector record is one of success and turnaround during a time when many companies were failing. India and China are singled out for being the destinations favoured for outsourcing.
Those who favour outsourcing see it as a beneficial cost-cutting tool for the industries. They argue that outsourcing has come to be a tried and tested model and recognised as a long-term competitive strategy for success. They also point out that there are advantages of outsourcing to countries like India and China because of the cheap labour costs and saving on operational costs. The finished product is of the same quality as in the donor location. Above all, one of the key reasons for outsourcing is the lack of talent in countries like the US and the UK.
But those against it argue that with the US economy still in recovery from recession, now is not the time to be sending jobs overseas. Also, analysts say that the kind of jobs that are outsourced have increased dramatically in the past five years due to technological advances, leading to anxiety in the US workforce who feel vulnerable as workers abroad can work for much less wages.
India and China particularly may feel the heat as there could be less business coming from the US this year, at least, until the election is over. The Eurozone crisis has also affected the outsourcing market, reducing business. India will feel the pinch more as the dollar income could well dip as a result.
The business community in India lives in daily, quaking fear of outsourcing becoming a knock-down/drag-out issue in American elections.
That did it; by damn. Obama will lose the votes of all the Indians in America, whose families, in India, are telemarketers.
If anti-business Obama wins in November, more US businesses may set up shop in India and other countries.
From Al Gore to Kerry and Obama, from McCain to Romney.....every one of them firmly upheld the great American tradition.
If you ask me......I think the real issue is not “outsourcing” itself but rather the country its being outsourced to. Even China does not get as much brickbats as India. Americans clearly don't like India. Doesn't matter Reps or Rats.