Subject: [SocialistWorker.org] Democrats are hypocrites on outsourcing
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Critical reading : A SocialistWorker.org blog
======== DEMOCRATS ARE HYPOCRITES ON OUTSOURCING =============================
July 16, 2012 9:03 am CDT
Obama and the Democrats attack Romney as a jobs-destroyer. The charge is
accurate, but the Democrats themselves have championed "free market" policies
like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that have deregulated
the economy, lowered wages, increased inequality, and encouraged downsizing
and outsourcing. Not only did Obama go out of his way to protect the
interests of the 1% in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, his
administration is now the driving force behind the Trans-Pacific Partnership,
which has been described by critics as "NAFTA on steroids ." A recent
commentary on the /Dissent/ magazine website (long a loyal left-wing
supporter of the Democrats) describes  Obama as the
"Corporate-Globalizer-in-Chief" and points out that "instead of taking the
chance to redefine American interests in the world as something other than
securing profits for U.S. businesses, Obama has allowed an ingrained
pro-corporate obsequiousness to permeate the office of the U.S. Trade
Representative and the Department of State." More here  and here . --PG
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.... The Democrats can't lecture Romney about firing people 
Source: The Guardian
Obama himself has never challenged the kind of rapacious capitalism he is
desperate to associate with his opponent
Gary Younge 
Sunday 15 July 2012 15.30 EDT
Following the stock market crash of 1987 the US House subcommittee on
telecommunications and finance needed an expert to explain the underlying
impulses that had brought capitalism to the brink. So they asked a criminal.
Dennis Levine, once a prominent player in mergers and acquisitions, was
coaxed out of prison in New Jersey, where he was serving two years for
insider trading, in return for a Big Mac, fries and a chocolate shake.
After explaining how the market was rigged, he was asked what the government
should do about it. "You need to send out a slew of indictments, all at once,
and at 3pm on a sunny day, have federal marshals perp walk 300 Wall Street
executives out of their offices in handcuffs and out on the street with lots
of cameras rolling," he said. "Everyone else would say: 'If that happened to
me, my mother would be so ashamed.'"
But when the most recent global economic crisis struck Uncle Sam took a
different route. Rather than punish those who'd brought the system to its
knees they rewarded them with billions of dollars in bailout money. For
George W Bush this was consistent both with his philosophy and the interests
of his base. But Barack Obama stood as a "transformative candidate" and this
was a pivotal moment. Popular anger at the finance industry was strong and
the banks were weak.
Just a couple of months into his presidency he called a meeting of banking
executives. But instead of representing the interests of those who voted for
him and had been hardest hit by the crisis – the poor, union members, black
people and Latinos – he sided with those who funded him and precipitated
the crisis: "I'm not out there to go after you," he told them. "I'm
As one of the bankers told Ron Suskind in The Confidence Men : "The sense
of everyone after the meeting was relief. The president had us at a moment of
real vulnerability. At that point, he could have ordered us to do just about
anything and we would have rolled over. But he didn't – he mostly wanted to
help us out, to quell the mob. And the guy we figured we had to thank for
that was [Treasury secretary] Tim [Geithner]. He was our man in Washington."
This is what makes Democratic attacks on the business record of Republican
presumptive nominee Mitt Romney so difficult to swallow. While their
substance is sound and their target deserving, the source makes them
hypocritical and opportunistic. The poor do not have "a man in Washington".
Romney deserves to be taken to task. However, it's not a task the Democrats
can credibly undertake since they have been complicit in the very practices
for which they criticise him.
Romney was a venture capitalist for the private equity firm Bain Capital,
where he was responsible for a lot of people losing their jobs. Whether more
were fired than hired because of him is an open question. It's also claimed
he facilitated some jobs going overseas.
In a slew of ads the Obama campaign has branded him the "outsourcer-in-chief"
and run testimony from workers who suffered at Bain's hands. In one, Jack
Cobb, a steelworker at Kansas City Steel, which was bought by Bain only to go
bankrupt eight years later, says : "It was like a vampire," he said.
"They came in and sacked the life out of us."
Republicans' predictable outrage holds little credibility, not least because
the criticisms originated in their ranks . During the primaries Newt
Gingrich branded Romney a "vulture capitalist", while Rick Perry's campaign
created a ring tone  in Romney's voice saying: "I like being able to fire
people." Moreover, Romney is standing on his credentials as a businessman,
claiming his experience will help him revive the nation's economic fortunes.
That not only invites a critique of his record but demands it.
The Republicans are really upset because the ads are working . Polls show
that in swing states, where people are more likely to have seen the ads, they
are twice as likely to see Romney's time at Bain as a reason to vote against
him – elsewhere the nation is evenly split.
At a time when corporate profits are soaring, unemployment is stuck at around
8% and poverty is rising, it's not difficult to see why the message would
In his "victory" speech on Super Tuesday Romney described the jobless rate as
an "inconvenient statistic" for the White House. "But those numbers are more
than data on a spreadsheet; they are worried families and anxious faces," he
said. "And tonight, I'd like to say to each of them: You are not forgotten."
But it was precisely by treating people as data on a spreadsheet that Bain
made its money. Romney never forgot about those worried families because they
never figured in his calculations in the first place.
The process of buying, slicing, bankrupting, restructuring and selling he
practised at Bain is known as "creative destruction": that means creating
profits for the shareholders and destroying people's livelihoods if
necessary. That's what capitalism is; that's what capitalism does. It's
essentially amoral. Its goal is not to create jobs, let alone keep them in a
certain country, but to make profit.
The issue here is not that Democrats offer no alternative to capitalism.
Somebody should but they've never claimed to. But they offer no challenge to
it in its most rapacious, exploitative and ultimately self-defeating
incarnation of recent times. It is difficult to accept lectures on
outsourcing from the party that introduced the North American Free Trade
Agreement – an outsourcers' charter liberalising trade between the US,
Mexico and Canada. The party that repealed the Glass-Steagall Act ,
loosening regulations that would have mitigated the worst effects of the most
recent crisis, has no credibility to preach about business ethics.
The Democrats have done a great deal to make things easier for firms like
Bain to do the very things they are criticising and precious little to
protect the livelihood of people like Cobb and his former colleagues in the
Given the opportunity to reform a banking system where venality, corruption
and ineptitude were rife Obama decided instead to prop it up. As such he has
proved himself more keen to save capitalism from itself than protect workers
from its excesses.
He told the bankers at the 2009 meeting: "My administration is the only thing
between you and the pitchforks." Next time he should get out of the way.
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