Jewish World Review Feb. 23, 2004 / 1 Adar, 5764
Pandering is Job One
"This week, Americans learned something important. Exporting jobs isn't an accident - it's administration policy." Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle.
John Kerry knows it. John Edwards knows it. And the Democrats want to make sure you know it, too:
American corporations are evil. They do terrible, terrible things, like earning profits, and shuttering inefficient factories, and giving lots of money to John Kerr…oops! Let's skip that last one.
And if you don't believe corporate America is evil, just ask Myra Bronstein. Myra used to work as a software tester in Washington state until her diabolical corporate employers-you know, those mean-spirited people who paid her salary year after year-did something unimaginable. They hired someone else to do Myra's job, just because it saved them a bunch of money!
OK, so maybe it's not unimaginable. Maybe paying less to get the same service is exactly what you and I would do. But still, when a large company does it….it's EVIL!
And that's why politicians are stepping forward to pander shamelessly…. I mean, "take on corporate interests" and do something about "outsourcing" and "offshoring" jobs. Depending on who you believe, between 300,000 and 3 million jobs once done by Americans are now being done more cheaply by workers in other countries.
Obviously, this outrage must be stopped! I mean, how would you like it if a new restaurant opened in town serving your favorite foods, but charged only half as much as your regular eatery? Or if you could buy the same car at a lower price from some new guy instead of your neighborhood car dealer, huh? How would you like them apples?
Uh, I guess you'd like them just fine. I mean, I suppose if you could spend half as much on food, cars and clothes, you'd do it in a heartbeat. Right? Wouldn't that be great?
But trust me on this: When your boss does the same thing, it's bad. Very, very bad.
And I'm sure the Democrats will explain why it's a bad thing any day now.
Of course, nobody wants to be the old restaurant or car dealer losing customers to the competition down the block, and nobody wants to be the American worker who loses a job to global competition, either. South Carolina has lost an estimated 22,000 jobs in the past year alone, and for those workers, it hurts.
Unfortunately, while John Kerry or Tom Daschle are clear on the fact that corporations are evil, they're never very clear on what politicians should do about it.
This is where opponents of free trade inevitably stumble. Oh, sure, you'll get a few boneheaded political stunts like SC Speaker of the House David Wilkins proposing a ban against state agencies hiring offshore call centers. But will this actually save any local jobs? I hope not, because if it does, it means South Carolina taxpayers are paying unnecessarily high prices and, therefore, unnecessarily high taxes.
That's the problem: A job is worth what it's worth. If your next-door neighbor wants $5,000 to paint your house, and a guy across town wants $2,500 to do the same job, then the price of house painting is $2,500. You can choose to pay more, but why would you? That would be stupid. And if it's stupid for you, isn't it stupid for "evil corporate America," too?
The same applies to software and seafood and silk shirts. They're worth what they're worth. Why pay more?
You can always argue that it's my duty as an American to pay unnecessarily high prices, but you'll notice that neither John Kerry nor Tom Daschle are saying that. Instead, they're watching the millions of Americans who pour into Wal-Mart to save three bucks on a package of underwear. Do you want to be the person who tells the working family they have to pay 25% more on clothes and food because the government won't let you buy them at market prices?
Maybe you are willing to tell them, but you're not running for president.
Bush-bashing Democrats also like to point out that some of the companies outsourcing American jobs get taxpayer-funded subsidies and tax breaks. They're right, and I happily endorse every effort to end any and all such government giveaways at once. No more subsidies for agriculture, no more protective tariffs for steel, no more quotas on how many foreign textile products can be shipped into the U.S. Absolutely, Sen. Kerry!
And the day John "Show Me The Special Interests Money" Kerry actually proposes ending these subsidies for his business buddies, I will proudly form a chapter of "Republicans for Kerry" and donate $100 to the cause.
Because Democrats (and most Republicans, for that matter) don't believe in freedom. They don't believe in letting you buy what you want or sell what you want to whom you want. Politicians don't believe that the money you earn or the property you own is yours, either.
What politicians believe in is taking care of their friends and themselves. Which means that businesses that John Kerry likes-say, the H.J. Heinz Co., owned in part by his wife-are good companies, even if there are 57 Heinz factories in foreign countries. And businesses Kerry doesn't like (Halliburton) are "evil corporate interests."
But these plain facts are far too complex for the typical voter, who is absolutely sure that giving a job to a "furiner" instead of a good American is always the wrong thing to do. Just ask Sammy Sosa about his evil, corporate masters, the Chicago Cubs.
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JWR contributor Michael Graham is a talk show host and author of the highly acclaimed "Redneck Nation: How the South Really Won the War." To comment, please click here.
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© 2003, Michael Graham