TRICKLE-DOWN UNEMPLOYMENT & DEBT:
President of Special Interests
The People Be Damned
Wednesday, 18 February 2009
Possibly Obama loves the country that elevated him to its highest office. But his administration is populated with people whose loyalty does not extend beyond elites to the American people.The Bush/Obama bailout/stimulus plans are not going to work. Both are schemes hatched by a clique of financial insiders. The schemes will redistribute income and wealth from American taxpayers to the shyster banksters, who have destroyed American jobs, ruined the retirement plans of tens of millions of Americans, and worsened the situation of millions of people worldwide who naively trusted American financial institutions. The ongoing theft has simply been recast. Instead of using fraudulent financial instruments, the banksters are using government policy.
Michael Hudson captures the nature of the heist in CounterPunch (February 12):
The big money men cannot conceive of anyone’s suffering except the mega-rich. If billions are not at stake, what is the problem? How can a family losing its house bring down the economy?
There was a time in America when the interests of elites were connected to those of ordinary Americans. Henry Ford said that he paid his workers good wages so they could buy his cars.
Today American corporations pay foreign workers low wages so CEOs can pay themselves multi-million dollar “performance” bonuses.
Congress has had a parade of CEOs, ranging from Bill Gates of MIcrosoft and IBM brass on down the line, to testify that they desperately need more H-1B work visas for foreign employees as they cannot find enough American software engineers and IT workers to grow their businesses. Yet, all the companies who sing this song have established records of replacing American employees with H-1B workers who are paid less.
Just the other day Microsoft, IBM, Texas Instruments, Sprint Nextel, Intel, Motorola, and scores of other corporations announced thousands of layoffs of the qualified American engineers who “are in short supply.”
IBM has offered to help to relocate its “redundant” but “scarce” American engineers to its operations in India, China, Brazil, Mexico, the Czech Republic, Russia, South Africa, Nigeria, and the United Arab Emirates at the salaries prevailing in those countries.
On January 28, USA Today reported: “In 2007, the last full year for which detailed employment numbers are available, 121,000 of IBM's 387,000 workers [31%] were in the U.S. Meanwhile, staffing in India has jumped from just 9,000 workers in 2003 to 74,000 workers in 2007.”
In order to penetrate and to serve foreign markets, US corporations need overseas operations. There is nothing unusual or unpatriotic about this. However, many US companies use foreign labor to manufacture abroad the products that they sell in American markets. If Henry Ford had used Indian, Chinese, or Mexican workers to manufacture his cars, Indians, Chinese and Mexicans could possibly have purchased Fords, but not Americans.
Senators Charles Grassley and Bernie Sanders offered an amendment to the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) bill that would prevent companies receiving bailout money from discharging American employees and replacing them with foreigners on H-1B visas.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, no longer an American institution, and immigration advocates, such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association, immediately went to work to defeat or to water down the amendments. Senator Grassley’s attempt to prevent American corporations from replacing American workers with foreigners on H-1B work visas in the midst of the most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression was met with outrage from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an organization concerned solely with the multi-million dollar bonuses paid to American CEOs for reducing labor costs by offshoring American jobs or by replacing American employees with foreign guest workers.
On January 23 Senator Grassley wrote to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer:
Senator Grassley is rightly concerned that recession layoffs will shield increased jobs offshoring and use of H-1B workers. On February 13, Pravda reported that “America has begun the initial steps to final outsourcing of it’s last dominant industry”--oil/gas and oil/gas services. Pravda reports that “as with other formerly dominant industries, such as light manufacturing, IT, textiles,” recession is “used as the knife to finally do in the workers.”
According to Pravda,
It is rare to find US Representatives and Senators, such as Grassley, who will take a stand against powerful special interests. Some do so inadvertently, forgetting that patriotism is no longer a characteristic of the American business elite. Hoping to stimulate American rather than foreign businesses, the House version of the economic stimulus bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, required that funds provided by the bill cannot be used to purchase foreign-made iron, steel, and textiles.
The Senate provision was more sweeping, mandating that all manufactured goods purchased with stimulus money be American-made.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, Caterpillar, General Electric, other transnational corporations, and editorial writers whose newspapers are dependent on corporate advertising set out to defeat the buy American requirement. As far as these anti-American organizations are concerned, the stimulus bill has nothing to do with American jobs or the American economy. It only has to do with the special interest appetites that have the political power to rip off the American taxpayers. [see Manufacturing & Technology News, February 4, 2009]
Senator John McCain is their man. “Protectionism” exclaimed the man the Republicans wanted as president. McCain said the buy American provision would cause a second Great Depression. U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue said that buying abroad was “economic patriotism.”
The American economic elite are hiding their treason to the American people behind “free trade.”
I want to say this as clearly as it can be said. The offshoring of American jobs is the antithesis of free trade. Free trade is based on comparative advantage. Jobs offshoring is an activity in pursuit of lowest factor cost--an activity that David Ricardo, the originator of the free trade theory, described as the betrayal of one’s own country in pursuit of “absolute advantage.”
The “free market” shills on the payroll of the U.S. Chamber, NAM, and in economics departments and think tanks that are recipients of grants from transnational corporations are whores aligned with elites who are destroying the American work force.
Obama has appointed to his National Economic Council blatant apologists for the offshoring of American jobs.
Possibly Obama loves the country that elevated him to its highest office. But his administration is populated with people whose loyalty does not extend beyond elites to the American people.
Paul Craig Roberts is an economist who served as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration earning fame as the "Father of Reaganomics". He is a former editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and Scripps Howard News Service. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution: An Insider's Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation and the Soviet Economy: The Collapse of the Socialist Era and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions: How Prosecutors and Law Enforcement Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice.
This article is published in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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This story was published on February 19, 2009.