21st Century Know-Nothings

The Know-Nothings were said to be ignorant, and proud of it. I am not sure that is a fair characterization of the 19th Century party, but it fits today’s Democrats. The Obama campaign, out of ammo and flailing, continues to assert that Mitt Romney was guilty of “outsourcing” when he ran Bain Capital. This claim is false, but more important, it is stupid.

Thousands of American businesses are international in scope. They need facilities in other countries–sales staffs, managers, production facilities and more. Sometimes, too, to stay competitive it makes sense to locate manufacturing or other functions somewhere other than the U.S. Is this “outsourcing?” It is business in the modern age. Likewise, countless European, Asian and South American companies do business in the United States. They, too, have salesmen, managers, production facilities and so on in this country, and many of their employees are Americans. Are those companies “outsourcing?” Are they “shipping jobs overseas” from Germany, Japan, Korea, Brazil, or wherever? Do the Democrats think we should demand that foreign-headquartered companies shut down their operations in the U.S.? Only the profoundly ignorant can believe that there is something wrong with American companies doing business in other countries, and hiring employees (directly or through subsidiaries) in other countries. Yet Barack Obama, Joe Biden and their many surrogates proclaim just that degree of ignorance, proudly.

I can understand why some people vote for Democratic candidates; when you write more than $3 trillion in checks every year, you can buy a lot of votes. But I do not understand how any thinking person can be proud of belonging to today’s Democratic Party.

As it happens, though, “outsourcing”–if by that we mean investing capital to create jobs in countries other than the U.S.–is a legitimate issue in the 2012 campaign. The reason is that the Obama administration has spent many billions of dollars to create jobs in foreign countries. Obamanomics Outsourced is a remarkably slick publication by the Republican Party. (Seriously–talk about Hope and Change!) It lays out the facts relating to the Obama administration’s wasting of many billions of tax dollars on foreign jobs:

Over his four years in office, Obama promised that he would focus on creating “jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced.” However, as he racked up trillions in new debt, billions of dollars did go to create jobs that were outsourced or spent overseas. Whether it is electric cars made in Finland or solar panels in Mexico, taxpayers would be astonished to learn that their hard earned money went abroad for jobs that weren’t created in the United States.

Please do read it all; it is a terrific piece. Here are just a few examples:

Obama’s stimulus included over $8.5 billion in grants for wind farms that flowed overseas, despite Congressional criticism from both sides of the aisle. In total, over half of the money went to either foreign developers or foreign wind turbine manufacturers, creating thousands of jobs overseas with money that was supposed to create jobs within the United States. …
As Obama was doling out over $2.3 billion in clean energy manufacturing tax credits that were supposed to create jobs in America, $880 million went to foreign firms. …

Swiss-Based Landis+Gyr received over $50 million in stimulus contracts for their Smart Grid Meters. Cathy Zoi, a former Obama Energy Department official, held over $250,000 worth of stock in the company as they profited from her department’s policies. Zoi had previously served as an Executive Director at Landis+Gyr before joining the Obama administration.

And to think that Mitt Romney once had an account in a Swiss bank!

Sempra received a $337 million loan guarantee for an Arizona solar plant. The solar panels will be supplied by SunTech, a Chinese solar panel manufacturer.

The litany goes on and on. One wonders: can the Obama administration possibly be this incompetent, or is it all part of a diabolically clever plan to ruin the U.S. economy?

There is, of course, a basic difference between an American company that chooses to build a factory or otherwise hire employees overseas, and the Obama administration’s scandalous “stimulus” boondoggles. The company is investing its own money, and is entitled to invest (and arguably, required to invest) where it can do the most good for its shareholders. The Obama administration was investing taxpayer dollars, and the only proper use of taxpayer dollars is to advance American interests, not the interests of Finnish auto manufacturers or Chinese solar power manufacturers.

I trust that even the know-nothings who staff the Obama administration can grasp this elementary distinction.

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