Message received: Taking action on American job loss

US workers are angry about the job loss to cheap labor locations. American companies are to blame but we can take action to stop it. Caution: Long post.
Written by Ken Hess, Contributor

I've received dozens of personal emails from you readers since my posting of "The current state of technical certification and IT jobs in America" a few days ago. I've heard your voices and it's time to respond. The two most powerful things Americans possess are our votes and our voices. Let's use them to change what's happening. Let's be part of the fix for this problem. Unfortunately, some of our elected officials do not share our offshoring angst. Part of what we need to do is convince them to see our side of things or vote them out of office. It's time to take action against those who give away our jobs, destroy our economy, and those who enable them to do so.

To illustrate how ineffective simple letters and even simpler hope can be in trusting our politicians, there were two bills introduced in 2010 to stop offshoring our jobs, one in the Senate-S. 3816 (Creating American Jobs and Ending Offshoring Act) and one in The House-H.R. 5622 (Stop Outsourcing and Create American Jobs Act of 2010). Both failed. Oddly, the Republicans unanimously voted against the bills, while the Democrats voted for both.

It's disappointing that our own Senators and Congressmen would vote down a bill that would offer protection for US workers and remove the tax incentives that we absurdly give to American companies that layoff Americans and send jobs offshore. In my mind, it's a type of mild treason, if there is such a thing.

I'll allow you to read the Wikipedia and Merriam-Webster versions of the definitions of treason for yourselves.

Especially interesting to note is a line excerpted from the Wikipedia Treason entry: Oran's Dictionary of the Law (1983) defines treason as "...[a]...citizen's actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the [parent nation]."

Note the phrase, "...or seriously injure the [parent nation]."

By that definition, it is treasonous to injure your parent nation. And what, praytell, has a greater injurious effect on a nation than destroying its workforce? 

Of course, there are those who believe that offshoring is good for America. ABC's John Stossel is one of those who believes it. Admittedly there's not much that I've ever agreed with Stossel about but this really takes my imagination to its limits with him. He states in this video excerpt that America has indeed lost 361 million jobs since 1992 but has gained a whopping 380 million in that same time period.

My question is what kind of jobs have replaced the lost ones? Lower wage jobs? Yes. I challenged my former Congressman, John Sullivan, on this issue. He claimed to have created new jobs in Oklahoma but the jobs he referred to were all low wage jobs. Of course, that's what they call "political spin."

Lou Dobbs interviews Atul Vashistha, CEO of NEOIT, an offshoring company and Vashistha admits that "there's a problem" when you look at the "short term" of offshoring. Lou asks him some tough questions. The bottom line is that Mr. Vashistha is making money from doing his dirty deed and can justify it. 

Vashistha also states that software programmers and engineers need to be retrained. Laughable that. As Lou Dobbs asks him, "Retrained for what?" 

Additionally, you'll hear that the "Asian market is booming" and "The Asian market is the next big thing." But it's false. We are creating that false Asian market boom by sending middle class jobs there. It shocks me that people don't get it. You're building their middle class and destroying ours.

When it comes down to the most empirical view of offshoring, you have to realize that there's almost no job that can't be offshored. But only when it affects the "1 percent" will anyone begin to do anything about it. And then it will be too late to recover.

My view is that if you own an American company and your only bargaining chip is price, then you don't really deserve or need to be in business. Price is not a good equalizer. From the previous discussion above, Atul Vashistha says that offshoring helps companies compete. And he talks about "globalization." Globalization is a buzzterm that means Americans lose jobs to cheap labor markets. Globalization is greed-centered business. What do we get in return? We get cheap labor, right? Wrong. The labor isn't cheaper when you factor in lack of quality, time delays, poor workmanship, low-end technology, faulty infrastructure, the time zone coordination problems, worker turnover rates, and I could go on and on.

The funny thing is that offshoring has pretty much the same effect as destroying rain forest. The slash and burn deforestation in South America to create new farmland doesn't really work. The land doesn't produce well, which leads to more slash and burn destruction and so on. Offshoring doesn't produce the desired results that CXOS think it will of rebounding a company or raising stock prices. It doesn't have that effect. In effect, it drives down the prices that these companies charge their customers, decreasing profits, lowering stock prices, which leads to more offshoring that doesn't produce the desired effect. It's sad. Very sad. And the big losers are the American workers.

The other issue is that many proponents say that the US wants cheap goods but the goods aren't any cheaper. Even low-end designer clothes are still very high priced and they don't last like they should. What we (The US) has done is commoditize our economy. We've commoditized workers. We've commoditized goods.  We've created a disposable society that's based on greed. We've falsely propped up the Asian economy and workers. Right now, Mexico's labor is cheaper than China's. So guess where American businesses are going to move their manufacturing and assembly? If you guessed Mexico, you're a genius. My prediction is that the next buzz you hear will be the sound of the Mexican market explosion. And it will be a surprise to everyone. Except for me, that is.

So, what can we do to stop offshoring if our politicians can't do it and our American companies don't want to do it? There are some things that you can do to show that you feel that destroying our economy is a heinous and treasonous act.

  • Write letters to corporate officials and voice your concerns about offshoring.
  • Write letters to your Congressmen and Senators. Let them know that you want your voice heard on this issue.
  • Bring it local by discussing this issue with your city's politicians and influencers.
  • Spread the word to others in your circle of friends.
  • Consider purchases and note where your products are produced. Write those companies and voice your issues to them.
  • Visit TechsUnite.org. Learn and connect.
  • Buy American and local whenever possible, even if the price is a little higher. You'll appreciate better quality, better customer service, and you'll support working Americans.
  • Support Ruralsourcing and repatriation of jobs.

In essence, I'm asking you to become an activist. You don't have to wear a Guy Fawkes mask, wave a banner, or march in a demonstration parade but you can make a difference. 

I'm asking for you to approach offshore outsourcing with a rebellious spirit. We have to send a message that our tax money needs to benefit those of us who pay it. American companies need to employ Americans. We need legislation to protect American workers, remove the incentives to offshore our jobs, and prevent the destruction of the middle class. If we allow our middle class to be destroyed, we will be like many other countries who have rich and poor. 95 percent of the wealth will be in the hands of five percent of the population and the other 95 percent of the population will live in poverty.

For your enlightenment on this topic, I'm providing the following reference material. To be fair and balanced, I'm giving you links to information on both sides of the equation. All I ask is, if you're convinced that offshore outsourcing is bad, that you take action.

Additional Material:

Anonymous Message to the Unemployed Americans - A video from hacker group Anonymous.

The Challenges to Offshore Outsourcing - A video that looks like a university lecture on offshoring and its challenges. Informative.

Offshore Outsourcing Mindmap (Video only) - A silent video describing often cited reasons for offshore outsourcing.

America Inc. Outsourced to India - A news broadcast covering the economic shift described in my post.

Myth: Outsourcing is Bad for America - The ABC John Stossel report on offshore outsourcing mentioned in the post.

USA Outsourcing Green Jobs to China - News report exposing job creation stimulus corruption.

Outsourcing: The Bad and the Ugly - Indie video (student project?) that exposes some interesting data and visuals.

Offshoring of US Jobs - The Hidden Truth - An indie video that gives you a good overview of the trend, defininitions, and a very practical look at the practice and its pitfalls.

Offshoring Creates More Jobs Interview - Fox News interview with John Stossel.

Business of offshoring and outsourcing - Ohio State University professor interview discusses the current state of the practice.

Offshore Outsourcing: An Endangered Species - An article by yours truly on NearshoreAmericas.com.

Keep America at Work - An activist site. Very informative. Be sure to watch the third video where a recent college graduate speaks out.

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