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Outsourcing is a problem: Hillary Clinton

By Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington
June 29, 2007 19:36 IST
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Top Democratic Presidential contenders, including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, are of the view that outsourcing was an issue for Americans and favoured measures to retain jobs, including ending tax breaks for outsourcing.

Outsourcing was one of the questions put to party contenders for the Presidential ticket in 2008 at a debate at Howard University in Washington.

"A lot of Americans are concerned with outsourcing of US jobs. Most corporations, I think it's fair to say, don't share that concern. In fact, they argue that we're living in a global economy and Americans have to compete in that environment. Which side are you on? And if you agree that outsourcing is a problem, what's your solution?" was the question put to candidates.

Terming outsourcing a "problem", New York Senator Hillary Clinton said tax breaks for "outsourcing" jobs have to be ended.

"Outsourcing is a problem. We have to do several things: End the tax breaks that still exist in the tax code for outsourcing jobs; have trade agreements with enforceable labour and environmental standards; help Americans compete, which is something we haven't taken seriously, which goes back to the very first question about education and skills," she said.

"Let's not forget that 65 per cent of kids in an age cohort do not go on to college. What are we doing to help them get prepared for the jobs that we could keep here that wouldn't be outsourced? And find a new source of jobs. Clean energy, global warming would create millions of new jobs for Americans," Senator Clinton added.

Senator Obama from Illinois, who recently ran into rough weather with Indian Americans over a document paper prepared by his staffers, called for not only having to come to terms with trade agreements but also ending tax breaks for companies moving overseas.

"Not only do we have to deal with our trade agreements, not only do we have to eliminate tax breaks for companies that are moving overseas, not only do we have to work on our education system, but we also have to have an intentional make sure that we are reinvesting in those communities that are being burdened by globalisation and not benefiting from it," he said.

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson emphasised the need to upgrade science and maths education in the US and fair trade agreements.

"Most outsourcing jobs are technical. We need to upgrade our science and math standards in our schools. It's education," he said.

"In addition to that, what we need is trade agreements, fair trade agreements, where we say no slave labour, no child labour...we're going to have environmental protection. We're going to have to deal with wage disparity," Richardson said.

He also favoured a policy of investing in high-growth, health, hi-tech and renewable industries to retain jobs.

Former Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska was the only one who did not consider outsourcing a problem.

"No, outsourcing is not the problem. What the problem is our trade agreements that we have, that benefit the management...the shareholders, and have neglected on either side of the issue, whether it's in Mexico...or the United States. That's the problem that must be addressed. So, no, it's not outsourcing," Gravel said.

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Sridhar Krishnaswami in Washington
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