"American Workers Can't Afford Barack Obama"

Hillary Clinton grabbed some weekend headlines when she waved an Obama campaign mailer that attacked her health care plan and NAFTA record and accused the now-frontrunner of "Karl Rove" tactics.

“Shame on you, Barack Obama,” Mrs. Clinton said at a news conference after a morning rally, holding the fliers and shaking them in the air as she spoke. “It is time you ran a campaign consistent with your messages in public. That’s what I expect from you. Meet me in Ohio. Let’s have a debate about your tactics and your behavior in this campaign.”

If you suspected that the "valedictory" handshake at the Texas debate was a ruse, congratulations! Clinton's taking the high road by attacking Obama for being a scary free trader.

He said the United States benefits from exports! He praised the WTO and NAFTA! And check out this damning Obama quote:

The simple fact is, nations with free-market systems do better. Look around the globe: Those nations which have lowered trade barriers are prospering more than those that have not.

I'm kidding, of course. That wasn't Obama: It was Hillary Clinton in 1997, year 24 of her "35 years of experience making change."

We can expect an avalanche of trade pandering in tomorrow's Ohio debate, but I'm increasingly sympathetic to Obama on this stuff. Clinton can either bask in the glow of her husband's administration or she can reject its unholy works: Claiming she was for all the stuff that Democrats like and against all the stuff that Democrats don't is ridiculous.

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  • Russ 2000||

    35 years of experience making change

    35 years workin' retail?

  • ||

    Well, at least when she loses this presidential race, she can still use New York to puff-up her plumage. Maybe, just maybe, she'll get a job somewhere in the Obama administration and she can leave us alone :)

  • Shannon Love||

    I find this ad rather odd given the fact that Obama is about as big of a protectionist and economic nationalist as you will find at the national level.

    All the excised free trade quotes in the ad attributed to Obama were no doubt in the original statement followed by a pregnant "but" that would conjunct a phrase that places so many qualifiers on "free" trade that it effectively guts the entire idea.

    Perhaps, she seeks to turn Obama relatively specifics free approach against him. With Obama running on charisma and emotion, it might be easy for an opponent to plant false specifics in the minds of voters.

  • crw||

    So....Hillary was for free trade before she was against it.

  • ||

    Those who have been following the race know that Hillary and Obama's positions on Free Trade are pretty close - they both support free trade deals for the GDP boost created by lowering trade barriers, but want worker and environmental protections as part of those deals. (Ohnoes, NOT LIBERTARIAN ENOUGH!!!) Obama has been trying to create some daylight between the two of them where, frankly, it doesn't actually exist. This Hillary barrage isn't an attempt to differentiate herself as less-Free-Tradey, but to dispell his differetiation.

    As far as "protectionist" Obama, there actually were Congresscritters who voted against the Peru deal. Barack Obama voted for it. So, no, he is not even close to "as big a protectionist and economic nationalist as you will find at the national level." He is about 1/16 of a Dobbs.

  • ||

    Yup, between this, the "shame on you" the Muslim outfit picture, etc, she's clearly gone nuclear negative. Her campaign is in its last throes, not Dick Cheney last throes, but real last throes.

  • ||

    It's kind of funny how they both use rhetoric in front of the midwest industrial unions that would make you think they're itching to put tarriffs on everything, but if you look for policy proposals, they both use "eliminate tax-breaks for offshoring" as an applause line, and that's it.

  • ||

    I think Hillary's "Shame on You" event about the mailers was the only clean punch she's landed on him the entire campaign.

    It's not a bad line of attack, but it's too little too late.

  • ||

    Hillary attacking NAFTA?! Ummm....wasn't NAFTA a product of her first copresidential term?

  • ||

    What's sympathetic about Obama's position here? He's attacking the Clintons (both past president and wannabe president) for being pro-NAFTA and pro-free trade, while weaseling out of any direct statement of where he stands on NAFTA and free trade.

    It's a shame to hear Hillary backtracking from that 1997 statement, but everything in their respective careers indicates that her economic policies would be more pro-free trade & less screw-the-evil-corporations than Obama's.

  • ||

    I can't believe she thinks this is effective. Like, "Yes, my husband and I negotiated a failed trade agreement that put all of you out of work, but Obama (who didn't negotiate this agreement that ruined all of your lives) sorta kinda supports free trade, too. So there!"


    How old is she? Lately, she sounds like a 3-year-old, stomping her feet, grasping at straws, and throwing a tantrum!

  • Click \'n\' Learn||

    Those who have been following the race know that Hillary and Obama's positions on Free Trade are pretty close - they both support free trade deals for the GDP boost created by lowering trade barriers, but want worker and environmental protections as part of those deals.

    In other words, they'll both do what those behind the "free" traders (what I like to call the "globalist scum") want, they'll just fluff up the pillows for those affected by the deal. That "FalseOpposition" is neatly summarized here. (Note: both links are Not Safe For Cosmos)

    As for Obama, he's on record as offering the same FalseOpposition to Bush's SPP (spp.gov). Details here.

    When it comes to things like this, it's like ProWrestling, with one fake taking on another.

  • ||

    ...they both use "eliminate tax-breaks for offshoring" as an applause line, and that's it.

    Somebody help out this poor, ignorant voter. What tax breaks are there for "offshoring"?

    If I ship 20 cystomer service rep jobs to India, how much does this reduce my taxes? Since it makes my company more profitable, wouldn't my taxes go up?

    I humbly bessech you all, please tell me what legislation encourages outsourcing by giving tax breaks?

  • ed||

    Poor Hillary. She wants it soooo bad.

  • ||

    bessech = beseech.
    Doh!

  • ||

    J sub,

    For one thing, relocation costs and construction costs in other countries related to relocating to another country can be written off. This tax break was originally created to make it easier for companies to expand their operations and create more jobs in the U.S., before there was a great deal of offshoring going on.

  • ||

    Do we really want all kinds of manufacturing jobs back if we're just going to turn around and send everyone to college anyway?

  • ||

    Kevin Carson said it well, Reinmoose: we may not want to protect the buggy whip makers, but should we really be investing resources to speed up the obsolesence of their jobs?

  • ||

    For one thing, relocation costs and construction costs in other countries related to relocating to another country can be written off. This tax break was originally created to make it easier for companies to expand their operations and create more jobs in the U.S., before there was a great deal of offshoring going on.

    Wow, business expenses are not taxable income. I'm assuming moving the Kmart headqurters to Chicago from Troy, was a write off as well. What's the difference?

  • ||

    Do we really want all kinds of manufacturing jobs back if we're just going to turn around and send everyone to college anyway?

    Manufacturing jobs pollute the environment. We should encourage their offshoring. It's for the children's health.

  • ||

    Kevin Carson said it well, Reinmoose: we may not want to protect the buggy whip makers, but should we really be investing resources to speed up the obsolesence of their jobs?

    So government "investments" in alternative energy technologies are bad? joe, I warmly welcome you to the libertarian movement.

  • ||

    You know what the difference is. Stop playing dumb.

    You also know that modern manufacturing practices produce much less pollution, and are much more likely to be used here than in newly-industrialized countries.

    You must surely be confident in your position to come at the issue in such an open and straightforward manner.

  • ||

    Ok, I was going to post something else, but I do believe J sub D made my point with that last comment.

  • ||

    Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.

    It's sad how widely snarks that aren't even believed by the people making them pass for thought on the internet.

  • ||

    You know, it is possible to both disagree with a position and acknowledge that you are familiar with it.

  • ||

    Nearly any time the government intervenes in the market to speed up development in a certain sector, it indirectly puts the old sector out of work.

  • ||

    Joe, I'd be fine with doing away with the tax breaks for "offshoring" if the US did what practically every other country in the world does. Namely, tax corporations only on their domestic profits.

  • stuartl||

    Obama has been trying to create some daylight between the two of them where, frankly, it doesn't actually exist. This Hillary barrage isn't an attempt to differentiate herself as less-Free-Tradey, but to dispell his differetiation.

    I think this is backwards. Hillary's big strategic mistake was to think Obama was catching up and pulling ahead because of what he said and his policy positions. She missed that he is much more likable (who on her staff would be brave enough to tell her?).

    When she started imitating Obama ("change", Iraq, trade,...), she lost whatever experience/knowledge advantage she had. The closer she was to him, the easier it was to pull the lever for the more likable candidate.

    It is to Obama's advantage for there to be no daylight between them.

  • ||

    Those who have been following the race know that Hillary and Obama's positions on Free Trade are pretty close - they both support free trade deals for the GDP boost created by lowering trade barriers, but want worker and environmental protections as part of those deals.



    No, absolutly not. Here is their position of Free Trade: "I know that without free trade, U.S. standards of living will drop, and I will lose my next election. But I also know that people don't like free trade, because it ties into their fundamental fear of scary foreign people. Therefore, I need to create some token issues to negotiate into free trade agreements that won't really have any effect on free trade, but at the same time will allow me to make anti-free-trade pandering sound bites".

    Both Hillary and Obama will sell out in a second on the issue, and support free trade as they always have. However, in this case, their "corruption" is actually a good thing. Thank god they are corrupt bastards, if they actually lived up to their rhetoric, it would be a disaster for America.

    we may not want to protect the buggy whip makers, but should we really be investing resources to speed up the obsolesence of their jobs?



    What is this "we" stuff? What is good for one trick manufacturing towns in the mid-west isn't good for everyone... so there really isn't a "we" here.

  • ||

    Reinmoose @ 12:58: true enough. I'd say that such interventions could only be justified if there is some important benefit to obtain above and beyond the new jobs. The solar thing, for example - obviously it wouldn't be good for the employment of coal miners to carry out Scientific American's plan to cover the southwest in solar panels, but the environmental and health gains would be enormous.

    Isaac B., there's a lot that could be done about corporate taxes. I like the strategy in Sweden - they don't have corporate taxes, but have higher marginal rates for the upper tax brackets to make up the foregone revenue. It has the advantage of encouraging corporate officers to put more money back into growing and improving the business, rather than taking money out of it.

  • ||

    Very insightful, stuartl. But what's Hillary supposed to do? There honestly isn't that much daylight between those two center-leftists on policy. Where there is, such as Iraq and foreign policy in general, his policies are more popular than hers with, at least, the Democratic primary electorate.

    She's tried, with her universal health care plan, but there isn't that much to work with.

  • ||

    Ask the boys at Lilly and Merck whether there are tax advantages to offshoring.

  • ||

    "This tax break was originally created to make it easier for companies to expand their operations and create more jobs in the U.S., before there was a great deal of offshoring going on."

    Joe, I don't see how this could be correct. Every expense a business makes subtracts from the NET income it is taxed on. This is true whether the expense is fuel, business lunch, or toilet paper. I'm not seeing what is special about expenses related to offshoring.

  • ||

    Or executive power: she clearly believes in a stronger executive than he does. You wanna design the mailer going out to Democratic households trumpeting THAT one?

  • ||

    bigbibslacker,

    I didn't say it was special. I said it exists.

  • ||

    "For one thing, relocation costs and construction costs in other countries related to relocating to another country can be written off. This tax break was originally created to make it easier for companies to expand their operations and create more jobs in the U.S., before there was a great deal of offshoring going on."

    Joe, I will stipulate to being dumb and say that I can't find anything to support this claim, namely, that there are specific tax breaks for the activities you describe. Where can I find it?

  • ||

    The problem comes in how that "important benefit" is defined, and who defines it. Does legislation that would take away business from payday loan businesses count? Does anything that will get us more high-tech jobs count?

    I consider moralism to be something of a terrible excuse for screwing with people's lives (whether it be religious moralism or social moralism). It is not the government's job to seek out ways to compel us to make our or anyone else's lives better by someone else's standards.

  • ||

    "I didn't say it was special. I said it exists."

    Then it's not a "tax break". You write about it previously as if it were a tax break--"This tax break was originally created to make it easier for companies to expand their operations and create more jobs in the U.S., before there was a great deal of offshoring going on." I'm confused.

  • ||

    For one thing, relocation costs and construction costs in other countries related to relocating to another country can be written off.

    So, really, there's no tax break for off-shoring. You can deduct your business expenses regardless of whether they are incurred here or overseas.

    I'd say that such interventions could only be justified if there is some important benefit to obtain above and beyond the new jobs.

    Like no-show jobs for your relatives and big fat campaign contributions?

  • PC||

    "Do we really want all kinds of manufacturing jobs back if we're just going to turn around and send everyone to college anyway?"

    Should we really consider college higher education anymore if any idiot can go? I saw someone write somewhere that baby boomers are the best educated generation alive or something of that sort. That is because they made us all dumber by meddling in education. If we want to help this country we actually need less people going to college, they just gum up the works for more intelligent and hardworking people with their idiocy and are a waste of resources.

  • ||

    Then it's not a "tax break".

    Yes, it is, Jeff S. It's a tax break that corporations can write off their expenses - one that applies to offshoring expenses as well.

    Does it make sense for this tax break to cover relocating out of the country as well? That's a policy question.

    Reinmoose, I think you're misusing the term "moralism." I'm pretty its common usage would include statements like "it is better to have clean air" or "it is better to avoid global warming" or "it is better to have lower unemployment."

    Also, the existence of cases that fall near the line does not demonstrate that the category does not exist.

  • ||

    "Ask the boys at Lilly and Merck whether there are tax advantages to offshoring."

    This is different than the U.S. giving a company a tax break to offshore.

  • ||

    I'd say that such interventions could only be justified if there is some important benefit to obtain above and beyond the new jobs.

    Carrying that back to buggies and autos. would the government have been justified in giving Ford, Chrysler, REO, Nash etc. tax breaks for the important benefits of the automobile over the horse and buggy? Only a luddite like Nader would deny the overwhelming health, and economic advantages of the automobile over the horse and buggy. IOW, when do the wise folk in DC intervene, and what criteria should they use?

  • Ref||

    Jeff S. is right. There is no tax "break". C'mon joe, you can't win 'em all.

  • stuartl||

    But what's Hillary supposed to do? There honestly isn't that much daylight between those two center-leftists on policy. Where there is, such as Iraq and foreign policy in general, his policies are more popular than hers with, at least, the Democratic primary electorate.

    McCain had the same problem with the Republican primary electorate, but was able to undermine his opponents much better and grab independent voters. I don't know if it would have worked, but she could have tried to paint Obama as naive on Iraq and other foreign policy issues. Make subtle "not presidential" jabs early. Her "we will leave in 60 days no matter what" was just stupid. It gave away any advantage of appearing to understand nuance in foreign policy. On trade she could have run on her husband's economic record. Instead of dissing NAFTA, why not sing the praises of the jobs and good times Bill brought us?

    She needed to play up that she was electable by grabbing voters from the middle, not trying to run to the left of Edwards and Obama.

  • ||

    "Yes, it is, Jeff S. It's a tax break that corporations can write off their expenses - one that applies to offshoring expenses as well."

    Joe, maybe I don't understand what you mean here. It is certainly not preferential treatment to for a corporation or any business to be able to deduct expenses from revenue to determine taxable profits, even offshoring expenses.

    It is not a tax break in any common sense of the term, any more than it is a tax break for me to deduct expenses from my revenues to determine taxable profits.

  • Brandybuck||

    But which candidate is more tolerantly cosmopolitan? It doesn't matter what their actual position on free trade is, so long as their platitudes regarding it match the wish-fulfilment fantasies of the Orange Line libertarians.

    Obama will be the most socialist candidate (non-third-party) to make it to the general election, yet I suspect most cosmotarians will be voting for him. Many of them won't even be holding their noses when they pull the lever for him.

  • ||

    Joe,

    You could have brought up the repatriation of profits issue to get to a policy level discussion of the economics of offshoring.

  • matt||

    joe: "it is better to have clean air" or "it is better to avoid global warming" or "it is better to have lower unemployment."

    Better than what?

    I can say "it is better to avoid rampant inflation," and you would probably agree, but that would be in conflict with your last statement above.

    These things are nuanced, and presenting them as switches to be turned on and off is disingenuous.

  • ||

    I think everyone is clear on the issue contained in the phrase "tax breaks for offshoring" - the use of the expensing of business costs when those costs are the price of relocating jobs to another country - and there is nothing to be gained from arguing over the semiotics of the term "tax break."

  • ||

    Joe: "As far as "protectionist" Obama, there actually were Congresscritters who voted against the Peru deal. Barack Obama voted for it. So, no, he is not even close to "as big a protectionist and economic nationalist as you will find at the national level." He is about 1/16 of a Dobbs."

    Do you have a link to his vote on the Peru Free Trade Act, I looked it up on the Library of Congress, and it said that neither he nor Clinton showed up for the vote. Can you clarify?

  • ||

    matt,

    Since I was referring only to the benefits, no, it is not disingenuous to talk about them as benefits.

    If it costs a billion dollars a year to improve air quality, that improved air quality is a benefit, regardless of whether it is worth a certain cost or not.

  • ||

    NC Voter,

    No, I cannot. I don't have the miniutae of committee votes and procedural votes in front of me.

    I've seen him discuss voting for it during the debates, even defending his vote. I have no idea what SR numbers those votes were, or other details of the course it took to passage.

  • matt||

    joe,

    Benefits and costs don't exist in a vacuum, though. You can't separate the two because at some point, the marginal benefits will be grossly outweighed by the costs.

    10% less pollutants in the air would be better. But what do we have to give up to get there? If it's 50% of GDP, the resulting situation wouldn't be better. You can't consider one without the other.

  • ||

    thanks Joe,
    I researched this vote at length yesterday and found that neither one of them showed up for the vote. I can't even remember the link, it was like searching for a needle in a haystack. But thier votes would not have made a difference, it passed by a huge margin. Just letting you know.

    "Knowledge is power"-School House Rock (hee-Hee)

  • ||

    stuartl,

    What you're saying makes sense, and Hillary actually tried that early on, but Iraq is so toxic in the Democratic primary that showing greater maturity or nuance by being the more hawkish candidate is a huge loser.

  • ||

    matt,

    I agree, and of course any discussion of such a policy needs to consider costs and benefits. I didn't mean to suggest otherwise.

    My point was just that, when looking at the benefits to justify the cost of some kind of intervention, there need to be benefits beyond just "more jobs in the new industry," since, as someone said earlier, there will also be job losses in the old industry.

  • ||

    Sure it's a "tax break." The government owns 100% of your revenue and earnings. Any rules that let you keep any of it is a tax break!

    By the by, corporates spend very little to move jobs overseas. Typically, they build a new factory and offices, hire mostly locals, and move next to nothing. By taxing a U.S. corporation's world wide profits, it encourages re-incorporation in other countries (not to mention gaming the sysstem), thus leaving the new U.S. sub to pay only on its profits. This "tax gouge" encourages off-shoring of high-paying headquarters management and support jobs that would stay in the U.S. if only a corporation's U.S. profits were taxed.

  • ||

    Has anyone found these quotes in an archive anywhere? I have looked all through the Herald and Review and found nothing, just wondering? I like to go directly to the source. Thanks

  • ||

    a bit off-topic:

    what do people think of this take on deregulation and a high-tax welfare state?

    Namely that they should go together, the high wealth creation of the former used to subsidize the latter, which will in turn lead to a more free-market situation because the people will be receiving tax-subsidized benefits like education/childcare/healthcare/etc and will be less dependent upon holding a particular job, so truly free-market reforms won't be as politically difficult to implement.

    He uses the model of Iceland, and I guess some Nordic/Scandinavian/Northern European countries like Sweden. I'm skeptical that anything like that could work here without being hopelessly corrupted and mired in inefficiency, or that giving the government that much to do is even truly feasible, but I don't know enough about places like Iceland to say for sure.

  • ||

    "Obama will be the most socialist candidate (non-third-party) to make it to the general election, yet I suspect most cosmotarians will be voting for him. Many of them won't even be holding their noses when they pull the lever for him."

    I plan to hold my nose.

  • ||

    there is nothing to be gained from arguing over the semiotics of the term "tax break."

    joe, your surrender on this issue is graciously accepted.

  • ||

    My friend sent me the video this weekend. Here's my IM back:

    [15:28]: she's just lashing out because she's losing really bad right now
    [15:29]: it's because she's an emotional wowan
    [15:29]: woman
    [15:29]: that's why the voters want here finger as far from the button as possible
    [15:29]: I'm dropping sweet typos left and right
    [15:30]: it ruins the elegance of the insensitivity I'm trying to display

  • ||

    shame on you hilary.i'm disturb by your by what you a doing.someone who wanna be president can't do that.so shame on you

  • ||

    What issue?

    Explaining to you what Obama was talking about?

    Dude, Mission Accomplished!

  • ||

    Hmm. Interesting considering all the Hillary Lovers I know ( well I don't know any other than random internet strangers)criticize Obama for being way "too socialist" compared to their lady.

    Or were they mcCain supporters? Is there a difference?

  • ChanceH||

    So I've got a lemonade stand. I spend 5 dollars on lemons, water, sugar and cups. I sell 10 dollars worth of lemonade, and all supplies are exhausted.

    Joe claims that by default, I should be taxed on all 10 dollars of the sale, and the 5 dollar "deduction" for supplies is a "tax break", granted to us by our benevolent masters.

    When you make comments like that, it flushes several weeks of "reasonable liberal guy" cred right down the drain.

  • economist||

    I'll ban the importation of competing goods! I'll raise the minimum wage! I'll give you free healthcare! free education! a pony!

  • economist||

    "I'll be holding my nose".
    And I probably won't be voting. Or I'll write in Ron Paul. And I guess I can always vote for the Libertarian candidate.

  • economist||

    sv,
    I agree completely, except for the part about the welfare state.

  • ||

    "I think everyone is clear on the issue contained in the phrase "tax breaks for offshoring" - the use of the expensing of business costs when those costs are the price of relocating jobs to another country"

    Joe, it's not semiotics (sic). "Tax break" has a generally accepted meaning. What you describe is not within that meaning.

    Further, when Obama rails against tax breaks for offshoring, most people do not think about the expensing of relocation costs to reduce the corporate tax bu

  • ||

    Sorry...

    ...to reduce the corporate tax burden. They think that the corporation has been given a tax preference to offshore jobs, which makes the action doubly bad.

  • ||

    Go Barack !

  • ||

    Jeff S. -

    joe possesses that all too common inability to admit when he's wrong.

  • ||

    Actually, ChanceH, I haven't "argued" anything.

    I explained what he was saying.

  • ||

    Here is a quote by Shannon Love:

    "Perhaps, she seeks to turn Obama relatively specifics free approach against him. With Obama running on charisma and emotion, it might be easy for an opponent to plant false specifics in the minds of voters."

    Equally, with Obama running on charisma and emotion, it might be easy for him to be just unclear enough that it is hard to pin him down on anything. Words, emotions, filling our souls (compliments of Michelle Obama). It's hard to get mad at this guy. In fact, with his running on charisma and emotion, and avoiding specifics, as President (should he be elected) it might still be hard to get mad at him -- or hold him accountable for broken promises. He can say, what promises? And we'll look back at the campaign and find it hard to put our finger on just what we think he said that he may or may not have said that he didn't do.

  • ||

    What a strange little chat room this article has produced. Who are you people? Anyone actually from OH? Anyone actually seen these OH cities, their aging schools, crumbling infrastructure? We don't have to care about our fellow Americans? Take it somewhere else, or go write another check for Ron Paul and celebrate your irrelevence and callous self serving arrogance.

  • ||


    Anyone actually from OH? Anyone actually seen these OH cities, their aging schools, crumbling infrastructure? We don't have to care about our fellow Americans?


    Let them fix a bed of their own making. It is neither callous nor self-serving for us to demand they exercise responsibility for themselves. If they want charity, let them make a case for being deserving of it. It is, on the other hand, extremely selfish and greedy for you or them to demand, at the point of a tax collector's gun, we bail them out. Do not assume that because I don't want to be forcibly enrolled in your grand scheme that my heart is uncaring, my mind weak, my habits contemptible. I reserve the right to join your collective effort, just as I will never force you to join mine. I will not presume you are less of a person if you refuse to join my cause.

    Thanks to Don Boudreaux.

  • ||

    Am I the only person who can see the trap that Republicans are setting in the US? They have raped us repeatedly over the past 8 years, and now they want the chance to do it some more. THEY are the ones who are supporting Obama because THEY know he could never win the presidency, even if Dubbya could run again. THEY know that Hillary is the real threat to the White House, so THEY are doing their level best, behind the scene skullduggery to get the Democratic nomination for Obama. This country would not put that man in office, and I don''t care how many fanatics out there disagree with me. I''m not saying it''s right, but I''m saying it''s so. Want to know where all the Obama support is coming from???? Look to the Grand Old Party. And the worst part is, their scam is working. We are such a gullible country.

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