Campaigns/Elections

Barack on Outsourcing, Love

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While (some) Republican candidates are busy demagoguing immigration, (some of) their Democratic opponents, the New York Times reports, are demagoguing free trade and outsourcing—or, as the Times puts it, many candidates "are increasingly moving toward a full-throated populist critique of the current economy." Take it away, Barack:

While campaigning in Iowa last week, Senator Barack Obama, Democrat of Illinois, suggested that even those who followed the standard advice for coping with a globalized economy—get more education for higher-skilled jobs—were losing out.

"People were told, you've got to be trained for high-tech jobs," Mr. Obama said, "and then it turned out that some of those high-tech jobs were being outsourced. And people were told, now you need to train for service jobs. And then it turned out the call centers were moving overseas."

No more high-tech jobs in America, eh? No low-skill jobs either? Are there any jobs left, besides those in the $32 million Obama campaign? Is this why otherwise upstanding citizens in Washington, DC have taken to robbing backyard barbeques of Chateau Malescot St-Exupery?

This was, of course, the "populist" line taken by the Democratic candidates in the 2004. As economist Dan Drezner wrote in Foreign Affairs, "the alleged migration of jobs overseas" was the "chosen scapegoat" of Sen. Kerry:

Should Americans be concerned about the economic effects of outsourcing? Not particularly. Most of the numbers thrown around are vague, overhyped estimates… The creation of new jobs overseas will eventually lead to more jobs and higher incomes in the United States. Because the economy—and especially job growth—is sluggish at the moment, commentators are attempting to draw a connection between offshore outsourcing and high unemployment. But believing that offshore outsourcing causes unemployment is the economic equivalent of believing that the sun revolves around the earth: intuitively compelling but clearly wrong.

Obama also called for a permanent reinstitution of the assault weapon ban, channeling the philosophesof the Black Eyed Peas: "There's a reason they go out and shoot each other, because they don't love themselves."

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