The Barnards say keeping their heads above water has been a struggle. Shirley told us about her frustrations, saying, "You've done something for 20 years, got up, went to work every day, and then all of a sudden you don't have any place to go and nobody needs you anymore."
Bill Portelli, who runs the California-based company Collabnet, says outsourcing has helped him keep his company alive in the United States. He has hired programmers in India who are paid less than half what he would have to pay American programmers. "It doesn't cheat Americans out of jobs. If I hadn't hired the people in India, I would have had to lay people off," he said.
He didn't end up laying any Americans off as a result of outsourcing, because outsourcing saved Collabnet so much money the company was able to expand in America. "Basically I've created jobs in America. I built better products, created jobs, been able to raise salaries," Portelli said.
A Dartmouth study found that outsourcers actually create jobs in America at a faster rate than companies that don't outsource. The same study found that companies that outsourced abroad ended up hiring twice as many workers at home.
Allowing outsourcing creates opportunity. It's easy to see the pain of the workers who are laid off; it's harder to see the benefits of free trade, because those benefits aren't news.
It's true that in the last four years, America has lost more than 1 million jobs, but those were years when we had a recession. Look at the big picture. Since 1992, America has lost 361 million jobs, but during that same time we also gained 380 million jobs. Millions more than we lost.
That should be hopeful for people like Shirley and Ronnie Barnard. While it's true that they had to dig into savings and still worry about their long-term security, last year Shirley Barnard eventually found a new job as a secretary. The new position pays more than her old job at Levi's, and the Levi's work was harder -- hot, noisy and physically difficult. She says that her new job is much easier.
Her husband and some other former co-workers are still looking for work, but she told us some of her former Levi's colleagues are now working in better jobs than they had before. "Some of them have got, really got excellent jobs that they would never have even left Levi's for if the plant hadn't closed," she said.
And what happened to that Levi's plant? It's now being converted to a college. There will be new jobs for faculty and administrative staff, and right now there are construction jobs for workers building the new campus. This won't be talked about on the evening news, but these jobs are a product of outsourcing too.
Still, people like Lou Dobbs talk about the outsourcing crisis. However, in reality outsourcing is not a crisis. The crisis will only come if we try to stop it.
Sadly, it's also a myth that the people who fight for public schools always send their own kids to those public schools. You'd think they would. They're so passionate about the public schools. But, no.
This is one of those do as I say, not as I do things. Politicans who promote public schools don't always send their kids to them.