On the eve of the Supreme Court decision on health care — hours before the news cycle gets a major jolt — Team Obama offered something of a closing argument on a round of attacks against Mitt Romney as an “outsourcing pioneer.”
In a memo to reporters, Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt argues that, any way you slice it, companies Romney’s Bain Capital invested in and profited from were not benefiting American workers.
“What public documents and published accounts demonstrate is that Mitt Romney’s companies were pioneers in shipping American jobs overseas and profited from low wage foreign production facilities,” LaBolt concludes.
“These aren’t just idle questions about Mitt Romney’s past. Outsourcing not only costs Americans their jobs, but places downward pressure on wages,” he says. “Mitt Romney, drawing on the lessons and values he took from his experience as a corporate buyout specialist, has presented a tax plan that would provide additional incentives for American companies to ship jobs overseas.”
To be sure, the memo does not examine net jobs created or lost during Romney’s Bain tenure. There’s no mention of Staples or Sports Authority, some of Bain’s success stories. LaBolt simply notes that Bain-backed companies created jobs overseas, suggesting that fact alone is a big taboo.
Democrats do not “differentiate between domestic outsourcing versus offshoring nor versus work done overseas to support U.S. exports,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said last week. “Mitt Romney spent 25 years in the real world economy, so he understands why jobs come and they go. As president, he will implement policies that make it easier and more attractive for companies to create jobs here at home.”
Republicans also note that President Obama has, in the past, praised the creation of foreign jobs by U.S. companies and conceded that repatriating outsourced jobs might not be entirely beneficial to the U.S. economy.
“We shouldn’t be resorting to protectionist measures; we shouldn’t be thinking that it’s just a one-way street,” Obama said during a 2010 visit to India when he credited increased trade between the two countries with creating jobs. “I want both the citizens of the U.S. and India to understand the ties between the two countries.”
As for occasions when some U.S. companies have outsourced work, Obama said during a town hall meeting at the White House in 2009 that “not all of these jobs are going to come back – and it probably wouldn’t be good for our economy for a bunch of these jobs to come back because, frankly, there’s no way that people could be getting paid a living wage on some of these jobs, at least in order to be competitive in an international setting.”