By Stacy Drake
Living in California and having to endure the non-stop political ads of the season, one cannot help but notice that Barbara Boxer seems to be putting all of her political eggs into one basket. Her entire campaign seems to be composed of talking about Carly Fiorina’s former job as the CEO of Hewlett-Packard and the subsequent outsourcing of jobs that happened during that time.
In the last few days, there have been a couple of articles coming to Fiorina’s defense on the matter. When given the facts, Californians would be making a big mistake to buy into this campaign spin from Boxer. Craig Bartlett and James P. Moore JR. published a piece in the Wall Street Journal titled, “Outsourcing and the 21st-Century Economy.” They wrote:
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D., Calif.) has slammed her opponent, Carly Fiorina, for outsourcing jobs when she served as CEO of Hewlett-Packard. Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland has attacked his Republican opponent, John Kasich, for serving on the board of a company that outsources. And other politicians from Pennsylvania to Oregon have tried to use the issue to stir up voter dissatisfaction with the economy.
Companies outsource for two reasons. The first centers on the nature of the global economy. In today’s world, outsourcing can save companies money, reduce the time it takes to deliver products and services to customers, and provide access to skilled employees unavailable in the U.S. Outsourcing also allows companies to capitalize on incentives offered by foreign governments to attract investment. Outsourcing is here to stay for companies hoping to remain internationally competitive.
The second reason U.S. companies outsource is that our own government pursues policies that drive investment and job creation offshore: excessive taxes, needless regulations, lengthy permit processes, a decreasing supply of U.S. citizens with technical and engineering degrees, and a general governmental misunderstanding of how to support private-sector jobs. For example, taxing new U.S. corporate investment at 35%—when the world average is just over 18%—pushes U.S. companies to invest offshore to increase return to shareholders.
Politicians who accuse the business community of being solely responsible for the loss of U.S. jobs are disingenuous at best. They need to look at their own contributions to U.S. joblessness—and recognize the competitive nature of the 21st-century world economy.
Stating the obvious here… Carly Fiorina made the decisions she made as the CEO of Hewlett-Packard and not as an elected official. It was her job to make the best decisions for her company, given the business climate at the time and considering all of the conditions created by government intervention.
Speaking of which, Investor’s Business Daily wrote another piece called, “Golden State ‘Outsourced’ By Boxer.” In in, they describe Boxer’s role in promoting policies that have actually created the current economic climate our country finds itself in today. The editorial says:
Sen. Barbara Boxer thinks she’s struck election gold in California by charging her rival, ex-CEO Carly Fiorina, with outsourcing. The real story is how Boxer has chased millions of jobs out of state with her politics.
Last Wednesday’s radio debate between California’s two senatorial candidates repeatedly circled the issue of jobs in a state with 12.4% unemployment, second highest in the nation.
Incumbent Boxer’s trump card was that her opponent, while chief of Hewlett-Packard from 1999 to 2006, outsourced jobs. “She laid off 30,000 workers, shipped jobs overseas and says she’s proud of her record — well, that’s her record,” said Boxer.
Problem is, Boxer is a far bigger outsourcer. The unemployment rate in her state is 25% higher than the national average of 9.4%, and the number of jobless Californians is 66% higher than when she took office 17 years ago. Her 90% liberal voting record based on National Journal data has much to do with it. Some of her biggest job-killing votes include:
• The $787 billion stimulus package. Advertised in 2009 as necessary to “create or save” jobs and cap the national jobless rate at 8%, California unemployment soared to 12.4% by 2010 from 7.8% in 2008, as California posted its biggest job losses since 1940. That’s a million jobs lost in this recession, according to the University of the Pacific, even as states like Texas with free-market policies gain jobs and draw investment. It’s outsourcing on a grand scale.
• The corporate tax. Boxer claimed in Wednesday’s debate that she wants to “incentivize” U.S. companies not to ship jobs overseas. Maybe she was referring to her yes vote on S. 3816, which ends the tax deferral for multinational firms. The idea was to hike taxes on companies’ overseas operations so they would hire more here. Instead, we’ve “incentivized” companies to move headquarters and jobs to low-tax countries. Even the Democrat-led Senate knew it was a job killer. Boxer didn’t.
• Free trade. In the debate, Boxer patronizingly said Mexico was important to California because it was a top trading partner. No kidding. California’s economy is steeped in foreign trade, accounting for 11.4% of U.S. exports, which underperforms its 14% slice of the economy.
• Radical environmentalism. Boxer says her top priority is cap-and-trade legislation, an energy tax that would saddle California’s businesses with high costs based on questionable science. California will pay for this in thousands of lost jobs and billions of dollars of investment that will move to friendlier states and countries.
Boxer also opposes offshore drilling on environmental grounds — and the jobs it would create. Fiorina “stands with Big Oil; she doesn’t stand with the people of California,” Boxer declared, not getting that Big Oil and its suppliers could provide 70,000 new and well-paid jobs for her state if it could drill from the vast 10.5 billion barrels of oil reserves sitting idle off California’s coast.
Worst of all, Boxer has declined to waive the Endangered Species Act against California’s own breadbasket, the Central Valley. She approved a waiver for a similar case in New Mexico, but denied it to California. Fiorina condemned Boxer’s callous indifference, pointing out that “a nameless, faceless bureaucrat decided the smelt was endangered” and 90,000 jobs were lost.
As water was cut to the southwest Central Valley in 2007, unemployment rates rose above 16% in Fresno and as high as 40% in Mendota; agricultural operations fled to Mexico. Mendota’s jobless farmworkers were reduced to accepting charity food from China — outsourcing that came because of Boxer’s vote.
With a record like hers, is it any wonder that Boxer’s hometown newspaper refused to endorse her?
The senator’s long, inept and counterproductive record in politics has left California poorer, less competitive and less employed than ever. If anyone should avoid throwing around charges like outsourcing, it’s Barbara Boxer.
Also of interest, during a press conference on October 1st, Carly Fiorina called on Boxer to return donations given to her by contributors who sent jobs overseas. From the Fiorina campaign website:
During a press conference this afternoon, U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina today called on Barbara Boxer to return the tens of thousands of dollars in donations she has received from campaign contributors that, like Hewlett Packard, have been forced to send jobs overseas because of the policies she has championed during her 28 years in Washington.
“It is hypocritical for Barbara Boxer to put up attack ads on me about outsourcing when she has taken tens of thousands of dollars in donations from campaign contributors that have outsourced for years.
“Barbara Boxer can’t have it both ways. If she thinks outsourcing is an evil, then she ought to give the campaign money back.”
I think if Barbara Boxer honestly cared about outsourcing, not only would she return those donations, but she wouldn’t support legislation that has helped contribute the loss of jobs in California. Beating the public over the head with relentless campaign ads that only talk about one decision Fiorina made as a CEO, in the best interest of her company, is designed to distract voters from the issues that actually affect them. Seventeen years is long enough to see that Boxer doesn’t understand what it takes to create jobs for Californians, much less keep the one’s that we already have.
You can check out Carly Fiorina’s page over at Organize4Palin here