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Lou Dobbs on Outsourcing

Reported by Eleanor - August 21, 2004 -

On NOW (Aug. 20, 9:00 p.m.) Bill Moyers presented a segment with Lou Dobbs on the outsourcing of jobs. As usual, Moyers asked questions that explore points on the other side of the issue. This is a summary. The quotes are not comprehensive of everything that was said, but most of it is here.

Moyers: Is your new book, Sound Money: "Straight Story," a political manifesto about the power of big business?
Dobbs: Big business is indifferent to the national interest. There is an absence of a countervailing influence.
Moyers: It's more than big business. State governments, hospitals....everyone is looking for cheaper labor.
Dobbs: Corporations are killing American jobs. It's dangerous.
Moyers: Services are now part of an advanced economy. They go where the service can be had cheaper.
Dobbs: The middle class is competing with poverty wages when our wages are $15-$20 an hour. Poor political and social judgment is destroying the middle class.
Moyers: What about comparative advantage?
Dobbs: This economic theory did not suggest that the middle class should compete with a third world labor force that is much cheaper than ours. It's political judgment.
Moyers: What about the argument that government is driving jobs overseas through regulation?
Dobbs: Regulation, taxes and benefits are 22% of the cost of doing business. That pays the cost of a better life. We're turning back the clock just to get cheaper labor.
Moyers: If skills are obsolete, a worker is left behind.
Dobbs: Skills are not related to outsourcing. It's not that Americans are incapable. Off-shore labor can be had for cents on the dollar. That is not a living wage for Americans. In the 1980's corporate America was about empowerment and innovation. Now we have an adversarial relationship. Corporations are responsible for their investors, customers, communities AND their employees.
Moyers: Are you being a traitor to your class?
Dobbs: It's ignorance. We need to bring back integrity.
Moyers: You're said to be on an anti-trade tirade, seeing outsourcing as akin to a terrorist attack.
Dobbs: That's silly. The middle class can't compete against the world. They deserve more representation in Washington. Corporations deserve less representation in Washington. Corporate money has maximum influence in lobbying and the direction of the economy with plants and production jobs leaving.
Moyers: This is a political decision?
Dobbs: Corporations spend money lobbying. Labor is weakened. We need to find a countervailing influence. Academia has quit. They embrace the dollars.
Moyers: What about corporate campaign donors?
Dobbs: This campaign is loaded with corporate money. Of, by and for the people is not represented. 20th century democracy is overwhelmed with corporate power and propaganda against democracy. Corporations control the national media. Corporate America is protected in Washington, and they own the media, the means of propaganda.
Moyers: Do the republican or democratic platforms protect jobs?
Dobbs: There is no difference. The democrats passed NAFTA. Kerry can' t have it both ways. The country is about the people who live in it, not about corporations. It's not about efficiency, productivity or working cheaper. It's about people.