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So the attacks has fallen apart for the moment. But it won’t stop. The outsourcing meme is a giant, rotten red herring thrown in the middle of the floor to distract from the fact that the economy is currently bursting into flames. Stocks may be as much as 50 percent overvalued. Foreclosure rates in California are rising again. Cities are going bankrupt. And we’re talking about whether a private company Mitt Romney once ran fixed companies by hiring cheaper labor overseas.
While Romney’s campaign did a decent job fighting back against the outsourcing smear, Romney lost an opportunity to turn the entire issue back on Obama. Instead of fleeing from charges of outsourcing, Romney should have said that it is Obama’s policies that are creating incentives for businesses to outsource – they’re driving profit margins down and costs up. If Obama’s truly against outsourcing, he ought to resign now and save companies the trouble of shipping jobs to China.
Romney blew an opportunity for a teachable moment. He should have explained that Democrats don’t like outsourcing – but they do like regulation. That means that in order to prevent outsourcing, they have to regulate businesses so that they can’t go abroad. Which means that fewer people will start businesses in the United States.
Conversely, Democrats could try to impose tariffs on foreign imports, since those countries don’t have the same regulatory restrictions on their product creation and manufacture. This would jack up product prices in the United States. Which means people would have less money to buy products. Which means that businesses would go bankrupt.
Outsourcing is not a moral ill. It is a symptom of a business climate gone bad. Texas is not particularly worried about outsourcing. California is. Only a growing economy keeps jobs at home.
Romney could have said all of this. Instead, he chose to argue on Obama’s turf, and concede the notion that outsourcing is an actual ethical problem for private business. In doing so, he undercut the notion that he is an articulate advocate for the American businessman. If he keeps playing defense, he’ll lose.
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