Wednesday, September 22, 2010

No longer a one-way highway

A statement in today's newspaper stopped me cold this morning. The State of Ohio's governor, whom I don't usually agree with, angered officials from the Indian trade organizations about a ban on outsourcing jobs that have state-funded money. He in effect told them 'too bad'.

I generally believe free trade will work in the long run and lift the lives of those in impoverished countries around the world. The one thing others need to realize as they push for the betterment of conditions is that those conditions will never match those of first-world economies. In some places making five dollars a day is really making it.

But there comes a time when we must take care of ourselves first. In a troubled economy Ohio or any state can't afford to outsource jobs to anywhere. Outsourcing is fine if there are other jobs that can be absorbed by the working/middle/lower classes that pay either equal amounts or better. In this shrinking economy there are few jobs to be absorbed. The other aspect that has to be address is this needs to be a two-way street. If we are outsourcing jobs to India or anywhere else, what is coming back to us in fair market value? Products produced can be an aspect but it is only one possible return. We're giving you jobs when we can least afford it, what are you giving back?

Outsourcing can't just be a one-way highway with outbound lanes. Any company that proposes outsourcing jobs should be required to maintain a job bank for those workers or lose tax breaks or other government sponsored benefits they may have enjoyed in the past. Although I don't believe government should 'punish' companies for behaviors those companies must work for the common good in a time of downturn. In the long run they will be protecting their profits in the future when this slide finally fizzles out.

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