Spieckerman Speaks

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

President's Campaign Happily Hitches Itself to the Post


President Obama’s campaign has been trumpeting Tom Hamburger’s June 21 article in The Washington Post, “Romney’s Bain Capital invested in companies that moved jobs overseas.” Since the Obama campaign is now lagging Gov. Romney’s in fundraising, Team Obama is obviously delighted that The Washington Post is working in its behalf, creating ad hominem campaign pieces masquerading as journalism.

Economists on the Left and the Right agree that new and small businesses are the linchpin of American job growth and innovation. The company Gov. Romney conceived and founded, Bain Capital, helped establish and grow hundreds of successful companies – often investing when no one else would.

Though unmentioned in the article, the contrast with President Obama’s record is striking.

Under the Obama Administration, America has had the fewest new business startups in 30 years. A just-released U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey of small businesses reveals that 75% are reluctant to hire due to President Obama’s disastrous policies. His ill-conceived, arrogantly enacted Obamacare, alarming increases in federal spending, debt and regulations and anti-business balderdash are imploding our entrepreneurial economy.

No wonder Axelrod & Co.are, once again, demonstrating that their ’08 campaign mantra, “Hope and Change” has morphed into “Demonization and Diversion.”

The Post article starts by describing the overall trend of American businesses expanding overseas manufacturing during the ‘90s, implying – with absolutely no data – that this strategy impaired the American economy and hurt American workers. The story then tries to lead readers to jump to the conclusion that Bain was somehow largely responsible for this“offshoring” phenomenon. Given that none of the alleged Bain “offshoring offenders” listed were major American companies or employers, this is nonsensical on its face.

The article’s inexcusably feeble factual underpinning is further betrayed by the fact that nowhere does it quantify the number of jobs allegedly “shipped overseas” by Bain portfolio companies – or provide the crucial context of how many jobs those firms added or maintained in the U.S.

In an apparently desperate search for malevolent morsels, the Post piece goes on to convey the startling news that other companies in which Bain invested expanded their operations in Mexico and Asia. Is it remotely possible that this might have been done to better serve customers in those markets? One would never know from reading this article, as no specifics are provided as to the number of jobs involved or how many, if any, were shifted from the U.S. Did these same companies simultaneously expand operations here in America? True to form, the article is silent on this essential empirical element.

The only jobs specifically cited in the article as having been “offshored” by Bain companies (again, we’re never told how many) were in bicycle manufacturing and at call centers. Yep, just the kinds of cutting-edge, high wage jobs on which Americashould base its economic future – bicycle making and telemarketing.

One industry that’s inarguably a pillar of American manufacturing and exports, now and (we hope) in the future, is commercial aviation. Yet, incredibly, the Obama Administration’s labor union-controlled NLRB attempted to force Boeing to shutter a nearly billion-dollar plant in South Carolina which would employ over 5,000 workers – and much of whose output would be exported. Why? Because the unions were apoplectic that South Carolina is a right-to-work state. (The fact that North Carolina is also a right-to-work state didn’t seem to bother Team Obama when it selected Charlotte to host this year’s Democratic Convention, but I digress…).

Meanwhile, President Obama stopped the Keystone Pipeline, which would have created tens-of-thousands of high-paying American jobs. These are non-government jobs that could never be“offshored.”

Yes, apparently this President believes that jobs in bicycle factories and call centers are more important to our economy than jobs making jetliners and enhancing American energy security.

Near the end of the article is its “blockbuster revelation”:

“Just as Romney was ending his tenure at Bain, it reached the culmination of negotiations with Hyundai Electronics Industry of South Korea for the $550 million purchase of its U.S. subsidiary, Chippac, which manufactured, tested and packaged computer chips in Asia. The deal was announced a month after Romney left Bain. Reports filed with the SEC in late 1999 showed that Chippac had plants in South Korea and China and was responsible for marketing and supplying the company’s Asian-made computer chips. An overwhelming majority of Chippac’s customers were U.S. firms, including Intel, IBM and Lucent Technologies.”

So, let me get this straight. After Romney left Baina Korean company bought a U.S.subsidiary that had already been producing its products overseas for some time, for a Who’s Who list of much larger companies that continue to employ tens of thousands of U.S.workers. I’ve read this paragraph a dozen times and I’m still trying to find how this company or this transaction, in any way, led to additional jobs being sent outside the U.S.

Of all the article’s deficiencies, this is, perhaps, its most obvious – and egregious: the piece asserts that Bain, under Mitt Romney, began its “foray into outsourcing” in 1993. It neglects to mention a much more momentous milestone that occurred that same year – the beginning of Bill Clinton’s first term.

Bill Clinton, the President so many Democrats lionize for having led an American economic renaissance, was an unrepentant champion of the very free trade and globalization policies that enabled and encouraged U.S. companies, like the ones in which Bain invested, to expand overseas. NAFTA and numerous other free trade agreements were ratified during the Clinton Administration.

If the “offshoring” this article and Obama attacks was so devastating to American workers, why did President Clinton allow it – indeed, abet it? Where are the Clinton speeches attacking these purportedly pernicious business practices that became rampant during his Presidency?

Clinton’s second term was winding down in 1999, the same year Romney left Bain to rescue the Salt Lake City Olympics. Few would disagree that the American economy was performing dramatically better then than it has under President Obama.

The Romney campaign itself has failed to point out the most salient and under-reported fact regarding Bain Capital’s success: the largest investors in Bain portfolio companies were…employee pension funds. Thus, the profits garnered due to Bain’s stupendous entrepreneurial and investing track record under Mitt Romney contributed mightily to the retirement security of hundreds of thousands of middle income workers, many of them teachers.

Here’s some more real news you didn’t see in this article or anywhere else in the Post: last week, Boeing CEO Jim McNerney, also chairman of the Business Roundtable, told Marketwatchthat U.S.companies face more regulatory barriers to growth than at any time in his long career as a businessman. He said regulatory agencies have crafted a host of new rules and enforced them more aggressively than prior administrations and that regulators often take a hostile approach to business; that the prevailing attitude is our companies“are guilty until proven innocent.”

Asked by a reporter if regulations are any worse now than in decades past, McNerney gave an emphatic yes. “It’s different today. The attitude is different,” he said. “Unless you live it it’s hard to see it.”

Perhaps the Postshould investigate the Obama Administration policies and attitudes that those who actually create American jobs say are so catastrophic to our economy –instead of aiding the Obama campaign’s Romney-demonization strategy with such puerile, transparently manipulative pseudo-journalism.

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