Friday, June 22, 2012

Romney 2012: Creating China

Mitt Romney has talked a big game about how he would put a stop to job outsourcing as president. That’s not unusual talk coming from a presidential candidate, but it is strange coming from the lips of a vulture capitalist private equity mogul who is responsible for so many American jobs lost to China.

Yesterday the Washington Post reported that Romney’s firm, Bain Capital, has owned and invested in companies that specialize in offshoring jobs to low-wage countries like China and India:
During the nearly 15 years that Romney was actively involved in running Bain, a private equity firm that he founded, it owned companies that were pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
And the response from the Romney team? They say the Washington Post incorrectly used the word "outsourcing" when it meant "offshoring." Think Progress reports:
Rather than dispute the substance of the article, the Romney campaign has responded to the Post piece by parsing words, claiming that the story is “fundamentally flawed” for not differentiating between the technical definitions of “outsourcing” and “offshoring.”
Workers at the Sensata Technologies plant in Freeport, Ill. were hoping to get a visit from Romney earlier in the week to ask the candidate to stop shipping their jobs to China. Romney was in the area as part of his “Every Town Counts” bus tour.

As John Nichols of The Nation wrote:
[T]he real story of Romney’s tour is the towns that don’t count with him. Romney did not stop in Freeport, a town that…has been hard hit by trade and fiscal policies that encourage corporations to shutter US factories and ship jobs overseas. Employees of Freeport’s Sensata Technologies plant gathered in front of the factory with handmade signs that read: “Romney! Stop Bain Outsourcing to China.”
Sensata workers tell a familiar story. And it’s a story that will become even more familiar if Romney and his Bain Capitalist buddies have their way.

According to Sensata employee Cheryl Randecker,
This used to be a very high-volume plant and now it’s pretty much a ghost town…and by the end of the year it will be a ghost town.
Cheryl started a petition telling Romney to stop moving their jobs to China. She explains:
I don’t know what I’m going to do if I lose my job. My company used to offer a full year of severance pay, but that was cut to six months. It’s all about money for Bain and Romney, but for us, it’s about how we make a living and feed our families.
What I do know is that I’m not alone. There’s 165 of us getting laid off just in my plant. And millions of other workers who have been laid off—or will be laid off—unless Romney and other businessmen stop shipping jobs overseas just to make a bigger profit.