Candidates aim to tar rivals over the outsourcing of jobs

By Seth McLaughlin-The Washington Times

With unemployment stuck above 9 percent, Democrats have increasingly seized on outsourcing of U.S. jobs as a campaign issue, arguing the GOP’s policies have encouraged companies to shift work overseas.

Republicans say a punitive corporate tax structure and burdensome federal regulations are responsible for both unemployment and outsourcing.

The only problem is that neither side can pinpoint just how much the migration of jobs is responsible for the gloomy economic picture.

“Nobody knows how many jobs have moved overseas,” said Michael Montgomery, an economist with IHS Global Insight. “The reality is, the statistics aren’t kept for the simple reason that it is almost impossible to gather those statistics. You can make estimates of it, but you can’t prove it.”

That uncertainty has left candidates and outside groups free to boil complex economics and labor flows down into a pointed blame game on the campaign trail.

The issue dominated Democrats’ efforts during their short September legislative stint, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid unsuccessfully pushed a bill designed to end tax breaks for U.S. companies that move jobs and manufacturing plants overseas. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed through a bill that would raise tariffs on Chinese imports if the communist nation keeps an artificial lid on its currency.

Before leaving town, Mrs. Pelosi and House Democratic leaders also unveiled a “Make It in America” agenda that she said was aimed at “creating good-paying jobs here and not shipping them overseas.”

Since then, polls have shown increasing voter anxiety over outsourcing of jobs, and China has become a common target for both parties to attack – a trend that is likely to increase after the Commerce Department released numbers on Thursday showing that the trade deficit with the Asian giant had ballooned to $28 billion in August, up from July’s $25.9 billion.

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