3.27.2004

Planned a number of updates, but this is an article we really need you to read:

Costco's Dilemma: Be Kind To Its Workers, or Wall Street? The Wall Street Journal (3/26)

When it comes to workers, companies can be accused of not paying enough -- or paying too much.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s parsimonious approach to employee compensation has made the world's largest retailer a frequent target of labor unions and even Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, who has accused the Bentonville, Ark., chain of failing to offer its employees affordable health-care coverage.

In contrast, rival Costco Wholesale Corp. often is held up as a retailer that does it right, paying well and offering generous benefits.

But Costco's kind-hearted philosophy toward its 100,000 cashiers, shelf-stockers and other workers is drawing criticism from Wall Street. Some analysts and investors contend that the Issaquah, Wash., warehouse-club operator actually is too good to employees, with Costco shareholders suffering as a result.

"From the perspective of investors, Costco's benefits are overly generous," says Bill Dreher, retailing analyst with Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. "Public companies need to care for shareholders first. Costco runs its business like it is a private company." [ed: emphasis ours]

Read for yourself and please do not shop at Wal-Mart. (sorry for the messed up post; did it quickly and late)

3.25.2004

Show Us the Jobs Tour Blogs How could we forget this?

A Noam Chomsky Blog? Could it possibly be? If you aren't familiar with Chomsky (here's his MIT bio) you should be: easily one of the top 5 intellectuals of the last 100 years.

No, we are not kidding: with his PhD he single-handedly transformed Linguistics and our understanding of how we learn and process language. Here's his Official site for his more political stuff.

Wage insurance: a way to ease outsourcing angst? Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (3/24)
"The political debate over outsourcing has been dominated so far by sweeping generalizations. Free trade is either "good for America," or companies that ship work overseas are run by "Benedict Arnold CEOs."

But at some point, someone has to suggest some real-world solutions."

Okay, our solution is that we vote the CEOs off the island

"Unlike unemployment insurance, wage insurance would take effect only after a laid-off person finds a new job. If the new position pays less than the job he lost, he would get half the difference between his new and old salaries, up to $10,000 annually, for two years. He would also qualify for subsidies on health insurance premiums until he found new work."

No, no: tribal council and we vote them off the island... trust us.

"Besides expanding wage insurance, both Democrats and Republicans have started discussing the possibility of adding white-collar workers to the traditional Trade Adjustment Assistance Act.

That bill provides unemployment benefits and training tuition to manufacturing workers who lose their jobs because of foreign competition, and there has been talk of adding certain service workers like call center employees or engineers to those who qualify.

Senate Democrats also plan to seek additional tax credits for domestic manufacturers who promise to create jobs in the United States."

Well that sounds reasonable, but not as much fun as voting them off at tribal council.

"If wage insurance were universal, who would pay for it?

Litan said if the recent tax cut were repealed just for the top income bracket, it would generate $400 billion in recaptured revenue over 10 years, or eight times as much as the wage insurance plan would require. Others, he noted, have suggested a tax on imports to help pay for the program."

Yes! We'll ask the RICH! They love to just give away money, plus they didn't want that tax break to begin with (especially doing away with the 'Estate tax' that was a total mistake).

"On top of that, he said, a wage subsidy would in effect pay for any retraining a worker might need to learn his or her new job.

But he also knows there is only one way this issue will enter the public consciousness.

"It has to be publicized. If people know it's like unemployment insurance but better, and it's available, it's not going to eliminate your anxiety, but it's at least going to make you feel like the government cares about you."

Everytime we see Bush, Cheney, Ashcroft, Rice or DeLay on TV we know that our government DOESN'T care for us.

Do you want any of this happen? You gotta write and call your representatives in Congress with clear, logical arguments and remind them that you vote... and then you have to do that. And stop voting Republican! Isn't it clear to you that they've been hijacked by folks that only care about restricting your civil liberties and helping the rich?

Vote: because it matters.

Facing the challenges of a global work force: Outsourcing the future? Last of a series Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (3/24)

"The average starting pay for an electrical engineering graduate from Carnegie Mellon University is $56,000. On the other side of the globe, the starting pay for a graduate with the same degree from the Indian Institute of Technology is $10,000.

A decade ago, those two highly educated young people would rarely have competed for the same job. Today, the Internet and cheap telecommunications costs have changed all that."

You call that competition? No wonder the Pirates have sucked for so long if this is what passes for 'competition' in Pittsburgh (and before we get the hate mail, some of us are from Pittsburgh)

[snip]

"The trend is in its early stages, but it's already raising questions for policy leaders about how to make U.S. knowledge and service workers more competitive, and how to help those who lose their jobs make the transition to new careers."

Well, if we had universal, or single-payer, healthcare maybe we could be more competitive.

"Several proposals are now circulating for how to ease the dislocation caused by outsourcing.

One is wage insurance, a government-funded program that would pay a worker a share of the difference between an old job and a new one if the new job's wages are lower. Another idea is subsidizing health insurance to ease the burden during unemployment.

Brandeis University Professor Robert Reich, former secretary of labor in the Clinton Administration, supports both wage insurance and portable health care benefits. He also says that job training needs to be easily accessible and the government needs to provide tax cuts to middle-class people rather than the wealthy. Middle-class families are the ones whose extra spending would best stimulate the economy, he says.

Another idea getting attention from both the Democratic and Republican parties in this election year is expanding the existing Trade Adjustment Assistance Act to cover software and service workers.

The trade adjustment law provides unemployment benefits and tuition aid for manufacturing workers who can prove their jobs were lost because of foreign competition."

Lots more, go check the entire series out for yourself!

3.24.2004

People forget how amazing Howard Stern was before he was syndicated and it became stripper-stripper-stripper, pornstar-pornstar-pornstar, but bits like Bad American Presidents (mp3) should remind you. Pure genius.

No joke, this made us cry today: The Cost of War

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."
     -President Dwight D. Eisenhower, April 16, 1953

View from America: Losing jobs is grim The Statesman
" The eight were part of a cadre of 50 in a large insurance company. Most of the people in the meeting had worked for the company for 20 years or more. Suddenly their work had been outsourced to a domestic firm. That firm had in turn announced that it would be replacing the IT workers - who earned an average of $65,000 a year - with Indian workers who would earn something like a tenth of that. Not only would most of these American workers lose their jobs: they were told that, in coming weeks, they would be required to train the Indian employees who were to replace them."

Ugh! We always hate hearing that. Training your replacement is like digging your own grave. But remember our advice kiddies: if you have to train them, train them badly!

"For while stocks soar and some CEOs earn $100 million a year in pay, the American populace is increasingly worried about the economic future of the US workplace. Chief among their worries is this: Forrester Research predicts at least 3.3 million white collar jobs and $136 billion in wages will shift from the USA to low-cost countries by 2015."

Oh trust us those CEOs will worry... especially once the revolution comes! To arms brothers & sisters! To arm... what??? What do you mean not yet? What do you mean the revolution has to wait until after 'The Apprentice' and the next 'American Idol' are picked?!? You can't worry about the television season if you want to overthrow the system! Fine! The revolution is off!!

[snip]

"The dream of everyone in the USA is that sometime, someday, their children will not have to work with their hands. Office jobs are more desirable – they are cleaner, pay better and have more status – than jobs in manufacture. So as blue collar jobs disappeared, and the nation was promised that white collar jobs would take their place, there was little outcry.

But now the white collar jobs are disappearing too. The USA is in the midst of what is being called a "jobless recovery". For 43 consecutive months, manufacturers have cut the number of workers on their payrolls. The USA is in the longest employment slump since the 1930s, when the nation was mired in the Great Depression.

Now the dream is that our kids win on 'American Idol'

"As Americans confront the evaporation of their dreams, they are beginning to look at where their jobs have gone. What they find, a discovery greatly abetted by the media, is that their jobs have gone, or are going, to India.

It should be made clear that India in this regard is a synecdoche (a term of rhetorical analysis for a part which stands for the whole). The first great offshoring of service jobs occurred when back-office work and call centres went to Northern Ireland over a decade ago. The Northern Irish, like Indians, were available at “low wages”, they spoke English and at the time there were excellent phone hookups to Belfast. Today, excellent telephone links are global and there are many sources of lower-wage workers who speak perfect English. Sometimes English is not even required."

What's to blame for lost jobs? The Socialist Worker (3/26)
"IS YOUR job going to Guangdong or Bangalore--and is George W. Bush to blame? While corporate outsourcing and offshoring of jobs has already become a central question in the 2004 presidential elections, the debate has so far only scratched the surface of the real reasons for the worst job growth since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

An estimated 2.8 million factory jobs have been lost since Bush took office in 2001. While the unemployment rate is officially 5.6 percent, that’s only because long-term joblessness--the worst in 20 years--is so bad that people have either dropped out of the labor market or have never even entered it. Count those people, and the real jobless rate is 7.4 percent."

Yeah, we know it's 'The Socialist Worker' but it's a lot better than FOX News.

"The focus on India, however, is misplaced. According to a study by McKinsey Consulting, of $20 billion in outsourcing revenue from the U.S. in 2002, Ireland accounted for $8.3 billion; India for $7.7 billion; and Canada, $3.7 billion. In fact, Canada also was one of two industrial countries--Spain was the other--to have gained manufacturing jobs between 1995 and 2002, according to a recent study by Alliance Capital Management."

Oh, those bastard Irish! With their melodic U2 and tasty Guiness we knew it, we knew it! what complete wankers! How can we ever listen to the Pogues? Or drink at the 4 P's or The Dubliners or Irish Times again?

[snip]

"Overall, some 22 million factory jobs were eliminated worldwide over this period--an overall loss of 11 percent. Even China saw a 15 percent decline in factory jobs. The reason for much of this job loss is advances in productivity--especially in the U.S.


"With productivity growing at an annual rate of 3 percent to 3.5 percent rather than the expected 2 percent to 2.5 percent, the reason for the jobs shortfall becomes clear," Business Week concluded. "Companies are using information technology to cut costs--and that means that less labor is needed." Given the global gut in industries from airlines to autos to steel--the result of the boom years of the late 1990s--business is reluctant to invest and hire more workers.


If China and India are blamed for U.S. job losses, it’s in part because Washington wants to use the issue to get trade concessions from those countries. And, as with trade tensions in the past, racism plays a role. The supposed threat of two billion-plus Indians and Chinese stealing "American jobs" is seen as more politically effective than, say, blaming Canada."

Oh we blame Canada all right: the bastards! With their melodic Barenaked Ladies and Avril Lavigne! They've seduced us and stolen our jobs! How can we ever listen to Bryan Adams again? Or drink at... uh, drink at... um, um there's no such thing as a Canadian bar is there? That's sad.

Anyways, didn't you people see 'South Park: The Movie'? Bloody Socialists - no sense of humor! We bet you don't even watch 'Chappelle's Show' or Jon Stewart!

To be serious for a second, we recognize that there is a strong racial component to the outsourcing/offshoring conflict but, in our experience, comments are made as a result of the conflict rather than serving as the source of it. Just saying that's all.


[snip]

"INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY is the only way workers can avoid being pitted against one another in trade wars between governments. The international labor opposition to the World Trade Organization and the Free Trade Area of the Americas show the potential for such a strategy."

Oh, we hear Uncle Bill singing the Internationale.

But they do make this point, and we think it is important:


"Rising health care costs--cited by employers as a reason to hold down hiring--can be brought under control with a national health care insurance system."

It really is time for Universal Healthcare, isn't it?

This came up at the end of William Saletan's Great article Fatal in Difference today on Slate.com:

"If the Democratic policies had been pursued over the last two or three years, the kind of tax increases that both Kerry and [Sen. John] Edwards [D-N.C.] have talked about, we would not have had the kind of job growth we've had."
     -- Vice President Cheney, in an MSNBC interview March 2, lending his perspective to the economy's loss of 2.2 million jobs over three years.

Once again showing that Dick Cheney is living in the Bizarro America and has no idea how normal people have to live.

All day, all night, the phone calls come in: Outsourcing the Future? Part Three The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (3/24)
"At the Creator building, hundreds of 24/7 workers file through security checkpoints onto a huge floor of brightly lit cubicles decorated in teal and other pastels. They will spend the night on the telephone behind computer screens, hawking credit cards, providing technical support for computer companies and helping American and European consumers plan their vacations, track package deliveries and sort out ATM card problems.

The other buildings in the International Tech Park Bangalore absorb thousands of additional service workers employed by AOL Member Services, Deutsche Networks Services, General Motors India, IBM Global Services, Infineon Technologies, Tata Consultancy Services and nearly 100 other international companies that are tenants of the complex."

Sounds like jobs we've had (note the tense).

"At 24/7, the workers are predominantly college graduates, yet earn a starting wage of just 10,000 rupees a month, or less than $60 a week.

In the U.S., where call centers are regarded as jobs for college students, single mothers and downsized workers, the medium salary and bonus last year was $13.05 an hour, according to Mercer Human Resources Consulting. That's $520 for a 40-hour week -- nine times the Indian pay.

The tremors from this wage difference are being felt 8,300 miles away in southwestern Pennsylvania, where development officials once chased call centers as a growth industry because of the region's relatively neutral accents and available labor pool."

It's called "the race to the bottom" look it up.

"'There's a lot of concern. We've already experienced the [decline of the] steel industry, the Rust Belt. Unless something is done we're going to see the same situation here with the service industry and the telecom industry. We will be exporting those jobs,' he said. 'It sort of makes you wonder who we're going to sell to.'"

Well we'd buy from you, but... well you know: things kinda suck right now for us and we barely have the scratch for the new Clay Aiken CD. His non-threatening, pedestrian tones make us just forget our troubles. We hear he's working on a version of 'Brother can you spare a dime?' with Jessica Simpson! (Okay, not really but it is a rumor we'd want to start, so pass it on!)

"Once they get on the telephone, the employees, most between 20 and 25 years old, typically drop their Indian names and use others that are less jarring to their American clients. Jaganath, for example, becomes Jack; Manikandan, a typical South Indian name, becomes Manny; Sangeetha turns into Sandra.

Managers say they don't encourage employees to pretend to be someone they are not, but suggest they shorten typically-complicated Indian names that may confuse Western clients."

Sandra? Everyone knows the Pep Boys are Manny, Moe & Jack!

"Because of a backlash from American, British and Australian clients, however, most Indian call centers no longer ask employees to try to imitate Western accents. Fake Southern drawls with an Indian tinge are out."

[snip]

Another goal: teaching Indian employees to say "no" when they have to. The average Indian typically apologizes and gives an indirect answer when presented with a problem, which can create difficulties when an American client demands a yes-or-no answer to a question, said V. Bharathwaj, 24/7's marketing director.

"We're less assertive by nature, more service-oriented. That's a typical cultural difference that we have," he said. "Bridging that is an important challenge."

"See, how could we possibly be taking jobs when we're so clearly docile. Nevermind the nuclear weapons technology we've developed or the near constant state of war we've been at with Pakistan for decades... we're simple, non-assertive folk!"

Looking for a tshirt that makes just the right statement? Well our friends at Old Navy clearly have the outsourced/offshored in mind this spring! (bit of advice: chicks don't dig the unemployed. Trust us)

3.23.2004

German chancellor attacks 'unpatriotic' offshoring The Register (UK) (3/23)
"German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has condemned the growing use of 'offshoring' - outsourcing business services to cheaper, poorer countries.

Schroeder said offshoring reduced things that are necessary and important for Germany to "narrow, micro-economic questions", the Financial Times reports. His comments raise the possiblity of government action to stem the jobs outflow.

German non-wage labour costs are the world's highest, after Norway. Siemens is meeting union officials at the end of the month to find ways to reduce its labour costs and stop jobs moving abroad. Up to 10,000 jobs are at risk, unions say."

Gee, in the US you're unpatriotic if you don't agree with Bush and he likes offshoring.

GM To Cut Costs By Outsourcing White-Collar Work: Company Says Work Will Not Displace American Workers ClickOnDetroit.com (3/23)
"As part of sweeping cost-cutting efforts, General Motors Corp.'s manufacturing arm plans to dramatically increase spending on white-collar work in Canada and overseas, the company said.

The latest spending plan, outlined in an internal company report, represents less than 1 percent of GM's global vehicle operations budget, said company spokesman Dan Flores.

"In 2003, we began offshoring activities moving $3.5 (million) of work to lower-cost locations," the report said, "and we are planning to increase that to $48 (million) in 2004."

Read that again: from $3.5 million in 2003 to $48 million in 2004. WOW

Most of the white-collar work sent out of the country has gone to Canada, and that's likely to be the case again in 2004, Flores said.

GM said the work involves tasks not currently done by American workers and will not displace American workers.

Wait, so it's work that was sent to Canada first, so who was doing it before? Oompah-Lumpahs? Wouldn't that be creepy if GM had Oompah Lumpahs toiling for them? Oompah lumpah, lumpah-dee-do, I've got a little riddle for you...

It hurts if it's your job going abroad: Outsourcing the Future? Part Two The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (3/22)
"Software developer Annette Matvya thought she had found the opportunity of a lifetime when IBM Corp.'s Transarc unit hired her away from Union Switch & Signal.

She loved working for Big Blue. But the dream lasted just four years, until May 2002. That's when IBM cut its Pittsburgh staff by 136 and moved the software development project she managed to India.

The last assignment for some of the laid-off programmers on Matvya's project was to train their replacements, Indians who made several trips here to learn the job. She recalled how awkward the process was: on the day the local employees' layoffs were announced, the Indian workers were in the office."

Ugh, we hear about this over and over: having to train your replacement, but to have them show up the day the layoffs were announced? Wow, someone's boss was a real sadist. That's a special person right there.

And what do we say? Having to train your replacement is like having to dig your own grave (we need to come up with a term for this... if you have a suggestion, send it in!)


Messineo likens himself and his fellow computer professionals to blue-collar mill workers who have seen their jobs fall victim to imported steel, textiles and other goods.

The corporation, in his view, is saying "to heck with the American workers" so it can save money solely to improve the bottom line and do better for its shareholders.

"It leaves us scrambling to try and find work. It's difficult. It's not like we can easily get into an other field or be retrained," said Messineo, a computer science graduate from the University of Pittsburgh. "We all have college degrees, [we're] very intelligent people. This is our thing -- computer work."

[snip]

Matvya, who looked for two years to find a local job that paid something close to what she earned at IBM, worries that young Americans may have to switch careers or settle for lower pay to compete with employees in India, the Philippines or even Russia.

"Maybe it's going to be a one-generation career in the United States," she said. "What about our kids?''

A more optimistic view
But many economists, international business executives and academics are more optimistic. They say the trend can help U.S. businesses lower costs and become more competitive, giving them more money to invest in new jobs in the United States.

Not only will overseas jobs help fill the worker shortage expected as the Baby Boomer generation reaches retirement age, but America can still keep its lead in innovation, new product design and other higher level work that can stay at home, they argue.

"Jobs like economists, international business executives and academics" they note "These are jobs that will never be outsourced so we're safe!"

Sunil Wadhwani, a co-founder and CEO of iGate Corp. in Pittsburgh, which helps companies find ways of moving computer-based functions to India and other offshore locations, estimates that more than 70 percent of the jobs in the U.S. economy are inherently local and cannot be moved.

He cites health care, social services, retailing, and transportation as examples. "None of these jobs is going anywhere,'' he said. "That's got to provide some comfort."

Great Wal-Mart/McJobs for us all!

Next on the job outsourcing list Mlive.com/The Wall Street Journal (3/23)

"Sheryl Matta earns roughly half what she did a few years ago, and every month the job market in her field seems to get worse. She points to a single cause: offshoring.

A medical transcriptionist, Ms. Matta took her latest pay cut in January, when the Rockville, Md., company she had been working for lost a contract to a competitor that outsources work to India, and she was laid off. After scrambling for a month, she found more work transcribing notes that physicians dictate -- but will need to work 15 hours a day at her new employer's 7-cents-a-line pay rate to hit her goal of earning $2,000 a month.

"I can't make a living at this anymore," says Ms. Matta, 54 years old,"

[snip]

The list of jobs being affected by the movement of U.S. work to lower-cost countries around the world is growing. American companies have shipped computer-programming and call-center jobs to educated workers in India, the Philippines, Mexico, Canada and elsewhere for the past decade. Now, workers in a wide range of other fields, from accountants to electrical engineers, are discovering that their jobs aren't immune from offshore outsourcing.

"You've got to look in the rear-view mirror when there's someone else coming on the job scene who can do what you can do for less," says John McCarthy, a Forrester Research Inc. vice president."

[snip]

"Some technical writers in the U.S. already have seen their wages and job opportunities plummet. Michele Davis, 39, a self-employed technical writer in Minneapolis, says she earned $100,000 three years ago -- but only $12,000 in 2003. She knows several technical writers who have been forced to take retail jobs paying about $10 an hour with no benefits."

And there's the rub: No Benefits. We've said it before, and we'll say it again: Welcome to the 19th century! Coming next: child labor (oh, you think we're kidding? Read any interview with Grover Norquist).

Here are some more jobs the article lists...


  • Accountants and tax professionals

  • Architects and drafters

  • Legal and investment research

  • Insurance claims processors


Never thought about architects and drafters before. We can't wait until 'Stock broker' joins that list and a certain segment of New York & New Jersey freak out a bit. Just a thought (or a new business plan? hmmm)

3.22.2004

We aren't huge scholars of the work of Frank Zappa,
but we do know a few things and, apparently, so did he.
Frank died a little over 10 years ago,
but it's sad how much this song still matters:

WHEN THE LIE'S SO BIG - Frank Zappa

They got lies so big
They don't make a noise
They tell 'em so well
Like a secret disease
That makes you go numb

With a big ol' lie
And a flag and a pie
And a mom and a bible
Most folks are just liable
To buy any line
Any place, any time

When the lie's so big
As in Robertson's case,
(That sinister face
Behind all the Jesus hurrah)

Could result in the end
To a worrisome trend
In which every American
Not "born again"
Could be punished in cruel and unusual ways
By this treacherous cretin
Who tells everyone
That he's Jesus' best friend

When the lie's so big
And the fog gets so thick
And the facts disappear
The Republican Trick
Can be played out again
People, please tell me when
We'll be rid of these men!

Just who do they really
Suppose that they are?
And how did they manage to travel as far
As they seem to have come?
Were we really that dumb?

People, wake up
Figure it out
Religious fanatics
Around and about
The Court House, The State House,
The Congress, The White House

Criminal saints
With a "Heavenly Mission" --
A nation enraptured
By pure superstition

When the lie's so big
And the fog gets so thick
And the facts disappear
The Republican Trick
Can be played out again
People, please tell me when
We'll be rid of these men!

Sent in by an angry reader:
US IT CEOs innovate to hire Indians The Economic Times (3/22)
"Worried about making it to the US now that the H1-B visa cap's been reached? Corporate America is batting hard for you."

Uh, no: we're already here and we're really more worried about getting health insurance.

"...most hi-tech companies are looking for ways to tread around the H1-B rather than lobbying for an increase in the quota."

Really? Tell us more.

"One prong is the use of the facility to bring in exceptionally skilled professionals - with advanced degree earned in US colleges - because such people are exempt from the H1-B cap.

In addition, these companies plan to try and persuade the US Congress to allow more of such individuals to be brought in - counting on the availability of people with such skills for their high-end tech jobs.

[snip]

"The logic is simple: there aren't enough scientists and engineers with advanced learning degrees among American citizens; so, there won't be any backlash against bringing people over from countries like India."

You know, if there wasn't such a strong, virulent strain of anti-intellectualism in America we might have more folks with advanced degrees here too.

"Which brings us to the second prong of the weapon: why train scientists and engineers in US universities only to send them home to India so that they can compete against American businesses?

That's the question which will, hi-tech corporations are hoping, force Washington to find ways to keep these human repositories of America-taught knowhow in the country instead of letting them go."

Now we here at Outsourced America have no problem if folks stay and work here and pay taxes, but it has recently come to our attention that H1-B visa holders DON'T pay the same level of taxes everyone else does and that is not right.

"Add to that the far-from-subtle hint that if US companies can't bring much-required overseas talent in, they will ship the jobs to the countries where those talents are.

So, what the H1-B champs are proposing is essentially an extension to the quota exemption that already exists for people working at higher education institutes and R&D agencies in the non-profit or the government sector.

They want this exemption extended to applicants who have picked up master’s degrees or doctorates from US universities. How will that help?

Simple: those among existing H1-B holders who belong to this category will be moved out of the quota, freeing that many slots within the cap. Moreover, companies can always hire more people in the category even after the cap is reached."

What total Bastards. Now do you get why you HAVE to vote?

Debunking the Economist -- again Salon.com (3/22)
Does inequality rise under globalization? You might think this is like asking "Does McDonald's have golden arches?" And you would not be wrong. But there is a part of the scribbling world -- and some economists of whom they scribble -- for which the obvious is never quite good enough. Especially not when powerful doctrines are at stake. And so we find, in wide circulation, the curious (even weird) claim that worldwide economic inequality has been falling thanks to a "new golden age of global capitalism."

Amazing Trade, how elite the sound Salon.com (3/22)
"Now let me testify of the day I accepted outsourcing into my heart. From the moment of my baptism by fire -- or as an unbeliever might say, the shipment of my service job to India (which I trained for after my manufacturing job went first to Mexico and then to China) -- I never questioned the truthfulness of the gospel of free trade."

[snip]

"Today has seen a great miracle. It is the rebirth of a world in which even the youngest and the poorest are lifted up to perform dangerous work at less than a living wage in countries where there is little or no need for unions, health benefits or environmental protections. A world where, if the workers are highly educated and skilled, as in India, they will be welcomed into the fold to cast their pearls before swine at 10 percent of the U.S. wage (or 100 percent more than I am currently earning ) -- until the swine decide it profits them even more to take their traveling Big Tent Business revival meeting to the Philippines or elsewhere.

For the profiteer is not without honor except in his own country and whatever country no longer suits his purposes.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the efficiency of the Board. They are sampling better vintage now that jobs have been offshored.

And those who question the Word of the Board shall be called protectionist, isolationist and xenophobic, and they shall be left behind. For few are called to the corporate rapture but, naturally enough, the raptors."

[snip]

"For it is carved in stone (imported stone, outsourced carvers getting 8 cents an hour) that Deficits Don't Matter. Thus in 1992 George Bush the Elder must merely have been speaking in parables when he said that for every $1 billion in trade, we lose or gain about 18,000 jobs. So what do we care about a trade deficit of $540 billion?

I say unto you, the U.S. dollar will be buried but then it will rise again, and this time it will ascend to the right pockets. And goods will become cheaper (except actually they won't if the dollar continues to lose value) and a weaker dollar makes U.S. exports more globally competitive (except that rising oil prices are undermining this). But at any rate goods will seem cheaper to those who will have disproportionately more dollars to buy them."

[snip]

"Come, let us bravely welcome those Two Horsemen of the Apocalypse -- Cost-cutting Business Practices and Increased Global Competition. (Sorry, they had to downsize the other two horsemen, Regulations and Oversight.)"

Hilarious. Go read for yourself!

Amazing Trade, how elite the sound Salon.com (3/22)
"Now let me testify of the day I accepted outsourcing into my heart. From the moment of my baptism by fire -- or as an unbeliever might say, the shipment of my service job to India (which I trained for after my manufacturing job went first to Mexico and then to China) -- I never questioned the truthfulness of the gospel of free trade."

[snip]

"Today has seen a great miracle. It is the rebirth of a world in which even the youngest and the poorest are lifted up to perform dangerous work at less than a living wage in countries where there is little or no need for unions, health benefits or environmental protections. A world where, if the workers are highly educated and skilled, as in India, they will be welcomed into the fold to cast their pearls before swine at 10 percent of the U.S. wage (or 100 percent more than I am currently earning ) -- until the swine decide it profits them even more to take their traveling Big Tent Business revival meeting to the Philippines or elsewhere.

For the profiteer is not without honor except in his own country and whatever country no longer suits his purposes.

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the efficiency of the Board. They are sampling better vintage now that jobs have been offshored.

And those who question the Word of the Board shall be called protectionist, isolationist and xenophobic, and they shall be left behind. For few are called to the corporate rapture but, naturally enough, the raptors."

[snip]

"For it is carved in stone (imported stone, outsourced carvers getting 8 cents an hour) that Deficits Don't Matter. Thus in 1992 George Bush the Elder must merely have been speaking in parables when he said that for every $1 billion in trade, we lose or gain about 18,000 jobs. So what do we care about a trade deficit of $540 billion?

I say unto you, the U.S. dollar will be buried but then it will rise again, and this time it will ascend to the right pockets. And goods will become cheaper (except actually they won't if the dollar continues to lose value) and a weaker dollar makes U.S. exports more globally competitive (except that rising oil prices are undermining this). But at any rate goods will seem cheaper to those who will have disproportionately more dollars to buy them."

[snip]

"Come, let us bravely welcome those Two Horsemen of the Apocalypse -- Cost-cutting Business Practices and Increased Global Competition. (Sorry, they had to downsize the other two horsemen, Regulations and Oversight.)"

Hilarious. Go read for yourself!

3.21.2004


Why exactly does this blog kill fascists?

Because that's what Woody's guitar did. Smithsonian Magazine



And because Uncle Bill keeps reminding us.

See also This Machine Kills Fascists on AlterNet (2/12)

Reposted because everyone seems to like 'the Passion of the Christ' so much...
The Gospel of Supply-Side Jesus From Al Franken and the indispensable Buzzflash.com! A must read!

Spinning lack of job growth is hard work the Oregoniean (3/19)
"However you turn the jobs issue around, looking for an encouraging color, it keeps looking like a pink slip."

[snip]

"In none of those six months did the number of new jobs reach the 150,000 level needed just to keep things from getting worse. In one of those months, the total in the entire country was 1,000 new jobs.

You can see why the president, in his town hall meetings, gets excited meeting with an employer who says he may hire two more people.

"If you look at the payroll survey, you don't see any large growth in jobs that you would expect in the recovery," notes Elise Gould, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. In "other recoveries, at this point in time, you've seen a lot more jobs."

That's what's created a brand-new concept in economics: the "jobless recovery."

It's something like a foodless dinner."

[snip]

"Karl Rove's boast that the job loss so far in this administration is closer to 2 million than 3 million is true; the number of jobs lost since the employment peak is actually 2.4 million. But the number looks that good only because of public sector job growth: Private job loss still tops 3 million."

[snip]

"The administration put together a series of policies that they labeled job-growth policies, and they didn't work," Shapiro says. "We've wasted hundreds of billions on ill-designed job-growth initiatives."

Democrats Say Bush Speeding U.S. Job Exports Reuters (3/20)
"In the Democrats' weekly radio address, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm told the story of a refrigerator plant that closed recently in her state and moved its 2,700 jobs to Mexico. She said it had become an all-too-familiar American tale.

"But after losing over 2.7 million manufacturing jobs over the last four years, all the Bush administration can say is that shipping jobs overseas is a 'positive development,"' Granholm said.

"Americans deserve a president who will fight to create good jobs, not export them," she declared."

Where did jobs go? Look in Bangalore Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (3/21)
"BANGALORE, India -- This is the epicenter of a revolution."

[snip]

"Infosys has just begun doing a significant share of the software development work for Mellon Financial Corp. -- jobs once performed in Pittsburgh. A growing number of other local companies also are using the highly educated but much less expensive Indian workforce to do computer-based jobs. And if they haven't begun yet, they're thinking about it."

[snip]

"In the past year alone, employment in the high-tech sector in India rocketed up by 23 percent to 813,500 people, according to the National Association of Software and Services Companies.

The services being provided encompass almost every office job imaginable, from supervising credit card and mortgage accounts to analyzing stock portfolios and rating insurance applicants."

[snip]

"People across the world can plug into the Internet, the broadband, and become part of this global workforce," Nilekani said in his office overlooking the Infosys campus. "Globalization and technology have put the world into a trading ring, in a sense. Everybody is playing to their strengths."

[snip]

And the work done in India is becoming increasingly sophisticated -- well beyond the telemarketing and computer help-desk services familiar to many Americans. Anything that can be sent down a wire is up for grabs. That includes many of America's most coveted jobs: stock market equities research; engineering and design; product research and development; and accounting, including the preparation of tax returns.

[snip]

"Essentially what we are doing here is making our U.S. clients more efficient, more productive, more competitive and stronger, which means they can grow, they can create more jobs," Nilekani said."

Uh, don't believe the hype: all they're allowing US clients do is strip us of health-care and other benefits.

Read this next part very carefully...


"Ronald Blackwell, head of corporate affairs for the AFL-CIO, said the trend is a blow to American workers who were warned away from manufacturing and working with their hands, and told they would ensure their futures by educating themselves in new technologies.

"We were told with the first wave of de-industrialization not to worry ... We just need to educate ourselves and the jobs will come," Blackwell said. "With this second wave, that is precisely the group that outsourcing is hitting the hardest -- the people who are educated, the people who are professionals, who see the economic basis of their security, their family's security, disappearing before their eyes."

There also is another key difference between the current job movements and previous ones, University of Rochester professor Ronil Hira added.

Unlike the 1980s, when the semiconductor industry in the United States was losing billions of dollars and shifting thousands of jobs overseas, for example, employers this time around do not seem to be in dire economic straits, said Hira, a Rochester assistant professor of public policy who did his undergraduate work at Carnegie Mellon University.

Hira said the companies sending work overseas today are profitable, and most are gaining market share. Many of these companies are outsourcing, he said, because they think it's something they have to do to stay even with their peers."

Read that last part AGAIN.

Made-In-Burma Jacket Stirs Flap for Bush Campaign Yahoo! News (3/19)
"A "Bush-Cheney '04" campaign jacket sold on the Internet has stirred controversy because it was made in Myanmar, whose imports have been banned by the United States."

[snip]

"The Bush administration has had sanctions in place since September against Myanmar -- also known by its colonial name Burma -- in an attempt to punish the government over human rights violations."

[snip]

""I am totally prepared to accept responsibility," said Ted Jackson, president of Spalding. "This is about an honest mistake."

Jackson said a supplier shipped the wrong products.

Yes: the 'wrong' products that just happened to have "Bush-Cheney '04" on them.

""We are committed to making sure only made-in-the-USA products are sold through the Web site," said Bush campaign spokesman Scott Stanzel."

"Just like we're committed to finding out who 'outed' Valerie Plame as a CIA operative and helping the Committee looking into September 11th" he added.

Check out this exchange over that the DailyKos where the Bush store people talk about how their stuff is "constructed elsewhere of American-made components."

Why India worries about outsourcing SFGate.com (3/21)

"The accent is now on accents. India's much touted, English-speaking, back office soldiers who man the 24-hour call centers of multinationals round the world have been getting some flak lately. The problem is that the Indians do not speak English the way Americans or the British pronounce their words."

We thought 'Amy' sounded a bit weird...

"This can be more than just an irritant as vouchsafed by Dell Inc., the world's largest computer seller, which shifted its customer support service for corporate clients back to the United States. Earlier, Lehman Brothers also decided to take back its internal computer-help desk, which had been outsourced to Indian company Wipro, due to the dissatisfaction with the skills offered in India."

Unspoken next line: "Which were sent there because of management's dissatisfaction with having to pay people money and provide benefits that cut into their bonuses in the first place."

[snip]

"In spite of TV and e-mail, people living thousands of miles away and without local knowledge cannot always answer inquiries authoritatively. England is said to be full of jokes about operators in India who master Scots or Midland accents but falter over small physical details."

Fair enough: we have a hard enough time understanding Brad & Cameran on 'The Real World' (But kudos to the folks in question because, really, have you ever tried to master a Scots or Midland accent?)

"Kate, a doctor based in England, recently on a trip to India, told this correspondent that grappling with rail inquiries in the United Kingdom can be quite onerous. Often the information is incorrect because as the person at the other end does not seem to understand the inquires."

Just like listening to Brad on The Real World describe why he gets arrested every week... only no as much fun.

[snip]

"According to Sabira Merchant, speech-voice consultant, "Indians have excellent control over written English, yet when it comes to pronunciation, we do not always sound right."

"Excellent control" should be your first clue that Sabira doesn't know what he's talking about. Sorry, pal but you're way off here...

"As a nation we do speak good English. That is why most Indians score easily over people of other nationalities."

We don't score 'cuz the ladies don't dig the unemployed.

WashTech Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, Communications Workers of America, Local 37083, AFL-CIO

Lots of goodies here, give 'em a visit and tell 'em we sent you!

The Boondocks (3/21)

Leave No Child In Charge Tom Toles, The Washington Post (3/2004, registration required)

Sprint shareholders will vote on offshoring study Publication (m/dd)
"...the proposal seeks to require a report crafted by an independent committee on Sprint's decision to have certain computer programming work done overseas.

The committee would be charged with "evaluating the risk of damage to the company's brand name and reputation in the United States," according to the proposal."

First they came for the manufacturing jobs, and I did not speak out
because I was not in manufacturing.
Then they came for the textile jobs, and I did not speak out
because I was not in textiles.
Finally they came for the IT jobs and there was no one left to speak out for us
because they all busy working at Wal-Mart.

Offshore Outsourcing Position paper of the IEEE USA (3/2004)
"The offshoring of high wage jobs from the United States to lower cost overseas locations is currently contributing to unprecedented levels of unemployment among American electrical, electronics and computer engineers. Offshoring also poses a very serious, long term challenge to the nation's leadership in technology and innovation, its economic prosperity, and its military and homeland security."

(Side note: we HATE the term 'homeland' when used to refer to the US. It is über-creepy and crypto-fascist. Please stop using it and be wary of anyone that does.)

Outsourcing toll mounts Bennington Banner (3/20)
"Political optimism for the once-heralded prospect of lower-priced goods produced abroad by American-based companies and consumed here at home has eroded in the past few years as U.S. unemployment lines have grown."

[snip]

The number of outsourced jobs are difficult to quantify. There are no hard statistics on companies that shipped jobs overseas, just estimates and anecdotes.

"It's not as if the companies' tell us," Meehan says.

Sanders says lawmakers rely on common sense: They can see major companies scaling back operations in the U.S., while noticing significant investments by the companies in overseas facilities.

[snip]

"The fear now is that we're just at the cusp of an explosion in information technology outsourcing," Sanders says.

Why US academia is hotfooting it to India The Business Times (3/21)

Outsourcing spawns tour to protest job losses ContraCostaTimes.com (3/20)

It's U.S. tax time, and accountants are busy . . . in India The Salt Lake Tribune (3/21)
"What many of them will never know is that their personal data will be shipped electronically to India, where workers will pore over the numbers."

Estimates of how many state and federal returns will be done in India this year range from about 100,000 to 150,000, up from about 1,000 just two years ago. The numbers are likely to surge in coming years because of the enormous labor cost savings."

A couple of 'Ordinary Joes' to the jobs rescue The Arizona Republic (3/21)
"We had a lot of H-1b and L-1 visa employees at one place I worked," Dawn says. "Companies can control those people like slaves. I think that a big part of our problem is the abuse of foreign workers."

[snip]

We have this perception in American that whenever there is a problem, there is a group out there doing something about it. But we didn't see that. So we decided to do something ourselves."

It wasn't much. At least the couple didn't think so. They created a Web site (www.RescueAmericanJobs.org).

[snip]

"...The couple registered Rescue American Jobs as a non-profit organization and within a short time found itself with 60 chapters all over the country. They can be reached by phone at (480) 832-0335."

"It's unreal how many people are being affected by current economic policies," Dawn says. "Just today I spoke with a woman who lost her job and has had to work in an underemployed position at a place like Wal-Mart and she just lost her home. There are thousands and thousands of people like her."

[snip]

"We are offshoring radiologists," she says. "We are offshoring doctors. Legal work is being done offshore. Engineering. Computer science. It's amazing. Even tax returns are being processed offshore. And it's not finished. This is something we have to talk about, particularly this year, with the election coming up."

"In California, a high-tech worker named Kevin Flanagan was forced by his employer to train his own replacement, a man from overseas. Flanagan performed the task he was assigned, then he killed himself."

Uh, there's nothing funny about that...