Unemployment Numbers Skyrocket …
Whether or not you are employed, if you are like millions of Americans, you are feeling the pinch in today’s economy. The problems with our national and local economies, although multi-faceted, include a central issue that is plaguing families from coast to coast. The chronic problem stems from the decisions made by private companies and the failure of our government officials to recognize and address these serious issues that perpetuate America’s climbing jobless rates; which continue to soar out of control. The stimulus plans of the current administration—notwithstanding the band aid effect, do not appear to have the capacity to halt and reverse this pervasive trend.
The reason we continue to see more people on unemployment, or exhausting their unemployment benefits is because the jobs we did have here in America have been shipped offshore and are now being performed by workers in China, India and other parts of the world. Or, get this; there are some companies that choose to displace American workers, by bringing foreign workers here; saying they can’t find qualified workers in America. They take advantage of the H-1B visa program. Clearly, this isn’t the biggest cause of displaced American workers because the US Citizenship & Immigration Service capped these at a little under a 100,000 last year. Microsoft was able to secure nearly 2,000 visas last year. Who else was on that list? Lehman Brothers, who was unable to stay in business, was able to obtain 130 visas last year before they went belly up. Now, at the risk of not getting indexed, I should also point out that Google was able to get almost 250 visas last year, too. The primary cause of displaced American workers, however, seems to be from outsourcing.
Last April it was reported by the Economic Policy Institute that over three million manufacturing jobs have been lost during the past few years due to outsourcing. Moreover, those responsible for setting the policy regarding our national security have taken the position to allow private companies to dictate offsets which undermine our national security and our economy; costing the American defense industry over 50,000 jobs in a three year time period. It is the shortsighted greed syndrome that has been and continues to be prevalent. While the national policy regarding the offsets is a major issue in and of itself, the jobless rate has numerous other integral factors.
The three million plus manufacturing jobs which were lost by American workers in the three years up to 2008 continue to grow. However, manufacturing jobs are not the only jobs being outsourced though. According to an article by the IT Toolbox, an emerging technology community, we are seeing about a 40% increase in outsourcing each year. In fact, they go on to report the statistics show that we lost over three million jobs from November, 2008 through February, 2009. That is about 750,000 jobs per month lost. Granted, not all of these lost jobs were due to outsourcing; nonetheless, a substantial amount are related to outsourcing and the others due to an economy which has been plagued for over a decade by the opportunistic greed of the small percentage of Americans who are reaping huge short term gains; some of which, due to their golden parachutes are shielded from the economic losses millions of others face, while they bankrupt their companies and their respective communities.
White collar jobs are also being outsourced at alarming rates. Even six years ago, Forbes magazine was reporting at the time that nearly 600,000 jobs per year were being outsourced to poorer countries, such as Malaysia, India and China.
Outsourcing seems to have no limits. This plague is has spread to Accounting, Administrative, AutoCAD, Call Centers, Customer Service, Engineering, Graphic Design, Web & Software Development and Programming, IT, Technical Support, Ecommerce, Sales, Telemarketing, Market Research, Medical Billing, Recruiting and the list goes on and on. Entire industries are impacted, including retail, consumer products, high tech, automotive, financial services and more. Whatever your need, from freelancers to large companies, whether in the Philippines, Argentina, India, Malaysia, China, Africa, or other scabbing location they are there and ready to prostitute themselves for an opportunity to do the same job an American would do, for much, much less.
Who outsources and why do they do it? Some of the companies are household names and some are small companies; but they all will try to justify their actions; either trying to use some smoke and mirrors to claim that it will actually help the local or national economy (please take the crack pipe away from those fools) or they try to justify it by saying it saves their company money. It is in this warped rationalization process where we begin to see a profile of owners, managers and executives that will sell out their employees, their communities and their country with callous and reckless disregard for the consequences of their actions.
We know who many of these companies are. How about Big Blue (IBM)? They were in the news in the past day or two. I think they deserve a Big BOO for giving their American employees a screw, too.
While running the company into the ground PixelWorks, run by Allen Alley, who is planning on running for Governor of Oregon in 2012, they also outsourced and made other poor decisions which resulted in financial ruin for the company and its former employees. He was also associated with InFocus—once a market leader in digital projection technology; who also makes the list of companies that chose to outsource their R&D and much of their labor force. Now, they have lost much of their market share, stock value and appear to be on the brink of bankruptcy.
The names of the companies selling out are some of the best know names in America. They include BestBuy, J.C. Penney, Eastman Kodak, Liz Claiborne, Chrysler, FedEx, Monarch Towel Company, Miller Brewing Company, Penske Logistics, DHL, Sony-BMG, Adaptec, Adobe Systems, Aetna, AIG, Albertsons, Allstate, AMD, American Express, AOL, Apple, AT&T, Bank of America, BellSouth, Black & Decker, Bose, BMC, Boeing, Cadence Design Systems, Cendant, Circuit City, CitiGroup, Coca Cola, Conseco, Corning, Delco Remy, Dell Computer, Direct TV, Dow Chemical, Dun & Bradstreet, DuPont, Eli Lilly, Equifax, Ernst & Young, Ethan Allen, Expedia, ExxonMobil, Fair Isaac, First Data, Ford Motors, Gateway, G E Capital, General Electric, General Motors, Goodrich, Good Year Tire & Rubber, Halliburton, The Hartford Financial Group, Hershey, Hewlitt-Packard, Home Depot, Honeywell, Hubbell, Intel, Intuit, Jantzen, John Deere, Kaiser Permanente, Kellogg, Levi Straus, Lockheed Martin, Lowe’s, Lucent, Mattel, Mentor Graphics, MetLife, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Motorola, Nabisco, Nike, Nordstrom, Office Depot, Oracle, PeopleSoft, Pfizer, Providian Financial, Prudential Insurance, Quaker Oats, Quest, Radio Shack, Safeway, Sallie Mae, Sara Lee, Sprint, State Farm Insurance, Target, Toys R Us, Travelocity, Tupperware, Verizon, Wachovia Bank, Walgreens, Weyerhaeuser, Whirlpool, Xerox, Yahoo, Zenith and the list goes on and on.
Don’t think that the decision to outsource and shortchange the local community is confined to the large corporations, small companies with shortsighted management decided that they could make more money by outsourcing, like the bigger scabs.
How we can fix this mess is not an easy task. We need political leaders and policy makers that will help bring the country back. We need business owners, managers and executives to take a good hard pull on their ears, so they can pull their heads out to see what is really going on in the country they have abandoned and sold off; so hopefully, if they can start making decisions that will allow them to still live in the USA ten or fifteen years from now. Otherwise, this country may be called China-West, or Mainland India, or ??? Then, for those sellout consumers that think outsourcing is the way to go, let them go to a third world country when they need that neurosurgery, or heart transplant and see if they can find someone who will perform the job for $20. I bet they can find someone to do it. Then, with all the money they saved, they can go ahead and stay there and live (if that is still an option) like kings and queens. That way they can live in the economy they support.
More to come, next time.