An ad released by the Media Fund Aug. 11 is targeted to Ohio, featuring Ohio residents criticizing the President for loss of jobs overseas. In it, one of them says, “When President Bush says he’s going to help companies outsource jobs, it’s infuriating.”
Maybe it would be infuriating if Bush really had said that, but he didn’t.
What Bush has actually said is this: “The best way to deal with job creation and outsourcing is to make sure our businesses are competitive here at home.”
This ad is just the latest in a steady drum-beat of Democratic attacks blaming Bush for job losses overseas. In this one, a man identified as Louis Russo, a Cleveland resident, says, “When President Bush says he’s going to help companies outsource jobs, it’s infuriating.” The fact is, Bush never said that.
Media Fund Ad:
Louis Russo: We were told immediately that we were gone, so there wasn’t any warning.
Edward Lucas: Everything you worked for is gone.
Sherease Rankin: It saves them money. They can have people in other countries doing our jobs.
Louis Russo: When President Bush says he’s going to help companies outsource jobs, it’s infuriating.
Sherease Rankin: You can be stationed in India and take a phone call. No one has to know you’re in India.
Edward Lucas: You can’t give companies tax breaks to take American jobs away.
What Bush Really Said
Here’s what the President has really said on the subject:
Bush (Bay Shore, New York March 11, 2004): You hear talk about outsourcing — I’m as concerned about outsourcing as the next person. But the way to deal with outsourcing is to make America a better place to do business, not a worse place . Raising taxes will make it harder to create jobs. Lawsuits make it harder to create jobs. We need an energy policy, so people can plan their businesses around a solid supply of energy. We need to be less dependent on foreign sources of energy if we want to make sure jobs stay here.
Bush (Washington, DC, March 16, 2004): You hear a lot of rhetoric in Washington about jobs and job creation and outsourcing. The best way to deal with job creation and outsourcing is to make sure our businesses are competitive here at home . The more competitive we are here at home, the better it is to do business at home, the more likely it is we’ll keep jobs here at home. And association health plans is one such way.
Bush (Dayton, Ohio, May 4, 2004): We care about outsourcing in America. We want people working here. But the wrong policy would have been, let’s go through economic isolationist policy, let’s wall us off from the world . Instead, the right policy was to stimulate growth at home. . . . My point is, let us be confident about ourselves. Let’s put the right policies in place that encourage growth at home.
We searched transcripts of Bush’s public statements since taking office, and found none in which he said he wanted to help companies send jobs overseas. The Media Fund posted its own backup for the ad which cited not a single quote from the President.
Bush’s top economic aides have indeed defended the ability of US companies to get work done overseas when that’s cheaper than having it done in the US, arguing (as do most economists) that the increased efficiency the companies gain eventually produces a net gain in jobs in the US. Bush administration officials also oppose any new legal restrictions on outsourcing jobs overseas as a violation of free trade. But they aren’t proposing new incentives to outsource jobs, as the phrase “says he’s going to help” implies. So even Bush’s aides didn’t say what the ad says Bush did.
This ad simply misquotes him, falsely putting callous words in his mouth that he never uttered.
The Tax Break Issue
The ad also shows a man identified as Edward Lucas, a resident of Mayfield Heights, Ohio, as saying, ” You can’t give companies tax breaks to take American jobs away.” He’s referring to the way the US tax code gives some financial incentive to US companies to invest profits overseas rather than bring them back to the US to be taxed.
As we’ve explained before, Bush didn’t put that into the tax code: it’s been there as long as there has been a corporate income tax.
We’ve outlined the disagreement between Kerry and Bush on this issue in detail in an earlier article. Economists generally agree that the tax incentive favoring overseas investment is a relatively minor problem that Kerry’s proposal won’t do much to fix.
Watch Media Fund Ad: “Ohio Outsourced”
“President Bush Discusses Job Training and the Economy in NY: Remarks by the President in a Conversation on the Economy,” Bay Shore, New York, 11 March 2004.
“President Discusses Health Access,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Washington, DC, 16 March 2004.
“Remarks by the President at ‘ask President Bush’ Event,” Hara Complex
Dayton, Ohio, 4 May 2004.