Whither the ‘Outsourcing’ Issue….?

By December 10, 2004General

You’ll recall that during the Presidential campaign, it seemed you couldn’t go a minute without some news outlet screaming about the ills of “outsourcing”. Indeed, this was an issue that the Kerry campaign embraced. Sen. Kerry promised to get tough on all outsourcers, by God, in a way that he couldn’t quite define and in a way that apparently had eluded him for the past two decades in the Senate as a proponent of free trade.

No matter, we were wondering what happened to the issue, now that the campaign had passed, so we did a little search and found out that for the month before the election, the Washington Post used the term “outsourcing” some 33 times. In the month after the election, its usage dropped in half, to 16. This presumably includes the mentions in the election wrap-ups which used the word only to note that it wasn’t much of an issue. In Business Week, one of the most anti-business publications in the US, the month before the election saw 41 mentions of the word and the month since has seen it also drop in half, to 20.

We’ll check it again in a month or so, but we think we know what we will find. With the election behind us, it’ll continue to be a melting snowman of an issue. Hopefully we can focus on the real issue, that of trimming the 22% (non-wage) cost disadvantage we face with our trading partners.