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Obama in 2009: Returning Outsourced Jobs 'Wouldn't Be Good for Our Economy'

9:49 AM, Jun 27, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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In 2009, speaking at an online town hall hosted by the White House, President Barack Obama said that returning outsourced jobs to America "probably wouldn't be good for our economy."

"So I guess the answer to the question is, not all of these jobs are going to come back," Obama said. "And it probably wouldn't be good for our economy for a bunch of these jobs to come back because, frankly, there's no way that people could be getting paid a living wage on some of these jobs, at least in order to be competitive in an international setting."

President Obama's statement, then, is particularly curious considering his latest attacks on Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Consider this, from Obama's remarks at a campaign event earlier this week in New Hampshire:

THE PRESIDENT:  "Now, just last week, it was reported that Governor Romney’s old firm owned companies that were 'pioneers' in the business of outsourcing American jobs to places like China and India.  Now --"

AUDIENCE:  "Booo --"

THE PRESIDENT:  "So yesterday, his advisors were asked about this and they tried to clear this up by telling us there’s actually a difference between 'outsourcing' and 'off-shoring.'  (Laughter.)  That’s what they said.  You cannot make this stuff up.  (Laughter.)"

But, of course, it seems odd that the president would hit Romney with these accusations when he himself has said that "it probably wouldn't be good for our economy for a bunch of these jobs to come back because, frankly, there's no way that people could be getting paid a living wage on some of these jobs, at least in order to be competitive in an international setting."

Here's the full context of President Obama's 2009 statement on bringing back outsourced jobs:

 

DR. BERNSTEIN:  Next we have a video question from Harriet in Georgia about bringing jobs back to America:  "Hello, President Obama.  Here is my question for your online town meeting.  When can we expect that jobs that have been outsourced to other countries to come back and be made available to the unemployed workers here in the United States?  Thank you so much for all your hard work.  God bless you.  Bye-bye."

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I appreciate that.  Let me talk more, first of all, broadly about what's happening in the job market.  We have had just a massive loss of jobs over the last several months, the kind of job loss we haven't seen at least since the early '80s and maybe since the 1930s, in terms of how quickly we've seen the economy shed jobs.

A lot of that is prompted by the financial crisis and the locking up of the credit markets.  And that's why when we are -- when we talk about dealing with this credit crisis and the banks, I just want everybody to understand it's not because we're overly concerned about Wall Street or a bunch of CEOs; it's because if we don't fix credit, if we don't get liquidity back to small businesses and large businesses alike who can have that -- use that line of credit to buy inventory and to make products and sell services, then those businesses shrivel up and they start laying people off.

Ultimately, our measure of whether we're doing a good job or not is, are we going to be able to create and save jobs?  And part of that involves fixing the financial system.

There is a long-term issue, though, that we have to deal with -- and this was true even before the current crisis -- and that is that so much of our economic activity was in the financial services sector.  It was related to an overheated housing market.  It was dependent on huge amounts of consumer saving.  And we were seeing those steady declines in manufacturing.  We were seeing steady declines in a lot of other productive sectors of the economy.  And one of the things that my budget is designed to do is, by fixing our education system, by reducing costs of health care, by going after the clean-energy jobs of the future, trying to put our economy on a more solid footing.

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