When Clinton Promoted Outsourcing
by Paul Rockwell
Job security is the foremost domestic issue for working people in Pennsylvania, where Senator Hillary Clinton is expected to win the Democratic Party primary. For many months, as a candidate for president, Senator Clinton has cultivated a pro-labor image. She claims to be an opponent of NAFTA, and she often denounces the outsourcing of American jobs. Before a crowd of students in New Hampshire, she claimed that she hated "seeing U.S. telemarketing jobs done in remote locations, far, far from our shores."
Newly released White House records demonstrate that Clinton lied about NAFTA. (See "Clinton Lie Kills Her Credibility on Trade Policy," John Nichols, Common Dreams, March 22.) NAFTA, however, is but a single thread in a web of deception regarding globalization and free trade. Clinton is lying not only about NAFTA, but about outsourcing as well. And the evidence comes, not from Obama, but from official records, video tapes, quotations and recordings of Clinton speeches abroad.
Consider this. In 2005 Senator Clinton visited New Delhi, India, ("far, far from our shores"), where she met wealthy business leaders, venture capitalists eager for U.S. investment. A few years prior to her visit, Enron gained a foothold in India's economy. Enron uprooted local communities, fleeced the public coffers, then pulled out of India with the profits of unregulated greed.
In a speech promoting globalization and free trade, here is what Senator Clinton said in New Delhi: "There is no way you can legislate against reality. Outsourcing will continue ... . We are not against all outsourcing, we are not in favor of putting up fences."
The India Review, a publication of the embassy of India, commented April 1, 2005: "Senator Clinton allayed apprehension in India that there would be a ban on outsourcing."
Siddharth Srivastava reported in Asia Times, March 1st, 2005: "Hillary Clinton made it apparent where she stood on outsourcing during her India visit ... Hillary has been at the forefront in defending free trade and outsourcing. She faced considerable flak for defending Indian software giant Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for opening a center in Buffalo, New York." (TCS provided hundreds of special visas for foreign employees to work in New York for substandard, non-union wages.) She praised Clinton's "strict adherence to the principles of free trade and outsourcing that affect India directly."
Outsourcing is inherent to global free trade, the attempt of corporate goliaths to move resources, jobs, money, capital in search of profits anywhere in the world without accountability.
If a video clip of Clinton's outsourcing remarks in India were played on TV before the upcoming primaries in Indiana, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, she would lose the elections, despite current polls. Not only because working-class voters oppose outsourcing, but because the duplicity of Clinton would become obvious.
Clinton's globalization speech in India would hardly be noteworthy today, except that, in her current campaign for the nomination, she is saying exactly the opposite of what she said in India. She was a globalizer in India. Now she's a protectionist in Pennsylvania, and voters have a right to ask: Which is the real Hillary Clinton?
The U.S. media, however, is presently experiencing a bout of amnesia. Pundits forget that Bill Clinton, with Hillary at his side, made huge campaign promises to labor in 1992. Within months of their victory, the Clintons rammed two Republican-initiated free-trade bills -- NAFTA and GATT -- through a Democratic Congress. Outsourcing of jobs to sweatshops in Mexico and Indonesia actually accelerated under the Clinton globalization agenda. The Clintons increased subsidies for corporate mergers and relaxed regulations that protect the public from the abuse of corporate power.
The Clinton Administration also passed the Financial Modernization Act of 1999, repealing the Glass-Steagal Act of 1933. That historic New Deal legislation made working-class home ownership possible and safe. The Jimmy Stewart film It's a Wonderful Life idealized the New Deal arrangement. The savings-and-loan system -- a system of small, often family-owned banks -- was a bedrock of stability until the deregulation trends of the '80s and '90s transformed the U.S. economy into a high-risk casino. The Republican-sponsored, Clinton-backed Modernization Act deregulated the financial sector and encouraged the merger of business and commercial investment banks. Clinton's "modernization" (he called it "reinventing government") carved a path to the current sub-prime mortgage crisis. The current anarchy in housing and banking is, in part, a direct consequence of the Clinton deregulation legacy. As banks are failing, working people losing their homes, it takes a lot of gall for Hillary Clinton to take credit where blame is due for her White House experience. Shame on you, Hillary Clinton!
Paul Rockwell, formerly assistant professor of philosophy at Midwestern University, is a national columnist who writes for In Motion Magazine. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.