There has been a wee bit of a kerfuffle in the media on the difference between “outsourcing” and “offshoring”, said kerfuffle obscuring the basic point.  So Mr. Blunt and Cranky will attempt to de-kerfufflify the terminology:

Outsourcing is when you used to do the job, and then gave it someone else’s company to do for you.  Outsourcing can send a job overseas, to another state, or even keep it in the same building.  It does not necessarily involve international job migration. (Mr. B & C works as a consultant, and has had jobs “outsourced” to him for years now, for instance. Almost always in the U.S.)

Offshoring is the actual migration of jobs from your country to another: call center jobs going to Ireland or India, manufacturing jobs going to Mexico or China, etc. This is what people get arsed about, rightly or wrongly. (Note that offshoring is not always a bad thing. Sometimes it can actually preserve American jobs, strange though that may seem.) Offshoring is what happened after NAFTA and other TAs (and various tax policies) were imposed that made it profitable to de-job Americans.

This is the basic point behind the word games: American jobs were taken away, and sent to people in other countries to do.

There is a difference between the two candidates for Prexy in their views of offshoring: Romney favors it, and Obama kinda sorta doesn’t, mostly maybe. We can see their views expressed in their tax policy proposals: Romney and his party promote tax benefits to companies that send jobs to other counties (Romney also showed his support for offshoring via his company’s private-sector activities). Obama and some of his party are beginning to feel that we should not be doing so, and are shifting some of their policies to encourage the return of jobs to the United States.

If we want jobs to be created in America (“inshoring” is the new buzzword: and no, this blogger is not making that up), we should adjust tax policy so as to encourage it. This is largely the role of Congress, which of late is so busy with inter-party squabbling that they can’t even do the few things that they agree on. The President can set a tone and encourage such policy, and even take some limited action via the Executive Branch, of course, so it does matter which schmuck you vote for. Romney and his party will try to send more jobs away, while Obama and his party will try to keep some of them here. How you vote will to some extent determine which way the jobs will flow. Note, however, that where jobs go is mostly dictated by market conditions.

Mr. B & C