Thursday, September 15, 2011

If only Obama supported American jobs the way he supports companies exporting jobs overseas

Obama's appointees on the NLRB have pushed through a judgment against Boeing for planning to open a plant in South Carolina to save on labor costs. Would that Obama would have the same respect for Boeing's ability to be the best decision-makers on how to build their business as the company in North Carolina that he chose to visit Wednesday.

That company, WestStar Precision, proudly brags about the new facility that they built in Costa Rica. And the company's owner, an Obama donor and Democratic official on the Wake County, N.C. Board of Commissioners, told our local paper in 2004 that he was moving the job to Costa Rica to “take advantage of low labor costs.” So such logic is good enough for an owner of a company that Obama wants to highlight in a swing state, but not good enough for Boeing.

This seems to be a pattern for Obama. Earlier this year in yet another push to keep NC blue, he visited the North Carolina CREE LED Light Company that had received a lot of money from the stimulus bill. The company got a $39 million tax credit from the stimulus bill. Then later on, they opened their first plant in Huizhou City, China. And the company's CEO, Chuck Swoboda, is very proud of all the business that they're opening in China.
But that plant is only beginning of an expansion in China, says Swoboda. At the opening of the plant, Swoboda boasted that more than 50 percent of Cree’s employees live and work in China.

“We will continue to invest here for both human talent and the most state-of-the-art technologies,” Swoboda said. “We have committed that in the coming three to five years, we will continue to expand our operation in Huizhou.”

Swoboda also promoted the company’s new strategy as “Cree Chip, China Heart,” adding that Cree will “push the health, scientific and orderly development of the LED industry in China … and make many more contributions to energy savings and emissions reductions in China.”

Moreover, Swoboda told his Chinese audience that though it is a U.S. company traded on the Nasdaq, “Cree management never runs this company as a U.S. company.” This despite the millions it got from American taxpayers.

“This is just another example of an administration that talks about an economy that has turned around while ignoring what is happening to American families who are struggling to find jobs, pay higher food and gas prices and are dealing with the decline of their home value,” one Republican source told The Daily Caller.

This isn’t the first time, however, that Recovery Act funds have gone overseas. The Department of Energy, for example, acknowledged last year that for all the focus on green jobs, $2.3 billion in manufacturing tax credits eventually went to foreign firms in China, South Korea, and Spain.
Isn't it ironic that these companies get implicit endorsements from Obama when they're sending jobs overseas but his allies on the NLRB want to stop Boeing from opening a plant right here in this country to employ Americans?

But this inconsistency keeps cropping up in Obama's policies. Remember when he went down to Brazil and praised them for their offshore oil discoveries and pledged to work with them to help them to drill for that oil as he said in his speech when he visited Brazil six months ago.
By some estimates, the oil you recently discovered off the shores of Brazil could amount to twice the reserves we have in the United States. We want to work with you. We want to help with technology and support to develop these oil reserves safely, and when you’re ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers. At a time when we’ve been reminded how easily instability in other parts of the world can affect the price of oil, the United States could not be happier with the potential for a new, stable source of energy.
It's funny how it's fine for Brazil to go forth with their offshore oil drilling, but not okay for American companies to do it right here in American waters. And what do we get for all his concern to block drilling near our shores? We get China helping Cuba to drill for oil 70 miles off the Florida Keys. Meanwhile, he blocks or slow-walks permits for drilling our offshore oil.

It's rather like how his Justice Department raided Gibson Guitar for purportedly using wood that was illegal to export from India and thus violated the Lacey Act which requires American companies to obey the laws of the country of origin when importing products.
Now here’s the rub. While the feds say the wood – as imported – is illegal, had it been ‘finished’ by workers in India, it would have been perfectly legal to import. The wood itself was not banned, just the manufacturing process – or lack of it.

“I think they’re taking the position that we should be shifting these jobs overseas,” says Bruce Mitchell, the chief legal counsel for Gibson. “We have – probably 40 people in our factory here just at USA who are doing the inlays into the fingerboard … that are putting the fret on. If all that was to be done over in India, then …. those jobs would be lost.

What’s most puzzling about this case is that India is perfectly happy to ship the fingerboard ‘blanks’ to the United States. In a letter dated July 13, the deputy director general of foreign trade for India confirmed that “fingerboards made of rosewood and ebony is (sic) freely exportable.”

U.S. Fish and Wildlife offered no comment about the discrepancy. But people involved in the import and export of musical instruments and parts believe the US Department of Justice offered its own interpretation of Indian law. Even though India saw no reason for an enforcement action, the U.S. did.
But this is what Holder's Justice Department wants to prosecute. India didn't complain, but the Justice Department is investigating Gibson for making fingerboards in Tennessee that would be fine if they were made in India. And if this investigation of Gibson leads to a successful prosecution, many other musical instrument makers will be in trouble.

If Obama could take some time out from his photo ops, perhaps he could investigate why his handlers keep sending him to companies who are sending jobs overseas. He could speak out about the NLRB's blocking the ability of Boeing to choose where to build its new plant. And most importantly, he could speed up permits so we could develop our own oil offshore instead of his bragging about buying Brazil's oil.