Where Bain Ends And Romney Begins


Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a freelance journalist and blogger. He considers Bob Dylan and Walter Sobchak to be the two great Jewish thinkers of our time; he thinks Kafka was half-right when he said there was hope, "but not for us"; and he can be reached through the twitter via @eliasisquith or via email. The opinions he expresses on the blog and throughout the interwebs are exclusively his own.

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192 Responses

  1. Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

    MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell struggles in her attempt to respond to a charge by guest John Sununu that President Obama is the job outsourcer, not Mitt Romney.


    Andrea Mitchell, MSNBC: Isn’t it a winning issue for the White House, fundamentally, granted that the PolitiFact folks and the Washington Post pointing out that the President’s campaign ad on that issue had a lot of questions and a lot of questionable attacks?

    John Sununu: But they said it was wrong. A lot of questionable tactics is not right, it was wrong.

    Mitchell: But the point is, that isn’t Mitt Romney more vulnerable than the President on this issue because there still is — the whole question of private equity of outsourcing. Yo could argue about when he left Bain Capital and whether he was still getting money from Bain Capital and what some of the companies in Bain were doing, companies that did end up working overseas and sending jobs overseas. But isn’t it a bigger problem for Republicans than for the White House?

    Sununu: No. When you’ve sent $500 million to Fisker and it goes to Finland immediately. When you send the solar money and it goes to Mexico. When you send the turbine money and it goes to Denmark. And we can go on all day. There is $29 billion worth of purchases that came out of this administration, outsourced jobs to foreign countries.

    Mitt Romney outsourced zero —

    Mitchell: Zero?

    Sununu: Zero. He wasn’t there when those issues came up.

    Mitchell: Well, first of all the $29 billion are not all outsourced from the administration because —

    Sununu: Sure they are.

    Mitchell: A lot of those jobs still remained here. There are jobs — when you do a grant, governor, there are jobs here as well as overseas.

    Sununu: [laughing] You’re struggling, Andrea. You’re struggling.

    Mitchell: First of all, these are competing claims and we will get back to you with all of the numbers.Report

    • Avatar Herb says:

      I expect Sununu’s ploy to work if A) the $29 billion to Denmark and Mexico story holds up, B) President Obama personally made millions off the deal, and C) Mitt Romney promises to do things differently.

      B and C are pipe dreams. The way things have been in the right-o-verse these last few years, A is an open question.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

        and D) Obama was president at the time, spending OUR money.

        I love this part:

        MITCHELL: “…granted that the PolitiFact folks and the Washington Post pointing out that the President’s campaign ad on that issue had a lot of questions and a lot of questionable attacks…”

        “So even though two mainstream media outlets think what I’m saying is a load of Obama horseshit, I’m going to dump it on Romney anyway.”Report

        • Avatar Rod says:

          IIRC, Democrats tried at the time to insert a “buy American” provision into the stimulus but the Republicans filibustered that. As usual.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

            Hard to tell what you’re on about, Rod. Now Obama wants to BAN “Buy American.”


            Posted: 05/ 3/2012
            WASHINGTON — A group of 68 House Democrats and one Republican sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Thursday urging him to reconsider an element of the controversial free trade agreement currently being negotiated by the administration. If approved in its current form, the pact would effectively ban “Buy American” policies in government contracting.Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP says:

              I mean, really, why should anyone care? This is prudent business practice. Ask Romney. He’ll tell you so, to your face.Report

            • Avatar Rod says:

              It’s called “history” Tom. I’m sorry you don’t remember it. But I wasn’t talking about Obama, rather the House Democrats.

              For the life of me I’ve never understood how you guys think he’s a leftist on the economy. He’s basically sympatico with the Chicago school with some Keynes thrown in. And quite a disappointment to those of us who really ARE on the left.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                YOU don’t remember, and you brought it up, Rod. Obama’s against it so it’s moot now anyway, if he was ever for it.Report

              • Avatar Rod says:


                Besides, were probably both wrong. From Wikipedia:

                ARRA included a protectionist ‘Buy American’ provision which imposed a general requirement that any public building or public works project funded by the new stimulus package must use only iron, steel and other manufactured goods produced in the United States.

                A May 15, 2009 Washington Post article reported that the ‘Buy American’ provision of the stimulus package caused outrage in the Canadian business community, and that the government in Canada “retaliated” by enacting its own restrictions on trade with the U.S.[50] On June 6, 2009, delegates at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference passed a resolution that would potentially shut out U.S. bidders from Canadian city contracts, in order to help show support for Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s opposition to the “Buy American” provision. Sherbrooke Mayor Jean Perrault, president of the federation, stated, “This U.S. protectionist policy is hurting Canadian firms, costing Canadian jobs and damaging Canadian efforts to grow in the world-wide recession.” There will be a 120 day delay before the resolution takes effect.[51] On February 16, 2010, the United States and Canada agreed on exempting Canadian companies from Buy American provisions which would have hurt the Canadian economy.[52][53]


    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      I’ll take tu quoque for $1,000, Alex.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

        Turning it back on Obama is exc, if it works. Plus, 2 sources say it’s crap but it doesn’t stop the Obamabots with using the attack anyway. Mitchell’s brazenness if off the charts.

        [I have no idea if it’s true one way or the other and don’t care much.]Report

      • Avatar North says:

        It’s only tu quoque if it’s used against right wingers Kazzy. When used against leftists or Dems it’s merely sage identification of hypocrisy.Report

  2. Avatar BlaiseP says:

    It seems Romney’s trying to pull a fast one on his tenure at Bain Capital. Put the rest of it aside, it seems pretty clear Marshall’s caught Romney (and Bain itself) in a lie.

    And it’s a lie he didn’t have to tell. This is like Clinton, “I did not have sex with that woman.” Romney didn’t have to say anything. He could have said, “Hey, these were necessary business decisions, I was acting on behalf of Bain’s investors, I’d operate on behalf of America’s investors, its taxpayers, if I was elected, just as dispassionately and with everyone’s best interests in mind, as I did at Bain.”

    All this stuff about Romney being out of touch, etc. ad nauseam, that’s for the rubes. He’s in touch all right. He’s in touch with his handlers, who are turning him into another Al Gore, another fairly decent guy who let his handlers turn him into a laughingstock.Report

  3. Avatar wardsmith says:

    Al Gore, another fairly decent guy who let his handlers turn him into a laughingstock I’m reasonably certain Albert Internet Inventor Gore could turn himself into a laughingstock without any assistance.

    I just happened to be on a business trip to Tennessee the day after the election when Gore lost (well he hadn’t lost quite yet, took the Supreme Court to keep the Democrats from cherry picking counties where they could, ahem, fix the voting). Everywhere I went, people were cheering that he had lost. I said, “Wait a minute, isn’t he your Senator?” The answers I got boiled down to, “He may be a Senator, but he isn’t OUR Senator”. When I asked how he kept getting re-elected if everyone hated him so much the universal answer was, “We have no idea, we’ve never met anyone who voted for him”. They really REALLY hated the “Tennessee’s Favorite Son” moniker Gore chose for himself. I guess I needn’t remind anyone he couldn’t even win his own stateReport

    • Avatar BlaiseP says:

      Well, yeah. Curiously, the Internet as we know it has two fathers. Gore proposed opening up ARPANET to civilian traffik and Bush41 signed the legislation. Both were fairly interesting characters, misunderstood in their own time.

      I liked Bush41. Said that before. Al Gore is a bright guy, whatever you may think of him. Over his long career in politics, he slowly went clear across the political spectrum. Truth is, both Bush43 and Gore were creatures of their handlers. The worst of these was Dukakis, I hope you’ll agree.

      It’s not surprising you’d find people in Tenn who didn’t vote for Gore. They would probably have voted for Clinton again, if the law had allowed him to run for a third term. But Gore, the idiot, refused to let Bill Clinton campaign with him. I remember Gore campaigning, it was just crazy talk, all day every day. So naturally, people thought, my God, what sort of ultra-liberal are we gonna elect here if we vote for Gore?Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Plus, he was obviously a beta-male. Makeup can’t hide that.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP says:

          Gore was about as close to a Philosopher King as we’re ever likely to elect. To be sure, some folks wouldn’t like his philosophy. It hardly matters now. Gore’s off at Kleiner Perkins, investing folks’ money in eco-friendly ventures. He might have made a great president: he had a vision of leadership. But he might have been a terrible president in like measure: smart guys don’t always know how to form a fist.

          I love blowing the Gore dog whistle. Nothing else will make this right wing dogs scamper to the end of their chains, lunging and barking and choking themselves with such vehemence. It’s like Frau Blucher.Report

    • Avatar clawback says:

      The link you provide does not support your claim that Gore called himself Tennessee’s favorite son. And, as is well known, he never claimed to have invented the internet. Try snopes.

      And please let us know once you’ve figured out how to resolve the puzzle about how he got elected without the support of people you know.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

        This call-out game is getting real fishing annoying.


        It’s called “Google,” people. Don’t be so fishing lazy and look something up on your own once in awhile, OK?Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP says:

          Why look over there!

          Let’s avoid the topic of Romney trying to crabwalk away from his record at Bain Capital. Let’s turn this into Bush v Gore. When I said Romney’s a creature of his handlers, I meant it. So was Gore. So are all these jamokes. They spend tens of millions of dollars on political advisors and focus testing and oppo. There’s nothing real about these guys, none of them.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

            Glad you asked, Blaise. If y’d cared abut the truth, you’d have Googled Romney’s side of the story! Me, I think it’s a non-story anyway, even if it were true.


            None of these 6 companies sent jobs
            overseas under Bain Capital during Mitt
            Romney’s tenure, in fact they added jobs.
            Modus Media
            GT Bicycle
            Jobs added during
            Romney tenure at Bain
            ~4900 new jobs
            ~700 new jobs
            ~400 new jobs
            After Romney
            After Romney
            None of the
            reporting in The
            Washington Post
            piece is factually
            accurate and the
            piece should be

            • Avatar BlaiseP says:

              Haven’t I already addressed this, many times? Romney’s record as a financier is exactly what you’d expect from the period, considerably better. What does anyone want from a financier? Return on investments. Some of those companies turned out fine. Some went under. Some folks might find his cure worse than the disease, but I’m trying to argue another point entirely.

              Why does Romney and the GOP continue to act like he wasn’t part of Bain during the period in question? He was part of Bain. Why deny it? It’s a lie and now everyone knows it’s a lie. It’s like Al Gore’s bumptious stories about being some country boy, it’s so much campaign flummery and flapjaw. Al Gore grew up in Washington DC. Gore’s aw-shucks bullshit was disproven and now Romney’s resume timeline’s disproven.

              Why bother lying about it? If Bain got greedy and killed a few companies, maybe there’s something to be ashamed of but I’m not sure there is. Owners run their companies into the ground every day, looting the cash drawer, big and small and in-between.

              Now I think Romney’s lying because there is something stinky in the calendar there. Legal, ecch… let’s say it was. Bain wasn’t in the business of feeding the multitudes with five loaves and two fishes, it did what capital firms do, no crime there, and I’m not going to say there was. That’s casting unwarranted aspersions.

              But why did Romney say he left, when he didn’t? He obviously was around at Bain. Now there’s proof.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                “Why does Romney and the GOP continue to act like he wasn’t part of Bain during the period in question? He was part of Bain. Why deny it?”

                When I put on my right-wingnut conspiracy hat, I’m terrified that the Administration is poised to begin filing major criminal cases against various parts of the financial industry, starting just before Labor Day, with a new announcement every three weeks or so up through the election. While pushing lots of advertising that says, “He’s one of them. And they’re responsible for the recession and its aftermath. Do you really want him for your President?”Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                If the DoJ doesn’t act against some of these principles involved in the LIBOR scandal, I’ll know Geithner has become Obama’s version of Cheney. Biden might be waist deep in this, too, Delaware is Corporation Heaven.Report

            • Avatar Annelid Gustator says:

              Interestingly, that campaign release is contradicted by SEC filings noting Mr. Romney as the managing director through 2001.Report

        • Avatar clawback says:

          Do you understand how linking works? When you provide a link, it is supposed to support the claim you make.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Or how Gore managed to get more votes than Bush43.

        Romney’s in pretty serious Pinocchio trouble.Report

        • Avatar wardsmith says:

          For reasons unknown that didn’t go under the place I clicked reply wherein clawback said, “The link you provide does not support your claim that Gore called himself Tennessee’s favorite son”. Now we have a campaign button that backs my claim, perhaps clawback will pretend he never said it.Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

            The link wasn’t explicit enough! No quibble is too petty to bury your point with. A lot of that going on today.

            BTW, I assumed you were tongue-in-cheek with the internet thing, he was right about that—in fact, he told you to go look it up for yourself! [It’s Irony Day @ the LoOG.]

            And FTR, the Gore “earth tones” thing was an urban legend too, a bum rap. You could look it up.Report

            • Avatar clawback says:

              Yeah, you’re right: objecting to an unsupported claim is exactly like making a false claim. It is indeed Irony Day.Report

            • Avatar wardsmith says:

              Of course it was tongue in cheek. Gore DID say, “”I took the initiative in creating the Internet”. Clearly to a sharpie like clawback creating != inventing, too bad every comedian in the country saw it differently, hence “turning him into a laughingstock” and now we’ve come full circle.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                And nobody gives Bush the Wiser credit for what he did, which was arguably more important, signing the legislation.

                Presidents never get the credit for the things they do, and plenty of blame for the sins of their predecessors, especially the congresses of those times.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Gore DID say, “”I took the initiative in creating the Internet”

                Which is not the same thing as saying, “I created the internet,” which is what he’s so often accused of saying. While Gore’s wording is awkward and imprecise, it is in fact true that he was one of the legislative leaders who took the initiative in turning ARPANET into the publicly accessible internet. The slams on him for this are mere red team/blue team partisanship. Cheap points are cheap.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                It is pretty hilarious that the same team that celebrates entrepreneurs far more than inventors [1] criticizes Gore for being the funding guy instead of the technical guy.

                1. Quick, who invented Windows? Not Bill Gates, but he’s the hero of capitalism.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Oh I dunno. Arguably, MSFT Windows set the industry back at least a decade, perhaps more. I’d say it was the greatest impediment to the progress of humankind since Lenin.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                I’m not a fan either, but in the land of “Everything’s measured by financial success”, Windows was the greatest thing since fine print.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                To return, however awkwardly, to the topic… a good many people in the world confuse financial success with other sorts of success. Lots of Romney fans are thrilled by the idea of a Biz Guy back in charge of the country, just like Bush43, I guess. They elected and re-elected his MBA ass. Maybe they want another round of MBA excellence.

                It’s so hard to say. Windows was hardly a great thing. Somehow, my poor g/f got a virus, prolly from Facebook. I’ve been poking at that machine, secretly muttering to myself, “a virus wouldn’t have sudo on this box.”Report

              • Avatar ThatPirateGuy says:


                I would make getting an MBA or being the CEO of a large corp disqualify you from running for politcal office.

                Wealthy executives have quite enough political influence without actually being the policy makers.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:


                I’d like to lump in flag officers into the pool of disqualifying occupations. Every time we’ve elected a general, things have gone sideways. Even Eisenhower had troubles in office. His maniacal policy of coups and assassinations was beyond anything ever attempted before and it would all blow up in our faces, every last bit of it.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                I would make getting an MBA or being the CEO of a large corp disqualify you from running for politcal office.

                I strongly disagree, from my perspective in academia. Every academic of every discipline thinks they know how to run the world because they’re “educated.” Most are persuaded they could run their college/university far better than the idiots in charge (failing to recognize that most of the idiots in charge came from faculty ranks). But most can’t even run their own departments with any semblance of order.

                The most notable exceptions, in my experience, are the folks in the business departments. An MBA doesn’t guarantee anything, of course, but it’s a terrible disqualifier.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Of course you’d say that, as an academic. An MBA is an interesting sort of degree. Most MBA degrees are complete bullshit but a few actually teach some business administration skills.

                My son in law lived with me while he was getting his MBA from DePaul. It fell into the camp of the former and not the latter, we both agreed.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:


                Your comment seems to take the form of an argument, but in fact it’s simply agreeing with my statement that:

                An MBA doesn’t guarantee anything, of course, but it’s a terrible disqualifier.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                The fact remains, the last MBA in office presided over the greatest destruction of capital in the history of the world. Arguably that wasn’t all his doing. It doesn’t change anything. We’re still digging out of that hole.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                I’m not making a brief for W. But surely you know a single data point cannot constitute a trend.Report

    • “Everywhere I went, people were cheering that he had lost. I said, ‘Wait a minute, isn’t he your Senator?’….When I asked how he kept getting re-elected if everyone hated him so much the universal answer was, ‘We have no idea, we’ve never met anyone who voted for him’. ”

      I suppose “everywhere” and “people” mean something that’s not quite a representative sample. Even though Gore lost Tennessee, he did get some votes, so he must’ve had a constituency there.

      It reminds me of liberals who claim they don’t know “anyone who voted for” Bush.Report

      • Avatar trizzlor says:

        The best part of the relevant Pauline Kael quote always get’s truncated, too: “I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.Report

  4. Avatar George Turner says:

    In response, people dug into Obama’s advisors finances. Gee, Valerie Jarret and the rest have their money in offshore accounts and foreign investments. This will be another case where Romney gets attacked for giving his dog a ride on his roof and Obama turns out to eat the little pooches.Report

    • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

      From ABC News: “Valerie Jarrett’s financial disclosure form filed May 4 lists a line of credit from a Bermuda insurance company valued between $100,000 and $250,000.” Tax experts are saying that her line of credit seems legally innocuous, and it probably is.

      …an article by Matt Welch that points out that Dick Durbin doesn’t exactly practice what he preaches, either: “Is Dick Durbin protecting his million-dollar portfolio through a buy-American-only strategy? Hell no, he isn’t — why, just right there I can see such asset items as ‘ING Clarion Global Real Estate Income,’ and ‘Matthews Asia Dividend Investor,’ and ‘Morgan Stanley Emerging Markets Domestic.’”

      And from The Weekly Standard: “Disclosure forms reveal that Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a member of Congress from Florida, previously held funds with investments in Swiss banks, foreign drug companies, and the state bank of India . . . according to disclosure forms from 2004, Wasserman Schultz had holdings in the Fidelity Advisor Overseas Fund. That fund is invested in HSBC bank (a British financial institution), Hengdeli Holdings (a Hong Kong watch company), Novo Nordisk (a Danish drug company), Volkswagen (a German auto company), Rakuten (a Japanese shipping business), Richemont Cie Financiere (a Swiss luxury goods company), and many others.”Report

      • Avatar George Turner says:

        The DNC attack dogs are the gift that keeps on giving. I’m waiting for one of them to claim that Romney’s mother once looked at the cover of a bondage porn magazine, so we can point out that Obama’s mother was posing in it and post the pictures.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP says:

          Thing is, for all this fuss and bother about bank accounts in Bermuda and Switzerland, nobody seems to notice these bozos are still in the market, trading on insider information of the most precious sort, legislation affecting the stock prices of the very industries they’re supposed to be regulating.

          A CEO would go to jail for what’s perfectly legal for a Congresscritter to do. A nod is as good as a wink to a blind trust.Report

        • Avatar Annelid Gustator says:

          Classy metaphor, there, George.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy says:

        What is tu quoque, Alex?Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

          No. Anyone else? The correct question is “What is the first warning sign of the terminal phase of hydrophobia?”Report

      • Avatar Mo says:

        Way to quote NRO. However, if you look at the ABC source it says, “It appears that Jarrett borrowed money from JPMorgan Chase, which has a subsidiary in Bermuda — not unusual for insurance companies that want to lay off some of their risks. It doesn’t mean that Jarrett sought any sort of transaction from Bermuda, but rather that the bank could be using its Bermuda subsidiary on credit forms.”

        Looks like it’s due to JPMC not Jarrett.Report

    • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

      This will be another case where Romney gets attacked for giving his dog a ride on his roof and Obama turns out to eat the little pooches.

      Are you really such a moral imbecile that you don’t understand the difference between treating your pet in a sadistic/”efficient” manner and eating a meal served by a foreign host? I mean, are you fucking serious?Report

      • Avatar Roger says:

        Which dog would you rather be? The one on the roof or on the plate?Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

          Which guy would you rather be, the one who tortured the dog, or the one who didn’t kill him?Report

        • Avatar James Hanley says:

          Is eating a dog any worse than eating a cow?

          Is subjecting an animal to a terrifying experience worse than a quick kill?

          I’m a dog lover and would never put my pets on the roof of the car while traveling. But I would eat dog if offered to me in an appropriate context, with only minor qualms.Report

          • Avatar Murali says:

            I’m with Roger on this.

            Is eating a dog any worse than eating a cow?

            No, but eating a cow is still a pretty horrible thing to do.

            Is subjecting an animal to a terrifying experience worse than a quick kill?

            No, but subjecting an animal to a terrifying experience is still a horrible thing to do.*

            I’m a dog lover and would never put my pets on the roof of the car while traveling. But I would eat dog if offered to me in an appropriate context, with only minor qualms

            People’s moral intuitions about how to treat animals are all over the place. One thing I want to ask people who won’t do a lesser harm to their pet, but will be less reluctant to cause harm to other non-pets is why does personal affection make a particular animal more worthy of protection?

            *Normal euthanasia exceptions apply.Report

        • Avatar Mo says:

          There’s no difference between the actions of a child and that of a man in his 30s?Report

          • Avatar Roger says:

            Artificial meat is the future.Report

            • Avatar Wardsmith says:

              You mean soylent green?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                In the book version, maybe (soy + lentils = soylent), but in the movie version, there was nothing artificial about that meat.Report

              • Avatar Wardsmith says:

                Soy plus lentils was the marketing. Dead people was the realityReport

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Not in the book, which was desperately boring, and had the ridiculous title of “Make Room! Make Room!”Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                As James points out, the book was a cautionary tale about overpopulation, not a horror/thriller piece. The solution to overpopulation was birth control but people were too shortsighted to legalize it. So the United States continued to grow out of control, already at the unsustainable size of 344 million.Report

              • Avatar Roger says:

                What makes the current population anywhere close to unsustainable? We’ve never thrived better. Longer lives, healthier, wealthier, more freedom, education and entertainment. Even the environment is better than recent generations in the US. Heck we even beat the Kyoto protocol targets.

                I’m sure there is a limit to the number of humans that the world can sustain at any given level of technology. However, the number of people are one of the factors that determine the sophistication of the technology.

                There is nothing more precious than human life. 344 million lives is truly awesome.

                “Soylent Green is people”Report

              • Avatar North says:

                Meh, there’re no serious concerns about population that womens rights and womens education doesn’t fix. The US is just barely above replacement level population growth and much of that is attributable to more fecund immigrant populations.

                If you’re worried about overpopulation teach women to read and the birthrate drops, give them the right to their own bodies, their own work, their own property and rights and it plummets. Once womens rights are universal we’ll probably end up having to worry abut underpopulation at some point.Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                I know sarcasm doesn’t always work on the net, but how could you miss that one?Report

            • Avatar Morat20 says:

              God I hope so. Growing the entire chicken or cow just for the meat isn’t exactly energy efficient.

              So much useless waste products, a slow growth cycle, way too much land to support it (or way too little, depending on what you’re growing).

              Frankly it’ll probably come as an offshoot of medical techniques. They’re already growing skin in labs for skin grafts and are working on organs and bones.

              It’s a lot easier to sell lab-grown (or factory grown) beef and chicken if you can sell it with “The same techniques used to grow new hearts and lungs for sick people!”

              People freak out about stuff like lab-grown meat — see Genetically engineered plants — but if you can plausibly claim it’s the same way you grow new kidneys and skin, they’ll settle down. It’s not “greedy executives feeding you god knows what”. It’s medicine! It’s got to be healthy!

              I do have problems myself with GE’d stuff, but my concerns are either in the realm of patents or in the realm of cross-contamination. I don’t have much in the way of worries it’ll be bad for me to eat.

              I worry about losing genetic variability, about GE plants cross-fertilizing with regular ones (or other GE’d ones) and the weird lawsuits and confiscation attempts that’s gonna cause, and in general a whole host of things that boils down to “No one’s really prepared for this legally or socially”.

              (Plus, I’ve got some concerns in general about patenting things like, you know, existing DNA. Of anything. Especially because a lot of it is scattershot — and because it’s too easy to choke off research paths. I don’t think the existing patent system and laws are up to the task.

              They’re failing pretty miserably with software and technology right now, I think DNA’s gonna be worse.Report

              • Avatar Roger says:

                Disgust is a strong social force. Today people see artificial meat as gross. However, once it becomes tasty, reasonably cheap and some high status people start to eat it and begin to call regular meat disgusting, then I predict a massive transition to artificial meat. It will be healthier, better for the environment, and it will not require politicians to eat our pets.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                “When you eat regular meat, you’re killing this adorable little calf.” [shows picture of cutest calf in the world]

                “But when you eat Pepperidge Farms Labro-meat, you get a delicious juicy steak grown in a climate controlled, bacteria free laboratory–just the steak, no calf. ”

                “Pepperidge Farms Labro-meat. All of the flavor, none of the slaughter.”Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

                That’ll be a sad, sad day…

                Organ meat is so underrated.Report

              • Avatar Roger says:

                What will be a sad day? I am reading this as you saying it will be a sad day when we stop killing billions of animals, but this seems too callous, so I suspect I am confused.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                I think he’s saying it’ll be a sad day if the only available meat is steak. I don’t think you need fear Nob. I’m sure artificial meat growers will be able to eventually replicate heart, tongue and the like tissue. Whether it’ll be the same as the genuine article I dunno… I’ll admit I adore me some beef heart.Report

              • Nob Akimoto Nob Akimoto says:

                For one, I’m not entirely convinced if the act of keeping livestock and then butchering them is actually an immoral act, particularly if they’re well cared for. (Factory farming is a different beast.)

                For the other, I am something of a foodie, and I do dislike the idea of only getting certain parts of a cow or a pig. This already happens far too much already of good, delicious organ meats being discarded because of visceral disgust issues associated with them.Report

              • Avatar Roger says:

                Oh. In other words we do more good by breeding a life, and perhaps providing a rewarding existence, then killing it quickly and painlessly, than we do harm?

                Does this apply only to livestock, or to humans as well? Just asking…Report

              • Avatar North says:

                I can’t imagine it could apply to humans. Humans have agency that livestock doesn’t.Report

              • Avatar Murali says:

                I’m pretty sure livestock have as much agency as toddlersReport

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Nob, that was only one ad. I’m sure there’ll be Labro-Liver and Heartificial products as well.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                Debatably Murali, but livestock don’t grow up to be full blown humans with full blown human agency either.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Oooh, I didn’t even think of that. That takes us right back to the pooch-eating debate, doesn’t it?Report

              • Avatar Roger says:

                Reminds me of the time someone suggested we build a low cost insurance product aimed at young people called “Down Low.”Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

                Thirtyish woman, attractive but not glamorous: “You know, my kids love hot dogs and burgers, but when they got older and realized where meat came from, they were heartbroken. Then I discovered Labro-meat, the humane alternative. Now look how happy they are!”

                Scene of wholesome-looking children at a picnic table, eating ecstatically. As the camera pans out to reveal that the scene is the top of an apartment building, the music fades in:

                When this old world starts getting me down
                And people are just too much for me to face
                I climb way up to the top of the stairs
                And all my cares just drift right into space

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      Now guilt by association outweighs actual guilt?Report

  5. Avatar Roger says:

    Elias should just add a regular feature to the LoOG.

    “365 reasons why I hate Romney”Report

    • Avatar North says:

      Pretty weak sauce. Should every post that can be cast in a negative light on Obama be retitled “365 reasons why I hate Obama”?Report

      • Avatar Roger says:

        Yeah, if someone wanted to do a daily feature on how much they hate Obama, the same criticism applies.

        We got it. You hate Romney/Obama ( delete whichever does not apply)Report

    • Bit of a stupid comment, really, since I’ve not only got lower-than-to-be-expected antipathy towards Mitt Romney, Public Figure — considering he’s the GOP nominee — but there’s also no part of this post whatsoever that has to do with Romney rather than the Romney Campaign.Report

    • Avatar wardsmith says:

      This Just In: Candidate Mitt Romney saves dozens of orphans from burning bus.

      Elias Isquith writes an OP:
      Romney contributes to population explosion AND global warming!

      But he’s fair and balanced, really.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        Man, I’m not sure you e ever read an actual liberal blog if Elias is your idea of an unfair hatchet guy I’m assuming not many.Report

      • Avatar North says:

        In what universe has Elias ~ever~ purported that he was fair and balanced? I thought fraudulently claiming to be unbiased (to say nothing of the F&B catchphrase) was copyrighted by Fox?

        Should we be expecting Rupert Murdoch’s storm trooper lawyers to start bursting in through the windows? I’d like to know so I can put out throw covers on the good furniture.Report

      • Puh-lease. You should read the stuff I save for my livejournal!Report

        • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

          I’m grateful, Elias. Yinning to your anti-Romney yang on the LoOG FP has been tempting but I don’t think it’s fair to the blog. I just sort of tuck these things in the comboxes, like the email I just got from my good and close friend Rance Priebus, chair of the Republican Party:

          What do Finnish cars, Mexican solar panels and Danish windmills have in common? They were all funded by your tax dollars.

          That’s right, taxpayer money, mostly in the form of stimulus funds, ended up in the hands of companies overseas instead of creating jobs here in America.

          For a full list of countries that benefitted from your hard earned money, click to view the Obamanomics Outsourced website here: http://www.obamanomicsoutsourced.com/Report

  6. Avatar Rtod says:

    I think I may be the only person in America that both doesn’t believe that Mitt didn’t approve, recommend or create strategies to take money off shores, and finds that he did so totally acceptable.

    I can’t understand why fiscal conservatives aren’t defending the actions, and instead trying to argue that he would never do such a thing.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      Didn’t you know Tod? Liberals are the real offshorers.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      More seriously, I think conservatives can’t defend the practice outright because neoliberalism isn’t particularly attractive to either party’s base.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        Agreed. Internally, I’m sure many conservatives have no problem with off-shoring, but they understand it doesn’t play that well for electoral purposes.Report

        • Avatar Scott Fields says:

          It doesn’t fit well with the America First rhetoric either.Report

        • I have to say, I thought I had a pretty decent handle on what matters to working class/working poor voters, but I’m genuinely surprised the offshoring attack has proven so much more effective than the Swiss/Cayman account or even the bankruptcy/layoff stories. Something about offshoring really, really pisses a lot of people off.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            Yeah, it does. And that’s why conservative pundits and folks like Tom are trying to neutralize its force by establishing a “both sides do it” narrative or the much more fun “liberals are the real offshorers” scenario.Report

          • Avatar Mo says:

            I think it’s because people’s experience with offshoring is either them/someone they care about losing a job or equating offshoring with Indian technical support/customer service. So either way it’s a negative experience. People don’t think of offshoring as, “You can get this amazing iPad for $500 instead of $900.”Report

          • Avatar CK MacLeod says:

            Cuz offshoring attacks (symbolically, at least) the fabric of the nation, while rich people burying their treasure along with whatever diggers’ corpses is business as usual if not what this country is all about?Report

            • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

              If it does (and there’s probably a good argument that it does) should not the issue be with public policy that encourages it? I hate to sound like Ayn Rand, but if Mitt were such a s**ty CEO that it never occurred to him to do what other competitors were legally doing to eat his lunch, he’d be a piss poor Execuive In Chief.

              Seriously, would we not be rolling our eyes if the Right were stoning Obama for taking a home office tax deduction when he was writing his books?Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                I mean really, do you realise Romney named his son Taggart? As in Dagny?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Word on the street is that Romney didn’t do this to stay competitive. He was an innovator when it came to offshoring American jobs. He was on the cutting edge.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Mitt Romney as innovator may be the most implausible claim yet.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I’ll see if I can dig that one up. I think it was at TPM. (I really need to bookmark the clippings if I’m gonna play this ridiculous game.) But like I said, it’s just the word -= a word – on the street. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Well, it’s the word on the street, but I tired of looking for any evidence to support it. Here’s a quote from TPM that’ll pretty much tell you what the state of play on this issue is.

                Romney has been suffering in the polls lately, partly because the Obama campaign has seized on a Washington Post report that Bain Capital invested in companies that were “pioneers” in outsourcing and offshoring. But RNC Chairman Reince Priebus seems to have found a GOP talking point to push back against the charges: a new RNC-backed website called “ObamanomicsOutsourced” and an accompanying press conference Tuesday to decry Obama as “outsourcer-in-chief,” the same phrase Democrats have used to describe Romney.”

                The title of the article has to do with rubber and glue.

                This is what politics in the US has become is. Ugh.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Whoops. I left out a thingy somewhere in there.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                (as Inspector Clouseau) “The thingy problaeym — is solvayed.”Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                The title of the article has to do with rubber and glue.

                This is what politics in the US has become. Ugh.

                Guess TPM liked it better when the Reps just took it in the shorts without responding. I don’t blame them.

                Over the last few months, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by whatever Rapid Response Team Romney’s put together. I’m not used to the GOP being anything but flatfooted in this game.

                Gingrich tried this Bain thing in the primaries and ended up abandoning it. Now, GOPers are not as susceptible to this stuff, but we’ll see if Obamans can make it stick. Coming out with this line of attack 3 1/2 months out seems a waste of good ammo to me. By November, it’s offshoringblahblahblah.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Moochas gracias BP.Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Coming out with this line of attack 3 1/2 months out seems a waste of good ammo to me. By November, it’s offshoringblahblahblah.

                It’s clear you’ve never made a living as a campaign manager. What’s actually more likely by November is, “not only offshoring but X, too!” If Obama’s team can make Romney look like a callous pro-Wall Street anti-Main Street jobs destroyer now, Romney has to spend his time battling against that definition instead of being able to spend that time defining himself.

                I have a friend who’s a former campaign manager, and I’ve gone to a couple of conferences held by the American Association of Campaign Consultants. I’m no true expert, and I wouldn’t want to run campaigns myself, but what you say doesn’t comport with what I’ve heard any of the professionals say.

                I’d say that Romney’s not keeping his powder dry; he’s just unable to expend it effectively because he’s having to put his time into putting out fires (well, that and fundraising, which he’s doing a very good job of, and which might just save him).Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Now, GOPers are not as susceptible to this stuff,

                Errrm. I don’t think the target audience is GOPers, Tom.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP says:

                Romney could be doing a better job of handling these allegations. It’s the Season of Slime and we must all wade around in it.

                Romney should grow a pair. What’s with his repudiation of Romneycare? Or his fairly-reasonable track record in Mass.? Shouldn’t he be running for political office?

                Curiously, the CAPE PAC site for Romney ranks higher on Google than Mitt Romney’s actual site. Here’s their latest mantra: Mitt Romney is focused on implementing a set of conservative principles to reinforce the America we once knew.

                That’s just bafflingly stupid rhetoric. CAPE PAC has some rum ideas about what Romney’s gonna actually do. “The American we once knew” — how far back is that? To the Halcyon Days of Yore, I suppose.

                Everyone sees what they want in these candidates. The Flip-Flop Mitt Romney who lost to Mike Huckleberry, where’s that guy gone? Or the guy who said he was a who once called himself a progressive?

                I think the old standby definitions of who votes for which party have been blown away in this campaign. I think people recognize that I’m not a partisan Republican—that I’m someone who is moderate, and that my views are progressive.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                Now, GOPers are not as susceptible to this stuff,

                Errrm. I don’t think the target audience is GOPers, Tom.

                Stillwater, I was acknowledging what didn’t work for Gingrich might still work for Obama.

                Fair and balanced.


          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

            Of course Obama’s attacks are false, but well played. Made the FP of the LoOG and everything.


          • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

            I wonder is it’s just cumulative; like if you jumbled up the timing of any of those three, would it just the last that broke through?Report

            • Avatar Stillwater says:

              I think it’s like this: the perception in the elctorate is that offshoring is a) about profit maximization, at the expense of b) US laborers. Nobody likes the sound of that. And the explanation, insofar as it’s legitimate, is so long winded it sounds like spin.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                It’s a dirty lie, Obama and his enablers got away with it, dog bites man, no big deal.Report

              • Avatar Trumwill Mobile says:

                Stillwater has it right, though (b) needs to be underlined about 50 times. The other accusations were shrugworthy at least in part because it’s dismissable as helping the AMERICAN economy. Outsourcing removes any sense of being in it together with the corporation. It clarifies the line between “us” and “them”.

                (I still disagree with it, but it’s not nearly as aggravating as some of the other Bain attacks. I should add that I also have a real problem with it if it is as untrue as TVD says it is.)Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Well, that’s the hot topic out of TPM. Josh Marshall thinks he’s got some pretty clear evidence of Romney saying he was still an executive at Bain when outsourcing was going on. Tom’s just denying, not responding to, Marshall’s evidence.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                “Hot topic out of TPM” amounts to warm spit. This is a non-issue.

                Despite Bain Attacks, Obama Still Struggling
                By Josh Kraushaar
                July 10, 2012 | 7:05 a.m.

                For all the attention paid to the effectiveness of President Obama’s Bain-themed attacks, it’s remarkable how Obama has been stuck right around 47 percent for a very long time. As the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza documented, the president’s team has handily outspent Romney and his allied super PACs, pouring in $91 million into eight swing states in an early spending barrage intended to make Romney seem an unacceptable challenger. But for all that effort, the numbers haven’t moved much at all: The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll out today shows the race deadlocked at 47 percent. Yesterday’s USA Today/Gallup swing state poll showed Obama statistically tied with Romney, the exact same result the survey showed one month ago.


          • Avatar Robert Greer says:

            I think offshoring is different because it’s the only pseudo-scandal that touches the “nativism” nerve, and the barely-subtextual racism that goes along with it. I have a fair bit of experience with working-class whites, and it’s pretty shocking how uniformly they’re disgusted with the idea of buying something made in China. Even if most working-class whites buy stuff from other countries, doing so is a pretty major faux pas in that culture.

            I think attitudes toward international trade are one of the biggest differences between elites and the typical voter. It’s been pretty amusing to see how oblivious Republican leaders have been to this lately.Report

  7. Avatar joey Jo jo says:

    The first rule at The league of ordinary gentle persons: the longer a comment discussion goes, the probability of the framing of the discussion turning to: “oh yeah, but Obama did this possibly related thing” approaches one.
    But it keeps one person happy.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      Sorry triple J, it’s only tu quoque when used by right wingers against the left. It’s like Jesus; the left isn’t allowed to use it against the right.Report

      • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

        FTR, I reported the tu quoque from the horserace angle. Obama’s Solyandra etc. stimulus debacles will be played in due time during the campaign in their own right.

        Tu quoques are entirely valid when it’s an either/or choice as in a 2-party system, BTW. That should be a duh.Report

        • Avatar North says:

          I don’t follow Tom, you’ve been poo-pooing ty quoque arguements between Dems and Republicans for ages now. Were any of those previous ones any less a choice between two parties?Report

          • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

            Actually, Mr. North, I poo-poo “Dems are bad but Reps are worse” charade that pretends to evenhandedness.

            The tu quoques is most egregious when the sins of current Dems, be it Obama or the 2008-2010 Congress [technically 2009-2011], are dismissed by invoking Bush or the Bush-GOP congress of 2001-2007.

            There is some—but not a lot—currency to invoking the Bush-era congress, but as we know, Bush himself is outta here. Might as well invoke Nixon. Although we have an oldtimer or two hereabouts who does so unashamedly. 😛

            As for tu quoques in a 2-man race, critical thinking dictates that if both candidates share the same flaw, it’s a push.

            In this outsourcing matter, it’s all propaganda and not worth litigating. Obama wins this round regardless of the worthiness of his argument.

            But he’ll have his turn on the pillory later in the campaign as to the stimulus, as in, “Dude, what did you do with that trillion we gave you?”Report

            • Avatar North says:

              So, “Dems are bad but Reps are worse” is a charade pretending at evenhandedness but your “Reps are bad but Dems are worse” here is not?

              I mean I’ll be the first to say it’s obvious that the two parties are bad on spending but if this is a push then why do we talk about it all the time?Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                I look at the best of the two parties, not the worst. I think there are substantive differences between the worldviews of the parties and I go from there.

                I think that most of my fellow Americans in the other party are good people and I don’t need to demonize them to disagree with them or win a debate with them. I think my party has the better ideas and am willing to defend them.

                In the case of the Democrats of 2012, and don’t believe they can make the math work. Otherwise, their ideas are just groovy.

                Howzat, Mr. North?Report

              • Avatar North says:

                Not bad, I feel almost the same about the GOP.Report

              • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

                I want to believe that. Let’s see.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                I said almost. There are elements of the GOP that necessarily make their relationship with me similar to the relationship of Thanksgiving to turkeys. Due to that I’m necessarily stuck being their implacable foe.Report

      • Avatar joey jo jo shabadoo jr. says:

        shorter TVD: i reject the OP’s framing and substitute my own. Repeat on each thread.Report

  8. Avatar wardsmith says:

    Why would a company offshore in the first place? Is it really all about lower wages? What about infrastructure, schooling, a competent work force, security, logistics, import and export duties, graft? There are lots of headaches to offshoring so the companies who engage in it are doing so for very good reasons.

    My brother in law is a director at Foxconn. They had numerous plants in the Silicon Valley area. They ultimately moved to China because they needed WAY more people and space than SV could provide. Just ONE factory in China has over 400,000 employees. Where in the US could you place a factory and immediately hire that many people? And then there are the onerous burdensome regulations in the US for doing… anything.

    It is no wonder we outsource and while liberals bemoan outsourcing the laws liberals have promoted and passed for the last 40 years have DIRECTLY led to the anti-business environment in this country that predicated outsourcing in the first place.Report

    • Avatar Yukon Cornelius says:

      There are lots of headaches to offshoring so the companies who engage in it are doing so for very good reasons.

      E.g. to impress investors with how concerned they were about cost-cutting, whether it actually cuts costs or not. And yes, I’ve seen this first-hand.Report

      • Avatar wardsmith says:

        Yukon, I am always happy to add companies who offshore without thoroughly thinking it through to my short-sell list. Just like ill-conceived mergers, offshoring is not a panacea for bad management. What you outsource and why is at least if not more important than the money (often supposedly) saved.Report

        • Avatar BlaiseP says:

          A local manufacturer of disc drive components decided they’d move to Thailand. Put their plant in the same area as all the other similar outfits, so they could play little games with qualified workers, as in China, where a whole town might sew shirts.

          Didn’t work out so good for them. But it worked out great for me, because my g/f who worked there and got laid off is now going back to school. Some other people in this apartment building are working at HTI as temps. It’s a huge clusterfugg.Report

      • Avatar Morat20 says:

        Outsourcing and offshoring look really, really good for several quarters. It’s got an up-front costs, then projected/sustaining costs drop like a rock, and the long-term picture looks rosy.

        Which is really great for stock prices, and the current management — and the board.

        The problem is, especially in technical fields, the savings don’t tend to hold up in the long term. It tends to either be a wash, or cost more. I’m speaking as a software engineer — it tends to cost a lot more. I know it’s true in aerospace as well (Boeing got hammered on it and wasted a TON of money because they outsourced all their expertise — and ended up having to rehire a bunch of people as expensive consultants and spend tons of time rejecting outsourced manufacturing because it didn’t meet specs.)

        A lot of outsourcing, at least, seems to fit a pattern — you slash labor costs by outsourcing to someone with a low bid. Your company looks stronger, your stock prices go up, your board gets bonuses, your consultants who advised you get bonuses — then two years later projects are behind, total labor costs are higher because all the savings have evaporated with all the extra work (and consultants you had to hire) to keep things running with whomever you outsourced it to, and the final product is late.

        But everyone important has already gotten their money and half the board has gone to greener pastures, and anyways they all exercised their stock options when the stock price soared.

        Manufacturing is a bit different than outsourcing designs or engineering, but even then — you tend to get a lot shoddier products and a lot more returns. You get what you pay for.Report

        • Avatar Roger says:


          The neat thing about your theory is that if it is correct, anyone who believes it can make a fortune on the stock market. It is totally testable. Do you care to test it with your money?Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      There are lots of headaches to offshoring so the companies who engage in it are doing so for very good reasons.

      Profit motive. Is there really anything to in addition to that?Report

      • Avatar wardsmith says:

        You’ve cracked the code Sillwater! Businesses appear to be in business to make a profit! Tape at 11.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 says:

          Pity it’s not always a long-term profit. Or a total profit. I’m always shocked by how short-term and small picture business folks can be at times.

          Boeing’s latest plane is a good example.Report

          • Avatar James Hanley says:


            Yes, it’s a pity businessmen aren’t more perfect than other human beings. But it’s also good to keep in mind that it’s much easier to say what they ought to do when we’re not the ones actually responsible for those decisions.

            As to the Boeing Dreamliner, how is that a good example? From what I understand they have a very large number of orders, enough to keep them in business–and people working–for a good number of years. But I’m no expert on it, so I may be missing an important part of the picture.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      Are we certain off-shoring/out-sourcing is wholly and inherently evil?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        People who used to have jobs but saw their jobs get outsourced overseas are likely to be swing voters.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy says:

          I understand the political implications and why some folks might hate it, but that doesn’t really answer the question.

          Could WalMart and Target offer their low prices if there was no offshoring? If not, how many people would be impacted by the price bump?

          I’m not necessarily endorsing offshoring, but it does seem worth considering all the pros and cons of it…Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            Oh, it was fine when they offshored people who weren’t in my field. When they started offshoring people in my specialty? That’s just a bridge too far.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            That’s one of the things about offshoring… the costs are a lot more apparent than the benefits.Report

            • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

              I think it’ll swing back. This is a good country to do business in, after we straighten a few things out.


            • Avatar Kazzy says:

              Can anyone speak comprehensively of the benefits?

              On a related note, I remember having a fleeting moment where I thought, “Man, EZPass is putting a lot of people out of work. That sucks!” And it does suck to lose your job. But you know what? EZPass is hugely beneficial. It is cheaper than employing tollbooth workers, saving a ton of money. It is also remarkably convenient. Which has other, very real financial implications. I don’t know the calculations, but I would imagine that as the system has become more widespread, it has had a positive (as in good) impact on transportation costs, as trucks spend less time sitting in traffic, get their wares delivered faster, etc. This, theoretically, helps keeps cost down. Etc, etc.

              Also, the jobs don’t simply disappear. They simply go elsewhere. I’m sure there are very real benefits to a growing working or middle class in those other countries. Again, it’s just hard to see them.

              Does a downsized worker care if his job gets moved across the country or across the globe? Should he? Are the practical consequences different for him?Report

              • Avatar James Hanley says:

                Criticism of outsourcing does invite us to ask the question of what borders matter. From the perspective of my state, jobs moving to Georgia is no different than jobs moving to Thailand. From the perspective of my town, jobs moving across the state is no different than jobs moving to Georgia.

                Should we break up into ever smaller economic units with stronger restrictions on cross-border trade, or should we coalesce into ever-larger economic units with fewer restrictions? Is there any non-nativist argument for why the U.S. as currently constituted is the proper sized economic unit, where out-sourcing from Michigan to Hawai’i is OK, bit outsourcing from Michigan to next-door Ontario is not?Report

              • Avatar Roger says:


                Off shoring is just one aspect of free trade. And economists are so close to unanimous on the benefits of free trade as to make it a virtual litmus test of the profession.


        • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

          You hit it, JB. Blame Romney for losing your job or vote for him to get one back, because the other fellow hasn’t been much help in that regard.Report

    • “They ultimately moved to China because they needed WAY more people and space than SV could provide. Just ONE factory in China has over 400,000 employees.”

      So, it’s at least a little bit about wages. To hire 400,000 people in one factory probably suggests the business owner(s) wants to pay as low a price as possible for that labor. No big surprise there, as you’d point out.

      As you’ve also pointed out, regulations have their downside. And it’s hard to find a good balance between regulations that protect 3d parties and employees and regulations that discourage investment. However, before we trot out the example of police officers issuing citation’s to 9 year olds for their lemonade stands, I suggest that the possible benefits of regulations go both ways, and they are not solely an imposition on THE BUSINESS OWNERS WHO MAKE AMERICA GREAT.Report

      • Avatar BlaiseP says:

        Actually, Hon Hai dba Foxconn employs over 1,200,000 people. A good many of them live in iPad City, in dormitories. That’s what we need, a well-regulated marketplace.Report

  9. Avatar trizzlor says:

    Romney’s off-shore investments sound innocuous until you find out that he’s been fudging the numbers:

    The 2010 tax return showed that the blind trust held by his wife, Ann, included a $3 million Swiss bank account that had not been properly reported on previous financial disclosure statements. (The account was closed by the trust manager in 2010 who feared it might become embarrassing for the campaign. He was right.)

    and the checks keep rolling in:

    Mr. Romney also has not fully explained the nature of his separation agreement with Bain Capital, the private-equity firm he founded, which he left in 1999. Last month, his trust reported receiving a $2 million payment from Bain as part of unpaid earnings from his work there.

    Blaise is right, Obama’s been playing bitch-slap politics with this and Romney needs to disclose everything he’s got and push right back – “I’m proud of being a successful businessman and I’ll use that experience to be a successful president”. Of course, doing so means talking about those skeletons in the portfolio that are bound to pop up and Romney’s pathologically incapable of staking out a strong position and defending it. Instead we get the rubber/glue defense where Romney’s surrogates pretend like they don’t see a difference between Valerie Jarrett, presidential adviser with a mutual fund, and Mitt Romney, presidential nominee with a tax shelter.

    How long before Romney does a big speech on money and then disavow his accountant?Report

    • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

      NYT hatchet job, mostly innuendo. The soggy gotcha is buried in the end.

      Mr. Romney said this week that he had no idea where the blind trust had put his money

      Oh, but let’s ignore that part.

      A more conscientious politician would have urged his blind trusts to have nothing to do with shelters not available to the general public.

      Uh huh. that’s it? Any sane person would say Romney found some killer blind trust people. Any principled editorialist wouldn’t have made such a vague moralizing bleat.

      “Conscientious?” Right, as if Barack Obama or John Kerry or anybody at the NYTimes or pays more taxes than they’re required to. Bill Clinton deducted giving his used underwear to the poor.

      Mr. Trizz, it all sounds ominous at the beginning but at the end it’s empty. And look, I found all that dogging on Clinton fun, but it reached a point where it all added up to nothing.Report

      • Avatar trizzlor says:

        Agreed, the NYT lays it on thick in their sudden quest for public vigilance, but the facts are not in dispute: Romney is severely conservative in releasing his returns compared to other nominees; and from what we do have it’s clear that he’s been shifting around and under-reporting for political reasons. Don’t know about you, but moving my Bermuda tax-shelter money into my wife’s blind trust the day before I get sworn in as governor isn’t a common occurrence at Casa de Trizzlor. Romney could easily end all of the speculation with full disclosure – as most candidates have done in the past – the mere fact that he’s chosen not to is justification enough to press him on it. You don’t get any gimmees when your job includes nuclear launch codes.Report

        • Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

          Mr. Trizz, nuclear war is a bridge way too far from this crap, which let’s face it, is a waste of all of our time. Our Treasury secretary is undisputedly a tax cheat fer crissakes.

          And hey, if he can do the job, it’s a quibble.

          President Romney would/will try to lower the unemployment rate. I’m sure President Obama wants to, but I think he has too many codicils and concerns in the way—organized labor, the enviros, universal healthcarists, tax “fairness,” class struggle, and, jeez, I’m realizing how many clocks Obama has to punch before he even gets out of bed.

          And that’s what this election’s really about. Cutting isn’t going to get us out of this mess either. We have to grow our way out of it.Report

          • Avatar trizzlor says:

            Well Tom, Romney will definitely try to lower the tax rate, what that does to unemployment won’t get hashed out in a blog comments section. But c’mon, when the other guy turns his back you gotta slap a “Kick Me” sign on him – that’s just how politics works. If you’re explaining you’re losing! Plus it’s a lot more fun than trying to figure out if the swing voter will see his shadow over this thing or that other one.Report

  10. Avatar Tom Van Dyke says:

    Trizz: “If you’re explaining you’re losing!”

    Damn right. Hence the Romneyite counterattack. Counterattacks only need to break even, to get the vampires off your neck.

    Valerie Barrett’s Bermuda account? Who the fish cares?

    BTW, who’s this Valerie Barrett person anyway? A White House bigwig? The Obamas’ BFF? Mebbe we should ask some questions about her/him/it. Some combination of Karl Rove and Bebe Rebozo?

    This hasn’t even started getting interesting yet.Report

  11. Avatar Jaybird says:

    At this point I’m wondering if a recalcitrant Congress and a lame duck President would get less done than a Congress and President who argue that since they’re the same party then they have a “mandate”.

    I can see how some might argue that the Supreme Court is important but… it’s not like either one is going to nominate someone qualified for the position.Report