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The outsourcing of the presidency

By Justin Ramos

Outsourcing is a slippery-slope; the logic is, by moving jobs overseas, we increase the demand for American goods in these regions, and thus America sees a rise in prosperity here at home. It's hard to get that point across to the 8 million Americans without jobs, though.


They view the trend of outsourcing labor to countries where the cost of living is lower, and workers are therefore payed less, as detrimental to an American way of life. The unemployment rate has held steady at 5.6 percent for much of 2004, and there are still 300,000 Americans every week applying for unemployment benefits for the first time. The prosperity and enrichment outsourcing provides that the Bush administration continually posits isn't being seen by the American people in the short-term, where it matters for most, as they struggle to keep themselves, and their families, afloat.

Forrester Research, the Massachusetts-based technology research company, announced in November 2003 that 830,000 US service-sector jobs will move outside the borders by the end of 2004, with a projected total of 3.3 million leaving by 2015. That amounts to 15,000 jobs leaving the US every week this year. Even the most fundamentally "American" tasks that could be handled here in the U.S. are finding their way overseas.

In early 2002, the Republican National Committee contracted the Capital Communications Group, a Washington-based consulting firm, to solicit campaign contributions for Bush's 2004 presidential run. CCG in turn outsourced this work to HCL America, a division of HCL Technologies, an India-based technology firm headed by billionaire Shiv Nadar.

Two offices located in Noida and Gurgaon, India, under the direction of HCL BPO Services in Delhi, handled solicitation of campaign contributions for President Bush from May 16, 2002 until July 22, 2003. Seven teams, totaling roughly 125 employees, worked for $9.75/hour calling individuals in America from a voters' database provided by the RNC, and secured an estimated $10 million dollars in contributions, close to 6 percent of the total amount Bush has collected thus far. They did not directly handle any money; their task was to obtain pledges to donate this money, and the RNC followed-through with them and received their contribution.

With the abundance of RNC-volunteers in America, coupled with the $9.75/hour pay rate, I find it hard to believe that a task such as this couldn't have been handled by Americans. True, it is an almost insignificant number of jobs created compared to the total job losses seen in the US every week, but I fail to see how the responsibility of raising support for an American president can be in any way outsourced.

What this says to me is that it is not a strong-base of Americans working towards a common goal of seeing their candidate in office that wins an election, but the amount of money their parties can accumulate that will propel them to the top, regardless of how that money is collected. Providing 125 Americans a job for 14 weeks is a more worthy goal, in my mind, than cutting costs and shipping those jobs overseas, and would instill a notion of being politically involved I feel is lacking from most in America today.

Call me a purist, but I find it ridiculous that 125 unemployed, qualified Republicans couldn't be found in the U.S. and given $9.75/hour to help elect their candidate. Something as intrinsically "American" as working to elect an official in the U.S., getting involved in the political process in your own town, state, and country, and helping to raise support and awareness for a candidate which best represents your ideals and vision should be left to Americans, and those without jobs in the U.S. should be provided the opportunity to do just that.

George Bush himself has stated that "a job is more than a source of income — it is also a source of dignity." It would have been a bold statement for the RNC to have taken 125 unemployed Americans and provided them with income, with the dignity the President has declared comes along with it, in order to show that their party has a direct interest in any and all Americans without jobs who have the desire to work, and gotten more Americans involved in the political process along the way.

Instead, they choose to hand out contracts that were outsourced, leaving 125 Americans still without jobs, without dignity, and themselves disconnected as ever from the actual needs and suffering of the American people


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