Economics

Outsourcing/insourcing contradictions

Even longwinded SOTU speeches can provide amusement if one plows through the text. So it is with President Obama’s treatment of the goal to “bring manufacturing back” to U.S. shores. Without getting into the weeds of international tax policy, President Obama proposes to tilt the playing field strongly against U.S. corporations that invest abroad in order to keep up with global competition: specifically, he would take tax dollars away from such firms and give them to firms that bring jobs back to the United States.

There’s a lot wrong with this jiggling, but here let’s point to an obvious contradiction: just a few moments later, Obama praised the German multinational Siemens for building a gas turbine factory in North Carolina and providing a job for the (inevitably) “single mom,” Jackie Bray. By the logic of the president’s thesis, however, German Chancellor Angela Merkel must surely respond by punishing Siemens. Similarly, by extension the Korean government should jerk the chain on Hyundai’s plants, as should the Japanese government for Toyota’s U.S. plants. Does the president really want to go down this job-destroying path? And where was the Council of Economic Advisers when this economic nonsense was written into this SOTU campaign speech?

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