Michelle Nunn has been getting a lot of traction on the “shipping jobs overseas” rhetoric in an effort to paint her opponent, David Purdue, as unsympathetic to American workers. It’s a tactic toward anyone who is in business to them demagogue for shipping jobs overseas, just like they did to Romney in 2012.
Michelle’s cheap shots have lead her to create an ad campaign specifically focused on this narrative. Hours of countless searching has turned up a deposition from 2005, during which David Perdue “answered a question about his ‘experience’ with outsourcing by saying: ‘Yeah, I spent most of my career doing that.’”
Unfortunately, she made a bad decision about whom she chose to highlight — it turns out the ad features a businessman, Roy Richards Jr, whose company has also outsourced jobs. Perhaps she should have done her homework on him instead.
Politifact of Georgia couldn’t even make the stretch that Purdue’s career outsourcing meant that he “was proud to have sent jobs overseas”. Politifact noted, “it is accurate to claim Perdue’s sworn statement is that he spent most of his business career outsourcing. But that doesn’t translate into callous indifference to American workers – or even a tenure that did nothing more than ship jobs abroad. We continue to rate the claim Half True.”
The Washington Examiner goes more in-depth to the nature of his business dealings:
“Perdue was not referring to outsourcing as most understand it – that is, the process of firing American workers in favor of cheap labor overseas — but rather a business plan for his former company, Pillowtex, to save some American jobs, as Politifact noted.
“There is nothing to suggest he was narrowly moving jobs overseas just to increase profits or give himself a bonus,” said Rob Bliss, a finance professor at Wake Forest University in an interview with Politifact. “Moving jobs overseas would have been an effort to make the company more competitive. It’s a perfectly legitimate thing to do.”
Politifact also noted other companies where Perdue worked that did outsource jobs, but said those companies were “in industries where jobs were being lost to both cheaper foreign production — outsourcing — and also to technology and global business trends far outside his scope of control.”
As for the outsourcing attack ad trying to substantiate, National Review Online called it “seriously hypocritical” since the featured businessman apparently also engaged in outsourcing at his own company. The Atlantic Journal-Constitution gives a rundown here. And NRO noted that “Cato’s Dan Ikenson has explained in Forbes, relocating jobs overseas can have as much to do with costs for customers, proximity to supply chains, or interest in new consumer markets as it does with labor costs and profitability.” Simply put, it’s a stretch to boil down “outsourcing” as simply disdain for the American worker for the sake of profit. But that is what Michelle Nunn wants you to believe
Businesses continuously make decisions about where to get jobs and how to keep a company afloat. If the policy here is making it difficult to succeed and compete, or the market and demand has changed, that’s not the fault of the business owner. They must be willing to adapt or risk going out of business. Someone as ignorant as Michelle Nunn about basic economics should not be elected to Senate.