The View From 1776
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
Education vs Outsourcing
Surprisingly little attention is paid to one main reason for outsourcing of jobs to foreign countries.
Outsourcing jobs to foreign countries has become a hot-button political issue. French socialist John Kerry proposes to wave his magic socialist wand and command that American companies cease to move jobs overseas and that they bring the jobs back to our shores.
Kerry, in common with his liberal-socialist fellows, denounces American companies as traitorous and heartless. The initial slowness of job growth in the U.S., according to Kerry, is both the fault of President Bush’s tax reductions and the villainous nature of private business. These are no-nos in the catechism of French social justice.
But one major cause for outsourcing is, for good reason, ignored by the liberal-socialists: the abysmal quality of American education. Liberal-socialist politicians get massive and critical financial and organizational support from the socialist teachers’ unions like the NEA and New York’s UFT.
When you think about it, poor education is an obvious reason for outsourcing. American companies can go to India and find laborers whom they need pay only a few cents per hour. But that’s of no use in computer-programming or engineering jobs. Indian workers hired for those jobs must be both less expensive and well-educated.
The handwriting began appearing on the wall a few years ago. CEOs of Silicon Valley companies began frantically petitioning Congress to liberalize the immigration laws allowing qualified engineers to obtain visas to work in this country. That wasn’t because those immigrant engineers were being paid less than their American colleagues. It was because there simply were not enough qualified American workers coming out of our educational system.
Friends tell me that today’s high school graduates, while natively intelligent, are so poorly schooled that they are unfit for work even as sales clerks. So few of them can read, write, add, subtract, multiply, and divide numbers that, even in bad economic times, stores continually plead for employable help.
A young Russian couple down the street from me came here with limited English-speaking ability. The wife immediately got a job as a bank teller, because she was the only applicant who could do basic math correctly and rapidly.
Doubtless, lower costs per unit of output is a big factor in outsourcing. But, as long as we have a school system that concentrates on building false self-esteem and inculcating socialistic attitudes via multi-cultural education and speech-and-behavior codes, we must expect to fall behind other countries at an accelerating rate.