How outsourcing affects the US economy is a matter of great debate. For those to the political right, this practice will have an overall positive effect on the US economy, since it saves money for companies, opens up opportunities for greater entrepreneurship in the US, and leads to more Americans holding higher level jobs. Critics suggest hiring foreign workers has an immediate effect on the US economy by stripping many Americans of jobs they would have performed, particularly by semi-skilled or skilled laborers. The way that companies are taxed based on outsourcing may decrease a corporation’s tax debt and thus decrease federal spending.
Both sides on this issue and all those who try to navigate a middle road between the two sides, have some valid points. It is true that outsourcing has led to job loss in the US, and has had a detrimental effect on those people who may be only minimally qualified to work. It’s also the case that there are plenty of skilled labor jobs being outsourced to foreign countries. The loss is not only to people with minimal job skills.
A problem for those Americans who are impoverished, and might take minimal skill jobs is that it is now much harder to get jobs of this type. When President Clinton enacted the Welfare to Work plan in the 1990s, he was attempting to encourage people to get back to work so as to reduce government spending in welfare. Unfortunately, with fewer jobs available for unskilled workers, people may find themselves in exceptional poverty. Poverty does not benefit the US economy since it reduces consumer spending and tax revenues.
Even in the middle classes, there are plenty of jobs that are now outsourced. This has been particularly the case in the computer and technology industry. Again, inability to find work means inability to purchase homes, spend money, and profit companies. When people don’t buy, corporations that produce things don’t make money, which can thus “trickle down” to fewer jobs available and a greater desire to outsource to make things more cheaply so they will be more attractive to consumers.
Those supporting outsourcing say that lowering expenses of corporations will create jobs. There are plenty of government agencies that outsource some of their work, saving them millions of dollars, a direct effect on the US economy and on federal spending. A common theory contends that being able to pay people lower wages for work means that companies will be able to produce things with less expense and transfer this saving to consumers. Lower prices may mean more consumer spending, and companies will be able to hire more workers in the US because they’re paying less for workers outside of it.
Further, many argue that giving jobs to workers in less developed countries improves those countries economically and increases trade for US products. It also increases a country’s ability to pay back debts to the US, and may promote better political relationships. Companies economically benefit by selling their products in other countries. This means they can hire more people in the US, lower their prices on products for US consumers.
There is another “side” to the issue of outsourcing that needs to be addressed. Not all people in other countries economically benefit from outsourced jobs, and some companies aren’t dedicated to providing humane working conditions. Outsourced work may be performed by children, or in inhumane working conditions. Abuses of foreign employees might not benefit US trade or political relationships.
Outsourcing remains a difficult issue, but it does remain. Virtually no one, on any side of the argument concedes that outsourcing can be eliminated completely. There are those who feel that corporations are evading taxes and depriving the government of needed money and suggest corporations should be taxed for outsourcing, and rewarded for keeping jobs within the US. Others feel the temporary loss of jobs will be followed by greater economic growth in the US and will ultimately be worth the cost.