“American” Corporations Adding More Jobs Overseas Than at Home
Many corporations refer to themselves as American companies, but that statement does not mean what it used to. Most of our largest corporations are now multinational, with little loyalty to their home country. With unemployment holding steady at unacceptably high levels, adding jobs is more important than ever. Unfortunately the largest corporations seem to be investing in jobs overseas while leaving the American labor force behind. With job-killing free trade agreements in place, there is little incentive to do otherwise.
The Wall Street Journal recently did an analysis of job creation by the 35 largest corporations who file their employment statistics with the federal government. Over the past two years these companies have added 113,000 jobs in the United States, but they added 333,000 jobs overseas in that same time period. Just a few of the companies included are GE, Caterpillar and International Paper, all of which are manufacturers of goods and all of which added substantially more jobs overseas than they did in the United States.
Some would argue that American companies adding jobs anywhere in the world is beneficial, but this argument falls flat. Many times these jobs that are added overseas are direct, lower cost replacements for American jobs. Additionally, the profits that are derived from these jobs are rarely brought back to the United States. Instead, they are kept in offshore tax-haven accounts.
The president has proposed giving tax incentives to companies that bring jobs back to the United States while penalizing those that outsource. Republicans have insisted that the problem is that taxes are too high on American corporations. It is true that we need to create favorable conditions for American corporations to be able to compete, but there are clearly bigger problems than taxes. GE effectively pays no taxes, yet they continue to cut jobs in the United States while creating them overseas.
These large corporations are some of the most fervent lobbyists for new free trade agreements. Multinationals push for these free trade policies, while the American people have expressed their displeasure with these agreements over and over. These agreements are what makes it profitable for corporations to manufacture overseas rather than here in the United States. Corporations may operate overseas for a variety of reasons, but low-cost labor and low or nonexistent environmental and labor standards are certainly part of the allure. By repealing our free trade policies we could make it more attractive for them to move operations back home, where they would have to operate under the standards Americans have worked hard to establish.