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Offshore outsourcing and our 'best interest'

In response to the Perspectives column written by Declan McCullagh, "Offshoring and the 2004 elections":

I'm all for globalization and the idea that every country should have a chance at participating in our free-market economy. If a U.S. company wants to expand overseas, then by all means, it should be able to open an office wherever it pleases.

However, if a profitable billion-dollar company moves an existing U.S. job offshore for the sole purpose of cutting costs, it has nothing to do with free-market competition or free trade. It's about money. Companies with practices like these are exactly why antitrust legislation exists.

Large corporations have as much financial power and influence as some countries, and the only ethics imposed on these companies are imposed by U.S. law. Companies cannot be left to police themselves, because they won't act in our best interest.

In addition to companies having no scruples, we can't guarantee that other countries will uphold the ideas of free-market competition. What happens when we are in the position where competition sends the jobs back here? Why would another country send jobs our way? I can tell you that they won't, because countries on this planet always act in their own best interest first.

You can intellectualize this issue until you're blue in the face. Until you spend four to six years of college and five years of professional work doing something--and then are forced to train your replacement before being canned--you can't underestimate the devastation of offshore outsourcing.

I'm not saying that we should stop companies from moving offshore altogether, because that's not realistic. However, as a country and a people, we must act in our best interest. We must pass legislation that will tax U.S. companies that move their work offshore and put tariffs on services rendered to the U.S. from foreign companies.

Michael H. Smith
Sacramento, Calif.