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Outsourcing Report: Republicans Rewarding Corporations that Ship U.S. Jobs Overseas

“The Republicans in Washington claimed to draw their ideas from a website called ‘America Speaking Out.' It turns out that one of the ideas that's drawn the most interest on their website is ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. Funny thing is, when we recently closed one of the most egregious loopholes for companies creating jobs overseas, Republicans in Congress were almost unanimously opposed. The Republican leader John Boehner attacked us for it, and stood up for outsourcing, instead of American workers.”
- President Obama, 9/25/10

While House Democrats are working on a “Make It In America” manufacturing strategy to spur American job creation and innovation, Republicans have blocked all efforts to clamp down on tax breaks for corporations shipping jobs overseas. 

During the Bush Administration, Republicans fought to keep, and even expand, these kinds of tax loopholes.  The Bush-Republican policies on outsourcing hurt American families and the economy - and left us with the worst American jobs record since the Great Depression.  For example, under the Republican agenda, U.S. multinationals eliminated 1 million American jobs while adding 2.5 million jobs abroad (1999- 2007), and U.S. multinationals more than doubled the income they reinvested overseas (2002-2008). 

Republicans Ignore the Demands of the American People

Congressional Republicans admit they want to take us back to the “exact same” failed economic policies of Bush that drove us into the ditch.  In the just-released GOP “Pledge,” Republicans rejected the demands of the American people to include any proposal to stop outsourcing and save American jobs, even though this garnered the 'most interest' on the Republican public outreach effort website.  They also promised to rollback any 'tax increases' presumably including just-passed efforts to eliminate tax breaks for shipping jobs overseas.

The GOP Record on Shipping American Jobs Overseas

  • Over the last four years, Republicans have voted eleven times to protect:
    • Tax breaks for corporations that ship American jobs overseas
    • Off-shore tax havens for corporations and the wealthiest Americans 
    • Tax loopholes for CEOs deferred compensation paid by off-shore companies, foreign tax haven corporations dodging U.S. taxes, and Americans who renounce their citizenship
      These tax breaks cost American taxpayers over $60 billion
  • Under President Bush, Republicans voted 8 times to expand tax breaks for outsourcing and protect offshore tax havens.  The Republicans:
    • Enacted legislation to provide $42 billion in tax breaks for offshore operations of U.S. corporations, encouraging the shipping of U.S. jobs overseas. 
    • Voted to protect tax shelters for corporations relocating overseas to avoid paying taxes. 
    • Voted to protect government contracts for these corporate expatriates. 
    • Voted against help for workers whose jobs were outsourced and against even a study on outsourcing of U.S. jobs. 
  • Who's pushing this wildly unpopular agenda?  The Republican outsourcing agenda is being lavishly promoted by a leading outsourcer's political advertising and organizing.  According to Forbes' magazine, Koch Industries is America's 2nd largest private corporation and the Koch brothers are individually the 4th and 5th richest Americans.  They have spent hundreds of millions of dollars influencing American politics and elections to protect their corporate interests--funding Tea Party activities as well as TV ads.  Subsidiary corporations have been cited as leading outsourcers of American jobs by advocacy groups and the news media.

 

Appendix

Costs of Bush-Republican Policies

Republicans have long subscribed to the misguided notion that our national job creation strategy should be as follows:  subsidize foreign investment and foreign jobs of multinational corporations, cross your fingers, and hope that jobs trickle back to the United States. This, along with tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, left American workers and the economy in tatters.

  • This approach to job creation espoused by President Bush and supported by Rep. Boehner was, in the words of the Wall Street Journal, “The worst track record for job creation since the government began keeping records.”  [1/9/2009]
  • From 1999 to 2007, U.S. multinationals eliminated 1 million jobs at homes while adding 2.5 million jobs abroad. [Martin Sullivan, Tax Notes, February 8, 2010]
  • U.S. multinational companies more than doubled the amount of income that they permanently reinvested overseas between 2002 and 2008. 
    • As of 2008, the top 273 U.S. multinational corporations had $1 trillion of earnings permanently reinvested overseas. 
    • In 2002, the top 296 U.S. multinational corporations had $381 billion of earnings permanently reinvested overseas. [Wunder, Tax Notes, October 6, 2009]
  • American multinational corporations and banks use offshore tax havens to avoid $37 billion in federal taxes each year, with 83 of the 100 largest publicly traded U.S. corporations and 63 of the 100 largest federal contractors with at least one subsidiary in a tax haven. [Business and Investors Against Tax Haven Abuse, 7/20/10]

GOP Record: Last Four Years

99% of Republicans Voted To Protect Tax Breaks for Companies Who Ship American Jobs Overseas.  Republicans opposed legislation that closed tax loopholes that encourage companies to move American jobs overseas in order to pay for protecting the jobs of over 300,000 police, firefighters, and teachers. “The provisions in this jobs bill close existing loopholes that, to use Mr. Boehner's words, ‘make it more expensive to create jobs in the United States and less expensive to create jobs overseas. In fact, these loopholes can result in U.S. corporations enjoying a negative effective tax rate on their offshore investment income. This creates a strong incentive for U.S. corporations to shift profits offshore, either through accounting gimmicks or by moving actual operations and jobs offshore.” [CTJ] [Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act, HR 1586, #518, 8/10/10] This bill became law over Republican objections. (PL 111-226)

99% of Republicans Opposed Small Business Relief Paid For By Closing Outsourcing Tax Breaks.  In July, Republicans opposed legislation that would have reduced paperwork and reporting requirements for small businesses and been paid for by ending tax breaks that encourage companies to move American jobs overseas. [Small Business Tax Relief Act, H.R. 5982, Vote 514, 7/30/10; The Hill, 7/30/10]

99% of Republicans Opposed Legislation to End Tax Breaks for Companies Who Ship American Jobs Overseas.  In May, Republicansopposed the American Jobs, Closing Tax Loopholes and Preventing Outsourcing Act, legislation that would prevent corporations from using current U.S. foreign tax credit rules to subsidize their foreign activities and create up to 1 million jobs by restoring credit to small businesses, extending tax incentives for American R&D and energy, rebuilding American infrastructure, expanding youth jobs, and providing tax relief for middle class American families.  [American Jobs and Closing Tax Loopholes Act, H.R. 4213, Vote 324, 5/28/10]

98% of Republicans Twice Voted Against Cracking Down on Foreign Tax Haven Corporations. Republicans voted against a bill to create jobs with bipartisan provisions to spur investment in local rebuilding projects and a range of bipartisan proposals to help our small businesses grow, hire and continue to fuel our economy - including a provision to save American jobs by cracking down on foreign tax haven corporations that are using the U.S. tax treaty network to dodge U.S. taxes.  They also voted against cracking down on this tax loophole in a bill to strengthen American agriculture to meet the 21st Century needs of the United States and the world with a safe, stable food supply.  [Small Business and Infrastructure Jobs Act, H.R. 4849, Vote 182, 3/24/10; Farm Bill, H.R. 2419, Vote 755, 7/27/07]

97% of Republicans Voted Against Cracking Down on Offshore Accounts for Corporations and the Wealthy. Republicans voted against the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act, which makes it much harder for United States citizens and corporations to avoid taxes by hiding money in overseas bank accounts, while helping create 300,000 jobs here at home by providing tax cuts for businesses to hire and accelerating write-offs for small businesses and by unleashing billions for infrastructure. “Individuals have stashed an estimated $1 trillion in offshore accounts…allowing them to avoid up to $70 billion in taxes each year…. abusive offshore schemes by corporations cost our Treasury an estimated $30 billion in tax revenue as well.” The bill also delays for 3 years a questionable tax break enacted in 2004 under President Bush that would let U.S. multinational companies that have shipped jobs overseas reduce their U.S. taxes by deducting more of their worldwide interest income against their U.S. income. [HIRE Act, H.R. 2847, Vote 90, 3/4/10; New York Times, 3/27/10] This bill became law over Republican objections. (PL 111-147)

99% of Republicans Voted Against Cracking Down on Overseas Tax Havens. The bill provides the U.S. Treasury Department with significant new tools to find and prosecute U.S. individuals that hide from the Internal Revenue Service assets overseas in foreign tax havens, like Switzerland, Liechtenstein and some Caribbean countriesThese funds would be used to extend expiring tax provisions, including the tax credit for research and development and incentives to invest in restaurants and retail businesses. [H.R. 4213, Vote 943, 12/9/09]

85% of Republicans Voted Twice to Protect a Tax Loophole for CEOs' Deferred Compensation Paid by Offshore Companies. Republicans voted against closing tax loopholes that allow hedge fund managers and corporate CEOs to use offshore tax havens to escape income tax on unlimited amounts of deferred compensation. [H.R. 4351, Vote 1153, 12/12/07; H.R. 7060, Vote 649, 9/26/08]  This finally became law, as part of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (PL 110-245), despite Republican objections.

88% of Republicans Voted to Protect Tax Benefits for American Expatriates who Renounce their Citizenship. Republicans voted against strengthening laws to ensure that certain wealthy taxpayers cannot renounce their U.S. citizenship or terminate their U.S. residence in order to avoid U.S. taxes. [H.R. 3056, Vote 960, 10/10/07] This provision finally became law, as part of the Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act (PL 110-245), despite Republican objections.

GOP Record on Outsourcing Under President Bush

The Bush Administration and Congressional Republicans long supported incentives for shipping American jobs overseas, while voting against cracking down on off-shore tax shelters. Here are the words of President Bush's top economic advisors:

‘Outsourcing is a growing phenomenon, but it is something that we should realize is probably a plus for the economy in the long run.' Chairman Gregory Mankiw, Bush White House Council of Economic Advisers, New York Times, 2/11/04

“the practice of moving American jobs to low-cost countries ‘is part of trade' and that 'there can't be any doubt about the fact that trade makes the economy stronger.'” Bush Administration Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, New York Times, 3/31/04

Meanwhile Republicans in Congress fought to keep, and even expand, these kinds of tax loopholes for years.

  • Republicans Enacted Legislation to Provide $42 billion in Additional Tax Benefits for Offshore Operations of U.S. Corporations, Encouraging the Shipping of U.S. Jobs OverseasThe measure included 24 separate provisions that encourage shipping jobs overseas -- replacing tax incentives to export American goods with tax incentives to export Americans jobs. This came at a time when studies showed that U.S. companies shifting more of their profits to tax-haven countries, such as Bermuda, to avoid paying U.S. taxes costing the U.S. treasury as much as $20 billion each year. [PL 108-357]
  • All Republicans Voted For Tax Provisions that Promote Shipping American Jobs Overseas. All Republicans voted for provisions that promote shipping jobs overseas, against replacing them with tax relief for American manufacturing to create more American jobs, and against cracking down on tax shelters for corporations relocate overseas to avoid paying taxes.  [HR 4520, American Jobs Creation Act - Motion to Recommit; H.R. 4520, Vote 258, 6/17/04] 
  • 99% of Republicans Voted Twice to Protect American Corporations in Offshore Tax Havens. Republicans defeated efforts to close tax loopholes that allow corporations to relocate their headquarters offshore in order to avoid paying federal taxes.  Corporations moving to these low-tax countries were estimated cost American people $4 billion a year in lost revenue at the time. [H.R. 4931, Retirement Savings Act, Vote 247, 6/21/02; Health Saving Accounts, H.R. 4279, Vote 161, 5/12/04]  Because of Democratic pressure, these provisions were enacted in 2004, as part of the American Jobs Creation Act, but Republicans grandfathered many of the most egregious offenders. (PL 108-357)
  • 88% of Republicans Voted Four Times to Protect Government Contracts for Corporate Expatriates. House Republicans also voted against Democrats' measures to deny government contracts for corporations that incorporate on paper overseas to avoid paying their taxes in America.  The General Accounting Office estimated that the federal government awarded $2.7 billion in 2001 to four federal contractors incorporated in overseas tax havens. [H.R. 4567, Fiscal 2005 Homeland Security Appropriations, Vote 268, 6/18/2004; Fiscal 2006 Transportation-Treasury-Housing Appropriations (HR 3058) Vote 351, 6/30/05; Fiscal 2007 Transportation-Treasury-Housing Appropriations (HR 5576), Vote 275, 6/14/06] Over the opposition of the House GOP, this ban was applied to Treasury-Transportation-HUD in FY06 and FY07. And when Democrats took control of Congress, this effort to deny government contracts for corporate expatriates was expanded to apply to all government contracts - not just those of the Homeland Security, Transportation, Treasury and Housing and Urban Development Departments -- in FY 2008, with 91% of Republicans voting against it. [H.R. 2829, Financial Services Appropriations, Vote 606, 6/28/07]
  • All Republicans Voted Against Help for Workers Whose Jobs Were Outsourced. All Republicans voted against financial assistance for workers whose jobs have been outsourced overseas. HR 27, Job Training Improvement Act - Motion to Recommit. Vote 47, 3/2/05] 
  • 98% of Republicans Voted Against Study on Outsourcing of U.S. Jobs. Virtually all Republicans rejected even requiring the Commerce Department to complete an independent study on the outsourcing of U.S. jobs and provide policy recommendations based on these findings. [HR 3598, Vote  358, 7/9/2004]

Who's Pushing This Wildly Unpopular Agenda?

One family stands out for the scope of its support for the Republican agenda and candidates who will protect this family's financial interests.

Koch Industries Executives Behind Americans for Prosperity. “In 2004, David Koch co-founded the right-wing astroturf/swift-boat group, “Americans for Prosperity.” AFP is one of the major funders of the tea party movement and has launched millions of dollars in ads attacking House Democrats…Americans for Prosperity launched “Porkulus” rallies against Obama's stimulus-spending measures…. also created an offshoot, Patients United Now, which organized what Phillips, the head of AFP has estimated to be more than three hundred rallies against health-care reform. At one rally, an effigy of a Democratic congressman was hung… The group also helped organize the “Kill the Bill” protests outside the Capitol, in March, where Democratic supporters of health-care reform alleged that they were spat on and cursed at … Americans for Prosperity, meanwhile, has announced that it will spend an additional forty-five million dollars before the midterm elections, in November. Although the group is legally prohibited from directly endorsing candidates, it nonetheless plans to target some fifty House races and half a dozen Senate races, staging rallies, organizing door-to-door canvassing, and running ads aimed at “educating voters about where candidates stand.” [New Yorker, 8/30/10]

Key Koch Industries Subsidiary Received an Award for Shipping American Jobs to China. In 2006, Invista, a key subsidiary of Koch Industries, received the “Outsourcing Excellence Award”, from Freeborders, a global provider of outsourcing services from China, for their work shipping American jobs to China. [Freeborders Release, 6/1/06]

Major Koch Subsidiary is Listed as a Company “Exporting America.” Koch Industries is the owner of Georgia Pacific, a company on Lou Dobbs' list of “companies either sending American jobs overseas, or choosing to employ cheap overseas labor, instead of American workers.” [CNN; Koch Industries]

Koch Industries is a Large Wealthy Secretive Conglomerate.  “The Kochs operate oil refineries in Alaska, Texas, and Minnesota, and control some four thousand miles of pipeline. Koch Industries owns Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, Georgia-Pacific lumber, Stainmaster carpet, and Lycra, among other products. Forbes ranks it as the second-largest private company in the country... [The brothers]...combined fortune of thirty-five billion dollars is exceeded only by those of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett... Charles Lewis, the founder of the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said, ‘The Kochs are on a whole different level. There's no one else who has spent this much money. The sheer dimension of it is what sets them apart. They have a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation. I've been in Washington since Watergate, and I've never seen anything like it. They are the Standard Oil of our times.'” [New Yorker, 8/30/10]