Jim Hightower

Going, Going, Gone

Maybe you noticed that America’s call-center jobs have largely been outsourced to India. Accounting jobs, legal research, and architectural drafting work followed. But you do sophisticated stuff, so you didn’t sweat the losses. Lately though, you’ve noticed that our country’s high-tech computer jobs are being shipped to India, and that’s getting close to what you do. Still, you say, I’m a professional, by gollies, so I’m OK.

Good luck. The latest surge of jobs heading to India might include yours. Such outfits as Citigroup Inc., Boeing Co., and Eli Lilly & Co. are moving out the work of white-collar elites, including investment banking, aircraft design, and the clinical testing of drugs. “High-end outsourcing” is the new wave, and it’s pulling away the professional work of well-educated Americans who’ve been enjoying six-figure salaries, nice homes, and the good life.

Economist Alan Binder, a former top official at the Federal Reserve, says: “We have, so far, barely seen the tip of the offshoring iceberg, the eventual dimensions of which may be staggering.” Binder says that up to 42 million American workers-about a third of us-are looking at a rude awakening.

What’s the middle-class future? Binder says America needs to increase jobs that have to be performed in person, like doctors and police officers. Yeah, well, we’ll need lots of police officers to contain everyone who can’t be a doctor! And how, exactly, are the rest of us to pay for seeing the doctor?

It used to be “them” who had to worry about outsourcing. Now it’s “us.” Our politicians have got to quit pretending that this is not a problem and start developing policies to revitalize America’s middle class.


It’s enough to make Upton Sinclair upchuck. The Jungle, Sinclair’s landmark 1906 expose of the U.S. meatpacking industry’s filth, created such public outrage that reforms were passed, and ultimately the Food and Drug Administration was created. If only Sinclair could see how pathetically feeble the FDA has become.

Food filth is back with a vengeance: scallops and sardines coated with putrefying bacteria; prunes with chemical dyes not fit for human consumption; frozen shrimp preserved with a cancer-causing agent.

These stomach-turning (and deadly) foodstuffs are not American products. With the likes of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. scouring the world for the cheapest products, China is becoming the fastest-growing source of U.S. food imports, flooding our markets with products unfit to eat. “Low-priced” food can come at a horrendously high cost.

Our watchdog, the FDA, has been reduced to a toothless yard dog. The Wal-Marts don’t want fussy inspectors interfering with the smooth flow of their Chinese imports, so the Bushites and Congress have seen to it that only about one-half of 1 percent of foreign food shipments even gets checked. When FDA inspectors do find contaminated food, it’s returned to the Chinese shipper. The tainted products are often simply reshipped back to our shores.

Rather than clamp down at our ports, Bush & Co. is about to increase the problem by authorizing chicken imports from China. Chickens? Why in hell are our supermarkets going 7,000 miles to get chickens, which America can grow in great abundance and quality? It’s not just sanitation that needs to be addressed. The globalized system itself must be confronted.


George W. has struck another blow against America’s working stiffs by appointing John Roberts and Sam Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court. These two black-robed corporate hirelings are pummeling workers from the bench.

They issued an absurd opinion that convolutes common sense in cases of pay discrimination against women. Lilly Ledbetter, who worked for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. for 20 years, learned late in her career that men doing the same work had been getting far higher pay raises for years, leaving her salary some 40 percent lower than theirs.

Her 1998 lawsuit was backed by the government’s anti-discrimination agency until Bush came along. Last year, when Ledbetter’s case reached the Supremes, the Bushites filed a brief siding with the corporate discriminator. Bush’s two corporate-biased judges embraced Goodyear’s view of the case.

Alito wrote in the 5-4 opinion that the discrimination was irrelevant because, technically, employees must file a pay complaint within 180 days of having their salaries set. This bit of judicial activism overturns decades of federal policy and precedent.

More importantly, it’s a ridiculous attempt by Alito, Roberts, and gang to overturn reality. The corporate workplace is shrouded in secrecy and is hostile to anyone asking questions, so no one’s going to know within 180 days that discrimination is afoot. What Bush’s judges have done is negate the federal law prohibiting workplace discrimination.

It is essential to begin evaluating judicial appointees, not merely on social issues, but on how they’ll treat workers, consumers, the environment, and others abused by corporate power.

For more information on Jim Hightower’s work-and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown-visit www.jimhightower.com.

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Published at 12:00 am CST