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Report: Obama Launches New Program to Help Corporations "Take Advantage of Low Labor Costs" Abroad

David Sirota

Rajiv Shah, a 36-year old former undersecretary of the Department of Agriculture, now leads the U.S. Agency for International Development for the Obama administration. Under director Shah, the USAID will partner with private outsourcers in Sri Lanka to teach workers there advanced IT skills, as well as skills in business process outsourcing and call center support. Prior to the USDA, he worked for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the leading private development organizations.

With the President Obama reversing his campaign promises
on trade issues by pushing to pass NAFTA-style trade agreements with
South Korea, Panama and Colombia, and with the unemployment crisis
persisting, the key jobs question is once again front and center in
American politics. Specifically: How do we create jobs here at home and
build our most valuable 21st century industries?

The first and foremost answer is that our government should stop doing stuff like the program described in this stunning new report from Information Week:

U.S. To Train 3,000 Offshore IT Workers

Despite President Obama's pledge to retain more hi-tech jobs in the
U.S., a federal agency run by a hand-picked Obama appointee has launched
a $22 million program to train workers, including 3,000 specialists in
IT and related functions, in South Asia.

Following their training, the tech workers will be placed
with outsourcing vendors in the region that provide offshore IT and
business services to American companies looking to take advantage of the
Asian subcontinent's low labor costs

The outsourcing program (is) sure to draw the most fire from
critics. While Obama acknowledged that occupations such as garment
making don't add much value to the U.S. economy, he argued
relentlessly during his presidential run that lawmakers needed to do
more to keep hi-tech jobs in IT, biological sciences, and green energy
in the country

Now look, I'm all for a robust foreign aid budget - we don't do
nearly enough to help the developing world. However, using foreign aid
money to specifically help private corporations "take advantage of low
labor costs" in the developing world - that's absolutely grotesque.

Right now, Even if we do not reform our atrocious trade policy
that incentivizes a wage-cutting race to the bottom, the least we should
be doing is investing every single available dollar we have in job
training and job creation here at home.

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