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Joe Guzzardi President Obama should keep aircraft jobs in the U.S.

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Joe Guzzardi

Posted: Saturday, January 28, 2012 12:00 am

During his State of the Union address, President Obama portrayed himself as a populist whose administration, should it achieve a second term, will focus its efforts on the common American to restore economic equality. Among Obama's proposals will be to improve education and job training initiatives, especially among the long-term unemployed, as well as offer tax breaks to companies that "insource" jobs back to the United States.

On his jobs promise, Obama has zero credibility. During his 2008 campaign, he pledged that within two years 3.5 million additional positions would be created. Because it includes several variables, job creation math is tricky. But regardless of how the economists calculate the figure, it comes up well short of 3.5 million.

What caught my eye more than Obama's jobs and education pledges — favorite ploys of politicians, after all — was his insourcing reference. Last week, the Obama administration did the exact opposite. The Defense Department awarded a $1 billion Air Force Light Air Support contract to a Brazilian aircraft manufacturer, Embraer, which produces the A-29 Super Tucano.

An American competitor, the Kansas-based Hawker Beechcraft, protested that the bidding and award process was "irregular and opaque." Bill Boisture, Hawker Beechcraft chairman and CEO, said that had Beechcraft been awarded the contract, it would have generated 1,200 "high-quality jobs." Hawker Beechcraft, manufacturer of the AT-6, worked for two years with the Air Force and its industrial partners to develop parameters for the LAS competition. Beechcraft invested more than $100 million to meet the Air Force's specific requirements for a light attack aircraft.

Upon hearing that the Government Accountability Office declined to review Hawker Beechcraft's protest against its exclusion from the LAS competition, Boisture said: "With this development, it now seems even clearer that the Air Force intended to award the contract to Embraer from early in this process."

The motive for sending the aerospace jobs to Brazil is Obama's unshakeable love affair with globalism. During his Rio de Janeiro visit a year ago, Obama urged that in the name of the "global economy," Brazil and the United States should "expand trade." Such a commitment always bodes poorly for American workers.

Most Americans correctly feel that today's economy leaves them on the sideline. A Washington Post/ABC news poll taken recently found that 44 percent think that the economy and economic inequality is worsening. Outsourcing is a major factor in their pessimism.

The poll surveyed General Electric, Caterpillar, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, Chevron, Cisco, Intel, Stanley Works, Merck, United Technologies and Oracle. During the last decade, those corporations cut their domestic workforces by 2.9 million people while hiring 2.4 million overseas. This is a sharp reversal from the 1990s.

A few months before he died, Steven Jobs told Obama the brutal truth when it comes to hiring Americans versus outsourcing. In response to Obama's question about why Apple didn't do more United States manufacturing, Jobs bluntly said that building plants in China is easier because domestic "regulation and unnecessary costs" make it prohibitive. Jobs told Obama that once American firms go overseas, there's no returning.

The aircraft jobs should remain in the United States. To outsource them in today's persistently depressed jobs market is unforgivable affront to American workers.

Joe Guzzardi retired from the Lodi Unified School District in 2008. Contact him at guzzjoe@yahoo.com.

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