Offshore Sandbagging

Commerce Department refuses to release report on impact of offshoring and outsourcing on IT industry.
Posted April 5, 2006

Roy Mark

The Bush administration is refusing to release a report about the impact of outsourcing and offshoring on the U.S. IT and semiconductor industries.

Instead, the Commerce Department is releasing a 12-page synopsis of the report mandated by Congress in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004 as a sop to the weak-kneed on free trade.

The Democrats want the full report, hinting the administration is hiding something and all is not as cheery as the synopsis implies. The Republicans, for reasons that will become readily apparent, say it wouldn't be worth the effort to fight the administration.

"It is difficult for me to understand how this committee can seriously talk about bolstering America's global competitive position if, in the next breath, we claim not to want the most sophisticated analysis done by the federal government on what is happening with American jobs in high-tech fields," Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) said last week.

Gordon and his fellow Democrats then introduced a resolution to the House Science Committee to require Commerce to turn over the report. It was defeated.

"The release of this report not only wouldn't help us take action on outsouring, it wouldn't even help us learn more about outsourcing," House Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.) said.

"Everyone involved in preparing the report agrees that data on outsourcing was hard to come by, given the resources and time that were available to prepare the report."

Boehlert has it right. After two years and, reportedly, $330,000 later, Commerce doesn't have a clue about either outsourcing or offshoring.

In effect, the report is worthless, yet another fine example of your taxpayer dollars at work.

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