Commentary > The Dobbs Report
Exporting America: false choices
In none of the attacks on my position on outsourcing has a news organization addressed the facts.
March 10, 2004: 11:12 AM EST
By Lou Dobbs, Lou Dobbs Tonight

NEW YORK (CNN) - You may have noticed recently that I'm being attacked for my views on the exporting of American jobs and my calls for a balanced U.S. trade policy.

Gerard Baker of the Financial Times called me the "high priest of demotic sensationalism."

An editorial in the Economist magazine accused me of embarking "on a rabidly anti-trade editorial agenda" and "greeting every announcement of lost jobs as akin to a terrorist assault."

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Lou Dobbs comments on recent attacks of his views on the exporting of American jobs and U.S. trade policy.

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Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal excoriated me, I must say, in high style for my troglodyte views on outsourcing by saying, "It's as if whatever made Linda Blair's head spin around in 'The Exorcist' had invaded the body of Lou Dobbs and left him with the brain of Dennis Kucinich."

Washington Post columnist James Glassman has simply accused me of being a "table-thumping protectionist."

Those quotes are from some of the most respected news organizations, and there have been dozens of other articles critical of my view that outsourcing American jobs is neither sound, smart, humane nor in the national interest.

Makes a fellow think

I will tell you it does make a fellow think when attacked so energetically and so personally. But in none of the attacks on my position on outsourcing has a single columnist or news organization seen fit to deal with the facts.

Number one: We're not creating jobs in the private sector, and that's never happened before in our history. Our economists and politicians need to be coming up with answers, not dogma.

Number two: We haven't had a trade surplus in this country in more than two decades, and our trade deficit continues to soar.

Number three: We've lost three million jobs in this country over the last three years, and millions more American jobs are at risk of being outsourced to cheap overseas labor markets.

That seems to me, at least, to be more than sufficient evidence for all of us, Republicans and Democrats alike, to question critically the policies of both parties that have led us to this critical juncture in our economy and our history.

Check out the "Exporting America" list

Frankly, I would love to be proved wrong in my views, and I would gladly change my position, if only my critics would answer a few questions factually, empirically and straightforwardly.

One: How many more jobs must we lose before they become concerned about our middle class and our strength as a consumer market? Two: When will the U.S. have to quit borrowing foreign capital to buy foreign goods that support European and Asian economies while driving us deeper into debt? Three: What jobs will our currently 15 million unemployed workers fill, where and when?

My critics and proponents of free trade and outsourcing suggest I'm a protectionist because I want to curtail the export of American jobs to cheap foreign labor markets just to reduce wage levels, and to eliminate our trade deficit and to pursue balanced trade policies.

Lou Dobbs Tonight
International Trade

Our principal trading partners, Canada, China, Japan and the European Union, all typically maintain annual trade surpluses and pursue balanced trade. Why don't my critics call them protectionists? Why not call them economic isolationists?

My critics, and proponents of the status quo, are offering false choices. They say we must decide between protectionism, or economic isolationism as the president said today, and free trade. I'm sure they believe those choices are the only ones available.

But maybe they also fear our policymakers may discover a middle ground for a desperately needed new U.S. trade policy: a balanced trade policy in the national interest.  Top of page

Lou Dobbs is the anchor and managing editor of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight.

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