Obama plans to campaign against outsourcing jobs

The White House will kick off a campaign this week to keep jobs at home and encourage business leaders not to outsource to places like Costa Rica.

President Barack Obama said in his weekly address that he will host a forum Wednesday to meet with business leaders who are setting an example of what is being called insourcing jobs, that is keeping jobs in the United States.

The president said he wants to help other businesses follow their lead.

“After losing more than eight million jobs in the recession, we’ve added more than three million private-sector jobs over the past 22 months,” Obama said. “And we’re starting 2012 with manufacturing on the rise and the American auto industry on the mend. We’re heading in the right direction. And we’re not going to let up.”

The push for creating jobs in the U.S. falls in line with Obama’s pledge to rebuild and stabilize the American middle class. The middle class could play a key role in whether he gets re-elected this year.

The president did not say what incentives might be used to keep jobs in the United States. At the same time Costa Rican branches of U.S. companies are being targeted for taxes by the Laura Chinchilla
Miranda administration. This country has provided many incentives for foreign firms to locate here, including the creation of so-called free trade zones where companies may do business while sheltered from local taxes.

That may change because the administration here wants to allow local municipalities to tax certain aspects of the foreign firm’s businesses, and the central government wants to see 15 percent of any profits that are being sent to corporate headquarters elsewhere. The proposals still have not passed the legislature.

Costa Rica has benefited over the years by the arrival of mostly U.S. firms, such as Amazon, IBM and WalMart, that use bilingual Costa Ricans in their various call centers. Then there are the manufacturers of medical devices and firms that make electronic products. The big daddy of them all is Intel Corp. that has had operations here since 1998. By itself, Intel contributes nearly a quarter of the country’s exports.

Obama’s meeting might just be more politics in anticipation of presidential elections. Republicans have been pounding the president because the U.S. unemployment has been above 8 percent for 35 months. Despite the election a presidential proposal for incentives to businesses that do not outsource probably would find favor with business-oriented Republicans and union-oriented Democrats in Congress.

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