The manufacturing industry has lost 2.8 million jobs since Mr. Bush took office in 2001. Although it 's difficult to ascertain how many of these have been outsourced, a study by the Economic Policy Institute estimated that about 60 percent of manufacturing jobs were sent abroad. Almost one million jobs have been lost in the professional service and information sectors. Although the manufacturing industry has been hit the hardest, job losses in the information technology (IT) sector are a close second.
Sending jobs overseas is expected to increase in the coming years. A study by the Meta Group indicated that 40 percent of corporate IT operations would be sent overseas by 2008. Deloitte Research surveyed 100 large financial services firms and concluded that they would send $356 billion worth of operations and approximately two million jobs to third-world countries during the next five years. Forrester Research expects 3.4 million jobs, totaling $136 million in wages, to be shipped overseas by 2015.
During President Bush 's first term his administration viewed outsourcing as business as usual. The Economic Report of the President in 2004 announced, "When a good or service is produced at lower cost in another country, it makes sense to import it rather than to produce it domestically. " N. Gregory Mankiw, Chairman of President Bush 's Council of Economic Advisors, was asked to defend the findings of the report and he stated, "Outsourcing is just a new way of doing international trade. More things are tradable than were tradable in the past. And that 's a good thing. " But for millions of Americans who have lost their jobs to overseas employers, this is hardly "a good thing. "
In 1974 Congress passed the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act (TAA) to help workers who lost jobs owing to increased imports and outsourcing. The TAA, which provides for income assistance and job retraining skills, was renewed in 2002. However, the Bush administration has purposely failed to promote it. Despite 2.8 million manufacturing jobs having been lost since President Bush took office, few workers have been able to take advantage of the TAA. In 2002, only 233,204 workers were approved for assistance; in 2003, only 197,024 workers were approved. Approvals declined even further last year, to 147,658 workers.
The Bush administration has also under-funded the program. In his 2006 budget proposal President Bush cut funding for TAA income assistance by $81 million. This was the second year in a row that income assistance was cut. Funding for job retraining skills was cut by $5 million, once adjusted for inflation, in the 2006 budget.
Gene C. Gerard taught history, religion, and ethics for 14 years at a number of colleges in the Southwest and is a contributing author to the forthcoming book Americans at War, by Greenwood Press.