LORAIN, OH — Hillary Clinton held a town hall style meeting here on Monday that focused on economic issues, and she pulled a noteworthy bait and switch.
Clinton opened by discussing the need to restore manufacturing jobs and prevent outsourcing. “I think if a country doesn’t make things, you can’t stay a strong country with a strong economy,” she argued.
She described her plan to bring back manufacturing to the U.S. in part by investing in the alternative energy sector so we could create “green collar” jobs. As she often does when talking about solar energy, she said, “You cannot outsource these jobs, somebody has got to climb up on that roof and put that solar panel up.”
While I have heard her use that line before and it always rang hollow, I never thought about it long enough to explain why. Until today.
Here’s the deal. Surely, you cannot outsource to another country the task of installing something on an American roof, but such an occupation would be a service job. It is quite easy to outsource the manufacture of solar panels themselves. In fact, after doing a quick Google search, I came upon a website that sells solar panels, and among the leading brands listed are: Sharp, Kaneka, Kyocera, and Mitsubishi.
Her statement is the equivelent of describing the duties of a local auto mechanic who repairs cars by arguing that you cannot outsource that job. Of course, the car itself could have been manufactured in Japan, or Germany, or Korea, or wherever.
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