A ìnanosecondî

That’s how long John Kerry says it will take him to plug up a “stupid loophole” he says sends U.S. jobs overseas: “Because of George Bush’s wrong choices we’re continuing to ship jobs overseas, jobs that have good wages and benefits,” Kerry said during a forum on economic issues in the restored Southern Railway Depot in North Carolina. Of course Bush didn’t invent offshore outsourcing, and this article offers a pretty sober account of what’s really going on: The tax break, which predates the Bush administration by decades, is aimed at easing the difference between U.S. corporate tax rates and lower rates abroad. It’s designed to make U.S. companies competitive with foreign corporations abroad … [M]ost experts agree that outsourcing isn’t to blame for many of the 1.1 million private-sector jobs that have been lost over the past three years. And those jobs that are outsourced aren’t driven abroad, as a rule, by the small tax break that Kerry decries; economists say most companies that relocate jobs abroad do so to take advantage of lower wages and production costs … A Labor Department study found that only 2.5 percent of layoffs of 50 people or more in the first three months of 2004 were because of outsourcing. Kudos to this Democrat for shooting straight: “It has some impact, but it is small compared to all of the other things that are changing in our economy that have much bigger effects,” said Charles L. Schultze, a Democratic economist who worked in the Johnson and Carter administrations.