Tech Group Grants "Weasel Award" to Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY)

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The IT Professionals Association of America (ITPAA) has awarded its first Weasel Award of 2005 to Senator Hillary Clinton for her recent remarks supporting outsourcing.

The Information Technology Professionals Association of America (ITPAA), an advocacy group based in Wilmington, Delaware representing professionals in the high-tech field has handed out its first Weasel Award of 2005 to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D - NY). The organization, representing over 1,200 IT professionals nationwide, presents this award to business and political leaders that it believes betrays the trust of the American people.

Scott Kirwin, founder of the organization, states, “We are tired of Democrats pretending they care about the problems facing average Americans. Senator Clinton’s actions prove they clearly do not.”

The ITPAA based its award on Indian press reports of Sen. Clinton supporting outsourcing and assuring political and business leaders in India that the US would not attempt to save the jobs lost. “Outsourcing will continue,” Clinton said in Delhi on Feb 28, according to a report by the Asia Times. “There is no way to legislate against reality. We are not in favor of putting up fences."

“Her statements got little press here but were splashed all over the Indian media,” Kirwin says. “Does she think we aren’t going to find out about it?” Kirwin says that the India media is the best source of information about outsourcing and what he terms “labor dumping” – using immigration policies to dampen wages.

Kirwin says the Senator’s position supporting outsourcing is nothing new. He noted that in March 2004 Clinton appeared on CNN’s Lou Dobbs show and criticized offshoring and the Bush administration support of the practice. Host of the program Lou Dobbs then pointed out that Clinton was closely allied with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), an Indian offshoring giant which set up its US headquarters in upstate New York – an area Clinton represents. Clinton then justified her position by saying that TCS created 10 jobs.

Kirwin laughed, saying that TCS was responsible for the loss of thousands of last year alone. “It took 500 out of San Antonio when USAA outsourced its IT department to TCS.” He also noted the senator’s support of increases in the H-1b program which Kirwin believes contributes to declining wages in the tech sector. “When there’s too much of something, its price goes down,” he says. “Right now there are too many tech professionals in the USA, which is why salaries have been declining for the past five years. (Senator) Clinton’s policy of throwing open the doors to foreign workers using the H-1b visa program just makes a bad situation worse.”

“Politicians like Clinton don’t live in the real world,” Kirwin added. “They say that offshoring works both ways and support the practice based on two hundred year old economic theories that have never been proven. Then they wonder why America has the largest trade deficit in its history.”

He notes that attempts to force nations to buy American goods and services have always failed. “I lived in Japan for five years, and the Japanese instinctively knew that purchasing a foreign product or service meant a lost job in Japan.” He believes that Clinton and the other free-trade supporters are naïve. “American pride may be dead in the salons and boardrooms Clinton frequents, but nationalism isn’t dead in Tokyo or Delhi. Even if our products and services are better and cheaper, foreigners aren’t going to buy them because they know that to do so someone in their country will be out of a job.”

Kirwin also cited Clinton’s position as co-chair of the “Friends of India Caucus” in the Senate, a group of senators that supports issues important to India, including outsourcing and H-1b and L-1 visas, as another reason behind the ITPAA’s decision to grant the award to the prospective Democratic presidential nominee.

”It would be nice if she co-chaired the ‘Friends of America Caucus’ instead,” Kirwin noted dryly. “India doesn’t need representation in the Senate – America does.”

“Politicians have forgotten that people in Delhi don’t vote for them, but those in Dallas do. That was a lesson that (former Presidential hopeful Senator John) Kerry learned in Ohio,” Kirwin said, referring to the candidate’s loss of that state in the 2004 election by 100,000. Kirwin added that the ITPAA has a very strong base in Ohio.

When asked about Senator Hillary’s concern about Americans who “feel left behind and might stir up negative feelings about India”, Kirwin replied, “We don’t hold Indians responsible for taking our jobs; we hold leaders like Clinton responsible for giving them to them.”

He also bristled at Senator Clinton’s use of the term ‘feeling left behind’ to refer to people angry about seeing their jobs offshored. “Feel left behind? These are people who work harder for less money, who see their standard of living being better in the past than it is today. These are people feel betrayed by their leaders,” Kirwin says, “Leaders like Senator Clinton who aren’t concerned to see Americans leave their jobs to fight wars on the other side of the planet but are afraid to keep the jobs here for when they return.” He also noted that India has refused to send troops to Iraq, noting bitterly, “They are more than willing to take our jobs – but not our responsibilities.”

Previous winners of the award include Van B. Honeycutt, Chairman of the Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), for his outsourcing of jobs to India at taxpayer’s expense, Richard D. Fairbank, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Capital One, for his closing of call centers in the USA to cut costs while receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in stock options, and Senator John Kerry (D – MA) for his statements supporting outsourcing on a trip to India while publicly criticizing it at home.

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