Larry Elder

Where does it say somebody owes you a job? Sure, for most of us, this seems self-evident. But how else do you explain people like CNN's Lou Dobbs?

 Dobbs, formerly the host of CNN's "Moneyline," who now hosts CNN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight," seems downright anti-money. For Dobbs constantly rants at the evil perpetuated by greedy American CEOs. What evil is that? Why, outsourcing! Dobbs calls it "exporting America," while he whines about "cheap overseas labor," arguing that "corporate America" ignores its responsibilities that "extend beyond a quarterly profit statement."

 If it sounds to you like 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, you're not alone. Kerry, too, skewered CEOs responsible for the crime of "outsourcing," calling the executives "Benedict Arnold" CEOs. "When I am president," said Kerry, "and with your help, we're going to repeal every benefit, every loophole, every reward that entices any Benedict Arnold company or CEO to take the money and the jobs overseas and stick the American people with the bill."

 What exactly is outsourcing? According to the American Heritage Dictionary, outsourcing is "the procuring of services or products, such as parts used in manufacturing of a motor vehicle, from an outside supplier or manufacturer in order to cut costs." The outside supplier could be in the same town, or a different state or country. Today, the term "outsourcing" usually refers to offshore outsourcing, where the outside service or product supplier is in another country.

 A whole lot of companies outsource, including the parent company of Lou Dobbs' employer, CNN! Time Warner, CNN's parent company, employs about 3,000 people in business process outsourcing in India for its AOL company. According to industry sources, Time Warner is considering using India for various business process outsourcing and back office operations for other parts of its company.

 Does outsourcing benefit the United States?

 You better believe it does. Free trade works both ways. Jobs coming from other countries to the United States are called "insourced" jobs. While more jobs are outsourced from the U.S. than are insourced to the U.S., for the last 15 years insourced jobs grew by 117 percent, while outsourced jobs only grew by 56 percent. Insourced jobs account for nearly 5 percent of all private-sector jobs, and tend to be higher paying -- with salaries an average of 31 percent higher than other private-sector jobs. Foreign-owned U.S. subsidiaries manufacturing their goods here in America account for 20 percent of all U.S. exports.

Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit