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iSeries users lack confidence in presidential candidates

Weak platforms on offshore outsourcing and job creation have many iSeries users doubtful that any of the presidential candidates, including President Bush, can help save U.S. jobs.

John Kerry and John Edwards may be the Democratic presidential front runners, but it's unlikely that the iSeries user vote got them there.

In fact, in a recent poll asking iSeries users which Democratic presidential candidate they believed would best protect U.S. IT workers, most respondents offered little more than disdain for the entire party.

Bottom line: "None of the above" should have been a response option.

As it was, 33% of the respondents said they didn't know who would do the best job protecting U.S. jobs. Seventeen percent said Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry would do the best job; 14% gave a vote of confidence to Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina.

The consensus, however, was that it's impossible to know which candidate would rally for U.S. jobs because none of the candidates have made it a significant part of their platform.

I haven't heard any of the candidates, including President Bush, say how they intend to stop the out flow of jobs from the U.S. to other countries.   
Fredrick Schneider
Former AS/400 programmer/developer

"I haven't heard any of the candidates, including President Bush, say how they intend to stop the outflow of jobs from the U.S. to other countries and putting U.S. workers out of their jobs," said Fredrick Schneider, a former AS/400 programmer in Omaha, Neb. "I hope that some candidate emerges that is going to stop this outsourcing issue before it gets way out of hand."

Richard McFatridge, a former IT manager who now owns his own consulting business, echoed that response.

"I am not hearing anything from politics that indicates that they recognize the problem," he said. "I am hearing some acknowledgment of the problem from economics, but not any serious theories or solutions."

There was some discussion about President Bush's ability to save U.S. jobs.

Kenneth H. Werner, president of Werner Henri Inc., a technology and security consulting firm, said that he believed Bush was in the best position to deal with jobs in the U.S., and Werner cited the president's plan to reduce the number foreign workers allowed into the United States. Still, he doubts Bush can do anything about limiting offshore outsourcing.

Of the Democratic candidates, Werner said, Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman (who has since pulled out of the race), had the best plan for dealing with job loss.

Some candidates are, in fact, stating positions -- but perhaps users find the solutions weak and ineffective. Kerry, for example, said he wants to end some investment tax credits for companies that send jobs overseas -- stating that companies who send jobs overseas shouldn't get special treatment.

Retired Gen. Wesley Clark has a twist on Kerry's plan. Clark wants to give tax credits to U.S. companies as an incentive to keep jobs at home. Lieberman said he would have put plans in place to level the playing field between U.S. service companies and foreign competitors.

But, clearly, users see offshore outsourcing as the root of the job-market problems in the U.S., and much of the debate focused on that topic. Mention of the candidates and their positions rarely emerged.

Several respondents suggested that Americans just needed to stop waiting for the government to fix the problem and get real with the situation. In other words: Get into another line of work.

Nick Morris, a IT worker in the United Kingdom, said that the attitudes of U.S. IT workers toward offshore outsourcing are contradictory.

"Having preached to the world the benefits of free trade (and then decimated local economies through the might of the U.S. industrial base), it would appear that you guys don't believe [in] it when it affects your own jobs," he said.

It's the position of some users that no matter what plan a president has in place to save U.S. jobs, it won't be effective.

"I see history showing that the current IT job problem will never be solved by the government," Werner said.

And if the government won't do it, it's up to U.S. workers to find solutions to their own job situations.

"A president cannot 'protect' our jobs," said one user who asked not to be named. "Congress passes the laws. The president can provide leadership, but he cannot protect our jobs. We are responsible for doing our jobs in a professional manner and should not look to the government to protect our job."


Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Kate Evans-Correia, Senior News Editor

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