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Asian Call Center Workers Trained With US Tax Dollars 274

gManZboy writes in with a troubling story about tax dollars being used for overseas call center training. "Despite President Obama's recent call for companies to 'insource' jobs sent overseas, it turns out that the federal government itself is spending millions of dollars to train foreign students for employment in some booming career fields--including working in offshore call centers that serve U.S. businesses. The program is called JEEP, which stands for Job Enabling English Proficiency. It's available to college students in the Philippines through USAID. That's the same agency that until a couple of years ago was spending millions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer money to train offshore IT workers in Sri Lanka. Congressman Tim Bishop (D-New York), told about the program on Tuesday, called it 'surprising and distressing.' Bishop recently introduced a bill that would make companies that outsource call centers ineligible for government contracts."
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Asian Call Center Workers Trained With US Tax Dollars

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  • Duh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @05:11PM (#39727921)

    This just in: Politicians lie. Film at 11.

  • by gestalt_n_pepper ( 991155 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @05:15PM (#39727989)

    They *do* increase employment. In China.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @05:18PM (#39728011)

    There is no way in hell that a politician is going to pay nearly a billion dollars to get into an office that won't pay out more than a couple of million in salary and perks over it's term without getting payback from somewhere else. It's as simple as that. And you know we'll never have meaningful campaign finance reform as long as the Republicrats have no meaningful competition.
    Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. That means the majority of voters are insane. We're fucked until we have the political system overhauled.

  • Posturing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zibodiz ( 2160038 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @05:18PM (#39728017)

    Bishop recently introduced a bill that would make companies that outsource call centers ineligible for government contracts.

    So they're saying that they're no longer going to purchase HP, Dell, or Acer PCs? Somehow I suspect that bill is just posturing, and will not amount to anything.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @05:18PM (#39728025)

    typical politicians. They find out they're doing something stupid, so they're going to do something stupid to make up for it. Quit paying to train the foreigners, and don't pass a new law disabling government contracts with companies that have overseas call centers, would be the correct thing to do.

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @05:21PM (#39728075)

    Bishop recently introduced a bill that would make companies that outsource call centers ineligible for government contracts.

    Here's a better idea: chop the size of federal government down so it's no longer a big slush fund for social nuts on the left or military nuts on the right.

  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @05:26PM (#39728143) Homepage Journal
    Geez, WTF?

    We need to halt this immediately...and turn those dollars around to be spent on US citizens.....there's plenty of US citizens that can't seem to speak proper English.

    I can't tell you how often I hear someone want to "ax" me a question.

    I won't even get into the conversation that more and more these days, you have to almost speak fucking Spanish in the US.....just to get anything done.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @05:41PM (#39728333)

    I honestly do. Too bad politicians aren't in control though. Big money is.

    Personally, were I "Commander-In-Chief" as the president is during wartime (which gives him a lot more control than that office normally has by itself), I would've said:

    "Fine, don't do it then - keep outsourcing! We'll do "laissez-faire" for you since that's the "spirit of American Business" from your "point-of-view", & let you do what YOU want: However, then? Well... We'll be MORE THAN HAPPY to apply these GIGANTIC penalties for NOT complying and tax the hell out of your profits for it, since that's how you're increasing them, & we're merely acting as "good government" in response - Ball's in your court now, you can decide...".

    They'd bring the jobs back then, guaranteed OR it'd fund other work programs from said taxes (@ least in part)...

    That's about the ONLY form of control government has on big business in this aspect, unless others pipe in & tell us more or differently (I'd gladly listen - I am always up to learn more).

    * See - All you have to do is affect the bottom-line on profits that way, business will respond.

    Of course, they could just completely leave too, but then, that's when you cut them off completely from doing ANY business here, whatsoever.

    (And don't even *try* tell me that isn't possible, because competition abounds - it's one of the great things about it, along w/ spurring innovations consumers gain from).

    Of course, due to what happened to JFK?

    Mr. Obama'd have to spend the rest of his term behind bulletproof glass & eating out of cans randomly selected from the supermarket most likely...

    So, were I to "take a stab" as to WHY former President Kennedy was assasinated, it was because he was "stepping on big money's toes" & a lot (witness U.S. Steel vs. JFK) -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWNhWANkq0Q&feature=related [youtube.com]


    P.S.=> On President Obama: At least HE is trying, or seemingly so...

    What bothers me most is the stupid war(s) - nothing good comes out of those except dead loved ones & rich war profiteers getting richer... & the ones getting bigger slices of the profit-pie @ our taxpayer expense for it!

    (Put it this way: Even a high-ranking field-grade officer who's been decorated for valor in combat that I know VERY WELL feels that way, & he's on the "inside" and works in the "military-industrial complex" as well - he told me, point-blank "There's certain parties that got HUGE slices of the pie, much bigger than they should ever have...")... apk

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @05:50PM (#39728465)

    They are entry level positions. The US job market's becoming more and more top heavy in the tech industry. People are having harder and harder times getting relevant experience as the foot-in-the-door positions have been moved overseas. Even worse, the same thing's started happening for more experienced positions.

    In my current work environment, I've watched T1-3 jobs shuffle overseas. I'm one of the last people that was able to work my way up from an entry level position. Job listings have been demanding higher education coupled with experience, yet the latter is becoming rarer and rarer to come by. It's something that's been building for years and we're staring at a large experience gap in the industry.

  • Re:Quality Jobs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jawnn ( 445279 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @05:52PM (#39728493)

    Gee, I hope they succeed in bringing all of the call center work back to the United States! I would love to pay higher prices so that my countrymen can work menial jobs for 10 times the pay of their Asian counterparts (which still fails to provide a decent standard of living here), because more expensive products are good for everyday Americans already struggling to get by!

    Actually, and all sarcasm aside. you are quite right. The few dollars more that you might spend on your PC, for example, could create living wage jobs for people here in this country. We need some major adjustments to the economy, but the math is what it is and when you stop sucking dollars out of it by off-shoring your labor, things are better. Period. We saw this throughout the eighties in the Pacific Northwest. Reagan's corporate welfare policies allowed corporations to make more money shipping raw logs overseas than they could by processing them into salable products here. The result was the virtually complete collapse of the timber industry. Entire communities became ghost towns when the paper and lumber mills shut down. Same shit, different decade, only on a much bigger scale.

  • by 0123456 ( 636235 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @05:53PM (#39728519)

    You could cut military spending to zero, and you'd still have a huge deficit. The only ways to eliminate the deficit are big cuts everywhere, big tax increases, or big economic growth.

  • I know your pain (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @05:57PM (#39728569)

    Imagine my distress when i hear Spanish, AS WELL as English! When will you white people go back to England, and leave our land?

  • by Kr1ll1n ( 579971 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @05:58PM (#39728587)

    Adjust tax policy to where the cost of an outsourced employee, as well as the cost of importing goods and materials for manufacturing (only if already locally available), are taxed at a rate so as to equal the cost +5% which in turn encourages usage of local resources, goods, and materials. This would also create an uptick in the demand for American manufacturing. Not to mention decrease the unemployment rate tremendously.

    Remember, not everyone is suited to work in white collar environments. I would much rather have a smart blue collar guy than an unskilled white collar guy any day.

    College is also another problem. Politicians seem to think unskilled labor should always go overseas, which forces people to pursue degrees that they may not want just to be safe. How is upwards of 30k in debt going to benefit someone that has a mindset for a completely different type of work? America needs blue collar work, because many Americans are blue collar. Phone support is entry level white collar, and we could use that too.

    I have nothing against foreign resources being used in American companies, but lets make certain that they are the "best" man and/or woman for the job, not just the cheapest.

    One last thing; Does it help America to design and engineer something and then send the plans to build it to another country that may or may not care about trade secrets? We should all know the answer to this one already.

  • Re:Posturing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by frosty_tsm ( 933163 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @06:03PM (#39728655)

    Bishop recently introduced a bill that would make companies that outsource call centers ineligible for government contracts.

    So they're saying that they're no longer going to purchase HP, Dell, or Acer PCs? Somehow I suspect that bill is just posturing, and will not amount to anything.

    Or it will force them to open call centers in the US to serve US customers. I would presume that the requirement would be serving US customers onshore but doesn't bar them from serving offshore customers with offshore centers.

  • by BronsCon ( 927697 ) <social@bronstrup.com> on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @06:16PM (#39728787) Journal

    I think he's talking about 3rd and 4th generation Americans. I know many who still ain't got no good grasp ov da inglash layngwidge.

    I have friends of all races, some who only came here in the last few years, I have no problem with someone wanting to live here, bring with them parts of their culture not better left behind, and integrate into our society; that's what made this country great.

    What I, and many others, take issue with is that some of these people come over here and bring with them the very parts of their culture they were coming here to get away from. If you're going to come here to live your life exactly as you were living it in your home country, go back home. Immigrating to America is supposed to be about improving your life and our country; if you're not interested in doing at least one of those things, we're not interested in having you here.

    My mexican, puerto-rican neighbors, korean, japanese, and indian friends and neighbors all seem to agree with the above, it's not a racist statement, it's what this country was founded on.

  • by Githaron ( 2462596 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @06:50PM (#39729149)
    First things first. Cut spending enough so that we can at least pay the interest on our loans and not take out any more loans. Once we get there, we can figure out how fast we want to pay off our loans and what we need to cut in order to pay them off that fast. The goal is not to get rid of our deficit by tomorrow.
  • Re:Quality Jobs (Score:3, Insightful)

    by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @07:01PM (#39729281)

    Which is why the Government has in turn reduced their income tax, reduced taxes on things like Capital Gains, gives them grants for new buildings, gives them grants for sending work overseas. When the US Government is paying for Oil Refineries to be built while Oil companies make record profits over the last 20 years it should be obvious to people what's going on.

    It's not obvious sadly, since the TV shows "entertainment" to soothe the masses and keep them uninformed.

  • by guanxi ( 216397 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @07:11PM (#39729371)

    I doubt persons saying "ax" instead of ask are using an older form of English or German, since most of their ancestors originally spoke an African tongue. (Sorry; just speaking truth.) They are merely mispronouncing the word, in the same way that mispronounce "po" instead of poor.

    You're missing the point. The point is that language and pronunciation changes. I bet yours is imperfect too.

    What's really absurd is for so many Americans with so many regional accents and dialects, from the South to Boston 'Southie', to pick on one dialect as a problem but not the others. Their priority they put on proper pronunciation is also a little hard to fathom. It's hard to avoid the conclusion that it's not the dialect that they have a problem with.

  • by BronsCon ( 927697 ) <social@bronstrup.com> on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @07:37PM (#39729619) Journal


    Languages evolve. We've got a more culturally diverse ecosystem over here and, as a result, our English evolved differently than England's English.

  • by guanxi ( 216397 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @08:25PM (#39730069)

    I don't mind immigrants to the US, it has what has made the country so great.....however, I want them to at least sign the guest book on the way in, do it legally, and try to become a citizen.

    Immigrants that do it the right way...DO try to learn the language and become part of the melting pot that is (or at least was) the USA.

    I agree it should be done legally, but America was built on immigrants who didn't learn the language or blend in, many of whom were illegal (and the ancestors of those complaining). It's always been that way. Per one study I saw, by the third generation ~80% intermarry outside their ethnicity and only 3% speak their grandparents' native tongue at all (the latter is kind of sad).

    I know that if I was 40 years old and moved to Poland (to pick a random country), I would learn some Polish to get by but I would be reading English websites, watching English TV and movies, etc. My kids would grow up speaking Polish, and their kids would laugh at Grandpa's funny accent and condescendingly translate.

    To be frank, I think many people are uncomfortable with different cultures and change, and try to rationalize their feelings by finding problems with immigration. It's human nature, but America is great because we have overcome it and accepted all.

    Have some sympathy for people who have come so far, with so little, to an alien world that speaks another language and is populated by many who hate immigrants just because they're different. Hardly a threat; they are really in need of our help and compassion (and admiration -- I doubt many people would have the guts to leave everything behind for that experience!).

  • Re:Obama... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @10:54PM (#39730877) Homepage

    My apologies for the long post, but Ron Paul pisses me off. From his own website: [ronpaul.com]

    Ron Paul supports the elimination of the income tax and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

    First line of his tax platform, and we've established that he wants to get rid of the income tax, which is currently the most direct way to put the burden of social support on those who benefit most: the wealthy. If you're of the opinion that everyone should support society equally, whether or not they can afford it, then I guess removing income tax makes sense. That's not my opinion.

    To provide funding for the federal government, Ron Paul supports excise taxes...

    Excise tax is often connected to "sin tax" for good reason. The government gets to put a tax on anything it wants. The paranoid folks worry about the influence of government on our right to purchase particular things, but what actually concerns me more is the likelihood that a "fair" excise tax is applied to practically everything, so all prices rise by some amount, increasing the total cost of living. If wages also increase, then it's just inflation, and nothing changes (except we're in a worse position in the global economy). If wages don't increase, then the taxes affect the lowest-income population the most, while the middle and upper classes are unaffected.

    ...non-protectionist tariffs...

    I don't think I've ever heard of any tariff that's not protectionist. Raising the price of an import necessarily makes outsourced manufacturing more expensive. Unfortunately, this isn't the 1800's, where America was capable of being (more or less) self-reliant. Americans want their electronics from Asia, and modern companies know this. The higher prices from the tariffs will be passed on to the consumers, which again will mostly hurt the lowest-income population. I don't think that's right.

    massive cuts in spending

    He defines what will be cut elsewhere [ronpaul2012.com]. Notably, he intends to close the Department of Energy (because who needs energy research anyway, when you have big energy companies working on fossil fuels?), Housing and Urban Development (which currently manages federal programs for low-income people to buy homes), and the Department of Education (because the states do such a great [slashdot.org] job [slashdot.org] already [slashdot.org]). Less specifically, some other goals are "returning responsibility for security to private property owners" which I interpret to mean cutting federal support for emergency services, and "stopping foreign aid", of which the #1 recipient is Afghanistan. Sure... once we've screwed over a country for 10 years, let's cut off support to rebuild, so we can cut back 1% of the federal budget. He also boasts about his promise to take a personal salary of only $39,000, which is a savings of almost 0.00001% from the federal budget. Then there's his spending freezes, on Medicaid, SCHIP, food stamps, family support, and child nutrition programs.

    “I want to abolish the income tax, but I don’t want to replace it with anything. About 45 percent of all federal revenue comes from the personal income tax. ...

    He wants to cut out 45% of income, but his vaunted $1 trillion in cuts only total about 33% of expenses. Without replacing the missing 12% of the budget, he's going to have a hard time meeting his promise to have a balanced budget in two years.

"Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb