Americans are worried the economy is permanently shedding jobs and compressing wages, not only in blue-collar manufacturing but also now in white-collar services once assumed immune to foreign competition. The digitization of information and expanded bandwidth abroad are enabling companies to outsource to low-wage countries services ranging from routine call center and clerical activities to higher-value software programming, medical diagnosis, and research and analytical activities.
The offshoring debate has hit in the middle of a recovery that has produced few gains for workers, at a time when anxiety about employment and trade are at fever pitch. Concern runs across political and demographic lines, with growing calls for measures to slow or even halt offshoring.
The nation still has much to learn about services offshoring; existing data provide incomplete clues. Economic theory and past performance suggest that although offshoring provides overall economic gains, it is also redistributive, with affected workers facing the prospect of job loss and wage pressures. A powerful set of policy tools can help navigate the ups and downs of this new global force, but so far most have not been deployed.
[On the politics of climate impacts in the U.S.] The political alignment around climate impacts is almost the exact opposite of the political alignment around emissions control.
[On the geographic distribution of climate impacts in the U.S.] The damages to the Republican-electing congressional districts is almost double what it is for the Democratic-voting districts.
[On Brookings research on climate impacts and human health] When you look at the out years, all of these factors have an impact on what people care about, but the really dominant effect is mortality. Literally, there’ll be climate change killing people.