Bake-Off

Imagine voting to give someone as job as governor of your state, only for him to force you out of your job!

The stakes couldn’t be clearer in Massachusetts, as Democratic candidate and state Attorney General Martha Coakley is going toe-to-toe with faux-moderate/alleged job-creator/Republican candidate Charlie Baker. Baker’s real business history was exposed a few days ago:

The photograph – apparently taken in late summer of 2008 (it’s undated, but that’s when the story it accompanies was published), when the economy was teetering on the edge of catastrophe – says it all. There’s Charlie, in a tux, holding his award for his awesome outsourcing work. LOL.

Today’s Globe has most of the key details. In brief: in the course of his work at Harvard Pilgrim, Baker outsourced most of Harvard Pilgrim’s IT work to Perot Systems (yes, that Perot). Nothing wrong with that, exactly – Harvard Pilgrim apparently couldn’t handle the work on its own and needed outside expertise. But then it gets dicey.

This relationship [between Harvard Pilgrim and Perot Systems] includes some offshoring components. [Harvard Pilgrim Deputy CIO Bob] Trombly explains that healthcare insurance is a low-margin business; “a one percent annual fluctuation can make or break us. There is constant pressure from employers and regulators to reduce administrative costs. In our recent contract renegotiation, we challenged Perot Systems to help us aggressively reduce costs. One of the things they brought to the table was a proposal to reduce administrative costs by sending some of the work offshore.” …

Trombly is the first to admit he had “fears and misgivings” at the outset. But his view changed when he visited Perot Systems’s facilities in India. When he came home, he told his oldest son, who is heading to college this fall, “You better get off your butt because the rest of the world is ready to compete. It’s one thing to read The World is Flat; it’s another to see it in real time.”

He says “the staff in India is very well trained, doing great work, and eager to take on more. I think that’s a sobering lesson to everyone about the global marketplace.”

Charlie Baker sent Massachusetts jobs to India. There’s a campaign ad that writes itself.

As President Clinton noted at a campaign rally for Coakley on Thursday:

“You don’t need trickle-down economics..You need build-out economics that give people who are poor a chance to work their way into the middle-class.”

According to recent polls, the race is close, but considering who they’re really representing, I’d love to see Baker get just 1% of the vote, while Coakley gets the 99%.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.