Seven publicly traded U.S. corporations represented on President Barack Obama's advisory council for jobs and competitiveness -- including General Electric Co. (GE) and Intel Corp. (INTC) -- have devoted a growing pool of their non-U.S. earnings to investments in other countries.
As a group, multinational companies with current or former chief executive officers on Obama's jobs council have, over the past four years, almost doubled the cumulative amounts they've reinvested overseas, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
By doing so, companies may be able to take advantage of faster-growing markets or lower production costs, and they can defer U.S. income taxes on profits from overseas sales. Underscoring the difference between corporate interests and the national interest, they're also investing money elsewhere that could be helping the U.S. economy, said former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich.
"That's a signal that they are betting less on America," Reich said. "We've got to understand there's a fundamental difference between the competitiveness of these companies and the competitiveness of America and American workers."
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