With all of Mitt Romney's efforts to dance around when he did or did not leave the helm of Bain Capital, he seems to have forgotten to say something: The shifting of jobs from country to country — yes, that dreaded word "outsourcing" — is a fact of economic life in a global economy.

With all of Mitt Romney's efforts to dance around when he did or did not leave the helm of Bain Capital, he seems to have forgotten to say something: The shifting of jobs from country to country — yes, that dreaded word "outsourcing" — is a fact of economic life in a global economy.

It's not a shameful practice. Some of America's most admired companies have developed operations overseas, often moving U.S.-based jobs to those operations. Some companies have been saved by such decisions.

Manufacturers have developed or relocated operations to developing countries, mostly to take advantage of lower labor costs and expanding markets. Technology companies have embraced outsourcing for call centers, data entry and other low-value-added tasks.

Outsourcing has helped U.S. companies and consumers by reducing the cost of goods and services. It has raised living standards in China, India and other poor nations — which has created some resentment in the U.S. But higher living standards have turned many of those nations into better markets for U.S. products ranging from livestock feed to jet airliners. U.S. sales to those growing markets often creates jobs in the United States.

This global marketplace has helped promote international trade and break down cultural and economic barriers. Human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law have found a foothold in places where those American priorities never before got much attention.

Moving jobs offshore reflects what economists call comparative advantage. Goods and services are best produced where it is most efficient to do so. As a result, there are fewer U.S. assembly-line jobs in the textile industry, but more U.S. jobs developing apps for iPads, designing products on 3D printers, exploring for natural gas.

Bain Capital invested in some companies that developed or moved operations overseas in the quest for economic efficiency. That quest often creates job gains and job losses. Older workers and less educated workers tend to be vulnerable. Yet such dynamic change — creative destruction, as it's known — is essential for the prosperity of the United States and every other nation.

Romney knows that. Yet he seems to be afraid to say it. Instead, he has tried to scamper out of responsibility for investments made by Bain after 1999, when he says he gave up decision-making responsibility at the company and headed off to run the Salt Lake City Olympic Games.

President Barack Obama knows that too. One of his important economic achievements was the approval last year of free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia. Yet you don't hear him talking about that in this campaign.

We're troubled by Romney's failure to be straightforward and transparent about his business career — starting with his unwillingness to release more than two years of tax returns and ending with the laughable rationale served up by senior adviser Ed Gillespie that Romney "retroactively retired" from Bain.

We're troubled, too, by the president's decision to stoke resentment toward the people who have taken risks and succeeded in this nation. "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen," Obama said Friday. He went on to argue that public investment — in roads, in education — helps business owners.

And, yes, that public investment does help businesses, although note that it does so by removing money, aka taxes, from the private sector. But at its core — you didn't build that, somebody else made that happen — the president's remarks rang as an astonishing dismissal of the hard, often lonely work of American business people.

Obama likely will keep pounding away at Romney and his work for Bain until Romney explains to Americans how important that work was in rejuvenating companies in decline.