Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Middle Class Anxiety Attack

The June 26 issue U.S. News & World report has an interesting article. I find it discussed issues far more relevant to the lives of average American voters than the now-ritualistic Republican noise about "flag-desecration" and "homosexual marriage". I don't know what George Allen supporters are reading but I hope that Webb supporters will take a few minutes to look at this.

Even though the economy grew at a rapid 5.3 percent rate in the first quarter, and the unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in nearly five years [according to the U.S. Government, BLS], the president's approval rating stands at 38 percent. And a whopping 67 percent of 1,002 adults surveyed last month by the Gallup Organization said they were "dissatisfied" with the state of the union. Another recent Gallup Poll found 64 percent of respondents thought the economy was either "only fair" or "poor."

America is fast becoming a nation of haves and have-nots, with rising income inequality...Income distribution from 1995 to 2004, during both an economic boom and a recession, kept tilting toward the already wealthy. The top income quartile gained 77 percent, while the bottom gained just 8 percent. Such statistics reinforce the commonly held notion that Congress and Washington are only looking out for the rich, changing the tax code in recent years to favor those who derive their income from investments rather than wages.

Let's hope that Jim Webb continues to address the issues of economic fairness and the elimination of middle class American jobs. Americans appear to be more interested in this than "flag burning" or a "marriage amendment" -- the issues Republicans use to fire up their increasingly narrow "base" -- not the issues of concern to most Americans.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

H-1b Hearings Serve Outsourcing Lobby -- NOT American Workers

More news showing how the rigged game of "globalization" benefits narrow privileged elites at the expense of American middle class workers. George Allen can run and hide from the "economic fairness" issue but here's more ammunition for critics like Jim Webb who want to speak out on behalf of the American middle class.

Dr. Norman Matloff's review of last Thursdays H-1b hearing is definitely not upbeat. He says the hearings serve the interests of the outsourcing/worker replacement lobbyists who will use the hearings to claim the H-1b law is not abused -- obscuring the fact that the law itself is so inherently abusive of American workers and is written to permit the outsourcing companies to readily replace American workers without difficulty.

Sun 6/25/2006 3:21 AM
To: H-1B/L-1/offshoring e-newsletter
Subject: congressional hearing misleading, harmful
This past Thursday, the House Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee held a hearing on the H-1B work visa program titled, "Is the Labor Department Doing Enough to Protect U.S. Workers?" Even though I am highly critical of the H-1B program, I had hoped that the hearing would NOT take place. Careful readers of this e-newsletter know why:

As I've explained many times, concerning the problem of employers paying H-1Bs below-market wages, there is almost nothing that the Dept. of Labor (DOL) can do to protect U.S. workers, because the basic problem is the loopholes in the law itself. The definition of the legally-required _prevailing_ wage allows figures which are well below market levels. In other words, the organizers of the hearing are fundamentally incorrect in their implicit theme that the problems of the H-1B program are due mainly to lack of aggressive enforcement of the law. It is basically a loophole problem, not an enforcement problem. So when the GAO report presented at this hearing says that the law is being obeyed 99.7% of the time, that's an irrelevant statement, because the law is so riddled with loopholes that it is useless.
So, the basic theme of the hearing was pointless in the first place.

But worse than that, it gave the industry lobbyists a major opportunity to strengthen their case. Yes, it will STRENGTHEN the industry lobbyists' case, though of course not legitimately; again careful readers of this e-newsletter know why:
As I explained above, the GAO report presented at this hearing and highlighted in the press reports is irrelevant. But it's even worse than irrelevant, because it is manna from heaven for the industry lobbyists. They can now say, "See, the critics of H-1B were screaming for nothing. Only 0.3% of the employers are abusing the system; 99.7% of the employers are playing by the rules." Again, that's completely misleading, because those rules themselves are the problem. But the industry lobbyists will claim vindication.

The saddest part of this is that a number of activist programmers who've worked to reform H-1B mistakenly think they've won a victory. The listservs and chat rooms of the activist programmers have been cackling with joy over the "victory" this hearing gave them, but they don't understand that the industry lobbyists, not they, are the victors. The industry lobbyists will send a one-sentence summary of the GAO report, with the figure 99.7% highlighted, to every office on Capitol Hill.
As I said (sorry to be so repetitive), that 99.7% figure is egregiously misleading, but Congress will happily accept it, as will the press.

Indeed, it is certainly possible that the industry lobbyists planned things this way. If I had been advising them and if I didn't have any scruples, I certainly would have suggested this as a sure-fire way to get the H-1B critics off Congress' back. It would be guaranteed to work, because the clerks at DOL are not supposed to approve an H-1B Labor Condition Application (LCA) if the wage to be paid (item C in the LCA form) is less than the officially defined prevailing wage (item E); it's a purely mechanical procedure. Sure, a clerk will miss it in a small number of cases, but the procedure guarantees that you'll have a success rate very near 100%. What a plan! The GAO announces a near-100% compliance rate, and so Congress can say, "It is now proved that H-1Bs are paid as much as Americans, so we can expand the program"--thereby completely sidestepping the real problems.

It's funny. If I tell someone that big corporations and some wealthy individuals pay rather little in taxes, he won't say that the IRS isn't enforcing the law well enough. He will readily understand that the problem is the gaping loopholes in the tax code, rather than weak enforcement. It's the same with H-1B--i.e. the problem is loopholes, not enforcement--but no matter how often Rob Sanchez and I repeat this simple fact in our respective e-newsletter, people just don't get it.

And WHY don't they get it? I believe that the answer is that people tend to naively trust Congress. No matter how much they hear about corruption, they still assume that Congress would not be THAT corrupt as to enact laws which allow employers to bring in cheap labor to replace U.S. citizens and permanent residents. And yet that is exactly what Congress has done. And it is indeed due to corruption, the campaign contributions by the industry lobbyists. Amazingly, some members of Congress have even publicly admitted it (see http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/Archive/StealthBill.txt).

And GAO should know better. In their 2003 report, they said, "Some employers said that they hired H-1B workers in part because these workers would often accept lower salaries than similarly qualified U.S. workers; however, these employers said they never paid H-1B workers less than the required wage." Get it? They paid H-1Bs less than Americans but not less than the prevailing wage. In other words, the prevailing wage is not the market wage, again due to huge loopholes. Yet the GAO testimony this week mentions nothing about this absolutely key finding that they had made earlier.

I'm not saying this is deliberate deception on the GAO's part. The GAO does have a reputation
for impartiality, though there was some evidence of some political pressure by the industry in the 2003 study, I doubt that that was at work here. Instead, it was just sloppiness.
The clearest, most succinct illustration of the loopholes in the prevailing wage law remains How to Underpay H-1B Workers [...]by John Miano, founder of the Programmers Guild and one of the four witnesses in the hearing. I highly recommend it. It shows how an employer can pay an H-1B $39,000 for a job that Americans normally get paid $70-90,000 for--yet be in full compliance of the law.
Note once again that it is not just the small firms that underpay the H-1Bs. The above Web page is for Bank of America workers, and my analysis of Intel's saving money by hiring H-1Bs is at http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/Archive/IntelH1BWages.txt

I'm enclosing two articles on the hearing, plus John Miano's own notes.
Miano has done outstanding work on the wage issue, but the scope of this hearing served to totally obscure that work. He did mention in his testimony that a major problem was loopholes in the legal definition of prevailing wage, but this was clearly lost on the press: Neither of the two articles below, nor the Dobbs show, mentioned it. The GAO report, sadly, eclipsed Miano's testimony.

I should point out that even though it is perfectly legal to pay an H-1B below market wages, and it is perfectly legal to hire an H-1B without making any attempt to recruit U.S. citizen/permanent resident workers, it is NOT legal to say you prefer or even insist on H-1B applicants.

Miano and the Guild recently filed a complaint in the Dept. of Justice on this, and it will be interesting to see how that plays out. But for the most part, as I said, the problem with H-1B is loopholes, not lack of enforcement.

One interesting part of Miano's notes is the point about Rep. Jackson-Lee (D-Texas). She has been one of the staunchest supports of the industry's view on H-1B in the House, but I must say that she has outdone herself here. As I have been saying throughout this posting, giving the DOL more enforcement powers would have almost no value, but Jackson-Lee does not want to throw American workers even that tiny bone.

Amazing. Lee would seem to have a number of reasons to back the industry on H-1B: she reportedly had strong ties to Enron; her predecessor had made enemies of Enron and the business community by opposing NAFTA; and her husband is a high-ranking administrator at the University of Houston (academia is a huge source of support for H-1B).

By the way, though she is African-American and she portrays herself as a fighter in support of black people, she has refused the entreaties of black leaders who point out to her that black engineers are being harmed by the H-1B program.

You can access the hearing testimony, including a video, at


Articles mentioned by Norm:

Thousands Of H-1B Workers Are Underpaid, GAO Says: But the 3,229 petitions cited represent a miniscule percentage of all H-1B applications.

Some H-1B workers underpaid, federal auditors say

partial transcript from Lou Dobbs show:

...Even more bizarre, in 1996, the Department of Labor found that the guest-worker visa programs, quote, do not protect U.S. workers' jobs or wages. Ten years later and Congress has done nothing. That inaction has emboldened employers seeking only to hire only H1-B workers to the exclusion of American workers. As members of the House Judiciary Committee learned on Thursday.

JOHN MIANO, PROGRAMMER'S GUILD: In the past six weeks I found over 1,500 ads requesting H1-B workers only from 350 employers. There are now Web sites that are virtual visa bazaars. Companies don't advertise jobs. They advertise visas.
TUCKER: Other panelists told the elected representatives that fixing the problem is simple and crucial.

ANA AVENDANO, AFL-CIO: The best thing we can do is to protect U.S.
working standards so that workers can earn a decent wage, work in dignity under decent conditions and not continue to foster systems like the H1-B program that simply provide employers with a steady supply of exploitable workers.

TUCKER: But instead of fixing the problems, Congress is ready to expand the program in the name of immigration reform...

John Miano's observations on the hearing.
1. The DoL's treatment of "obvious errors and omissions". The GAO report pointed out a number of cases where there were obvious errors but the DoL's automated process approved the LCA anyaway.
The GAO pointed out that DoL approved LCAs with:
o Promised wages less than the claimed prevailing wage. (What most of the media has latched on to.) o Bad EINs.
They could just have well pointed out
o Obvious errors in salaries (e.g. Programmer salary listed as $454,000,000 a year) o Errors in job classifications (e.g. classifying Dentists under job code 030 -- computer programming) o Speling erors that corrupt the data (e.g "New Yrok"_
2. The DoL has just started to audit previous "willful violators" within the past month.
3. In short, these two issues are areas where the DoL could do more but has not. However, this is trivial. So what if 4,000 more LCAs since 2002 had been rejected if the DoL's computer program did some more validation? Still that means 99% of the LCAs are approved. Yes, they could do more validation; it wouldn't take much effort; but it wouldn't change much either.
If the DoL changes it computer program, this is what happens:
a. Employer submits LCA with wage of $40,000 and prevailing wage of $50,000.
b. DoL, following the GAO recommendations, rejects it.
c. Employer resubmits the LCA with the wage of $40,000 but puts down the prevailing wage is $25,000.
d. The DoL has to approve the LCA.
This doesn't change anything.
2. Jackson-Lee (the only D who showed up) was trying to make the point that if the DoL is not doing everything in its power already there was no need to increase its powers.
3. Most of the Congressmen on the committee have no idea that the statute limits the power of DoL to investigate. Nor do they understand why dance instructors can get H-1B visas.
4. The GAO report noted that the DoL now investigates complaints. However, as my testimony pointed out, they do not seem eager to do so. My submission of 130 job ads from one company stating "H-1B Workers Only" or "H-1B workers preferred" to support an allegation of failing to recruit U.S. workers in good faith was rejected as being "insufficient evidence" of a violation.
5. Most telling quote in the report: "Labor uses education as the primary method of promoting employer compliance with the H-1B program."
6. The report notes that few discrimination complaints filed with the Justice Department found violations. These are the types of complaints I am filing right now. I will say that I have submitted a number of them in the past and only did not result in a settlement. (Funny how you can't remember the number of successes but know the number of failures. Also makes me wonder if the six successes were all mine.)
I wish we had more details here to know the nature of the complaints.
I suspect that many of the unsuccessful complaints are filed by people who are fired and replaced by H-1B workers. They say to themselves, "How could this possibly happen in America." So they file a complaint.
Unfortunately, such firings are usually perfectly legal and there is nothing the DoJ can do. I suspect that is the reason for the low success rate on this path.
One casually reading the report might get the impression that most complaints are filed by disgruntled U.S. workers who blame their job loss on H-1B.
FWIW....I have over 300 of these same types of complaints in the pipeline and I expect to succeed in nearly all of them. There may be a few that the situation will be as the employer always claims, "I really hire Americans but we got a new person in HR and she created this ad from ads she saw...." and that turns out to be exactly what happened. (Yeh, right.)
The report notes that none of these cases actually went to trial. That is my experience as well. All of our successes came from settlements before trial. I doubt any of the 300 here will go to trial either.
7. The bottom line is the GAO recommends:
a. Removing the restrictions on enforcement.
b. Have USCIS share its data.
Both of these are in my H-1B study and in my testimony.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

AFL-CIO: Labor Department NOT Doing Enough to Protect American Workers

John Miano has just finished his critique of the H-1b visa program. Ana Avendano of the AFL-CIO is speaking now. This hearing details part of the offshore outsourcing job loss catastrophe which Jim Webb has spoken out against in his calls for economic fairness. Offshore outsouricing and worker replacement under "guest worker" programs is an attack on the American middle class.

Thursday 06/22/2006 - 2:00 PM 2141 Rayburn House Office Building
Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims Oversight Hearing on "Is the Labor Department Doing Enough to Protect U.S. Workers?"

Live Webcast available at http://boss.streamos.com/real-live/hjudiciary/4749/100_hjudiciary-live_030428.smi

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


James Webb has been declared the victor in the contest against longtime business lobbyist Harris Miller. The contest was a study in contrasts.

Webb, a Vietnam War hero, best-selling author, former Secretary of the Navy, respected national security expert, "political outsider" and populist democrat was pitted against Harris Miller, a consummate Washington "insider" whose activities as a pro-outsourcing high tech industry lobbyist were often obscured behind press accounts of his ties to Virginia state Democratic Party figures and portrayal as a Democratic Party activist, businessman and technology executive.

Ironically, the Internet blogosphere proved to be a major weakness for Harris Miller. Indeed, it may have proven to be his undoing as bloggers relentlessly posted the appalling details of Miller's past lobbying activities which were so critical in assisting corporations in their continuing effort to replace or substitute low-wage foreign workers for middle class Americans. Though often criticised as vitriolic, it was internet bloggers who took the initiative to "research" Miller, authoring much of the material about Miller's lobbying activities and tying this to his campaign's claims creating a tremendous credibility gap for Miller among "wired" 'net-savvy voters...

The irony of a self-described "technology leader" falling victim to technology-enabled internet activism was not unforeseeable. Miller's sharpest opponents included information technology professionals injured by his lobbying activities, hardened by suffering and political activism and adept in the use of modern internet technology. This presented the establishment insider Miller with a battlefield for which he and his campaign were unprepared despite his much vaunted reputation as a technology "wonk".

In the end, it's clear that Miller's lobbying activities had alienated and infuriated many of the American IT workers who really built the Internet... Some of these people have honed their activism for years and were ready to enter the fray when Miller announced his political ambitions.

To be continued...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Good Jobs We Want and Need

E.J. Dionne Jr has an interesting article this morning in the Washington Post. The title is "In Search Of a New New Deal" (Subtitle: "How Will the Good Jobs Of the Future Be Created?") Take a few minutes and have a read. It might give you yet another good reason to vote for Jim Webb.

If you've been following the Webb-Miller contest, you'll see that Jim Webb and Harris Miller have been talking about the issues Dionne raises. They have different approaches; I think that Webb's is the more sincere and realistic. Like the warning over waging war against Iraq, Webb was early and right. Jim Webb's comments about the state of the middle class and economic fairness take account of the current trends and show that he is prepared to take action on the problems. Meanwhile, Miller's call's for additional education as the cure all for offshore outsourcing is a mantra without substance which conveniently conceals the labor arbitrage at work in our country and the world.

Dionne quotes Princeton economist Alan Blinder as saying, "we have so far barely seen the tip of the offshoring iceberg, the eventual dimensions of which may be staggering." Isn't this the time for truly enlightented leaders -- the time we need Jim Webb?

Monday, June 12, 2006

A Plea for Justice, A Call for Integrity on June 13

My name is Sona Shah. I'm an Indian-American computer programmer, an American citizen, and a victim of unjust laws and unjust business practices. I lost my middle class technology job to Harris Miller’s vision of the “competitive global economy” -- “business visa” abuse and offshore outsourcing.

I have witnessed widespread abuses of both American and foreign white collar workers. (Indeed, I have personally experienced such abuse.) This continuing injustice and the lies which enable it must be confronted and brought to an end. Harris Miller is comfortable with the present system of corporate controlled trade and labor policy. Harris Miller excuses or ignores abuses of American and foreign workers. This is unacceptable under any circumstances but especially so in a candidate seeking the U.S. Senate nomination of the Democratic Party.

In 2004, I
testified before Congress regarding my first-hand experiences of abusive labor practices – practices which were very much a part of the Harris Miller’s lobbying activities on behalf of his “high tech” corporate clients.

During this Congressional hearing, I confronted Harris Miller. I presented him with hard facts -- irrefutable evidence of the abuses in various guest worker programs and asked Mr. Miller to support reform. Harris Miller refused. Mr. Miller refused to accept facts. Mr. Miller refused to support reforms. I pointed out that these reforms would not harm legitimate businesses. Harris Miller wouldn't hear anything we had to say.

I was not alone in presenting these views. Members of Congress presented him with evidence of abuses. Mike Gildea, Executive Director of the AFL-CIO, DPE union presented Miller and the Congress with
evidence of abuses. Other IT workers also recounted the systematic abuses they had suffered. None of this had any effect on lobbyist Harris Miller. Harris Miller's only concern was to represent his CEO clients’ insatiable desire for cheap, indentured labor. Mr. Miller would not even answer direct questions from members of the Congressional Committee before whom he was testifying. Truth and justice were obviously irrelevant and insignificant to Harris Miller.

If this conduct was typical of Mr. Miller while he was employed as a pro-offshore outsourcing and pro-“business visa” corporate lobbyist, I believe it reasonable to wonder what he he will do should he become a United States senator? Whose interests will he represent and what manner of justice will he uphold?

Mr. Miller's career is based on aiding unscrupulous business interests in their efforts to replace American workers with less costly alternatives. This could only be accomplished with lies and laws based on lies. Mr. Miller has proven adept at propagating lies and suppressing the truth. This stands as the anti-thesis of truth -- a cornerstone of our system of justice.

The foreign guest worker “business visa” (H-1b and L-1) programs so critical to Mr. Miller were ostensibly created to satisfy a short term need for skilled labor in America but they are based on a lie. That need for non-American labor never existed; it was a perception created by business lobbyists for the purpose of lowering labor costs. Qualified American workers were available to do the work and the flow of educated workers had actually increased to meet demand.

Yet, Mr. Miller and his CEO allies stated that Americans couldn't do these jobs. They claimed that Americans weren't sufficiently skilled. Mr. Miller and his CEO clients stated they needed foreign workers to do this work. Most of these guest workers came from India. As an Indian American with ties to the Indian community and culture, I witnessed what Mr. Miller and his CEO clients truly wanted - and that was cheap, indentured foreign labor. It's what happened at my company.

Essentially the guest worker "business visa" programs such as the H1B and L1 are dysfunctional. Study after study concludes that they are broken beyond use. The language of the law is riddled with loopholes and for what little legal provisions do exist - there is no enforcement. I have tried for 8 years to commence an investigation of my employer with no results. If you watch the webcast of the full hearing you will wonder how Harris Miller has found the gall to run for Senate after such a clearly established career of one-sided loyalty to his CEO clients. At best it is a conflict of interest for him to run for Senate.

Harris Miller heard my testimony but he barely acknowledged the injustices done to both Americans and foreign workers at my company. Was it due to the paycheck from his clients that Mr. Miller refused to accept the evidence that I presented? Was it Mr. Miller’s loyalty to his paying CEO clients that has also resulted in Mr. Miller's consistent refusal to support any reform?

On Friday morning, I listened to Mr. Miller speak on the Mark Plotkin radio program on the Washington Post Radio station. Miller said, as he did during my Congressional testimony, that employers who violate laws should be sanctioned. I heard Harris Miller’s ludicrous comments calling for enforcement. But Mr. Miller knows the laws are deeply flawed, inviting abuse and permitting it; there is very little to enforce and no interest in investigations.

In Mr. Miller's call for enforcement he ignores the gaping loopholes in the guest worker programs which allow employers such as mine to degrade both the guest workers and American citizens with no recourse. For example, the H1B program on which Miller based his entire career, has a wage requirement provision that the guest workers be paid a prevailing wage to Americans similarly situated. But where do you get the salary numbers? Answer - anywhere. There is no establishment of the source of that prevailing wage so it is an empty provision. Thus employers can pay anything they want to and get a way with it. There's nothing to enforce.

So, what enforcement is Mr. Miller calling for? None. Harris Miller stands for such empty provisions. He knows it protects his CEO clients who are now also his campaign contributors. It is unbelievable. With Harris Miller running for the Senate we have a situation similar to Jack Abramoff running for Senate. (Would you vote for Abramoff?)

Harris Miller steadfastly ignores overwhelming evidence of systematic abuse. He refuses to acknowledge the desperate need for reform. When I heard Miller was running for the Senate at first I believed it was a sick joke. I couldn't imagine, a career lobbyist with a clear and blatant public record of being one-sided for industry CEO's seeking elected office (as a "Democrat", no less). At best this situation could be described as a "conflict of interest".

But here he is. If Miller is elected, he will return to the “culture of corruption” of which he is so much a part and so much a contributor. It would be little different than giving Jack Abramoff a Senate seat.

Jim Webb offers a clear alternative to Harris Miller. I've met Jim Webb and believe he has the honesty, integrity and the right ideas. Jim Webb is ready to fight for justice and real economic fairness. Jim Webb has publicly stated his opposition to offshore outsourcing and the replacement of American workers. Jim Webb understands that the American Dream of a middle class life is under threat and effective political action is required.

On Tuesday, June 13, I urge Virginians to vote for Jim Webb for U.S. Senate.

[Note: According to an InfoWorld article entitled, U.S. lawmakers: Worker visa program needs changes, "The ITAA's Harris Miller called the stories from Shah and Fluno 'isolated cases'"!!! The article's subtitle is L-1 visa program makes it easy for U.S. companies to move jobs overseas, lawmakers say.]

Friday, June 09, 2006

Education-Retraining =Middle Class Jobs Myth

The following email was written by an American software engineer commenting on economist Paul Craig Roberts' recent article debunking the jobs outsourcing lies of corporate lobbyists like Harris Miller.

Since Harris Miller avoids all discussion of the corporate worker replacement programs he supported as a business lobbyist and since he continues to assure Virginians that education and retraining will make them "competitive" (i.e., employable), a dose of reality is clearly in order.

So, here's some testimony from the real working world about what's happening to the American "high tech" workforce -- the jobs sector that was supposed to be our national future after the industrial jobs went offshore... This American engineer's experience flatly contradicts the sort of pro-outsourcing, dynamic world economy nonsense that Miller has used as a smokescreen throughout this campaign. For Miller and his corporate clients, it's all about replacing expensive Americans with cheap foreign labor whenever possible...

"I have a Masters of Science and work for a large software/travel related company near Dallas, TX. My employer is growing a presence in India, and it was very easy because we have so many Indian citizens who have worked here for years. The company first offered a nice deal to have them relocate back to India. At the same time we hire ["business visa"] contractors and bring them onshore for 6 months (perhaps they are paid about 25k, a fraction of my salary) then cycle them back [offshore]. Basically I'm watching as our [American] groups shrink, evidenced by the closing of buildings...but the code is still being written somewhere [by non-Americans].

In a recent mail from my US senator she explained how she believed we needed more math and science grads [making the same claims that Harris Miller has long made as a business lobbyist and political candidate]...I had to laugh. Why on earth would an intelligent American choose a career in math and science? They [i.e., "Americans"] have a right to act in their own best interest, and a smart young person would be better off in law or medicine or something that people will still do here in the future...

The status of the job is in decline, and it's obvious. We work long hours but are asked not to indicate in time sheets that we work any more than 40. We are crowded into "labs" that resemble call centers...again, why on earth would somebody get a Masters degree to sit in a bull pen? Our India located counterparts are worse, perhaps they work 60 hours a week, but indicate on projects that they work 40...Can you see how the productivity measures are skewed?"

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Economist, ex-Reagan official SLAMS Outsourcing and Outsourcing Lobby

In a scathing June 6 Counterpunch article, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts attacks offshore outsourcing and the "business visa" worker replacement programs -- the programs championed by Jim Webb's primary opponent ex-business lobbyist Harris Miller. Dr. Roberts notes that the combined effect of offshore outsourcing and imported foreign replacement workers is leading to the end of American engineering.

Outsourcing Smarts
The Death of US Engineering


The May payroll jobs report released June 2 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms the jobs pattern for the 21st century US economy: employment growth is limited to domestic services.

In May the economy created only 67,000 private sector jobs. Job estimates for the previous two months were reduced by 37,000.

The new jobs are as follows: professional and business services, 27,000; education and health services, 41,000; waitresses and bartenders, 10,000. Manufacturing lost 14,000 jobs.

Total hours worked in the private sector declined in May.
Manufacturing hours worked are 6.6 percent less than when the recovery began four and one-half years ago.

American economists and policymakers are in denial about the effect of jobs offshoring on US employment. Corporate lobbyists have purchased fraudulent studies from economists that claim offshoring results in more US employment rather than less. The same lobbyists have spread disinformation that the US does not graduate enough engineers and that they must import foreigners on work visas. Lobbyists are currently pushing, as part of the immigration bill, an expansion in annual H-1B work visas from 65,000 to 115,000.

The alleged "shortage" of US engineering graduates is inconsistent with reports from Duke University that 30 to 40 percent of students in its master's of engineering management program accept jobs outside the profession. About one-third of engineering graduates from MIT go into careers outside their field. Job outsourcing and work visas for foreign engineers are reducing career opportunities for American engineering graduates and, also, reducing salary scales.

When employers allege a shortage of engineers, they mean that there is a shortage of American graduates who will work for the low salaries that foreigners will accept. Americans are simply being forced out
of the engineering professions by jobs outsourcing and the importation of foreigners on work visas. Corporate lobbyists and their hired economists are destroying the American engineering professions.

American engineering is also under pressure because corporations have moved manufacturing offshore. Design, research and development are now following manufacturing offshore. A country that doesn't make things doesn't need engineers and designers. Corporations that have moved manufacturing offshore fund R&D in the countries where their plants have been relocated.

Engineering curriculums are demanding. The rewards to the effort are being squeezed out by jobs offshoring and work visas. If the current policy continues of substituting foreign engineers for American engineers, the profession will die in the US.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: paulcraigroberts(at)yahoo(dot)com

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Jim Webb's Populism Shaking Things Up....

The June 19 issue of the American Conservative magazine has an interesting article by Jim Antle about the Virginia Senate race. Check out A New Democrat: Jim Webb’s populist Senate campaign shakes up Virginia’s political establishment

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