Does engineering REALLY need more diversity?

I keep hearing calls for protectionism. According to the protectionists, the recession has been caused by outsourcing and will
only deepen because the trend of more outsourcing will continue. One of IEEE's jobs is to stand up against this trend.
At the same time, I also keep hearing calls for more diversity in engineering. According to the diversity advocates, engineering needs to do a better job of recruiting women, Latinos, African Americans, Native Americans, and other underrepresented groups. One of IEEE's jobs is outreach.
The IEEE talks out of both sides of its mouth when it does BOTH of these jobs. If the protectionism advocates are right, then the diversity advocates are doing a DISSERVICE to the underrepresented groups it's supposed to help. I'm all for diversity, but if engineering really is a field in decline, then why is it necessary? If the future of engineers is that dismal, then what's the point of outreach? According to the twisted logic that we need both protectionism AND diversity, then we should be lamenting the underrepresentation of Asian Americans and Latinos among smokers. (According to Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, only 15% of Asian Americans and 19% of Latinos smoke, compared to 23.2% of Caucasians.)
The IEEE needs to make up its mind. If the protectionists are correct, then it needs to halt all outreach efforts and devote all its energies to not only protecting jobs but also helping members find new non-engineering careers. If the diversity advocates are correct, then calls for protectionism are a smokescreen. The protectionists and the diversity advocates of IEEE cannot both be right. Something has to give.
In my opinion, the IEEE's actions are Communist. If Communism didn't work for the economies of the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, China, or Cuba, then why should it work for the IEEE?
Jason Hsu, AG4DG usenet A T jasonhsu.com http://www.jasonhsu.com/ee.html http://groups.yahoo.com/group/eeham / http://groups.yahoo.com/group/resume_hyperinflation_fighters / http://groups.yahoo.com/group/gmu-ece-control /
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The flap over 'offshoring' George Will - February 19, 2004
WASHINGTON -- It is difficult to say something perfectly, precisely false. But Speaker Dennis Hastert did when participating in the bipartisan piling-on against the president's economic adviser who imprudently said something sensible.
John Kerry and John Edwards, who are not speaking under oath and who know that economic illiteracy has never been a disqualification for high office, have led the scrum against the chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, N. Gregory Mankiw, who said the arguments for free trade apply to trade in services as well as manufactured goods. But the prize for the pithiest nonsense went to Hastert: ``An economy suffers when jobs disappear."
So the economy suffered when automobiles caused the disappearance of the jobs of most blacksmiths, buggy makers, operators of livery stables, etc.? The economy did not seem to be suffering in 1999, when 33 million jobs were wiped out -- by an economic dynamism that created 35.7 million jobs. How many of the 4,500 U.S jobs that IBM is planning to create this year will be made possible by sending 3,000 jobs overseas?
Hastert's ideal economy, where jobs do not disappear, existed almost everywhere for almost everyone through almost all of human history. In, say, 12th-century France, the ox behind which a man plowed a field changed, but otherwise the plowman was doing what generations of his ancestors had done and what generations of his descendants would do. Those were the good old days, before economic growth.
The disappearance of whole categories of jobs can be desirable for reasons other than economic rationality. The economist Irwin Stelzer recalls that John L. Lewis, the firebreathing leader of the United Mine Workers of America from 1920 to 1960, once said that he hoped to see the day when no man would make his living by going underground.
For the highly competent work force of this wealthy nation, the loss of jobs is not a zero-sum game, it is a trading up in social rewards. When the presidential candidates were recently in South Carolina, histrionically lamenting the loss of textile jobs, they surely noticed the huge BMW presence. It is the ``offshoring" of German jobs because Germany's irrational labor laws, among other things, give America a comparative advantage. Such economic calculation explains the manufacture of Mercedeses in Alabama, Hondas in Ohio, Toyotas in California.
As long as the American jobs going offshore were blue-collar jobs, the political issue did not attain the heat it has now that white-collar job losses frighten a more articulate, assertive social class. But an old lesson applies to this new situation.
The welfare state, beginning with unemployment relief, was pioneered in part by European conservatives, Disraeli and especially Bismarck, to reconcile people to change -- to the frictions and casualties of economic dynamism on which, such enlightened conservatives saw, national greatness would depend in the industrial age. It is sound social policy, and simple justice, that the party who benefits from free trade -- the nation as a whole -- should be taxed to ameliorate the discomforts of those who pay the short-term price of progress.
That is the case for education and job training for persons needing to change their skills. Such assistance is especially imperative when the casualties of change bear no responsibility for their fate -- unlike, say, U.S. steelworkers, whose overreaching in collective bargaining deepened the problems of their industry.
John Kerry says offshoring is done by ``Benedict Arnold CEOs." But if he wants to improve the health of U.S airlines, and the security of the jobs and pensions of most airline employees, should he not applaud Delta saving $25 million a year by sending some reservation services to India?
Does Kerry really want to restrain the rise of health care costs? Does he oppose having X-rays analyzed in India at a fraction of the U.S. cost?
Recently, Indiana Gov. Joseph Kernan canceled a $15 million contract with a firm in India for processing state unemployment claims. The next highest bidder was a U.S. firm that would have charged $23 million. Because of this potential 50 percent price increase, there would have been $8 million fewer state dollars for schools, hospitals, law enforcement, etc. And the benefit to Indiana would have been ... what?
When Kernan made this gesture he probably was wearing something wholly or partly imported and that at one time, before ``offshoring," would have been entirely made here. Such potential embarrassments are among the perils of making moral grandstanding into an economic policy.
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| The flap over 'offshoring' | George Will - February 19, 2004
[...]
| So the economy suffered when automobiles caused the disappearance of the | jobs of most blacksmiths, buggy makers, operators of livery stables, etc.? | The economy did not seem to be suffering in 1999, when 33 million jobs were | wiped out -- by an economic dynamism that created 35.7 million jobs. How | many of the 4,500 U.S jobs that IBM is planning to create this year will be | made possible by sending 3,000 jobs overseas?
That's not disappearance of jobs; that's a "change of paradigm". There were in fact more new jobs to replace the ones that were "lost". They didn't go to another country (yet). The blacksmiths and buggy makers could get jobs in the automobile industry in one form or another (especially locally fixing the danged things).
I have no idea what 33 million jobs were wiped out in 1999, and I certainly don't know what 35.7 million jobs were created. Since 1999, the total number of jobs in the US has been on the decline. In the past few months, a few of those months have shown job numbers very slowly going back up. But the tech industry and manufacturing continue to show job numbers going down. And the total number of jobs is not tracking the stock market prices. Companies are showing better returns, making stockholders happy, by cutting costs, not by scaling up. That is NOT economic growth; it's growth only in value that was severely derated due to previous poor financial management.
| The disappearance of whole categories of jobs can be desirable for reasons | other than economic rationality. The economist Irwin Stelzer recalls that | John L. Lewis, the firebreathing leader of the United Mine Workers of | America from 1920 to 1960, once said that he hoped to see the day when no | man would make his living by going underground.
George is confusing disappearance with change. Change can be good. Real disappearance is always bad.
| For the highly competent work force of this wealthy nation, the loss of jobs | is not a zero-sum game, it is a trading up in social rewards. When the | presidential candidates were recently in South Carolina, histrionically | lamenting the loss of textile jobs, they surely noticed the huge BMW | presence. It is the ``offshoring" of German jobs because Germany's | irrational labor laws, among other things, give America a comparative | advantage. Such economic calculation explains the manufacture of Mercedeses | in Alabama, Hondas in Ohio, Toyotas in California.
Many people can change from one job to another within similar fields with similar levels of skill.
| As long as the American jobs going offshore were blue-collar jobs, the | political issue did not attain the heat it has now that white-collar job | losses frighten a more articulate, assertive social class. But an old lesson | applies to this new situation.
It's not a white collar vs. blue collar issue. What it is right now is that things have changed such that no job is safe anymore. Every job in which someone is working with information is now at risk of going offshore. There are not jobs to replace these because even those can be done by someone in another country for 1/5th as much because the cost of living there is 1/5th as much because of the trade imbalance and the currency distortion.
| John Kerry says offshoring is done by ``Benedict Arnold CEOs." But if he | wants to improve the health of U.S airlines, and the security of the jobs | and pensions of most airline employees, should he not applaud Delta saving | $25 million a year by sending some reservation services to India?
The remaining jobs and pensions are not at all secure. There is nothing to stop these companies from shifting nearly every job to offshore that does not have to be performed right here, and filling those that are here with people brought in under via programs (as the tech industry did with H-1B).
| Does Kerry really want to restrain the rise of health care costs? Does he | oppose having X-rays analyzed in India at a fraction of the U.S. cost?
For every dollar it costs to analyze an X-ray in India, that's five dollars that Americans cannot spend in this country. It won't help to decrease the cost of health care when the money available to pay for it decreases by an even greater amount.
| Recently, Indiana Gov. Joseph Kernan canceled a $15 million contract with a | firm in India for processing state unemployment claims. The next highest | bidder was a U.S. firm that would have charged $23 million. Because of this | potential 50 percent price increase, there would have been $8 million fewer | state dollars for schools, hospitals, law enforcement, etc. And the benefit | to Indiana would have been ... what?
The benefit would have been a $8 million dollar boost to the local economy. If Mr. Bush's idea of "giving American's tax money back to them" means anything, then giving them $23 million when the government took $23 million from them in the first place, should mean a lot more to the economy than taking $15 million and not giving it to them. The service gets done either way, but by keeping the money here, there isn't an $15 million loss to the economy.
| When Kernan made this gesture he probably was wearing something wholly or | partly imported and that at one time, before ``offshoring," would have been | entirely made here. Such potential embarrassments are among the perils of | making moral grandstanding into an economic policy.
We can't entirely avoid products, or services, from other countries. What we need to do is make sure we do not run up a trade deficit in so doing. For every job lost to someone in another country, we need to replace that with a job gained in doing some service, or creating some product, that is sold to another country.
http://www.saveusjobs.biz /
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Somewhat interesting link: http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes150000.htm
Overvew if CS related job unemployment statistics.
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| Somewhat interesting link: http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes150000.htm | | Overvew if CS related job unemployment statistics.
Those are wage statistics. No unemployment figures there.
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If you dig around a bit it shows number of people employed over the course of the last several years.
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| If you dig around a bit it shows number of people employed over the course | of the last several years.
That doesn't show unemployment. It's also based on sampling, which, while they cite certain specific high confidence levels, those are based on number of samples, not quality of samples. Their measurement is based on employer responses, which can be skewed by some employers. Employers don't have any figures on how many people they don't employ.
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Here's a clue for you: IEEE is in it's own little world with it's own little set of priorities. They include pointy headed academics, universities, big companies with deep pockets and way way down the food chain, the common engineer. Other than their standards commitees, if IEEE disappeared off the face of the earth 99% of us (engineers) wouldn't ever notice.
As far as outsourcing is concerned, that infastructure evolved to augment talent shortages in the US and elsewhere. Less and less kids want technology careers in the US. The internet bubble going "pop" means companies are not hoarding engineers anymore, what they found was a pool of relatively cheap talent in place. But the market is taking care of that as well, these prices are on the rise also.
What makes me sick is watching politicians "fix" problems by creating more problems. These usually include silly mandates, "one-size-fits-all" solutions and inflexibility - all conjured by people marketing themselves for an election and their "experts". If you really want to screw up the engineering job market, get some glad-handed politician involved with some IEEE recommendations. We'll soon all be flipping burgers or working at Wal-Mart.
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| Here's a clue for you: IEEE is in it's own little world with it's own little | set of priorities. They include pointy headed academics, universities, big | companies with deep pockets and way way down the food chain, the common | engineer. Other than their standards commitees, if IEEE disappeared off the | face of the earth 99% of us (engineers) wouldn't ever notice.
I would have to agree with that.
Do you think we need a new institution specifically dedicated to the people in that field, or maybe one broadly covering all of technology, that won't become a puppet of corporate executives?
| As far as outsourcing is concerned, that infastructure evolved to augment | talent shortages in the US and elsewhere. Less and less kids want technology | careers in the US. The internet bubble going "pop" means companies are not | hoarding engineers anymore, what they found was a pool of relatively cheap | talent in place. But the market is taking care of that as well, these prices | are on the rise also.
The talent shortage did not exist in the 1990s. CEOs of large corporations lied to Congress claiming such a shortage for the purpose of raising the limits on bringing in NON-immigrant workers (the kind who would NOT be on the track to US citizenship, and WOULD be stuck in their job and cannot move around for better wages anywhere nearly as freely as citizens and immigrant residents can).
A few executives truly believed a shortage did exist because there was a period of high transition. People were in fact frequently leaving jobs to move on to another better paying, or more respectable, job. That resulted in a higher level of work for the HR department, who at the same time was faced with having to cope with new technology for match people that was just plain not working correctly (it still doesn't work right even today). When these statistics are looked at in the wrong way, it would look like a real shortage existed. But people were looking for work at the same time (just not as many of them as today).
| What makes me sick is watching politicians "fix" problems by creating more | problems. These usually include silly mandates, "one-size-fits-all" | solutions and inflexibility - all conjured by people marketing themselves | for an election and their "experts". If you really want to screw up the | engineering job market, get some glad-handed politician involved with some | IEEE recommendations. We'll soon all be flipping burgers or working at | Wal-Mart.
When combining H-1B, L-1, and outsourcing, the job loss is actually less than 1/5 of the total level of unemployed and underemployed (people who are currently working outside their educated and trained field of work). What that means is there real cause is business has scaled down. The export of jobs is adding to the problem, but it is not the principle cause. However, were that export of jobs not present, the economic recovery of the US would return faster.
Businesses by their definition are not there for the purpose of making sure Americans are employed; they exist to produce a return on investment for the people and institutions that invest in them. Governments, on the other hand, really should be there for the people of the jurisdiction they operate in. They do need to specifically do things for the benefit of the people. The problem is, people suffer when businesses fail, too, so this has to include making sure businesses are successful, as well as making sure people have the jobs they need.
Still, when a government contract ends up being fulfilled by people in some other country, when people who could do the job are already available within that jurisdiction, and looking for work, it is at best a slap in the face, and at worst, a problem that continues to plague that government. In these cases I do favor a "domestic worker only" policy for government contracts and all other work by governments. In those cases where they do decide to opt for a percentage, such as "80% must be domestic", that should be stated as individually calculated for each category of work, so they don't end up hiring low level work in one place and high level work somewhere else. It would just be easier in this case to make it an absolute 100% with a waiver program when it can be proved a specific job cannot be filled locally at the current job market wages/salaries.
Government should also help people get jobs at businesses, not through any restrictive laws (which I fear the Democrats will impose), but instead, through tax incentives to businesses that ramp up their hiring. The federal government should be doing this for all hiring in affected categories, as well as states for hiring within their state borders. Business should be swayed by financial incentives that are a win-win for both.
The H-1B and L-1 programs should be replaced by a new genuine citizenship track based "qualified immigrant" program that allows the "best of the best" to enter the US and work here. Under such a program they would essentially be granted full residency, be free to come and go across the border, and most importantly, be free to work for any employer or even start their own business. If business truly believes there is a worker shortage, then they will accept such a program as fulfilling such a shortage. However, if their goal is for cheap captive workers, they will oppose it.
A world economy is certainly here to stay. Isolation is a thing of the past and will never be back. How we can best survive in such an economy AND at the same time also retain a high standard of living (as opposed to being dragged down to the mid point between here and that of a third world country), while still creating new growth induced markets throughtout the world will require some major intelligence in government economic policies. Perhaps the biggest source of problems is that the world exchange rates, and import/export differentials, are way out of whack.
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people
IEEE chases goverment and industry grant money - their reason to exist. They also partner with universities and independent research groups for this quest. But don't get me going on colleges. IEEE started, in part, to represent "the little guy" but "the little guy" doesn't really care - in my mind the real problem. Creating another bloated, useless, self-serving pile of garbage won't fix anything.

corporations
Naturally business is going to want 100 resumes for every job. I don't fault them for that. The goverment on the other hand loves to say they are solving problems and put their name on it. In the mid-late 90's you had a typical unemployment rate of computer-related technical jobs at 1-2%. In my little world we couldn't hire enough guys for years. The Asian/Indian people were a welcome site - hard working, well educated and team players. We wouldn't have made one schedule without them.

just
When
I agree, but remember the $200/hour contractors? I interviewed a guy once that switched jobs every six months for years! My first question was "This is a two year project, what makes me believe your going to be around here in six months?". We were going to pay this guy $135 bucks an hour with a one year commitment! He turned us down! Also higher and higher contract rates, and the "start-up" craze added to transition rates. The Indian workers couldn't do all this and management loved them. In their viewpoint high transition was disruptive as well as expensive.

are
However,
would
Lets face it - the telecomm world, which was a large part of the tech economy, has gone bust. Thats the real problem. This has hit software and especially IT hard. The speculative boom of the late 90's created expectations with some that were not sustainable. Want to make someone die laughing? Call up a venture capital company and tell them you want them to fund a telecomm start-up.
I don't believe business would nessesarily respond to cutting H-1B and outsourced work with replacement by US workers. If they couldn't pass increased costs on, they would cancel projects or services.

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hand,
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I agree and creating a good business environment helps with creating a good social environment. If business can't make money, whats the point in running it? Who wants a job thats not smart - ie exists because of governments coercion? The days having it will most likely be numbered, costs will be higher and worse thing you can do for quality is tell a worker their job is "protected".

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waiver
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Everyone likes to shop around for a deal. If the goverment pays too much, tax payers pay too much - it just shifts costs around. The "buy-local" creates a captive market. Remember the import quotas on cars in the 70's? Detroit turned out their biggest piles of crap as a result.

federal
My local Department of Employment Security does this, has training programs, out-placement and will provide these even in foreign languages. They also provide college tuition assistance as well as child care. They do everything but go to the interview and show up for work. Business gets tax vouchers for certain types of unemployed people. But nobody is going to cry for a guy who made $80-100,000.00 last year.

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essentially
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Many foreigners I met at work came to the US to stay - green cards, H-1B's etc. These were people with BS, MS and even Ph.d. 's . Business is beholden to shareholders. Another goverment program, in my mind, judging people is going to be prone to the same garbage they all are. Let them come here to work, entice them to stay and tax them to death when they do...

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import/export
There are going to be adjustments as well as winners and losers. Foreign labor (now) is going to be cheaper in high tech jobs. There is a feed-back nature to these markets. People are crying now because they are out of work and 20 head-hunters aren't calling every day in an on-going bidding war. Things will straighten themselves out.
I personally believe, and I don't fault you for thinking otherwise, that goverment either gets in the way or out of it.

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| Naturally business is going to want 100 resumes for every job. I don't fault | them for that. The goverment on the other hand loves to say they are solving | problems and put their name on it. In the mid-late 90's you had a typical | unemployment rate of computer-related technical jobs at 1-2%. In my little | world we couldn't hire enough guys for years. The Asian/Indian people were a | welcome site - hard working, well educated and team players. We wouldn't | have made one schedule without them.
If you couldn't hire enough, then either the managers, or the HR people, were doing something wrong. What was your turnover rate? If that was high, it can cause a false perception of a shortage of people. When a person leaves, of course you are understaffed until you can replace them, which typical HR departments cause to take 3 months or more. If there was a high turnover, you might want to understand the cause. Maybe people wanted more money and management didn't want to pay, so they hired in H-1B people who would take less pay (because it was going to be sent back home where the cost of living is 1/10 as much) and would work longer hours (because the family was back in the home country and social life in an unfamiliar country wasn't of interest to them).
If you offered prevailing wages and other perks, you would have had people coming to you, and staying.
| I agree, but remember the $200/hour contractors? I interviewed a guy once | that switched jobs every six months for years! My first question was "This | is a two year project, what makes me believe your going to be around here in | six months?". We were going to pay this guy $135 bucks an hour with a one | year commitment! He turned us down! Also higher and higher contract rates, | and the "start-up" craze added to transition rates. The Indian workers | couldn't do all this and management loved them. In their viewpoint high | transition was disruptive as well as expensive.
Obviously you weren't willing to pay going rates and wanted to supplement the supply. How would you feel of consumers of your product were to supplement the supply with that from another country where the entire product could be produced at 1/5 the cost because the entire company was in another country where the cost of living is 1/10 as much.
See, it is about money. It is NOT about a shortage. And corporate CEOs lied to Congress when they said it was not about money.
| Lets face it - the telecomm world, which was a large part of the tech | economy, has gone bust. Thats the real problem. This has hit software and | especially IT hard. The speculative boom of the late 90's created | expectations with some that were not sustainable. Want to make someone die | laughing? Call up a venture capital company and tell them you want them to | fund a telecomm start-up.
That is certainly true. When you have a whole new market open up, and a business proposal depends on getting 10% of that market to become profitable, that can be interesting. But when 50 such proposals from 50 different entrepreneurs hit 50 different venture capitalists, who are unaware of all the others trying to get in, not only will most go bust, but it's very possible that every single one of them will.
Add to that the growth of the internet is so extreme, that it is still going on even now. Businesses typically don't get profitable until the growth levels off. Venture capitalists expect a return in typically 3 years. The internet could not do that because in the first 3 years, it sill looekd like many more years of growth, but VCs were getting tired of pouring money in without getting a return yet. Many of them did understand that returns were 10 to 15 years away, but with their investors clamoring for "quick bucks", they were turning away from the huge internet market, which had so many players by then and became quite cutthroat.
| I don't believe business would nessesarily respond to cutting H-1B and | outsourced work with replacement by US workers. If they couldn't pass | increased costs on, they would cancel projects or services.
When the cost of living in places like China and India is 1/10 of what it is in the US, the business certainly cannot compete in the worldwide market with just US workers. Cutting off H-1B and prohibiting hiring offshore certainly isn't the answer. The correct answer is to change the economic system so that exchange rates match costs of living, and trade deficits are eliminated. The US still imports far more that it exports, and this is bad. And it won't get better as long as the cost of living is so out of whack. I know a girl in India who is living very well off in Mumbai, nice job, nice apartment, great social life. But she's making, and spending, 1/5th as much as she would in the US to do the same things, based on the current exchange rate. If the dollar were devalued to 1/5th what it is today, then it would simply be equal.
| I agree and creating a good business environment helps with creating a good | social environment. If business can't make money, whats the point in running | it? Who wants a job thats not smart - ie exists because of governments | coercion? The days having it will most likely be numbered, costs will be | higher and worse thing you can do for quality is tell a worker their job is | "protected".
Well, "protected" is better than "gone". But the best job, and the best work, is for the worker to know that as long as he does his job well, it's going to stay. The only reason for him to lose that job is for him to screw up and just not perform.
|> Still, when a government contract ends up being fulfilled by people in | some |> other country, when people who could do the job are already available | within |> that jurisdiction, and looking for work, it is at best a slap in the face, |> and at worst, a problem that continues to plague that government. In | these |> cases I do favor a "domestic worker only" policy for government contracts |> and all other work by governments. In those cases where they do decide to |> opt for a percentage, such as "80% must be domestic", that should be | stated |> as individually calculated for each category of work, so they don't end up |> hiring low level work in one place and high level work somewhere else. It |> would just be easier in this case to make it an absolute 100% with a | waiver |> program when it can be proved a specific job cannot be filled locally at | the |> current job market wages/salaries. | | Everyone likes to shop around for a deal. If the goverment pays too much, | tax payers pay too much - it just shifts costs around. The "buy-local" | creates a captive market. Remember the import quotas on cars in the 70's? | Detroit turned out their biggest piles of crap as a result.
Such a program should only be needed for the short term to get past the downturn in the economy. Ultimately, government contracts should be let on the basis of not just the costs saved, but also the tax recovered, and economy boosted. These things can be quantified. As long as we do have low unemployment here, then such requirements to hire locals would not be needed, and costs/benefits can be worked out to find the best deals, which would favor locals to a certain degree, but everyone has a chance at it.
|> Government should also help people get jobs at businesses, not through any |> restrictive laws (which I fear the Democrats will impose), but instead, |> through tax incentives to businesses that ramp up their hiring. The | federal |> government should be doing this for all hiring in affected categories, as |> well as states for hiring within their state borders. Business should be |> swayed by financial incentives that are a win-win for both. | | My local Department of Employment Security does this, has training programs, | out-placement and will provide these even in foreign languages. They also | provide college tuition assistance as well as child care. They do everything | but go to the interview and show up for work. Business gets tax vouchers for | certain types of unemployed people. But nobody is going to cry for a guy who | made $80-100,000.00 last year.
Out placements is pointless until employers start hiring HERE again. Training is pointless unless you're dealing with someone who existing skills are no longer needed. College tuition is great for those who have not yet gone to college, but those of us who have completed a college education, and even more so those of us who have decades of real life experience with the latest new technologies, don't need to go back to college.
I'm not going to cry over the guy who made $80k-$100k last year, as long as he can at least get enough to live decently. That's not happening right now.
BTW, the economy suffered to some degree due to these $80k-$100k people taking their money out of the stock market ... to live on. One single person losing a $100k job has the impact of 4 people losing $25k jobs.
| Many foreigners I met at work came to the US to stay - green cards, H-1B's | etc. These were people with BS, MS and even Ph.d. 's . Business is beholden | to shareholders. Another goverment program, in my mind, judging people is | going to be prone to the same garbage they all are. Let them come here to | work, entice them to stay and tax them to death when they do...
No, we don't need more taxes.
And most H-1B's I met were sending money back home and planned to return at the end of their 6 years (many ended up going back home early because even they were let go when the big bust happened).
The whole H-1B program was, and is, a farce. L-1 is the same, but worse. If they are good enough to benefit us by being here, let them in with full legal residency. If they aren't interesting in actually living in THIS country, let them stay home or go where they want to live.
BTW, some of the guys making $100k+ were people who had come to this country to stay and become citizens. And many of them are out of work, too, and had to leave the country they fell in love with because the only people willing to take them in were their families back in their native country. I feel especially sad for their situation (I'm sure they'd come back if they could get even a $25k job here).
| There are going to be adjustments as well as winners and losers. Foreign | labor (now) is going to be cheaper in high tech jobs. There is a feed-back | nature to these markets. People are crying now because they are out of work | and 20 head-hunters aren't calling every day in an on-going bidding war. | Things will straighten themselves out.
Part of the problem is it happened too fast, and happened when the worst economic collapse happened (technically even worse than the 1929 stock crash .. it just didn't hit as fast).
Recovery will be harder because of the combination. But I do believe the US needs to make its own recovery, because the rest of the world is not going to do it for us. Countries like India already do protect their own through government rules. I say there is nothing wrong with us doing the same thing.
What we need to do is balance getting people back to work, and making sure our businesses can compete effectively in a world market. Without the right balance, the whole country loses. And getting the world currency rates back in proper balance will serve the needs of both business and people.
| I personally believe, and I don't fault you for thinking otherwise, that | goverment either gets in the way or out of it.
I do believe government can help, but typically has failed to do so. Business certainly isn't there to do it for people. But if government is to do it, it must do it in a way that does not harm businesses, too. And that is what I fear could happen unless someone comes up with the right plan.
I suspect Bush will lose this year just because the problem is so big and so many people are affected. And I think that is sad because those who would replace him, while recognizing the problem, will do all the wrong things to correct it. If Bush wants to win, he should call in all his favors with corporate CEOs and insist they voluntarily do more hiring or face having the other party take control.
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The state I live in has slim pickins for technical jobs, the company I worked for was no jewel either. Many of the engineers in my department left to go to a start-up. They were in fact sued for doing so. We recruited as far away as Texas (we are in Southern New England). In the mean time some "hot" 16 month projects turned in to 24 and 36 month projects. As I said before, we made good offers. Qualified people were at start-ups, some getting rich or contracting.

Well I think we did and the situation was something you needed to witness. Most of my whole department of about 50 guys basically evacuated in 8-12 months. Our product was edge switches for the telecomm market, in the days when quad OC3 line cards were a big deal. If you were predicting the future now, you'd probably say that we don't need as much talent being imported. If you were predicting it back then you might say it the shortage was a national emergency.

Your right! There was lots of big talk and big money flying around. The start-up I worked was valued at "$100 million dollars!" - according to the principle in one of his Rah-Rah sessions, even though the company burned over $500K a month. Then their was the big talk of IPO (no date set for that of course) The amount of propaganda and b*llshit was stifling as well as the 60-70 hour weeks. It was clear at the time (late 2000) they were NOT going to IPO or clear a profitable quarter. In fact the last press release I read had them blowing their horn about series "D" funding - I imagine those stock options are not worth a whole hell of a lot now. I left and got other work at a large company.
But that wasn't always the case. My friends at some start-ups got great deals - One in particular, Sycamore Systems bought out a local start-up for around One Billion ($1,000,000,000.00) in mostly stock and cash. Those folks did well, one of my buddies was 50% vested and was allowed to start selling his ~$110 a share stock almost immediately - He had over 20,000 shares.
PS: Both companies were VC funded, the one sink-hole I worked at was typical. The Sycamore scenario was what they all dreamed about and in fact encouraged more investment.

It is cheaper based on US wages, I agree. Again the end cost of many products is tied up in the prices of cheap imports and labor. In doing engineering product descriptions with marketing people the target cost set was never on "soaking" customers. We had a mfg. plant cost and a mark-up. Sales people were hoping an introduction would turn a priofit in 8-12 months. If, in some cases, we were forced to build in the US, then according to the marketing people the product wouldn't be worth selling. In fact we FOB'd assembly, sub assembly and final assembly + packaging right out of Tiawan.
Regarding devaling the dollar, that has a big down side in the currency markets. If the US Goverment went out and announced this as policy prices of goods in this country would sky-rocket and sales would slump causing economic chaos. The infastructure does not exist to replace China here in the US and it would take years to pick up the slack. I predict doing something like that would be extremely painful and politically impossible. It would get back your manufacturing jobs and also the standard of living we had in the 1920's. I'm not trying to be flip here, this argument was made in an issue of Forbes a few years ago.

Most would agree with you. I just see protection as adding cost and everyone carrying it on their backs. Unions protected jobs too. They account for about 11% of the workforce now and were about 1/3 in the 1950's. You can't make this argument with someone who lost their job and is the sole bread winner in a home, just like you can't make the argument that if people lived forever the world would be too crowded to someone who just lost their wife or husband. It's a fact of life that jobs become obsolete, people die and the business cycles are not kind to everyone all the time. I've lost my job three times, I have two kids and a house. It's part of life and I believe anyone who is sheltered from it typically does so at someone elses expense.

If they could start and stop goverment programs like that I'd be very happy. And then measure the success and failure of the program and change it based on the needs of whom it serves. We'd be living in a whole new world. The problem I see is that the types of unemployment, types of work, areas of need, wages and issues with work (migrant, immigrant, native, contract etc) require real-time micro-management by goverment - if you really want to try to be fair. Goverment people are not business people and vice versa. Goverment is burdened with popularity and business with profit. Very orthogonal.

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Do you know how many programmers there are with degrees that are NOT in computer science??? One of the sharpest guys I met has a degree in Forestry and Forest Management. I have an MSEE from Rensselaer Polytech and it was not a forgone conclusion the I was going to do design work which I wanted to do. I also couldn't see getting into sales or whatever since I have a great deal of experience in what I do. The investment is sort of the trap. The training programs I was talking about before were really for unskilled people. Us "smart" guys lhave to go it alone.
The loss of many $80-$100K jobs has also raised hell with tax revenues also. Remember , four guys making under $30K (ie flipping burgers) a year pay almost no taxes. One guy making $80,000 a year does.

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It is sad that happened. I personally know people who had to leave because they had no sponsers. It screwed up careers and lives. I agree with what you said about H-1B. Having immigrants with advanced technical degrees sure doesn't hurt the US. In fact I kind of wish thet was a prerequisite.

If you look at the Wall Street Journals index of economic freedom (http://cf.heritage.org/index2004test/country2.cfm?id=India ) you'll see that it may be improving to do business in India but it's far from "great". There are still lots of problems doing business there. Also, a great deal of outsourcing is soon to come in former Soviet bloc countries as well. They have a tremendous talent pool of engineers and scientists willing to work cheap.
A Barron's survey of Telecomm equipment customers reported "more computing power than we need". I don't have a link to that report but that was the jist of it. Plenty of bandwidth and plenty of processing power for current business needs and into the forseeable future. This is not good news for the whole telecomm food-chain. Their are no "killer-apps" out there or anything that would drive even modest single digit growth. As a technologist I see multi-gigahertz bandwidth capabilities being greeted with yawns and "How much cheaper is it than what I got now?".

It's February - Bush hasn't started to campaign yet and thats all the Democrats have been doing so far. Both Democrats and Republicans get money and support from big business and special interest groups. Saying otherwise is just for public consumption.
Bush is not going to get the academic vote, high tech workers vote Democrat ~2-1 and they are a small minority, I know this from post-election surveys I read for the 2000 and 2002 elections (Zogby and Pew Research did great post-election analysis). Political strategerist know this as well. Bush is going to run on tax cuts, defense and social issues. Kerry is going to run on partisan Democrat hatred for Bush. In the end, this issue of high-tech jobs being out-sourced will fall on deaf ears either way. Democrats take that vote for granted and Republicans couldn't care less about it.
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|> If you offered prevailing wages and other perks, you would have had people |> coming to you, and staying. | | The state I live in has slim pickins for technical jobs, the company I | worked for was no jewel either. Many of the engineers in my department left | to go to a start-up. They were in fact sued for doing so. We recruited as | far away as Texas (we are in Southern New England). In the mean time some | "hot" 16 month projects turned in to 24 and 36 month projects. As I said | before, we made good offers. Qualified people were at start-ups, some | getting rich or contracting.
What was the basis of this lawsuit?
What methods of recruiting were done? Don't tell me you did it exclusively through a headhunter. I was in Texas back then, and people were looking for work down there in the Telecom corridor. Of course today, there are many thousands of them looking for work.
|> See, it is about money. It is NOT about a shortage. And corporate CEOs |> lied to Congress when they said it was not about money. | | Well I think we did and the situation was something you needed to witness. | Most of my whole department of about 50 guys basically evacuated in 8-12 | months. Our product was edge switches for the telecomm market, in the days | when quad OC3 line cards were a big deal. If you were predicting the future | now, you'd probably say that we don't need as much talent being imported. If | you were predicting it back then you might say it the shortage was a | national emergency.
Definitely sounds like the company you worked for was underpaying. Yeah, I would have had to be there to specifically point out exactly what things management was doing wrong.
|> Add to that the growth of the internet is so extreme, that it is still |> going on even now. Businesses typically don't get profitable until the |> growth levels off. Venture capitalists expect a return in typically |> 3 years. The internet could not do that because in the first 3 years, |> it sill looekd like many more years of growth, but VCs were getting |> tired of pouring money in without getting a return yet. Many of them |> did understand that returns were 10 to 15 years away, but with their |> investors clamoring for "quick bucks", they were turning away from |> the huge internet market, which had so many players by then and became |> quite cutthroat. | | Your right! There was lots of big talk and big money flying around. The | start-up I worked was valued at "$100 million dollars!" - according to the | principle in one of his Rah-Rah sessions, even though the company burned | over $500K a month. Then their was the big talk of IPO (no date set for that | of course) The amount of propaganda and b*llshit was stifling as well as the | 60-70 hour weeks. It was clear at the time (late 2000) they were NOT going | to IPO or clear a profitable quarter. In fact the last press release I read | had them blowing their horn about series "D" funding - I imagine those stock | options are not worth a whole hell of a lot now. I left and got other work | at a large company.
So you contributed to their private little shortage by leaving?
|> When the cost of living in places like China and India is 1/10 of what |> it is in the US, the business certainly cannot compete in the worldwide |> market with just US workers. Cutting off H-1B and prohibiting hiring |> offshore certainly isn't the answer. The correct answer is to change |> the economic system so that exchange rates match costs of living, and |> trade deficits are eliminated. The US still imports far more that it |> exports, and this is bad. And it won't get better as long as the cost |> of living is so out of whack. I know a girl in India who is living |> very well off in Mumbai, nice job, nice apartment, great social life. |> But she's making, and spending, 1/5th as much as she would in the US to |> do the same things, based on the current exchange rate. If the dollar |> were devalued to 1/5th what it is today, then it would simply be equal. | | It is cheaper based on US wages, I agree. Again the end cost of many | products is tied up in the prices of cheap imports and labor. In doing | engineering product descriptions with marketing people the target cost set | was never on "soaking" customers. We had a mfg. plant cost and a mark-up. | Sales people were hoping an introduction would turn a priofit in 8-12 | months. If, in some cases, we were forced to build in the US, then according | to the marketing people the product wouldn't be worth selling. In fact we | FOB'd assembly, sub assembly and final assembly + packaging right out of | Tiawan. | | Regarding devaling the dollar, that has a big down side in the currency | markets. If the US Goverment went out and announced this as policy prices of | goods in this country would sky-rocket and sales would slump causing | economic chaos. The infastructure does not exist to replace China here in | the US and it would take years to pick up the slack. I predict doing | something like that would be extremely painful and politically impossible. | It would get back your manufacturing jobs and also the standard of living we | had in the 1920's. I'm not trying to be flip here, this argument was made in | an issue of Forbes a few years ago.
It can't be done all at once suddenly. It has to be a general course policy. There is a huge trade deficit and that has to get corrected or the US will collapse as world trade becomes ubiquitous.
|> Well, "protected" is better than "gone". But the best job, and the best |> work, is for the worker to know that as long as he does his job well, it's |> going to stay. The only reason for him to lose that job is for him to |> screw up and just not perform. | | Most would agree with you. I just see protection as adding cost and everyone | carrying it on their backs. Unions protected jobs too. They account for | about 11% of the workforce now and were about 1/3 in the 1950's. You can't | make this argument with someone who lost their job and is the sole bread | winner in a home, just like you can't make the argument that if people lived | forever the world would be too crowded to someone who just lost their wife | or husband. It's a fact of life that jobs become obsolete, people die and | the business cycles are not kind to everyone all the time. I've lost my job | three times, I have two kids and a house. It's part of life and I believe | anyone who is sheltered from it typically does so at someone elses expense.
Things do change and some jobs just go away to nowhere. But it needs to be done gradually so people can adjust. By gradually I mean like over 20 years and with it being clearly the direction.
|> Such a program should only be needed for the short term to get past the |> downturn in the economy. Ultimately, government contracts should be let |> on the basis of not just the costs saved, but also the tax recovered, and |> economy boosted. These things can be quantified. As long as we do have |> low unemployment here, then such requirements to hire locals would not be |> needed, and costs/benefits can be worked out to find the best deals, which |> would favor locals to a certain degree, but everyone has a chance at it. | | If they could start and stop goverment programs like that I'd be very happy. | And then measure the success and failure of the program and change it based | on the needs of whom it serves. We'd be living in a whole new world. The | problem I see is that the types of unemployment, types of work, areas of | need, wages and issues with work (migrant, immigrant, native, contract etc) | require real-time micro-management by goverment - if you really want to try | to be fair. Goverment people are not business people and vice versa. | Goverment is burdened with popularity and business with profit. Very | orthogonal.
And people get screwed in between. People are going to look out for people. They will vote in who will benefit them. But the worse it is allowed to get before some action is taken, the worse that action that will be taken will be for all involved. Doing gradual things sooner is better. Maybe government is bad at this, but business won't because that's not its purpose for being.
|> BTW, the economy suffered to some degree due to these $80k-$100k people |> taking their money out of the stock market ... to live on. One single |> person losing a $100k job has the impact of 4 people losing $25k jobs. | | Do you know how many programmers there are with degrees that are NOT in | computer science??? One of the sharpest guys I met has a degree in Forestry | and Forest Management. I have an MSEE from Rensselaer Polytech and it was | not a forgone conclusion the I was going to do design work which I wanted to | do. I also couldn't see getting into sales or whatever since I have a great | deal of experience in what I do. The investment is sort of the trap. The | training programs I was talking about before were really for unskilled | people. Us "smart" guys lhave to go it alone.
I've known many brilliant programmers who had degrees in strange things or no degrees at all. The degree doesn't even matter; it's the person that counts.
And the brilliant programmers and engineers could never do sales; it's just not in their nature to do that.
The US cannot become an economy of sales. If we produce nothing for the world market, then we are a cash outflow economy, and that cash becomes worthless. We are getting that way today, anyway.
We have to find a way to structure things so we do export, and in balance with our imports. And we have to do it while maintaining a standard of living people expect, or the politicians will be voted out, and new ones will come in, and they will screw things up even more.
It needs to be made right, and right has to include jobs.
| The loss of many $80-$100K jobs has also raised hell with tax revenues also. | Remember , four guys making under $30K (ie flipping burgers) a year pay | almost no taxes. One guy making $80,000 a year does.
Right. People need jobs that allow them to pay taxes, buy houses and cars, put kids through college so we don't have a shortage of whatever the next big thing is, and invest in the stock market.
| It is sad that happened. I personally know people who had to leave because | they had no sponsers. It screwed up careers and lives. I agree with what you | said about H-1B. Having immigrants with advanced technical degrees sure | doesn't hurt the US. In fact I kind of wish thet was a prerequisite.
Either degrees or experience. Both are good. For programmers, two years experience is as good as having a degree. There are exceptions; people that will never be good no matter how much paper or time they have.
| If you look at the Wall Street Journals index of economic freedom | (http://cf.heritage.org/index2004test/country2.cfm?id=India ) you'll see that | it may be improving to do business in India but it's far from "great". There | are still lots of problems doing business there. Also, a great deal of | outsourcing is soon to come in former Soviet bloc countries as well. They | have a tremendous talent pool of engineers and scientists willing to work | cheap.
So let them come to America, if they want ... but not on an H-1B.
| A Barron's survey of Telecomm equipment customers reported "more computing | power than we need". I don't have a link to that report but that was the | jist of it. Plenty of bandwidth and plenty of processing power for current | business needs and into the forseeable future. This is not good news for the | whole telecomm food-chain. Their are no "killer-apps" out there or anything | that would drive even modest single digit growth. As a technologist I see | multi-gigahertz bandwidth capabilities being greeted with yawns and "How | much cheaper is it than what I got now?".
In the 1960's President Kennedy committed the US to land on the moon in 10 years. It succeeded, and helped the economy and technology as well. Bush is trying to do some of that with his Mars program idea. But that's not enough right now. Another thing we need to do is ramp up to 100 mbps all the way to each home (50% by 2010, 95% by 2015). Too bad that Bush is not giveing pep talks to businesses to get them to do things they otherwise would not do. If business won't do it, government should step in and do it for them; that will at least generate some telecom business.
|> I suspect Bush will lose this year just because the problem is so big and |> so many people are affected. And I think that is sad because those who |> would replace him, while recognizing the problem, will do all the wrong |> things to correct it. If Bush wants to win, he should call in all his |> favors with corporate CEOs and insist they voluntarily do more hiring or |> face having the other party take control. | | It's February - Bush hasn't started to campaign yet and thats all the | Democrats have been doing so far. Both Democrats and Republicans get money | and support from big business and special interest groups. Saying otherwise | is just for public consumption.
Republicans do get a lot more from business.
| Bush is not going to get the academic vote, high tech workers vote Democrat | ~2-1 and they are a small minority, I know this from post-election surveys I | read for the 2000 and 2002 elections (Zogby and Pew Research did great | post-election analysis). Political strategerist know this as well. Bush is | going to run on tax cuts, defense and social issues. Kerry is going to run | on partisan Democrat hatred for Bush. In the end, this issue of high-tech | jobs being out-sourced will fall on deaf ears either way. Democrats take | that vote for granted and Republicans couldn't care less about it.
Sadly, you may be right on that. But high-tech isn't the only place where jobs are a problem.
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Sure not to tickle the funnybone....
Siemens to move bulk of jobs from US, Germany
From http://www.deepikaglobal.com/search_newsdetail.asp?newscodeA876
Bangalore, Feb 16 (UNI) Siemens Ltd has planned to move a bulk of its jobs from the US and Germany to India, East European countries and China, company Managing Director and Spokesman for Siemens Operations in India Juergen Schubert informed today.
Talking to newspersons here, he said the company, which employs about 30,000 software engineers world-wide, has plans to move half of its jobs to low-cost countries.
Noting that about 3,000 software engineers were already working in its various manufacturing plants all over the country, he said the bulk of the jobs of the Siemens Group were likely to be moved to India. But, no time-frame was fixed for shifting of the jobs.
Mr Shubert, commenting on the future of software development in the country, said ''we employ about ten per cent of the 30,000 software developers globally and this will surely grow in future.'' Meanwhile, Minister-President of the free State Bavaria Dr Edmund Stoiber, along with business leaders and representatives of the media in Germany, today visited the facility of Siemens Information System at the Electronic City here.
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| I keep hearing calls for protectionism. According to the | protectionists, the recession has been caused by outsourcing and will | only deepen because the trend of more outsourcing will continue. One | of IEEE's jobs is to stand up against this trend. | | At the same time, I also keep hearing calls for more diversity in | engineering. According to the diversity advocates, engineering needs | to do a better job of recruiting women, Latinos, African Americans, | Native Americans, and other underrepresented groups. One of IEEE's | jobs is outreach. | | The IEEE talks out of both sides of its mouth when it does BOTH of | these jobs. If the protectionism advocates are right, then the | diversity advocates are doing a DISSERVICE to the underrepresented | groups it's supposed to help. I'm all for diversity, but if | engineering really is a field in decline, then why is it necessary? | If the future of engineers is that dismal, then what's the point of | outreach? According to the twisted logic that we need both | protectionism AND diversity, then we should be lamenting the | underrepresentation of Asian Americans and Latinos among smokers. | (According to Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, only 15% of Asian | Americans and 19% of Latinos smoke, compared to 23.2% of Caucasians.) | | The IEEE needs to make up its mind. If the protectionists are | correct, then it needs to halt all outreach efforts and devote all its | energies to not only protecting jobs but also helping members find new | non-engineering careers. If the diversity advocates are correct, then | calls for protectionism are a smokescreen. The protectionists and the | diversity advocates of IEEE cannot both be right. Something has to | give.
We can have both diversity and job protection at the same time. How this can happen is to focus on domestic diversity instead of global diversity, to the extent that we are going to be in a protectionist mode.
As for protectionism, the whole outsourcing issue is more a slap in the face of engineers, programmers, and other high tech people, by the executives of large and medium size companies, than it is a cause of the problem. "Exported jobs" (more technically an import of service) is only a fraction of the overall unemployment and underemployment issue. The fact that advances in communication (internet and excess capacity of communications trunks) allowed greater outsourcing happened when the economy collapsed to the level it has, I think, is more a coincidence. Outsourcing is likely to be a drag on recovery due to the fact that it is not putting spending money back in the hands of people here as the recovery takes place. So the recovery will be slower as more people remain unemployed, and fewer people spend because of the fear that will remain due to knowing people that are unemployed.
Republicans think that a tax refund will help (it does somewhat). But imagine what certainty of employment would do to the economy. If they would do nothing more than guarantee everyone a job in the field they have been educated or trained in, everyone would be spending like crazy and the economy would boom forward. And the way this can be done is to provide significant tax incentives to keep employers hiring.
In the late 1990's, employers were whining that finding people to hire in technology fields was very difficult. Yet at the same time, there was already a substantial rate of unemployment and underemployment. Clearly it was a lie to get greater permission to bring in cheaper and more captive labor. By more captive I mean that those on an H-1B visa had substantial difficulty in changing jobs and would just have to put up with the pressure their employers used, such as requiring 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, of work, for 75% or even 50% of what they could get on the open job market.
I think that if we want to let the "brightest of the brightest" come into our country (which I do), they we should do so by giving them the opportunity to work here like anyone else, and pursue full citizenship in the process. I knew several people who came here to work on H-1B visas, and most of them wanted to do 2 things: they wanted to become citizens here, and they wanted to be able to change jobs. A couple of them even wanted to start their own businesses.
Of course, large corporate employers would have none of that, since it would have ruined their ability to get the cheapest staffing.
| In my opinion, the IEEE's actions are Communist. If Communism didn't | work for the economies of the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, China, or | Cuba, then why should it work for the IEEE?
Work to make sure their "diversity" program is oriented to making sure that the very best people of all nationalities, races, religions, or any other aspect that is appropriate, be given equal opportunities. If that is to include allowing people from other countries into the US, then when they get here, they should have all the benefits of working that everyone else has, and no less.
| Jason Hsu, AG4DG | usenet A T jasonhsu.com | http://www.jasonhsu.com/ee.html
Did you know that this URL also works? http://ag4dg.ham.org /
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