July 3, 2013

A Fourth of July sermon from Slate

Some good patriotic reading from Slate:
The Real Reason Silicon Valley Tech Workers Are Fighting Immigration Reform 
By Will Oremus | Posted Wednesday, July 3, 2013, at 3:10 PM

Companies like Google are starving for top engineers, but some American tech workers want to limit visas for highly skilled foreign workers. 
Just in time for the national holiday, The Verge today has a story about how immigration reform could harm rank-and-file American information technology workers. “Is Silicon Valley’s immigration agenda gutting the tech industry’s middle class?”, the tech blog wants to know. Subtract “Silicon Valley” and “tech industry” from the headline and you have the age-old canard about furriners stealing Amurricans’ rightful jobs. 

As we all know, Google's American software engineers are semi-literate buffoons who are too stupid to deserve to be paid well enough to afford to buy a house with a yard in an extremely expensive region. Why should they get paid enough to marry and have children? Don't we all know that the American Dream of random foreigners must take precedence over the xenophobic greed of mere Americans?
In this case, the furriners are not migrant farm workers but highly skilled tech workers entering the country on H-1B visas. The immigration bill that recently passed the Senate would expand the national cap on these visas from 85,000 to 180,000—or rather, “all the way up to 180,000,” as The Verge’s Ben Popper objectively phrases it. Silicon Valley companies

I.e., billionaires, who are, by definition, our moral superiors.
are all for the move, since it would bring in tens of thousands of ace engineers at a time when demand for top talent far exceeds the domestic supply.

At the level of salaries the billionaires would prefer to pay their workers so they can become even bigger billionaires. As Thomas Jefferson explained, that's the American Dream: for a few guys to get incredibly rich and have all other Americans reduced to debt peonage under them.
But it doesn’t sit well with some of Silicon Valley’s rank and file, who happen to like holding a monopoly on IT jobs in the world’s tech capital.

The horror of Americans trying to hold something of a monopoly on jobs in America at Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, whose billionaire owners would never, ever think about trying to exert any monopoly power to enrich themselves! If this kind of redneck populist thinking isn't squashed flat right now, these vicious American nativists might even start asking Apple and Microsoft to pay their corporate income taxes!
They have all sorts of justifications for their anti-immigration stance, but the most galling is when they put it in terms of their concern for the plight of the poor, exploited foreign workers who are taking their jobs, as they do throughout The Verge’s piece. 
Oh yes, those poor, exploited, highly skilled foreign workers. Popper did not go so far as to actually talk to any of these foreign workers, as far as I can tell. Perhaps they were unable to return his calls because they were locked in Google’s secret “foreigners-only” basement sweatshop. But he did repeatedly quote one Kim Berry, a coder for the California Department of Health and spokesman for something called the Programmer’s Guild, who compares H-1B tech workers’ status to “indentured servitude.”  

I, Will Oremus, point and sputter at the phrase "indentured servitude," so therefore I win!

Of course foreigners should be brought in and put under the control of rich men like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. That's how America was built! Cotton didn't pick itself, you know ...

Try not to forget all the lonely decades that Mark Zuckerberg sweated away to nurture an idea that only he, out of all the people in entire world, could ever have come up with. Where would we be without Zuck's breakthrough: Friendster for Harvard students?

Do you realize there are days, sometimes even weeks, when Zuckerberg's net worth dips from 11 figures to just 10 figures? Have you no pity?
My favorite quote from Berry, though, is the one where he unintentionally lays bare the hypocrisy at the root of his own argument: "American workers are being passed over in favor of foreign workers who make far less money, and politicians seem oblivious to our plight." That’s right: “our plight.” Not the plight of the foreign workers who make far less money. Berry’s real concern is the plight of the American IT workers who make far more money. Won’t anyone think of them?

Who do these American citizens think they are? Voters? The government needs to fix that quick by electing a new people. Why shouldn't American politicians be oblivious to American voters? Haven't you ever been to the Aspen Ideas Festival? If you had only been worthy of being invited, you'd know that billionaires are much more classy than (ugh) voters.
As twisted as that is, it might at least make some logical sense if it were true that foreign tech workers were being underpaid. In fact, as Popper duly notes, a Brookings study found that H1-B workers in the tech industry make 26 percent more than their American counterparts. 

Obviously, billionaires want more H1-B visas so they can pay foreigners more money than Americans would cost for the same work. It's simple logic, but I'm not a billionaire genius, so don't ask me to explain it.
At the same time, it is true that some American graduates in science and engineering are being passed over for jobs. But it isn’t because there are foreigners will do those jobs for less money. It’s because there are foreigners who will do them better.

Or at lower price. In either case, it's all good for Billionaire-Americans.
That's why it isn’t the top American programmers who are threatened by the competition. As an Andressen Horowitz recruiter points out in Popper's story, it’s the ones who don’t have the skills that today’s tech companies need.

God forbid that the billionaires should pay to train American workers, especially senile ones over age 39. What next? Are these xenophobes then going to start suggesting that the billionaires might consider hiring American women to program? What insanity will they propose after that? That Silicon Valley hire a few Mexican-Americans and African-Americans?

If Americans want jobs programming, all they have to do is be programming geniuses like Marc Andreessen. If they aren't cut out to be billionaires, then, who needs Americans? What have your fellow countrymen ever done for you or yours? What did their ancestors ever do for your ancestors?
Historically, even the country’s least-skilled IT workers could count on cushy jobs with good pay. That isn’t because their work is inherently more valuable than that of, say, teachers. It’s because they didn’t have much competition. That’s changing, and they’re upset about it, and that’s understandable. But they should recognize that limiting H-1B visas will only hurt Silicon Valley in the long run.

As we all know, Silicon Valley is barely hanging on by its fingernails. Without increasing H-1B visas, all the tech billionaires will up and flee to India. Tumbleweeds will be blowing down Sand Hill Road in Palo Alto within three years.

It's just like how Congress drove Hollywood out of business by not granting H-1B visas for a massive influx of foreign gaffers, key grips, and best boys. Forcing Hollywood to pay market wages to American workers is why the last BMW dealership on Sunset Blvd. just folded up. That's why this weekend the big release at American movie theatres is Bollywood's The Lone Rajah. We can't have that happen to Silicon Valley, too!
And they should stop pretending that they’re serving anyone but themselves by fighting to keep foreigners out.

Themselves and their posterity. That's some kind of anti-American hate crime, isn't it?

Seriously, think about the men who fought 150 years ago today at Gettysburg. The two sides in Pickett's Charge had different opinions on what country they should be fighting for -- the Union or Old Virginia. But they didn't doubt that they and their countrymen were, to some degree, in it together.

What would any of them have thought of the unexamined assumptions behind this representative piece of Establishment punditry?

127 comments:

Anonymous said...

The United States really is becoming a disgusting "country". Scratch that. The Immigration Act of 1965 destroyed the nation (in the traditional understanding of nation - link by blood).

The USA is an abstract propositional state held together by greed and powerful interests.

I only hope that my children are able someday to live in a real nation.

jgress said...

Er Steve, I think, your critique, entertaining though it was, failed at the point that we learned how foreign programmers actually earn more than their American counterparts. That kind of blows your argument out of the water.

Apparently, Zuckerberg et al. don't want foreign programmers because they're cheaper, since they actually pay them more, your VDARE rhetoric notwithstanding. The only explanation that makes sense is that the foreign programmers are indeed BETTER than the American ones, and the billionaires are willing to pay them higher salaries to be more productive and make their companies more profitable overall.

This doesn't necessarily destroy your anti-immigrant stance totally, but I think it shows that it (probably) doesn't work when we're talking about high-skilled immigrants. It may still work for low-skilled immigrants.

Hunsdon said...

Will Oremus, eh?

Our host asked: But, what would any of them (the men on either side of Pickett's Charge) have thought of the unexamined assumptions behind this representative piece of Establishment punditry?

Hunsdon said: Doubtless their opinions would have been of such a character as to be disapproved by Komment Kontrol.

Anonymous said...

so why would lefty liberal slate support this??

Hunsdon said...

jgress said: Er Steve, I think, your critique, entertaining though it was, failed at the point that we learned how foreign programmers actually earn more than their American counterparts.

Hunsdon said: Cite, please?

Anonymous said...

the comments over there are almost all negative.

Anonymous said...

Ok it's my anecdote vs statistics but, I know first-hand that some very ordinary jobs are done by H-1Bs (or something - first-gen Indians) that are nothing special and could totally be done by Americans with maybe a couple years of community college - no CS degree required.

Having said that, the Valley /is/ hungry for actual talent, too.

Anonymous said...

I say we lobby for a new class of Visa, the H8U2, for foreign journalists. Perhaps the media's position would change if their livelihood, and the livelihood of their class, were in peril. Does anyone have Bloomberg's number? I suspect he simply hasn't thought of this yet.

Chicago said...

According to this character Oremus those IT workers are just gullible types who fall for any old canard. Apparently they are not bright enough to know what is best for the country so it's up to the all-wise Oremus to condescend to lecture everyone as to what their opinions should be.

Anonymous said...

It's as simple as Econ 101 and I suspect that even lefty editorial writers feel ashamed at doing their masters' bidding and vomiting up tripe so un-American. They must read the comments. It's got to make *some* impression if the lefty readers of Slate are so uniformly against "immigration reform".

Lex Corvus said...

Good content, but we've reached a critical mass of misspellings of Marc's last name, both in posts and quoted articles: it's Andreessen, with a double-e and a double-s, not Andressen or Andreesen.

Anonymous said...

Most of the H1-B visas are given to foreign students who were educated in the US. They go from student visa to work visa. Engineering schools admit foreigners over Americans and then the companies say there aren't enough Americans who have the qualifications.

I realize Asian kids are better prepared than American kids in math and science, but perhaps those majors shouldn't even be open to foreigners.

I've stated this before. Foreign students should be limited to Social Sciences and the Humanities as a form of cultural exchange. Hard sciences and technology is a matter of national security and competitive advantage.

I guess I forgot that nations no longer exist, only corporations and governments they control.

countenance said...

I'm having a mental block. Wasn't there once upon a time when the kind of left winger who would write for the sort of publication as Slate would actually care for native born (white) American workers when their plutocrat bosses wanted to replace them with cheap labor?

I guess I'll never mistake Will Oremus for Samuel Gompers.

Ed said...

"Apparently, Zuckerberg et al. don't want foreign programmers because they're cheaper, since they actually pay them more, your VDARE rhetoric notwithstanding. "

It also may be about control. Its probably nice to be able to deport employees you fire or lay off.

Hunsdon said...

countenance said:
I guess I'll never mistake Will Oremus for Samuel Gompers.

Hunsdon said: There was a time, as Whiskers likes to point out, when Jews tried to assimilate and be good Americans.

countenance: Wasn't there once upon a time when the kind of left winger who would write for the sort of publication as Slate would actually care for native born (white) American workers when their plutocrat bosses wanted to replace them with cheap labor?

Hunsdon: The '72 convention was the death knell for that old style of Democrat.

chucho said...

H1B jobs are not for elite programmers who are doing AI and other whizz-bang stuff. Anything good is filled in an instant. The jobs that firms can't fill are for legacy code maintenance, QA, support, report writing, other mundane stuff. Indians et al will gladly do these jobs over here.

I posit that these jobs would be somewhat more attractive to the marginal US programmer if the staffs of these departments weren't already packed with people off the boat.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, think about the men who fought 150 years ago today at Gettysburg. The two sides in Pickett's Charge had different opinions on whom they should be fighting for -- the Union or Old Virginia.

The one side was very obviously fighting in opposition to Abraham Lincoln's anti-constitutional nihilism.

But it's not at all clear to me what the other side thought they were fighting for - John Marshall & Abraham Lincoln's goal of destroying any and all possible vestiges of constitutional governance in North America?

countenance said...

Oremus writes:

As twisted as that is, it might at least make some logical sense if it were true that foreign tech workers were being underpaid. In fact, as Popper duly notes, a Brookings study found that H1-B workers in the tech industry make 26 percent more than their American counterparts.

I respond:

H-1Bs from India and Asia are largely the code grunts. They say that the H-1Bs are paid 26% more than their "American counterparts." What American counterparts are they talking about? Where are they finding "American counterparts" to do this comparison? I highly doubt the "American counterparts" they're using in this fake study constitute valid apples-to-apples comparison. What I think is going on is that the low paid H-1B code grunt for India working at MSFT is making 26% more than the native born white American of the same gender, age and apparent education credentials who has to deliver pizzas for a living because H-1Bs shut him out of working in CSIT-STEM.

Jeff W. said...

It would be one thing if Oremus were trying to be a real Robin Hood, taking from the billionaires to give to poor foreign software engineers.

But Oremus is a kind of fake Robin Hood who seems to be on the billionaires' payroll and who advocates taking from defenseless middle class Americans to give to poor foreign workers and to billionaires!

The Lady Bountiful act from liberals is always nauseating, having to listen to how generous they intend to be with other people's money. But when they advocate taking from the struggling middle class to benefit billionaires, it goes beyond nauseating.

Anonymous said...

...at a time when demand for top talent far exceeds the domestic supply.

It's funny but I learned in my college economics class that there was always (absent government or other outside interference) a market clearing price where the supply and demand curves met and supply was equal to demand.

I suppose "at a time when demand for top talent far exceeds the domestic supply at the price that Mark Zuckerberg is willing to pay to turn his billions into even more billions" doesn't quite have the same ring.

Art Deco said...

Slate is a subsidiary of Microsoft, no?

Clayton Cramer has been complaining about H1-B visas for some time. I am not sure when he last had a programming job; he has said that his contemporaries have been put out to pasture as a consequence of these. Cramer was born in 1955, but has indicated that the problem is faced by any programmer over 40.

Art Deco said...

One does get the impression nowadays that, aside from Harold Pollack, leftoid political discourse is all about status games. The author is exhibiting his cosmopolitanism by sneering at his own countrymen and taking no interest in the effects on social cohesion of treating a country as if it were a hotel or of manufacturing policy contrivances that encourage employers to treat older workers as something to be discarded even if productive.

Anonymous said...

"I guess I forgot that nations no longer exist, only corporations and governments they control."

John Dewey said Politics is the shadow cast by big business over society.

Corporate executives don't care at all about Americans.

"I've stated this before. Foreign students should be limited to Social Sciences and the Humanities as a form of cultural exchange. Hard sciences and technology is a matter of national security and competitive advantage.'

I think maybe we should keep all foreign students out.

Carol said...

OK, how can an amorphous group of workers "hold a monopoly" in their industry? That doesn't even make sense. They're not unionized. There are CS grads all over the country who would like to move to SV and take their jobs too. With the free information flow nowadays it's just not that hard for the talented to do.

Anonymous said...

The media are such ****.

Anonymous said...

Salient points from Sailer.

Anonymous said...

"Er Steve, I think, your critique, entertaining though it was, failed at the point that we learned how foreign programmers actually earn more than their American counterparts. That kind of blows your argument out of the water."

If examined it will turn out to be a lie with statistics. It always is.

Anonymous said...

People here are talking about things like salary or age being a factor for wanting foreign programmers. Since the article is from Slate, surely it is obvious that the main driver is to import more non whites.

Anonymous said...

"so why would lefty liberal slate support this??"

The only reason for the left to support economic warfare like this is ethnic hatred of the native population.

ben tillman said...

so why would lefty liberal slate support this??

because the Left has always sought to centralize wealth. Read Tawney's classic: Religion and the Rise of Capitalism.

Anonymous said...

Even Chomsky agrees it's class welfare.

He describes it in this video when he mentioned a publication talking about the pampered western workers.

He also describes the Brazilianization Of America.

Watch min 40 to about 46.

Then 52 to 57.

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/Profite

DJF said...

“”””Will Oremus Staff Writer Slate · 2011 - Present
Master's Student, Politics and Government
Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism · 2010 - 2011 “””

Don’t be too hard on Will, he is a new graduated journalist, an industry where employment is falling like a rock. He needs to say whatever will allow him to keep his job, and billionaires have lots of money so its either write stories like this or he will use his nice shiny journalism degree saying “Do you want fries with that burger” if he is lucky.

Anonymous said...

Norman Matloff, a UC Davis CS professor, has looked at wages of H1B1 holders and natives in the tech industry and found H1B1 are underpaid compared to natives:

http://www.epi.org/publication/bp356-foreign-students-best-brightest-immigration-policy/

His website has a wealth of information on the H1B1 program.
http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/h1b.html

Maguro said...

I would love to see that Brookings study that says H1Bs get paid 26% (!) more than their US counterparts. Sounds fishy to me. The H1Bs I've seen weren't exactly treated like superstars.

Anonymous said...

....mebbe geeks want some asian chicks.

Anonymous said...

From fireworks to firesale.

Roland said...

The sneering tone of Oremus's piece speaks volumes. But I had to laugh at the denigration of workers holding a monopoly on their own jobs. The horror!

A Working Class American said...

You're throwing rocks today, steve....bringing the heat...and remember, kids--statistical studies are for sale. If you got the $$$$, any statistic can be purchased; like our gov't, scientists are coin-operated...the treason lobby and its stats are bought and paid for.

A Working Class American said...

Slate aint Leftist--it's pseudoLeftist. The plutocrats long ago molded and created a new breed of leftism, one focused on identity politics and giving only lip service to populist, bread and butter economics of the working class--the supply and demand of labor, the cost of housing, medical care, school, property taxes, taxation etc. This new false/pseudo Left cares little for those mundane issues of the proles.

This false left is all about the oddballs, the fringe, the misfits, the outcasts, and of course the minorities and the immigrants.

Maguro said...

It's evil to look out for your own interests unless you're a billionaire or a Dem politician.

Zoink said...

"these vicious American nativists might even start asking Apple and Microsoft to pay their corporate income taxes"

These businesses also don't pay much in property taxes despite owning some of the most valuable land in the world.

Prop 13 limits property taxes to 1% of valuation, which is the purchase price, and which can only go up 2% a year whatever the change in actual property values.

Over time this has caused property taxes to shift from California businesses to homeowners. While there are still quite a few people, either the elderly or their heirs, with million dollar houses with $80,000 property tax valuations paying $800 a year, over time they die, move, etc and the new residential owner then pays the market rate, so $10,000 a year in this example.

Corporations, however, need never die, and they can be bought and sold rather than the property itself. As a result, commercial property generally is assessed at a much smaller fraction of its actual value compared to residential, and this gap goes up each and every year. It won't be long before a lot of commercial property owners are paying 0.05% property taxes, 20 times lower than residential owners.

Anonymous said...

Hard to read this without getting mad, sad, disgusted, all the usual emotions and familiar feelings.

Also no longer surprising that an American would write how American workers should be darn glad that the H1 Visa program is around to take away more US jobs and give them to foreigners.

Trying to understand the logic: America has some of the best tech industry jobs in the world, some of the best learning institutions in the world, some of the best training for tech jobs in the world, and yet, somehow, our own workers, who have done pretty well over the decades can no longer cut it in an industry that AMERICA pretty much lead the way worldwide in creating? Including the younger Americans who are recently graduating with engineering and tech based degrees, now suddenly they can't cut it anymore in 2013 the way their families could just few yrs and decades ago?

Pat Buchanan's latest column was too charitable. I read this today and I don't know what nation I'm a part of anymore where the leading industrial movers and shakers are literally trying to fall over themselves in writing the laws to bring more and more foreigners in so they don't have to hire their own fellow citizens, most of whom have earned the tech degrees and can damn well do the job if they were just hired.

Strange days indeed. In our own country, no less.

Anonymous said...

The idea that we are importing "ace engineers" and "top engineers" and "highly skilled tech workers" is a bad joke. Some tiny fraction of H1-b visas go to people like that, but the great majority go to ordinary workers.

This is a country where most American with STEM degrees are not working in STEM jobs. That right there tells you that the alleged shortage of STEM workers is a crock.

Anonymous said...

Will Oremus Staff Writer Slate · 2011 - Present
Master's Student, Politics and Government Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism




He has a degree in journalism! Makes you winder why he did not go for one of the desperately in-demand tech jobs he thinks exist.

I've noticed that all kinds of people in America who don't work in tech themselves are convinced that there exists some dire shortage of tech workers. They never think that way about their own occupation though.

Lalo said...

You sir are seeing conspiracies everywhere. It's disconcerting, you used to be so lucid.

Auntie Analogue said...


Oremus's essay makes him appear to be just another "Imagine There's No Countries" open borders simpleton, just another leftist useful idiot tool of the billionaires, doing a job that real, patriotic, stick-together Americans just won't do because real, patriotic stick-together Americans would not stoop to stick it to other Americans the way Oremus sticks it to them.

Lalo said...

Do you have any evidence that there isn't a shortage of IT workers?

If there is, doesn't that retard the development of the industry?

Wouldn't taking some the best IT workers from other countries be a boon to our economy as a whole?

You're a strange Conservative: a protectionist ethno-Conservative, very weird.

Anonymous said...

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1396077850606282&set=a.1381377125409688.1073741828.100006122407025&type=1

Anonymous said...

the comments over there are almost all negative.

Opinion is changing. Have a look at the following article at
slashdot. Read the comments. Almost every comment rated to +5 is anti-H1B and anti-immigration. The Slashdot groupthink is usually pretty left with some libertarians, but this is one issue on which support is strongly on our side. I'll copy a post that could have been lifted straight out of iSteve:

Watch How not to hire an American [youtube.com] to see how the whole H1-B system has become a scam, they rig the requirements of the job so its impossible for ANY American to meet the requirement (such as demanding 10 years exp on a tech that has only been around 5 years) so that they can hire more indentured servants through H1-B.

For those that beat the globalization drum all you are doing is killing our future, these guys will go back to their own countries and come up with the next new things while we will be left a husk. in my own area the local college is getting ready to pull the plug on their entire IT program, why? Because students have found they can't compete with a guy that paid less than we pay for a new car for a master's degree so are no longer even attempting to go into tech fields, they know it will just leave them buried in debt in a dead end job.

I wish i could take all those that constant scream "free trade" and "free markets" and drag their sorry asses through middle America to see the seeds they have sown, where there is more boarded up businesses than open ones and the business districts look like Escape From New York thanks to all the abandoned factories. there is NO SUCH THING as free trade, all you are doing is exporting misery and pollution, and all you are importing is more indentured servants.

They won't stop until the highest paid IT jobs are less than the manager at a Mickey D's, and when the day comes that countries stop taking our overprinted money they will all leave and we'll be left with another dead sector. Of course it won't phase them as they'll just move, as Thomas Jefferson wisely pointed out :"Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains."

Svigor said...

In this case, the furriners are not migrant farm workers but highly skilled tech workers entering the country on H-1B visas. The immigration bill that recently passed the Senate would expand the national cap on these visas from 85,000 to 180,000—or rather, “all the way up to 180,000,” as The Verge’s Ben Popper objectively phrases it. Silicon Valley companies

I.e., billionaires, who are, by definition, our moral superiors.

I love that. "In this case, the furriners are not migrant farm workers but highly skilled tech workers."

In other words, the people objecting to the "furriners" are not the toothless, drunkard, child-molesting, meth-smoking, woman-beater-wearing sort who are so pathetic as to object to poor, illiterate, farm-worker immigrants. They're the toothless, drunkard, child-molesting, meth-smoking, khakis-wearing sort who are so pathetic as to object to not-quite-so-poor, literate, IT-worker immigrants.

Is it illegal to express a desire to smash all the author's teeth out of his face?

Svigor said...

I say we lobby for a new class of Visa, the H8U2, for foreign journalists. Perhaps the media's position would change if their livelihood, and the livelihood of their class, were in peril. Does anyone have Bloomberg's number? I suspect he simply hasn't thought of this yet.

I say we lobby to have ALL urinalists, "journalists," "reporters," and suchlike whores for billionaires replace with east Indians. India has almost a billion people, and most of them speak English. Surely India has a more qualified person for every single urinalist currently employed in America.

Oh, wait, they'll be the last to be replaced, because they're doing the billionaires' bidding. Sorry, I forgot.

Is it illegal to express the wish that all urinalists be hanged from the nearest lamppost, like the traitors they are (current company excluded, of course)?

Svigor said...

I think Israel would benefit from what "American" urinalists all advocate for America. Israel needs more non-Arab, non-Muslim foreigners. More non-Arab, non-Muslim IT workers. More non-Arab, non-Muslim "cognitively elite" immigrants.

A lot more.

And just think of all the retrograde, reactionary Israeli racists who will gnash their teeth over such righteous immigration.

Win-win.

Golden Bear said...

I just fell out of my chair. Steve actually posted a piece wherein I agree with him 100%

Maybe I'll go out and buy a lotto ticket - who knows what will happen next.

hbd chick said...

at the other end of the working-man spectrum:

DC March for Jobs - July 15th

We believe it is time that members of Congress act to preserve economic opportunity for American workers - and pass immigration legislation that protects and supports the nearly 22 million American citizens who do not have jobs, or cannot find adequate employment to support their families. Economists report that labor participation in the U.S. is at its lowest rate in over 30 years.

Despite sluggish economic conditions, some in Congress have put forth immigration proposals to increase legal immigration levels by 50% and provide amnesty to over 11 million people who have entered the country illegally. We stand against these proposals, as they will result in adding millions more to the U.S. labor force, putting millions of American citizens out of work.


- Black American Leadership Alliance

Anonymous said...

You sir are seeing conspiracies everywhere. It's disconcerting, you used to be so lucid.

Nice concern troll.

hbd chick said...

@jgress - "...we learned how foreign programmers actually earn more than their American counterparts...."

wrong.

Anonymous said...

completely OT, but the Khaddafi ever changing name syndrome seems to have engulfed Morsi/Mursi/Morissey too.

Svigor said...

- Black American Leadership Alliance

It's odd, isn't it? How everything in America is 24/7/365 black in America, until the subject turns to immigration. Then, blacks disappear from the radar altogether. Blacks are forefront in every issue, then suddenly, they disappear altogether.

Have we ever heard a word from Troof-Dog on the issue? I can't recall.

Anonymous said...

um, hollywood does shoot most of its films outside the country (certainly not in LA) and they are making deals with china next. while you jest and smugly use sarcasm to tell your story, here, hollywood is closing shop and the buisness model is changing. why not write this story again, but dont hide behind the humor and really explain what is happening. you cant change a marketplace and you cant regulate capitalism, but you can elect a new people, by educating what becomes the majority. isnt that journalisms job?

Anonymous said...

One indicator of the specious nature of the argument in favor of H1B expansion is the dearth of women in STEM employment. There is a multi-decadal program to induce women to enter STEM disciplines and professions. But women understand where their efforts will reap the greatest professional benefits. IT would drink week-old goat's blood and walk on their knees across a sea of glass to recruit more women into IT fields.Unfortunately for IT and fortunately for women,they know better. Importing more serfs will suit Mark Zuckerberg very well, and not to mention the disgusting Bill Gates and the rest of our self-made "superiors". The interesting question is how to counter their self-interested perfidy.

Anonymous said...

What can you say? The chief identifying characteristic of the modern Left is an all-consuming hatred of all things white. Leftists use to be concerned with the plight of workers but they're not even pretending they're about anything but racial hatred anymore. If we could just get the weight of the rotting corpse of "conservatism" off of our backs maybe real opposition (that is opposition to the Left's racism, not phony issues like Benghazi) might spring up.

As far as H1-B, let 'em code from India. That's what the internet is for.

Anonymous said...

Wrongsie wrongsie!

Read vivek Wadhwa, a patriotic Indian-American scholar, for a better informed (and less pathetically xenophobic).

Also Steve, you have no talent for satire. You should stick to earnest-tortured white guy railing about Establishment Conspiraceez denying the Gap.

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/516506/silicon-valley-cant-be-copied/


"Note that from 1995 to 2005, 52.4 percent of engineering and technology startups in Silicon Valley had one or more people born outside the United States as founders. That was twice the rate seen in the U.S. as a whole. Immigrants like me who came to Silicon Valley found it easy to adapt and assimilate. We were able to learn the rules of engagement, create our own networks, and participate as equals. These days, the campuses of companies such as Google resemble the United Nations. Their cafeterias don’t serve hot dogs; they serve Chinese and Mexican dishes, and curries from both northern and southern India.


This is the diversity—a kind of freedom, really—in which innovation thrives. The understanding of global markets that immigrants bring with them, the knowledge they have of different disciplines, and the links that they provide to their home countries have given the Valley an unassailable competitive advantage as it has evolved from making radios and computer chips to producing search engines, social media, medical devices, and clean energy technology."

countenance said...

Matloff blew the "H-1Bs are paid more" bromide out of the water:

http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/Archive/BrookingsFlawedStudy.txt

The last part is most relevant. MSFT is well known for buying off supposedly independent think tanks and research terms to produce "research" friendly to MSFT.

Anonymous said...

I really wish these Billionaires would stop trying to out-billion each other and and start to compete over something more interesting like hot mistresses or trophy wives - maybe it would take their minds off reshaping the nation. These guys seem to take pride in their blandness. Do any of them have any interest in having a glamorous life? Trump (is he still on the list?) is the only one who has a little fire in his loins. There a million guys I'd rather be than Gates, or Bezos, or Bloomberg. Gates walks around with a sack of books in his murse - what a freakin' bore.

Auntie Analogue said...


One really funny thing: Oremus is Latin for "Let us pray." (!)

Anonymous said...

What many people reading this article and even many of those commenting here might not understand is that in the engineering teams of many large "name" tech companies in silicon valley, the native born American workforce, of any ethnicity, is already below 10%. I've counted. These days I make it a habit at the start of every meeting.

The teams are often of a single ethnicity, These are not teams of folks who have been educated in US universities, either. (There will often be a few who are.) These days most are direct from somewhere overseas.

And no, these teams aren't more effective than a similar team of native born American engineers would be. The language issue alone adds a drag that otherwise would not be present.

Anonymous said...

"... we learned how foreign programmers actually earn more than their American counterparts."

No, they don't. But even if they did, the US companies fired all their older workers and hired themselves an indentured younger workforce. Saved them a heck of a lot of money.

Another thing you might not understand is that many of the managers doing the hiring, perhaps the majority in silicon valley now, are not American but are of the same ethnicity as those they hire.

When instructed to hire an engineer, many of these engineers report they are literally unable to hire an American engineer, that the company "has a bad reputation". But of course they have a deadline to met and they just happen to know someone from their school back in the home-country, etc... If you didn't know better you'd think it was an ethnic immigration pipeline scam.

I imagine you might think of yourself as a compassionate, maybe even liberal person, but your position on this is not a good one. I probably can't convince you of this, but I can invite you to look into it more yourself.

Cail Corishev said...

"Companies like Google are starving for top engineers"

I'm so tired of seeing this BS claim reported uncritically as fact. It's not even "Companies like Google claim to be starving," but just a flat-out statement to be accepted without thought. Never the slightest bit of evidence to back it up: no reference to rising wages, no film of empty cubicles, no shots of help-wanted ads offering bonuses and free moving services (heck, truck drivers get those ads, for cripes sake).

No, we know they're starving for workers because they say so, and since they're looking overseas, that's proof-positive that they couldn't get Americans. Couldn't possibly be any ulterior motives involved. Freakin' "journalists."

The Slashdot groupthink is usually pretty left with some libertarians, but this is one issue on which support is strongly on our side.

That's because anyone who spends much time programming and interacting with other programmers online knows that the phrase "highly skilled" has no place in this discussion. This isn't about scouring the world for the best talent, and it's not about tech startups with cool new ideas that will make someone a bundle. It's about the tech sector's equivalent of picking lettuce, with all the exact same implications.

Cail Corishev said...

Er Steve, I think, your critique, entertaining though it was, failed at the point that we learned how foreign programmers actually earn more than their American counterparts.

This is a lie, but even if it weren't: we don't know what their American counterparts should be earning, because so many have already been replaced by foreigners, expanding the labor pool and depressing the wages.

Ex Submarine Officer said...

I got mixed feelings about this. Some of it comes from, despite my IT career, a revulsion for at least 99% of IT jobs, which I think are boring and dehumanizing as all get out.

Doing code maintenance on FORTRAN compilers in the nether regions of microsoft seems like something I'd happily relegate to Morlocks.

At that level, why not have h1bs? And really, by pressing for h1bs, the billionaires are just reiterating the prejudice that these jobs are not "white man's work", just as cotton-picking was not.

I don't want to cotton-pick either, and anyone with a shred of dignity or spark of interest in life wouldn't want to do drudge IT work all day.

OTOH, who wants to live in a slave nation rather than a republic. But the problem is that slave work still exists. Used to be cotton picking, now it is mind-numbing code maintenance.



Anonymous said...

"Companies like Google are starving for top engineers"

What? Aint Bill Gates plan of turning Negro kids into nerd-geniuses working out?

Anonymous said...

I've worked in software for over a decade. Chiming in to say that I have overwhelmingly seen H1-B positions filled for software engineering work you could learn to do without a degree. I don't work in the Valley, and the stuff I do is not Google-tier work. It is just the typical work done in IT departments all over the country. And I am seeing this work filled by foreigners and I am not for a second convinced they could not find American workers to do this.

Follow the money and you see most of these jobs get filled by giant Indian staffing companies. The same ones over and over again. They are lining congress' pockets.

Anonymous said...

Matloff explains how Brookings lies with statistics here:

http://heather.cs.ucdavis.edu/Archive/BrookingsFlawedStudy.txt

One of Matloff's own studies, "Immigration and the tech industry: As a labour shortage remedy, for innovation, or for cost savings?", Norman Matloff, Migration Letters, May 2013, found H-1Bs are paid 20% less then similar American workers. (Matloff is a CS and statistics type, he has a book out on R.)

In the first link above Matloff makes the point that companies simply admit to the government that they pay lower:

"... Two employer surveys commissioned by Congress... ASKED employers whether they paid H-1Bs less than comparable Americans. ...

'... reported that H-1B workers in jobs requiring lower levels of IT skill received lower wages, less senior job titles, smaller signing bonuses, and smaller pay and compensation increases than would be typical for the work they actually did.'

... covered a wide range of employers..."




Matloff makes the point:

"If you can't move around freely in the labor market, then you can't negotiate the best salary deal among the employers."




The Brookings scam, for want of a better name, works like this. Hire at a salary 15% or a bit higher than average, then don't raise wages. Only compare and report the salary at time-of-hire:

"... H-1Bs getting smaller raises than Americans, and H-1B advocacy groups claim it's common to receive no raises at all.

... the law actually forbids giving raises, because that would force the employer to open up recruitment again to Americans..."



So you can report H-1Bs are paid more, but not pay them more. So easy!




It's easy to see Matloff also believes Brookings simply delivered the results Microsoft wanted:

"... the Microsoft relation must be stated and discussed."


Matloff closes with:

"This lack of citing countering views is actually a hallmark of the research literature that is positive about H-1Bs. This is not what research ought to be like, especially by those with a .edu in their Internet addresses."

Anonymous said...

I don't want to cotton-pick either, and anyone with a shred of dignity or spark of interest in life wouldn't want to do drudge IT work all day.

A great deal of work is drudgery or degrading in some way. Farming. Plumbing. Sales. It should not mean that we have to import foreigners for that job.

kh123 said...

Basic supply-and-demand is over Oremus' head.

I wonder if he's ever faced the possibility that in a SHTF moment, most if not all of these H1-B's will go the way of the grasshopper once the metaphorical food runs out. And what is the owner of the field left with?

Oremus has his writing gig at the moment; what does he care. It's the summertime of plenty.

Let us sum up the philosophy of the lemming/rabbit: "Can you believe all this talk of not allowing H1-Bs because - heh - it's a Second Plantation mentality and that it'll steal jobs from Americans? That sounds like something my dad would've said! Ugh!"

Can't quite capture the Valley girl affectations in type.

Anonymous said...

"...a patriotic Indian-American scholar..."

In most cases ethnic Indians should excuse themselves from this discussion unless they have something new to add. Calling white people names isn't new, we've heard it all. Indian analysis almost inevitably proposes action in their self-interest. By now we've seen the talking points. You don't even have to mention it, we already know well your positions, it's a given.

The successful culture that built silicon valley did not rely on H-1Bs. In the long run cultures based on cheap labour don't do so well. H-1Bs might be bad for silicon valley innovation.

Anonymous said...

"Used to be cotton picking, now it is mind-numbing code maintenance."

But some people, even Americans, like mind-numbing code maintenance. Even enjoy it. I've known a good number. And what is mind-numbing varies by person. I find cross-word puzzles mind-numbing, why would anyone waste their time that way?

I also find it easy to make maintenance pretty interesting. Maintenance is a lot like hunting. Yeah, you're hunting bugs, or the solution to the crossword puzzle, but I guarantee you there are plenty of people capable of discovering that maintenance can be fascinating if done right, much to their surprise. The same way people who have never really hunted something hard can find it can become all-engrossing.

Dr Van Nostrand said...


In most cases ethnic Indians should excuse themselves from this discussion unless they have something new to add. Calling white people names isn't new, we've heard it all. Indian analysis almost inevitably proposes action in their self-interest. By now we've seen the talking points. You don't even have to mention it, we already know well your positions, it's a given.

The successful culture that built silicon valley did not rely on H-1Bs. In the long run cultures based on cheap labour don't do so well. H-1Bs might be bad for silicon valley innovation."

As an Indian I say go ahead and deny H1b to Indians. The exceedingly mendacious and thieving Indian government wishes to offload its riff raff either blue or white collar(U.S doesnt get the cream of the crop anymore) onto others.

Let India learn the hard way ,it will force to help better develop its human capital.
That is the perspective of "is it good for Indians"

Obviously Americans have the right not be fired just because their plutocrat boss wishes to further add to his already overflowing coffers.
So I am with the "nativist" workforce on this.

And slightly OT: I think America should remain majority (>75%) white


Thought I throw that out there for there who think of me some sort of Indian supremacist.

Maxwell Power said...

According to his LinkedIn page he started at The Palo Alto Daily News. I'd never heard of it, and indeed no longer does it grace red bins. If they were the type of news organ to publish little more than local music interviews, medical pot ads, car show ads, and snappy Q&A w/ barflies I doubt whether an Oremus of 2023 could find work at such an outlet, once the English-reading coffee shop demographic's been gutted. Might hurt some other area businesses too...

Anonymous said...

At first glance I thought it was "furriers".

Jill said...

Microsoft is the largest sponsor of H1b foreign workers

at 34,359.

Deloitte Consulting LLP is number 2 at 12,691.

Source:
http://www.h1bwage.com/etl.php

http://i.imgur.com/0QOEWcK.png



Matthew said...

"Read vivek Wadhwa, a patriotic Indian-American scholar..."

Spewed coffee all over my desk. I'm certain this guy will be completely unbiased.

Aside from the fact that they are asking for way too many more visas - not a 10% increase, or a 30% increase, or a 50% increase, but more than doubling (and in Sen. Ted Cruz's case, quintupling) the current number of H-1B visas - the real problem with the Silicon Valley lobby is that they embrace every effed up aspect of current immigration policy, lavishly back a bill that abolishes our borders completely and rewards tens of millions of lawbreakers, and refuse to see themselves as competing for a share of what should be a fixed (and dramatically reduced) amount of annual immigration.

Rep. Issa has produced a bill that would give Silicon Valley a huge increase in H-1B visas, but it would eliminate chain migration (i.e., sponsorship of adult siblings) and the diversity lottery. The Democrats are having none of this, and the tech lobby doesn't seem to care, which is just plain idiotic. If tech backed such a bill from the start, and ignored Schumer's terrorist dirty bomb of a bill, they might actually get what they want. But once Schumer's bill fails no one in Congress will be interested in playing with them, and they will have lost again, thank God.

If the tech lobby wants to make any gains, they need to understand that they need to fight to secure our borders, and reduce other types of immigration, because most Americans are at the point where we just don't want any more immigration at all.

Anonymous said...

The problem is you really can't find enough software engineers in Silicon Valley. My friend just got a round of second stage funding for his startup and he really can't find any.

Ex Submarine Officer said...

"But some people, even Americans, like mind-numbing code maintenance. Even enjoy it. I've known a good number. And what is mind-numbing varies by person. I find cross-word puzzles mind-numbing, why would anyone waste their time that way?"

That's fair enough and my original comment was a poorly worded throwaway thought.

Anonymous said...

As Steve links, the Slate article by Oremus is trashing another article, "Is Silicon Valley's immigration agenda gutting the tech industry's middle class?", Ben Popper, July 3, 2013. This article mentions the Brookings study but also mentions:

"A separate study from a group of university professors writing for the Economic Policy Institute reached very different conclusions. It stated that H-1B workers may be filing as many as half of all new IT jobs in the US each year and that only one of every two American STEM graduates will be hired into an available position. The current immigration policies, the study concludes, will discourage US students from going into the STEM field, especially IT. And wages, says the paper, have stagnated over the last 14 years, in large part due to the influx of foreign labor."

This EPI study is "Guestworkers in the high-skill U.S. labor market: An analysis of supply, employment, and wage trends", Hal Salzman, Daniel Kuehn, and B. Lindsay Lowell, April 24, 2013. You can also download a PDF version here.




The fact that Oremus mentions the Brookings study but not the EPI study cited in the same article is deeply deceptive and indicates a willful bias, a willingness to lie by omission, and hostility towards American STEM graduates. This malice enables amplification by mindlessly hissing camp-followers, such as our friend who condescendingly finds Steve's post "... entertaining though it was...".

Ben Popper's Verge story also makes the point that about half of the H-1Bs in American aren't even being hired by American companies. They are being hired by large Indian companies (Infosys, Tata, Wipro, ...) working in the US. These are the type of companies that often provide the lowest bid on US government contracts for routine computer work such as data entry:

"The largest employers of H1-B workers aren’t firms like Facebook and Microsoft, they are actually outsourcing companies like Infosys, Tata, and Wipro. These companies account for around half of the annual H-1B workers, and the majority of their employees are overseas, according to a recent report from Computerworld."

So we are supporting Indian companies reducing their costs of business in the US by bringing in cheap Indian workers. We aren't even enhancing the competitiveness of American companies.

Not only that... picking one at random... from the Wikipedia article on Infosys:

"... Infosys is the third-largest India-based IT services company by 2012 revenues, and the second largest employer of H-1B visa professionals in the United States, as of 2012. ...

... Infosys has been consistently ranked by Glassdoor.com and other worldwide Researchers and former employees as the "worst" place to work. Employees often complain of the rigid and unexplained policies, disappointingly low salaries, and working overtime. Currently, Infosys is the employer with the highest attrition rate of 67%. Besides, it was discovered in independent surveys that new employees generally quit the company after working for an average of one year and five months.

... In recent years, Infosys has begun shifting operations to the United States..."



What madness is this? Truly, it takes a Golden Tool for whom America is nothing.

Anonymous said...

I am an early middle aged, "obsolete", "unemployable", American programmer. Because of actions as described here, I have thrown in the towel with American capitalism, and now consider myself a redistributionist Marxist.

Anonymous said...

The Brookings report that Oremus cites is online, "H-1B Visas and the STEM Shortage", Jonathan Rothwell and Neil G. Ruiz, May 10, 2013, Brookings Institution. Let's take a look at the end of their conclusions (emphasis mine):

"There are two important caveats. First, hard-to-fill high-skilled jobs do not always require many years of post-secondary training. Even among H-1B visa requests, about 25 percent are for occupations that typically require only an associate’s degree, meaning that the current U.S. workforce could be trained to do these jobs at relatively little cost. Second, not all STEM jobs are experiencing the same symptoms of shortage.

A data-driven bureau is needed to identify occupational shortages. Overall, there is compelling evidence that the H-1B visa program is helping to alleviate acute shortages in various occupations. Yet, because of data limitations, the evidence is far from complete. If the Senate bill is passed into law, the proposed Bureau on Immigration and Labor Market Research should collect better information from employers about job openings, including occupations..."



Ah, the old pass the law and then figure it out gambit... Call for a data-driven bureau and a 5 Year Plan... More soft-money government jobs...

Weaseling with the best!



Their report ends with the standard Golden Tool "clarion call". Last sentence of their report:

"Armed with such information, as well as indicators presented above, visas and public funding for training and education in hard-to-fill occupations could be more confidently allocated."

We've been hearing this clarion call for about, oh I dunno, forever? Doncha think it really means "Come on, we need as many excuses as possible to sit around playing 'think tank' and writing up Brookings reports? Aren't you glad the Brookings Institute is here to help? Don't try to figure out this data-driven bureau business for yourselves at home, kids."


How does one go about granting a Golden Tool Weasel Award?

Anonymous said...

White programmers talk back to management.

East Asian / Indian programmers are submissive. They may rebel by doing a bad job or pretending to misunderstand, but they don't openly argue about managerial decisions.

Cail Corishev said...

The problem is you really can't find enough software engineers in Silicon Valley. My friend just got a round of second stage funding for his startup and he really can't find any.

What's he paying? How much signup bonus, profit-sharing, moving allowance for people not already living there? There are people working for other companies there; why hasn't he tried offering them 50% pay increases?

Look, the cheap labor pushers can't have this both ways. If this is about finding genius coders (whom our universities just can't produce anymore for some reason), then they should be offering wage increases and other bennies to pull them in. They should be trying to steal the best people away from their competitors, and that should be driving up the market price. If they're so hard to find, why shouldn't they be treated like pro sports free agents?

But if it's not about genius coders, but actually about code maintenance, troubleshooting, customer service, and other basic tasks, they could hire plenty of American high school graduates and put them through a six-week course while they learn on the job. We know there are scads of unemployed STEM graduates who could fill the jobs that are a level up from those but below the geniuses.

It's one or the other, but they shift back and forth depending on which type of American worker they're currently denigrating, and the stupid part is that neither is true: they could get American workers to do the job if they paid competitive wages and benefits. That's how it used to work, before they decided there was a vast pool of foreign labor they could tap into, replacing quality with quantity if necessary. You used to offer higher wages if you didn't get any applicants, or throw in some sort of bonus that might draw them from your competitors ("We just installed the latest and greatest systems from Intel or whomever; stop banging around on those old systems over there at Competitor Co.").

This stuff isn't complicated; employers just don't want to do it. People get it in their heads that a particular job should pay a particular wage, and it's somehow offensive if they get in a position to demand more.

Cail Corishev said...

"A separate study from a group of university professors writing for the Economic Policy Institute reached very different conclusions. It stated that H-1B workers may be filing as many as half of all new IT jobs in the US each year and that only one of every two American STEM graduates will be hired into an available position.

This really sums it up. The market is still working, running on inertia from the past and the large amount of interest and aptitude that American boys have for computers (despite the stagnant wages), still providing enough American STEM graduates to fill the available jobs. But half the jobs are being given to cheaper foreign workers anyway, leaving half the American STEM graduates out of luck.

It's not complicated.

Anonymous said...

"How everything in America is 24/7/365 black in America, until the subject turns to immigration. Then, blacks disappear from the radar altogether. Blacks are forefront in every issue, then suddenly, they disappear altogether."

yes, listen to the silence as the man says.

Anonymous said...

"The problem is you really can't find enough software engineers in Silicon Valley. My friend just got a round of second stage funding for his startup and he really can't find any."


Maybe the word's getting out that employers and VCs aren't willing to pay fair market wage. And the place is expensive as sin. And fewer folks then in the past want to live there for reasons like the culture and climate and, er, wonderful traffic. Low cost labor, it gets expensive.

Or maybe nobody wants to work for your friend's startup. It happens, sometimes to deserving folks.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the reason H1B programmers are sought-after is that otherwise the workforce would be heavily white gentile male, continuing their wretched dominance.

At least Indian coders are not white, and also not of Chinese or Korean descent. . Thus the desirable diversity increases.

Robert Hume

Anonymous said...

Why should I give a damn about an industry that doesn't want to hire Americans, doesn't want to pay taxes, and doesn't want to makes its products here? If Silicon Valley is harmed in the long run that honestly seems like its not my problem.

Rohan Swee said...

The problem is you really can't find enough software engineers in Silicon Valley. My friend just got a round of second stage funding for his startup and he really can't find any.

So why is he trying to do a startup in such a backward, brain-derived part of the country in the first place? Or in a country with such a shitty talent pool? I don't understand why these people don't just move themselves and their businesses to those paradises of tech talent that must have engineering genius to burn, the way they use up the visa quotas year after year and could still find double, triple, quintuple that number to come, no problem, if only the law allowed it.

Must be sentimental, I guess.

Rohan Swee said...

Read vivek Wadhwa, a patriotic Indian-American scholar, for a better informed (and less pathetically xenophobic).

Are you in some kind of contest with "Working Class American", to see who can do the best impression of "oblivious new commenter who's so sure he knows more than anybody that he doesn't have to familiarize himself with a site and its regulars before jumping in to make an ass of hims..., er, enlighten them"?

Anonymous said...

a Brookings study found that H1-B workers in the tech industry make 26 percent more than their American counterparts

I'd be willing to bet anything that this study is utter crap. As a former H1B worker myself, my observational N is rather high and the bottom line is really simple: H1B hires are underpaid in comparison to natives. No question about it.

Rohan Swee said...

Ex-SO: I don't want to cotton-pick either, and anyone with a shred of dignity or spark of interest in life wouldn't want to do drudge IT work all day.

OTOH, who wants to live in a slave nation rather than a republic. But the problem is that slave work still exists. Used to be cotton picking, now it is mind-numbing code maintenance.


A) Citizens need those jobs, regardless of what you think of their desirability, and

B) "Mind-numbing" is relative to how much mind one has to numb. (I'm sure there is work that would satisfy me that would be regarded as "mind-numbing" by people with better brains than mine.) And

C) That "slave work" needs to be done, is no excuse for the workers who do it to be treated like, and regarded as, slaves, with society coming to accept, and arranging its immigration policy in accordance with, the notion that "teh economy" requires the existence of a class of (sub)humans who can be treated like shit, with nothing allowed for the amelioration of the unpleasantness of the work they do. (Hey, Chinese peasants will live in dormitories and work 80-hour weeks as factory-bots, so Americans workers have to get competitive, damn it!) And most of all

D) What the hell happened to the concept of "dignity of labor" in this country? That earning and contributing, no matter where on the scale of job prestige, gave one standing and respect and the right to hold up one's head, where there was a real if imperfect equality of human dignity, that is, one could easily see the contrast in the way Americans treated one another and the ugly class and caste contempt that permeated less blessed lands. What the hell happened to us?

That to me is the worst part of the Third-Worldization I've seen progressing in my native land. Not too bright, or just not bright enough to work at my level? Well, my good man, if you're not willing to be worked to death and live in Dickensian conditions, you'd bloody well better step aside for your replacements, who are!

Anonymous said...

"Golden Tool Weasel Award"

Sounds like a good idea! Ig Nobels and Golden Raspberries are quite popular... Maybe Taki can sponsor one for good fun.

Anonymous said...

Foreign programmers are paid more? Hah! I did some consulting for a company in Fremont which was flying in a half dozen Russian programmers and putting them up in a local motel for 2 week stints. I once joked to their manager how it would be a shame if they ever found out that $18k was well under American standards. His response: "we don't pay them that much".

On the other hand, what do you get from many American code monkeys? I was in a conversation with a mother of a teenage daughter and a software engineer. She wanted to know what kind of courses her daughter should take to be a programmer. I said that she should concentrate on math since the real money and high level jobs went to people who understand algorithms. I got glared at. Americans: doing the low-level code monkey jobs Russians just won't do.

Aaron said...

Subtract “Silicon Valley” and “tech industry” from the headline and you have the age-old canard about furriners stealing Amurricans’ rightful jobs.

Wow, the other side seems so much less appealing when you stuff words in their mouths. It's like magic! Gee guys, were they wearing overalls and straw hats too? Did one of them have a banjo?

Anonymous said...

"Ex-SO: I don't want to cotton-pick either, and anyone with a shred of dignity or spark of interest in life wouldn't want to do drudge IT work all day."

95% of jobs suck.

Now you have no dignity doing a job you hate?

I think I'll just go on welfare and stop working for these disgusting corporations.

Thank you business for making a bunch on crappy jobs so we can buy a bunch of crap and live as slaves.

Silver said...

Read vivek Wadhwa, a patriotic Indian-American scholar, for a better informed (and less pathetically xenophobic).

He has completely convinced me.

But I'm a good globalist and I want what's best for India too. It disgusts me that America is hogging so much of the world's diversity. So I propose India import a mix of, say, 500 million black Africans, 400 million east Asians and 300 million Muslims (of any ethnic background) over the next 30-50 years (the faster the better really). You can't lose with that kind of diversity.

India's ethnic homogeneity has long held back the country's progress. Yes, I'm aware there are internal differences, but the great mass of people are still stuck thinking there is something special about being Hindu or a "native" Indian. Enough is enough. India needs real diversity. Pathetic xenophobes will naturally protest, but the fact is India will not survive without mass immigration. The time to start is now.

Anonymous said...

These foreigners will give power to the far left. First Amendment, gone, Second Amendment, gone, eventually gone. The fact that we only talk about the economic impact of this mass invasion means that the nasty ruling coalition of white-hating racists on the left and corporate thugs on the right have already won. Something about "a mess of pottage" comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

"The USA is an abstract propositional state held together by greed and powerful interests."

Basically.

I use the airport explanation.
It's a place where nobody, except white Americans and a smattering of "others", have any sense of loyalty to.

The rest are outsiders, even if they were born there, and essentially view the country in a transactional way. Good for business/jobs/standard of living but the heart isn't in it.

Anonymous said...

"The USA is an abstract propositional state held together by greed and powerful interests."

Basically.

I use the airport explanation.
It's a place where nobody, except white Americans and a smattering of "others", have any sense of loyalty to.

The rest are outsiders, even if they were born there, and essentially view the country in a transactional way. Good for business/jobs/standard of living but the heart isn't in it.

Anonymous said...

I work in the area of stat programming. I have hired some H-1B scabs in the past. As they are the product of two of the worst school systems in the world (China and India), their skills at ACTUAL THINKING AND ACTUAL PROGRAMMING invariably suck totally. I refuse to participate in the charade of hiring cheap-ass crap from SE Asia. I do not hire the scabby scum anymore.

Eric Rasmusen said...

Steve or readers: How many "Computer Occupations" workers are there in America, native-born, immigrant, and H1B? Without knowing that, I can't tell whether 150,000/year is a small number or a big number. I'm frustrated because I looked at the UC Davis Prof and the Brookings article and there isn't a hint of total employment--- all they look at is wages. Relative wages are hard to measure, so it would be useful if we knew the supposed effects were coming from an increase of 2% in employment, or 50%.

Mr. Anon said...

"jgress said...

Er Steve, I think, your critique, entertaining though it was, failed at the point that we learned how foreign programmers actually earn more than their American counterparts. That kind of blows your argument out of the water."

And who says that is even true? It was stated in the article, but why should I believe a single word out of the mouth of that sniveling, pissant little asshat, Will Oremus.

His Bio says he was an intern at the New York Times. What exactly does the position of "intern" entail at the "Old Pink Lady"? Is he responsible for making the coffee, ordering the take-out, and servicing the queens at their desks? Perhaps he was Frank Bruni's rent-boy.

Mr. Anon said...

Why should I be concerned that Google is unable to find a suffient number of employees to maintain its core business - spying on the people of the world for the benefit of itself and the US government.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

The problem is you really can't find enough software engineers in Silicon Valley. My friend just got a round of second stage funding for his startup and he really can't find any."

Maybe your friend is an asshole, and nobody wants to work for him. Maybe his startup idea sucks.

Mr. Anon said...

"Svigor said...

It's odd, isn't it? How everything in America is 24/7/365 black in America, until the subject turns to immigration. Then, blacks disappear from the radar altogether. Blacks are forefront in every issue, then suddenly, they disappear altogether.

Have we ever heard a word from Troof-Dog on the issue? I can't recall."

He only materializes to defend BBBs.

Mr. Anon said...

Apropos this topic, Douglas Engelbart, inventor of the mouse, has died:

Douglas Engelbart

It's amazing that we even have computers at all - I mean, what did we do before we had Indians?


Cail Corishev said...

Mr. Anon,

Yeah, it's funny how one generation of Americans and Europeans invented computers, another invented programming, another invented the Internet -- and now the next is too stupid and lazy to keep it all working.

You really have to be inclined to hate your fellow citizens to believe something like that just because some billionaire with a clear interest in the process tells you it's so.

Anonymous said...

"How many "Computer Occupations" workers are there in America, native-born, immigrant, and H1B? Without knowing that, I can't tell whether 150,000/year is a small number or a big number."

Here's the first hit from a google, also an EPI report:

"STEM labor shortages? Microsoft report distorts reality about computing occupations", Daniel Costa, November 19, 2012.

Take a look at Table 1, "Share of computer and information science workers with computer/information science or science and engineering degree, by occupation, 2003"

Although the paper was written in 2013 and the data is 10 years old, it's likely still a very valid data point. Good data is hard to find... Doesn't have H-1Bs, just totals. This data is apparently from the NSF: "Unpublished tabulations of the 2003 National Survey of College Graduates provided to EPI by Dr. Nirmala Kannankutty, senior advisor, National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics at the National Science Foundation."

Oh, what the heck, here are two columns of data, let's see how bad the formating gods will mangle this data extracted from Table 1:


Occupation Employed in this occupation

Total 1,772,000
Computer and information scientists, research 40,000
Computer support specialists 223,000
Computer system analysts 424,000
Database administrators 90,000
Network and computer systems administrators 166,000
Network systems and data communications analysts 123,000
Other computer information science occupations 173,000
Computer engineers - software 534,000

Anonymous said...

"How many "Computer Occupations" workers are there in America, native-born, immigrant, and H1B? Without knowing that, I can't tell whether 150,000/year is a small number or a big number."


Here's a Center for Immigrating Studies report, "H-1B Visa Numbers: No Relationship to Economic Need", John Miano June 2008. A PDF is here.

Here's two tangential factoids I cannot pass up:

"Since 1999, the United States has had a net loss of 76,000 engineering jobs. Over the same time period, the United States has approved an average of 16,000 new H-1B visas each year for engineers.

Since 1999, the United States has approved enough H-1B visas for computer workers to fill 87 percent of net computer job growth over that period."


Here's what looks like the totals you ask about:

"Figure 3 plots employment in computer occupations as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics..."

They give total computer occupations in 2005 as a bit over 3,000,000. (It's important that computer science degrees aren't required for all these jobs; presumably the Bureau of Labor Statistics is counting all those working regardless of degree, which likely accounts for the discrepancy with the NSF number of, what, about half that number of grads?)

Also...

"For three of the years during this period (2001, 2002, and 2005) the number of H-1B visas approved for computer workers exceeded job growth in that year."


Also see Table 1, "Growth in Computer Employment and New H-1B Visas". Very interesting. The most extreme data point is if one looks at the 2000-2005 period, there were 19,910 computer occupation jobs created and 263,471 H-1B visas for computer workers.

Also see Table 3, "Number of H-1B Workers Required Based on Computer Job Growth". They calculate 157,500 H-1B visas/year are required to fill 100% of all computer job growth.


Was some Golden Tool crying Great Big Tears about why women aren't going into computers and STEM? I know why, they are too smart!

Seriously, reconcile this. Every time some Golden Tool says we need more H-1Bs, they also say we need to spend more to educate STEM graduates and get women to enter the field; if we only did that maybe we wouldn't need H-1Bs. Don't they have it backwards?

Dr Van Nostrand said...


I work in the area of stat programming. I have hired some H-1B scabs in the past. As they are the product of two of the worst school systems in the world (China and India), their skills at ACTUAL THINKING AND ACTUAL PROGRAMMING invariably suck totally. I refuse to participate in the charade of hiring cheap-ass crap from SE Asia. I do not hire the scabby scum anymore."

Im sorry but I have trouble imagining you are anything but a semi employed prole masquerading as some big shot GM
You sound borderline illiterate!
scab is a wor only lower class unionist white ethnics use
not to mention "suck","cheap ass" ,"scum"

If you have to be an impostor online, atleast be good at it.Jeez!

Anonymous said...

An interesting point from the end of that "H-1B Visa Numbers: No Relationship to Economic Need",
John Miano, June 2008 report.

"Clearly there is a discrepancy between H-1B visa numbers and job creation. There are more H-1B visas approved for engineers than there are engineering jobs. The number of H-1B visas for computer workers is about 70-80 percent of the rate of job creation. ...

The most likely reason for the discrepancy between job growth and H-1B visas is that a significant percentage of people legally admitted under H-1B visas enter the illegal alien pool. Such illegal aliens would be armed with valid Social Security numbers and would be difficult to detect. The high concentration of visa-to-job discrepancies in certain states suggests that the country has created organized centers for importing illegal aliens through H-1B visas."

Anonymous said...

By all means keep the H-1B program, but only for Japan. America could use some Japanese programmers, and get quality software in return.

Cail Corishev said...

Why can't Japanese programmers program in Japan? They do have computers and the Internet there, right?

(Actually, they do, and they're the one country outside US/Europe that has contributed something to programming that I'm aware of, beyond lots of barely-competent warm bodies. Once upon a time, I used a pretty good email program that was written by a Japanese guy.)

Anonymous said...

"Why can't Japanese programmers program in Japan? They do have computers and the Internet there, right?

(Actually, they do, and they're the one country outside US/Europe that has contributed something to programming..."


"All your base are belong to us. ... make your time ... For great justice!"

Anonymous said...

"Dr Van Nostrand said...

You sound borderline illiterate!"



Hello Dr Can Nostrand! And how are matters on the human bio-diversity front in Andhra Pradesh this fine day?


(Regarding your comment on the fellow you call borderline illiterate, no, that's probably pretty typical informal Californian lingo, probably now fairly widespread in the US. Perhaps you aren't that familiar with derivatives of the valleyspeak colloquial. We all learn something new everyday.)

Dr Van Nostrand said...



Hello Dr Can Nostrand!


Hello??


" And how are matters on the human bio-diversity front in Andhra Pradesh this fine day?"


Same as usual.

(Regarding your comment on the fellow you call borderline illiterate, no, that's probably pretty typical informal Californian lingo, probably now fairly widespread in the US. Perhaps you aren't that familiar with derivatives of the valleyspeak colloquial. We all learn something new everyday.)"

I suppose you are right. But I still have trouble believing that a guy who hires foreigners will still refer to them as "scabs" . I mean that is completely stupid. Why hire them at all then?!

Anonymous said...

"Of course foreigners should be brought in and put under the control of rich men like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates. That's how America was built! Cotton didn't pick itself, you know ..."

Exactly. Big plantation owners like Zuckerberg get to set policy that others get to sink their teeth into as well. The lawn won't mow itself, you know. The house won't clean itself, you know. The dinner won't cook itself, you know. The kids won't shuttle themselves from school to baseball practice and piano lessons, you know. All this service just by paying cash, no social security, unemployment or worker's comp withholding required! It's good to be Massa!

Anonymous said...

"Hello Dr Can Nostrand!


Hello??"


It's a shame the C and V keys are so close on the keyboard, don't you agree?

"Why hire them at all then?!"

In this particular case, perhaps they tried it once because they believed the rhetoric.

My impression is the large public US companies led the rhetoric. They wanted to get rich, rich, rich in the large new markets of the New World Order, in particular China and maybe India. Many of the CEOs of these companies do not appear to have given any thought to negative consequences beyond the bounds of their company and the quarter. It just wasn't in their job description.

Some of these CEOs, like Larry Ellison and Steve Ballmer, seem to have personality types that the engineers in their company come to hate and they return the favour. So after awhile they look overseas. Good (or at lest ruthless) managers but bad leaders. This didn't help. (Larry and Steve are both half Jewish and maybe that was part of it, but there were lots of ruthless short-sighted self-serving CEOs.)

My guess is public companies led this race to the bottom largely because of the way they are structured and incentivized. "Dear Board... can save costs... reduce/outsource engineering..." Fiduciary responsibilities!

Given the diluted nature of modern public company ownership (maybe too many owners is like socialism), companies lurched zombie-like ever-more in treating their engineers like commodities to be purchased, towels to be rung out, and people to be replaced from elsewhere. It became a mindless process, similar to how AA or EEOC rules were applied within companies. Rule of Rules can get really dumb.

The funny thing is it isn't really working and now a lot of these companies are scrambling.

Don't they say common sense is sometimes pretty uncommon?

Dr Van Nostrand said...

"Hello Dr Can Nostrand!


Hello??"

It's a shame the C and V keys are so close on the keyboard, don't you agree?

DVN: I wasnt being snide about you making a typo. God knows I make quite a few myself. I was just curious if it was a typo or it was some play on words I didnt get

"Why hire them at all then?!"

In this particular case, perhaps they tried it once because they believed the rhetoric.

DVN: I suppose that is possible.

My impression is the large public US companies led the rhetoric. They wanted to get rich, rich, rich in the large new markets of the New World Order, in particular China and maybe India. Many of the CEOs of these companies do not appear to have given any thought to negative consequences beyond the bounds of their company and the quarter. It just wasn't in their job description.

DVN:I agree that corporatism can often be anti national if profits and profits alone are the bottom line.It is such types which give a bad name to capitalism. Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations is full of caveats on making profits and he doesnt hesitate to pass harsh judgement on large enterprises,monopolies,celebrities et al
The Left has a point to some extant that this type of capitalism is really patriotic


Some of these CEOs, like Larry Ellison and Steve Ballmer, seem to have personality types that the engineers in their company come to hate and they return the favour. So after awhile they look overseas. "

DVN: Engineers will resent any one with some technical background who is even slightly less qualified than them. But they will accept a business school grad with very little technical knowledge and defer to his wisdom on the larger picture.
Largely self taught Ellison and Gates remind me of Hitler and Stalin types who were rejected from military academies and have a loathing for the professional military classes and ended up undermining them due to ego

Dr Van Nostrand said...

Good (or at lest ruthless) managers but bad leaders. This didn't help. (Larry and Steve are both half Jewish and maybe that was part of it, but there were lots of ruthless short-sighted self-serving CEOs.)"

DVN:It had little with being Jewish but more with not posessing enough people skills or athletic ability when young. Athletic extroverts have more self confidence and this translates favorably into the corporate world.Granted- there is considerable cross pollination between Jews and bookish introverts.

My guess is public companies led this race to the bottom largely because of the way they are structured and incentivized. "Dear Board... can save costs... reduce/outsource engineering..." Fiduciary responsibilities!

DVN: Yes, bottomline alone is no way to run a business.

Given the diluted nature of modern public company ownership (maybe too many owners is like socialism), companies lurched zombie-like ever-more in treating their engineers like commodities to be purchased, towels to be rung out, and people to be replaced from elsewhere. It became a mindless process, similar to how AA or EEOC rules were applied within companies. Rule of Rules can get really dumb.

The funny thing is it isn't really working and now a lot of these companies are scrambling.

DVN: If I took anything from Adam Smith ,its that a company is like a country -an organic entity which cant alone be sustained and held together by an abstract covenant alone.Constitution and profit in place of blood and soil and obligation,duty and loyalty respectively.

Don't they say common sense is sometimes pretty uncommon?

DVN: Ah but in this case ,they do think profit is common sense and need not see beyond it, there in lies the rub.

The way I see there was war over the last 50 years between the Dale Carnegie and Gordon Gekko mode of running a business and Gordon Gekko won. And Gekko did it by cunningly using multiculturalism,environmentalism, third world outreach and all that PC gobbledygook to his advantage
While hapless Carnegie types have been derided as Readers Digest consuming dinoasurs who are now found only in Coen brothers movies