In theory . . .12:00 AM, Apr 12, 2014 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
Employers’ requests for the limited number of H1-B visas that allow foreign skilled workers to work and live here has wildly exceeded the supply. After all, the visas allow employers to hire foreigners, rather than bid up wage rates to attract American citizens, or incur the cost of training Americans to do the job. And the visas are free.
Any institution other than government would decide that the way to bring supply and demand into balance is a.) issue more visas, or b.) auction off the existing supply to the highest bidders. Not our government, which has decided on a lottery: “A computer-generated process will randomly select the number of petitions needed to meet the caps…” No need to decide which company would benefit the most—in saved cost or added product value. And no need to confront the longer-run problem that sooner or later these foreign workers are supposed to go home. On the other hand, limiting the number of visas keeps Silicon Valley millionaires and billionaires in the position of supplicants, annually petitioning contribution-hungry Congress and the president to increase the number of H1-B visas available, each one hoping to win the inevitable lottery.
It is the position of these high-tech businesses that there is no price that will call forth an additional supply of workers with the needed skills. And that there is no amount of training that will bring any American workers up to snuff. Different from the fracking industry, where highly skilled workers are flocking to jobs in places considerably less appealing than Silicon Valley because six-figure salaries are on offer. Different from the law business, where anticipation of excessive salaries called forth an excess supply of highly schooled workers, and the end of the salary boom has cut the number of men and women willing to invest in three years of expensive training. Different from construction trades, where shortages of skilled workers are driving up wages so that workers unemployed by the Great Recession will return to the labor force. Different from almost every other product and labor market.
If having employers bid cash for visas is not sufficiently attractive to the government, which is anyhow insensitive to its own red ink, it could have employers agree to train an American worker for each foreign worker it is allowed to employ. Or pay for such training, and commit to hire the newly skilled worker when the foreigner’s H-1B visa expires. Or reimburse local governments for any social costs that might be associated with the hiring of skilled foreigners.
Better any of those alternatives than giving a free gift to a high-tech company so that it can increase its profits by failing to fork some cash over to the U.S. taxpayer.
12:00 AM, Dec 14, 2013 • By IRWIN M. STELZER
Free traders are ecstatic. Negotiators at the 9th World Trade Organization ministerial conference in Bali cheered, hugged, and wept at what they see as the successful culmination of their recent round of talks. “A giant step for businesses large and small,” enthused the CEO of UPS.
But they opt to cut school workers' hours instead. 10:53 AM, Oct 25, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Obamacare is costing one Indiana school district $6 million, WTHI reports:
"In the past, we've told you about the new federal healthcare law and how small business and local governments have been hit," said the anchor. "The next area affected by the law could be education."
11:00 AM, Oct 17, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Vice President Joe Biden offered returning federal workers handshakes, hugs, and kisses -- and muffins, too -- this morning at the EPA headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Via the pool report:
10:00 AM, Oct 2, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The federal government is shutdown. That means only federal government employees that are deemed "essential" are going in to work.
We're led to believe it's a bare bones operation (Michelle Obama won't be tweeting, the National Park Service website is down, etc.). But in reality it appears the number of folks working is higher than half the federal employees. Or, in raw numbers, about 1,350,000 "essential" federal government employees are still working. And that does not include the 589,000 postal employees, who are working, too.
"No one knows what they do, what it means, how much they benefit us."3:32 PM, Apr 23, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
First Lady Michelle Obama praised federal workers in remarks today, calling them an "invisible face." Her remarks were delivered at the Department of Interior.
"I ... know that the work that you do isn’t easy, especially right now during these times. I know that budget cuts mean that you all are juggling even more responsibilities with fewer resources. And I know that many of you are stretched thinner than ever before," said the first lady.
1:51 PM, Mar 31, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Bill Kristol, with Mara Liasson and Charles Lane, on Fox News Sunday's "Panel Plus":
"They still have nothing to do."8:02 AM, Oct 19, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
The NBC affiliate in Grand Rapids filed this report on the stimulus-receiving battery company, LG Chem:
1:01 PM, May 17, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Speaking in Ohio, Vice President Joe Biden admitted that auto workers lost jobs because of actions taken by the Obama administration:
12:53 PM, May 17, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
Vice President Joe Biden didn't seem too worried about the auto workers who lost pensions and benefits because of the restructuring that the auto bailout required:
Sometimes layoffs are the only choice.Mar 15, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 25 • By ANDREW B. WILSON
Is corporate America downsizing itself to death? So you would think from watching Up in the Air, the popular movie starring George Clooney as a “downsizing expert” who racks up more than 10 million frequent flier miles going from city to city to terminate an endless parade of desperate employees.
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