Julie Moffett   RFE/RL   Mar 3/98   65,000 brains stolen per year not enough
    In reading the article below, one cannot but be struck with the arrogance, egocentrism, and destructiveness of the American position.  The American position is, simply, that unless the US can accelerate its world-wide brain theft, its own economy will suffer.

    No thought is given to the devastating effect on the economies of the countries from which the brains are stolen.  The US does not need to entertain such thoughts its right to steal brains without compensation or even apology has been successfully inculcated and is universally accepted.  Rarely voiced is the observation that the US is unable to grow its own brains, or the reasons for its being unable to do so that its culture is decadent, degenerate, and corrupting, and its educational system is among the worst of all developed countries, and ranks poorly even among underdeveloped countries.  Rarely expressed is the observation that the pretense to aiding other countries to raise their standard of living is a sham that is brought out to mask the true intention of the US, which is to plunder from others what it is unable to create for itself.

    The reader must be reminded that my position is not that the brains being drained to the US would be better left to molder in their home countries unemployment or under-employment.  My position is, rather, that if the US were truly interested in helping other countries, it would arrange to employ these same brains within their home countries, to the benefit both of the US and the home countries; and if the US were guided by considerations of fairness, it would compensate the donor countries, in cash or in kind, for any brains that did drain.

    The alternative of leaving things as they are amounts to continuing to have countries that are much poorer than the US subsidizing the US, contributing from their meager resources to support the decadent affluence of the US, abandoning the lowering of their own infant mortality so that Americans can play on bigger golf courses, going hungry so that Americans can drive their newer cars on smoother highways with cheaper gas.

U.S.: Doors May Open For High-Tech Foreign Workers

By Julie Moffett

External link to RFE/RL

     Washington, 3 March 1998 (RFE/RL) A U.S. senator says he will soon propose legislation that will raise the annual number of skilled foreign workers admitted into America to help offset an acute labor shortage in the high-tech industry.

     Senator Spencer Abraham (R-Michigan) made the comment last week at a hearing of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss the current labor shortage in America's high tech industry.  Many members of congress say they are worried about the adverse impact such a labor shortage may have on the U.S. economy.

     Currently, U.S. law permits only 65,000 skilled workers per year into the U.S. under a special visa called the H-1B.  The program permits foreign citizens to work in the U.S. for up to six years.  It has been used primarily for workers in computer-related fields, although scholars, doctors and scientists have also been among those granted the special status.

     Abraham says it is time for legislators to raise the current limit on H-1B visas to help U.S. high-tech employers cope with their personnel shortages.

     In fact, the shortage has become so severe, says Abraham, that for the first time since the visa was created in 1990, U.S. employers used all 65,000 slots last year.  He adds that employers already estimate they will exceed the limit by May of this year.

     Some experts warn that if the limit is not raised, it could severely hurt the high-tech industry.  That in turn, say experts, would have a detrimental affect on the U.S. economy.

     For example, a recent study by a private organization called Network Wizards shows that the technology industry led U.S. exports in 1996 and was the largest manufacturing employer in America.  In 1996 the U.S. also employed 4.3 million high-tech workers and paid them an average salary of 49,600 annually 73 percent higher than the average private-sector wage.

     The shortage is already adversely affecting many of America's high-tech companies. According to a recent study done by the Information Technology Association of America, the U.S. currently has 350,000 job vacancies for computer scientists and programmers that are not being filled and that number is rising.

     Abraham did not say how many workers he wanted to be eligible under the H-1B program, but White House officials are reportedly urging the Senate to double the limit.

     Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) says she would support a higher limit, but only if U.S. high-tech industries would contribute more money to public education so America would not have to "rely on foreign nationals" in the future.

     But big high-tech U.S. computer firms, such as Microsoft and Texas Instruments, are urging the Senate to remove the cap altogether and let them hire as many skilled workers as they need.

     Removing the limit completely, however, has raised the ire of officials of the U.S. Labor Department who say that bringing in an unlimited number of foreign workers could discourage American workers from acquiring new skills.

     Labor Department officials also say the H-1B program is flawed because it permits employers to lay off American workers in order to bring in foreigners, and does not require firms to first look for qualified U.S. workers before hiring laborers from abroad.

     But Abraham says that delaying or refusing to increase the limit on H-1B visas would be a bad idea for the U.S. economy.

     Says Abraham: "Companies across America are faced with severe high-skill labor shortages that threaten their competitiveness in this new Information Age economy."

     Abraham adds that the only way America will be able to keep its edge in the global high-tech industry is to let employers have all the workers they need.  And in order to do that, he says, U.S. legislators need to raise the limit on the H-1B visas as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

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