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In an article in the Washington DC publication The Hill, North County Congressman Darrell Issa and former San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, now head of the local Chamber of Commerce, give hoorays for the H-1B program, by which foreign residents (mostly from India) get into the country on temporary visas and take mid-level science, technology, engineering and math jobs.

San Diego's Qualcomm is one of the nation's largest users of the H-1B program, and its top management is constantly promoting the program. The main sales point to try to get more H-1B people into the country is that there is supposedly a shortage of American engineers.

However, H-1B opponents make a cogent case that the shortage is a disingenuous myth. They argue that H-1B lowers the pay of both American engineers and the foreign newcomers, thus bolstering corporate profits and permitting top management to take outlandish salaries.

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Comments

Diogenes Oct. 1, 2013 @ 6:49 p.m.

Qualcomm supports cheaper foreign engineers. That undermines the incentive for young students in the US to study science or engineering since H-1B workers will be willing to work for peanuts while US workers will be paying of student loans.

Thanks, Bill Gates.

Remember to ask Fletcher about how he feels about this issue.

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Don Bauder Oct. 1, 2013 @ 9:05 p.m.

Diogenes. That is a valid criticism of H-1b. Because it lowers the salary level of those in science,tech engineering and math, it discourages young Americansfromgoingintothose fields.Best,DonBauder

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mridolf Oct. 1, 2013 @ 10:13 p.m.

As an electrical engineering graduate of SDSU, who was turned down for a job at Qualcomm, for lack of 'experience', I fully endorse and validate this view. I would not encourage any young persons to put in the effort for an engineering degree in the US of A. I'd suggest management, or finance; anything that can't be brought in from India. City Management or Hospital management are lucrative fields, it would seem. Anything but engineering. Waste of effort. Cannon fodder, all of us. The only thing with less of a future is lawyer. Thanks Don.

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Don Bauder Oct. 2, 2013 @ 9:16 a.m.

Mridolf. But people from India have some of the best finance jobs, too. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill Oct. 1, 2013 @ 10:46 p.m.

There is a very good related recent article in IEEE spectrum:

http://spectrum.ieee.org/at-work/education/the-stem-crisis-is-a-myth

The article examines a great deal of data about science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) workforce vs. demand. The conclusion is that there is no crisis - it's been driven by a combination of panic and powerful groups who benefit from an excess of STEM workers.

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Don Bauder Oct. 2, 2013 @ 9:23 a.m.

ImJustABill. Wages have stagnated for American STEM workers partly because of H-1B. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi Oct. 1, 2013 @ 11:17 p.m.

Issa is a traitor, and Sanders is, as he proved for years as mayor, an idiot. Issa is a smart guy, Sanders is a moron.

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Don Bauder Oct. 2, 2013 @ 9:24 a.m.

Ponzi. Both are incredibly greedy. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi Oct. 1, 2013 @ 11:26 p.m.

H-1B will probably grow as corporations love to play domestic labor against foreign labor. I have had a dog in this fight for years. I brought government action in my claim against McDonnell-Douglas (before they became Boeing) and I quit two jobs because of H-1B's. Because they were inferior idiots. The program is a scam, many of the people lie about their skills and academic credentials.

Thankfully, I don't work for corporate America anymore. Making a choice several years ago to return to my entrepreneurial roots. It's no use running from the onslaught of cost cutting measures corporations use in their relentless pursuit of using robots or cheap foreign labor.

H-1B is now just a distraction. Robotics and other technologies are replacing workers at the fastest pace in history.

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Don Bauder Oct. 2, 2013 @ 9:29 a.m.

Ponzi..the purpose of H-1B is to lower the wage level so CEOs. Can rake in even more ridiculous pay. As I recall, young Jacobs at Qualcommmis now raking more than $20 million a year. Best, Don Bauder

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vitalinfo Oct. 1, 2013 @ 11:43 p.m.

The J-1 is another corporate-welfare program that negatively impacts educational (training) and career opportunities for our citizens and the scope is broader and even more expensive to society than the H-1. Whether for public universities or non-profit institutions--our society and taxpayers shell out to pay the salaries of J-1 researchers via federal grant funds, including their visa processing so that many foreigners enjoy US training opportunities that give US taxpayers absolutely no return on their investment and diminishes educational imperatives in our own society. US trainees should be the rule, rather than the "exception" in labs. But step into any laboratory at most institutions and you'll quickly learn that the reverse is true.

Principal Investigators (lab directors, professors) don't recruit or hire with a sense of civic duty or conscience about where all that grant money comes from. Most have no awareness of Title 45 - Public Welfare which they automatically agree to abide by upon acceptance of grant funds (typically in the $100s of thousands and routinely more than 1 grant at a time). http://grants.nih.gov/grants/managing_awards.htm Testing of PIs in this science town on the federal guidelines they agree to abide by upon acceptance of grant awards would be quite revealing, or worthwhile at the very least.

Institutions are focused on appeasing their funded researchers, whose grants come attached with high overhead amounts. It's an expensive trough, costing our society in more ways than one, and on a grand scale nationally. By never questioning the "brilliant", the high and mighty and the prestigious organizations whose walls protect this elite caste---our society's and economy's losses are likely sky-high. Adding insult to injury, the corporate-research partnerships take this veiled, elitist, education & training system to a whole other level for the upper 2% alone as corporate partners receive first-rights on tax-funded discoveries.

Corruption serves itself; society must defend against corruption.

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ImJustABill Oct. 2, 2013 @ 6:33 a.m.

You are absolutely correct.

I think the universities (often in partnership with large corporations who benefit directly from the research) are even worse at exploiting foreign labor than corporations like QCOM.

Grad students and Post-docs are in many ways an extremely low-cost (relative to skill level) labor pool.

In the long run all of the temporary visa programs are helping to train foreign nationals to be experts in industries which the U.S. has leadership positions.

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Don Bauder Oct. 2, 2013 @ 9:32 a.m.

Vital info. Important information. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 2, 2013 @ 9:33 a.m.

ImJustABill. Good points. Best, Don Bauder

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Gene Nelson, Ph.D. Oct. 2, 2013 @ 2:34 p.m.

Don:Good observations in your article. I would substitute the word "pimp" for "pump" in your headline.

This article establishes a pattern of conduct for Qualcomm that matches most large employers The firm’s focus is on maximizing profits for the economic elite – at the expense of middle-class America. We are being pitted against the World’s poor – and losing!

To understand the context of this article, please search by title for the PDF version of the 2012 expose, “How Record Immigration Levels Robbed American High-Tech Workers of $10 Trillion” The references provided in the end notes establish the corporate actions that should be prosecuted under the RICO Statutes.

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Don Bauder Oct. 2, 2013 @ 3:16 p.m.

Gene. Pimp for pump. Not a bad idea. This program is enriching the super rich and holding down wages of talented engineers. Best, Don Bauder

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Psycholizard Oct. 3, 2013 @ 1:32 p.m.

The US should grab the best talent, but this special program is exactly the wrong way to do this. We should offer more regular green cards if we need more engineers. When an engineer returns home on one of these H!B visas they take the essential knowledge for a foreign technology start up with them. Qualcomm wants to give it's foreign competitors the basic tool to drive themselves out of business, the trained team of engineers.

The US should do everything possible to keep engineers here, that includes not cheating them out of wages by weird and shortsighted schemes like H!B.

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ImJustABill Oct. 3, 2013 @ 2:17 p.m.

Yes that's what I see as the big problem with all this. Reduction of American engineering salaries affects engineers like me but might not have a big impact on all Americans. If America loses it's technical leadership that will have a big impact on America as a whole. But that's more than 1 quarter down the road so corporate America doesn't care about it.

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Don Bauder Oct. 3, 2013 @ 3:05 p.m.

ImJustABill: But the American middle class has had stagnant incomes for decades. One reason is our exporting of jobs overseas; another reason is our importing of competing labor through programs like H-1B. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Oct. 3, 2013 @ 3:03 p.m.

Psycholizard: Another good argument against H-1B is that foreigners may take our technology back to their countries. However, most of the H-1Bs are mid-level at best, but admittedly that doesn't mean they can't get their hands on our technology. Best, Don Bauder

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Psycholizard Oct. 3, 2013 @ 6:07 p.m.

The first truth in our founding documents is human equality, and nowhere is that equality more essential than in the workplace, Everyone working in the US must have the same rights, or employers will hire those with less rights for less pay, and the privileged will be employed only as a last resort. Some flexibility is desirable. but the H1B program has degenerated into a scheme to bust salaries.

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Don Bauder Oct. 3, 2013 @ 6:29 p.m.

Psycholizard: Precisely. The H-1B program is a scheme to bust salaries. In the process, it jacks up profits and supposedly justifies outrageous salaries for top executives. (In the 1960s, chief executives made about 75 times what average workers made. Now it's around 300 times.)

The villain is colossal greed at the top of U.S. corporations. People like Issa and Sanders are licking the boots of these greedy top executives. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill Oct. 5, 2013 @ 1:24 p.m.

I think 300/1 is too high. I think we've reached the point where the income gap has gotten too big and we need to tweak the tax code (or do something) to lessen this ratio.

CEOs' incentives lead them to make very short-term decisions and/or manipulate data to look good to Wall Street, at the expense of long term planning.

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