No Tech Worker Shortage, No STEM Crisis

By: Tuesday November 25, 2014 10:25 am

One of the constant refrains of the economic elite is that the reason America is so unequal is because of a so-called skills gap and that, conveniently, there is a “STEM crisis” and severe tech worker shortage which when addressed will help even the economy out.


The Myth Of A ‘Skills Gap’ And Our Phony ‘Education Crisis’

By: Monday March 31, 2014 11:33 am

Ask a neoliberal why trickle down economics is not working in America and there are a few standard excuses offered. The excuses range from the fringier “inner city people are lazy” to the boilerplate “government is distorting markets” to the more establishment friendly “it’s a lack of education.” Let’s put racial dog whistles and reactionary ideology aside for a second and focus on the last excuse, education.

Come Saturday Morning: US Tech’s Ageism and the Myth of the “Tech Worker Shortage”

By: Saturday March 29, 2014 6:45 am

As a sixtysomething tech worker once told me, tech companies want a 20-10-10: A twenty-year-old with ten years experience who’ll work for $10 an hour. Since those sort of workers are rather thin on the ground, Silicon Valley resorts to massive abuse of H-1B visas — that is, when they aren’t busy setting up factories in Bangalore or Chengdu.

Admitting the Skills Gap Is a Myth

By: Thursday September 5, 2013 5:00 pm

I start from the assumption that reasonable investments in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) can contribute to good STEM jobs as well as good jobs and good quality of life throughout the country.  The path is not perfect, but “making stuff” from growing food to improving hospital gurneys is a pillar of our economy and our society.  “Making stuff” is a better enterprise for society than pushing paper through creative banking.

Sequestration and Science

By: Thursday August 15, 2013 4:45 am

US Senator Amy Klobuchar held a hearing on long-term unemployment after she introduced a tsunami of H-1B visas for high tech jobs which strongly promotes age discrimination and increases job competition in an already difficult market for scientists.  US Senator Tammy Baldwin is their close colleague in all these decisions.  H-1B visas are their gift to the science community to hold down wages for junior scientists which were never very high.  Holding down wages makes it easier to continue science with little money, but it really doesn’t encourage anyone to pursue a career.

Austerity for STEM Jobs

By: Friday April 26, 2013 3:23 pm

National austerity economics is rightly criticized now for relying on the shoddy analyses in the Reinhart-Rogoff paper. The claimed skill shortage and pressure for more H-1B visas is even worse because it is not even based on a published paper. News reporters confidently parrot that importing more high skill workers is important to building the US economy. The topic is graduates of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Who is really the “best and the brightest”? Do employers seek skills they cannot find locally or are the employers just looking for cheaper labor that is easier to exploit? Professor Norm Matloff at the University of California-Davis writes “No study, other than those sponsored by the industry, has ever shown a shortage.”

Thomas Friedman Says That Our Economy Is Being Killed by Employers Who Can’t Do Arithmetic

By: Sunday November 18, 2012 6:00 pm

The evidence presented in Thomas Friedman’s column today would lead readers to believe that the economy’s biggest problem is that companies are being run by executives who are so ignorant of economics that they don’t know that the way to attract more workers is to raise wages. The column begins with the story of Traci Tapini, who with her sister is co-president of Wyoming Machine. For some reason Friedman assures us Tapini “is not your usual C.E.O.”

Senate Democrats Will Make Public Effort on Immigration in 2013

By: Thursday November 8, 2012 12:20 pm

Given the changing demographics of the country and the prominence of what you could frankly call identity politics in this week’s election, it would be political malpractice for Democrats not to press their advantage and work to build their support among the Latino community. It’s not just that comprehensive immigration reform would foster goodwill among Hispanics, it’s that at the most crass level, it would smooth the flow of millions more Democrat-friendly, non-white potential voters into the country legally. That’s true of not just the Hispanic community but the Asian community, which is actually growing faster and which swung 72% for Obama.

Senate Democrats have signaled that they will make this a top priority in 2013.

Congress in Action: Republicans Set Up Immigration Bill to Fail, Point Fingers at Democrats

By: Friday September 21, 2012 3:20 pm

Here’s an update on that Republican effort to increase STEM graduate visas to foreign students at US colleges and universities. It was actually even more cynical than I thought. I knew that Republicans wrote the bill to take away one immigration visa from the Diversity Visa Program for every visa it added for STEM graduates (graduates in science, technology, engineering and math). I didn’t know that they put the bill on the suspension calendar. That means it required a two-thirds vote for passage. Democrats don’t support a zero-sum game on immigration visas, they just want more STEM graduate visas issued. So Democrats voted against the bill in large numbers, and instead of this just being opposition on passage, it killed the bill.

Republican Increase in Visas to Foreign Graduates at US Schools Comes With Reduction in Other Legal Immigration Programs

By: Thursday September 20, 2012 1:20 pm

In one of their last acts before going home to campaign, House Republicans will pass a bill today that would increase the level of high-skill immigrants allowed to stay in the country. It would expand by 55,000 the visas granted to foreign graduates of US colleges and universities in what are known as the STEM disciplines: science, technology, engineering and math. This fits with a key part of Mitt Romney’s immigration agenda, which he expressed in a roundtable on Univision last night. He said that any diploma to a foreign student for a high-skill field like this “should come with a green card.”

However, the Republican bill, authored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, would not create one new net immigration visa.

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