Craig Brennan on Mon, 7 Jul 2003 10:33:04 -0400

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Re: [PLUG] Tech jobs and politics

I think the issues of unemployment and foreign workers in this country has way too many facets to be properly analyzed by my little blurb, but I think if enough people contribute to this subject, we could get at least a pretty good idea of the broad picture.  Let me preface this by saying that while I paint with a pretty broad brush in this opinion, I certainly do not place all workers in the categories mentioned.  That said, my perspective is as follows:
I immediately see two sides:  The foreign worker who is willing to work for less and who views work as a means of survival, and the American worker who expects to work for more and views work as an entitlement.  Do not get me wrong, I expect to be compensated fairly for the skills I possess and the work that I do, but I think some American workers (and lately, I think some unions are the worst example of this), expect to receive mountains of money for things that are just routine parts of their jobs.
I am adjunct faculty (thats Latin for part-time teacher) at a technical school that teaches things like networking, web design, graphic design, etc.  We have students that I refer to as our "thirteenth graders".  These students come in with the warped idea that, upon graduation, they will be a combination of Michelangelo and the 2nd coming of Bill Gates and as such, they should make $85,000 a year and get an office and a secretary.  Then they are shocked when their first IT job is cleaning printers half the day and manning the HelpDesk (badly) for the other half.  I'm sure many of us on this list started in this industry the same way.
Then you have the kid from India (or any other country than here) who taught themselves Perl from a Programming Perl (2nd Edition) that they borrowed from a friend who checked it out of the Bombay public library and practiced on a 286 that they hacked in an internet cafe.  With the amazing skills that this person has, they are overjoyed to be working for $25,000 a year - half of which they send home to help feed their family/bring the rest of the family over to America/etc.  Some how with their meager salary, they scrimp and save to buy themselves nice things as well.  We mock the family that runs the Dunkin Donuts and the convenience stores and drive the cabs, but these people bust their humps every day and achieve great things not because of the $ they make, but how they manage it and what they do with it.  These examples are 2 ends of the extreme, but they do exist in significant numbers.
That sort of thing I don't blame on the government.  I blame that on poor work ethic and having it too good for too long.
What I do blame on the government is STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID STUPID FISCAL POLICY.  I find it fascinating that in only half a term, this idiot President of ours can take the largest budget surplus ever and turn it into the largest deficit we've seen in many years.  Then, in order to fix it, he engages in a pre-emptive war with no plan whatsoever of what to do once it's over.  We then assume 100% of the financial responsibility of rebuilding said nation.  We are now 1 country with the financial responsibility of running 2.  You do not need to be a math major, political science major, or even a total fucking idiot to realize how damaging this can be to an economy.
The recession I do not blame on the government in general and our president in particular.  This recession began at the end of the Clinton administration.  The size of the recession is the current administration's fault.  They have left American companies with no other alternative than laying off workers in massive numbers.  I have seen this with businesses small to large all over my local area.  The company I work for is coming to this crossroads very soon.
Here endeth my rant.  Great topic for discussion.
- Craig

Eugene Smiley <> wrote:
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I know that there are a few people on this list like myself who are looking for work. I wanted to throw the following article up for discussion. I know I may risk offending someone on this list that has an H1-B or similiar, but I'd like to know what people's thoughts are on this subject.

Unemployment Reaches 10-Year High
Push for Guest Worker Program Continues in Spite of Dismal Employment Picture

(Washington, D.C. July 3, 2003) Despite the bleak employment picture, congressional leaders and the White House are moving forward with plans to expand the number of foreign guest workers admitted to fill U.S. jobs. Under pressure from some domestic industries and the Mexican government, serious negotiations continue in an effort to add to the legions of foreign guest workers already working in sectors of the economy ranging from high tech, to manufacturing, to construction, to agriculture. The June unemployment data indicate a gloomy Fourth of July for millions of American workers as joblessness reached 6.4 percent of the workforce, the highest levels since March 1994.

For the fifth straight month, American businesses have trimmed payrolls, bringing the total number of jobs lost to 913,000 since March of this year. ?The most amazing thing is that there is not even a hint of embarrassment on the part of American business or our government that hundreds of thousands of Americans are receiving pink slips, while they work feverishly to bring more foreign workers to this country,? said Dan Stein, executive director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). ?Many sectors of our economy seemingly believe that access to cheap foreign labor is their right. Meanwhile, the politicians who talk about jobs, jobs, jobs seem to be more than willing to trade jobs for campaign dollars.?

In addition to the disingenuousness of pursuing an expanded guest worker program at the same time that unemployment is growing rapidly, FAIR noted that the rush to move more foreign labor into this country potentially threatens national security. ?By their own admission, the new Department of Homeland Security is still feeling its way around as they try to play catch-up on decades of inattention to the connection between immigration and national security,? said Stein. ?On top of dealing with the formidable task already before them, a new guest worker program would require significant time, manpower, and money to vet a new influx of workers from dozens of countries.

?On this Independence Day holiday, it is clear that the priorities of our government are not the ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness expressed by our Founding Fathers, but rather the pursuit of cheap labor and votes,? Stein said.

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