Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Too many low-skilled (illegal immigrant) workers driving down wages? The Republican solution is to bring in more skilled workers to cap wages for the college educated:

Many of us are debating the policies surrounding illegal immigration, and what effect, if any, it has on the low-end job market. Even if it's agreed that illegal immigrants are detrimental to the poor or to the quality of life (greater population density taxing the environment and infrastructure), there is the thorny problem of what to do since millions of them are already here.

That's an issue to follow. But for one Republican, it's not enough. Try to believe the following, from the WSJ opinion section (via PGL of Angry Bear's link to Economist's View):
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to resume its mark-up of Arlen Specter's immigration bill today. And the good news is that it contains long-overdue provisions for hiring more of the foreign professionals who help keep our economy competitive.

Under Mr. Specter's proposal, the annual cap on H-1B guest worker visas for immigrants in specialty fields like science and engineering would rise to 115,000 from 65,000. Moreover, the new cap would not be fixed but would fluctuate automatically in response to demand for these visas. ...

Anti-immigration groups and protectionists want to dismiss these market forces, arguing that U.S. employers seek foreign nationals only because they'll work for less money. But it's illegal to pay these high-skill immigrants less than the prevailing wage. ...
That's right. The Wall Street Journal editorial page is in favor of nearly doubling the H-1B visa count. All in the best interests of workers, you know.

  • "keep our economy competitive" = keep wages down
  • "illegal to pay less than the prevailing wage" = not engage in bidding up the salaries of high-skilled workers
NOTE: PGL and others over at Angry Bear take the opposite position from this blog regarding illegal immigrants. We have no differences on most economic issues with those commentators, but in this case, respectfully disagree.


The H1B visa cap was up at 180,000 a few years ago (related to the .com boom).

But really it's a choice. You can choose to invite those smart foreign engineers to work in the US for prevailing wages, or you can choose to keep them out and have them working for US companies in India and China for 50c/hour.

By Anonymous Jack Awl, at 3/28/2006 2:01 PM  

Or you can choose to have them working for US companies in India and China, and then tax the hell out of the imported product in order to preserve the existing economy in the U.S.

By Blogger Quiddity, at 3/28/2006 6:15 PM  

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