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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Alan Greenspan, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein see eye to eye on screwing IT workers:

Ezra Klein: (emp add)
I, FOR ONE, WILL WELCOME OUR HIGH-TECH IMMIGRANT OVERLORDS.

Apparently, without many folks noticing, Nancy Pelosi switched the chairmanship of the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law from Texas's Sheila Jackson-Lee to California's Zoe Lofgren. The importance of the move is geographic: Lofgren is a Silicon Valley Democrat, and thus exquisitely attuned to the tech industry's desire for more work visas for highly skilled immigrants.
Matthey Yglesias: (emp add)
High-Skill Immigrants

I sort of agree with this Investor's Business Daily editorial calling for more H-1B visa slots. I actually, however, agree much more with the logic than with the specific conclusion, since the H-1B program has some problems. The issue, at the end of the day, is that the United States should be allowing many, many, many more high-skill immigrants to enter the country. Such immigration has all the benefits of our current high levels of low-skill immigration (good for overall economic growth, good for the immigrants, etc.) but absolutely none of the costs in terms of increased inequality.

Indeed, quite the reverse -- high-skill immigration would make America more egalitarian. Doctors, nurses, lawyers, engineers, accounts, political pundits, professors, etc., we should be encouraging these people to come to our shores.
Alan Greenspan: (emp add)
Greenspan did put forward a proposal on how to reduce the growing inequality of incomes in the United States — admit more skilled immigrants into the country.

The former Fed chief said that increasing the number of immigrants with sought-after skills would increase the labor supply of these workers in the United States and hold down the wage gains of all workers with these skills.

In that way, Greenspan said, the gap between skilled and unskilled workers would be lowered. He said it was critical to find ways to address growing income inequality in the United States.
The gap between skilled and unskilled workers would be lowered. And holding down wage gains means more profits for the owners of capital. Everybody's a winner.

MORE: What if every worker became a serf? Then there would be no income gap within a huge swath of the population. Alan, Ezra, and Matthew would be most pleased.



3 comments

In that way, Greenspan said, the gap between skilled and unskilled workers would be lowered. He said it was critical to find ways to address growing income inequality in the United States.

Now there's no more oak oppression
For they passed a noble law
And the trees are all kept equal
By hatchet, axe and saw

By Anonymous e. nonee moose, at 3/16/2007 11:37 AM  

I disagree, I think that it's better for the American economy to have high-tech jobs here in America, rather than shipping the work to "low-cost-countries", which is what's being done when a company can't find someone.

By Anonymous American Citizen, at 3/17/2007 6:32 AM  

I'm an engineer and entrepreneur. If I can't hire people with the right skills, I can't provide a return to my investors. Since capital is hella portable, it will go elsewhere. E.g., an increasingly common model is sales/marketing office in the US, with the development office offshore.

I simply can't find enough people with the right skills without tapping into the H1B pool. Seriously. That's despite compensation that includes 6 digit salaries, full benefits and incentive stock options.

Since some of my key competitors are European, cutting back on H1Bs would have the effect of helping the European high tech economy at the expense of the US high tech economy. Unless, as an alternative, we offshore the work to India, and boost that economy.

One last point ... the demographics of Silicon Valley have changed dramatically in the last 25 years. The new folks, many of south and east Asian origin, are what? Americans. The US is enriched by their presence.

By Anonymous mark, at 3/19/2007 1:30 AM  

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