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Bill Gates's Wish Is Homeland Security's Command 374

Posted by kdawson
from the one-way-or-another dept.
theodp writes "PC World reports that DHS has extended the time foreign graduates of US colleges can stay in the country and work to almost two-and-a-half years, an 'emergency' change that drew kudos from Microsoft and other H-1B visa stakeholders. Looks like when Bill Gates says 'Jump,' the government asks 'How high?' Bill Gates's Congressional Testimony, March 12, 2008: 'Extending OPT from 12 to 29 months would help to alleviate the crisis employers are facing due to the current H-1B visa shortage. This only requires action by the Executive Branch, and Congress and this Committee should strongly urge the Department of Homeland Security to take such action immediately.' DHS Press Release, April 4, 2008: 'The US Department of Homeland Security released today an interim final rule extending the period of Optional Practical Training (OPT) from 12 to 29 months for qualified F-1 non-immigrant students.'"
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Bill Gates's Wish Is Homeland Security's Command

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12, 2008 @08:43PM (#23050392)
    Yep, now they can cut pay throughout the industry citing increased competition for jobs. Why should they pay you a 6 digit number when they can pay someone else a mere 5 digits.

    Acute shortage my ass.

  • by TheKingAdrock (834418) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @08:44PM (#23050404)
    Bill Gates has been testifying for years, yet little has been done to increase H1-B limits. It's hardly as if anyone is acting under his control...
  • by Metasquares (555685) <`slashdot' `at' `metasquared.com'> on Saturday April 12, 2008 @08:47PM (#23050418) Homepage
    They can always work here for a while, then head back home and live very well on what we would consider low pay. Not saying they would; it's just an option that domestic graduates do not have.

    Of course, inflation is making this sort of thing more and more difficult.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12, 2008 @08:49PM (#23050438)
    Or maybe, instead of "Looks like when Bill Gates says 'Jump,' the government asks 'How high?'", it's actually "When Bill Gates identifies a real problem, the government actually considers it."

    Yes, they have access to government. No, there is no magic.
  • Re:Yay, Flamebait! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by epee1221 (873140) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @08:49PM (#23050440)
    Yeah, singling out Microsoft seems a bit out of line. How about a list of other companies who supported/opposed this?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12, 2008 @08:51PM (#23050452)
    If the US government does something that somebody had publicly recommended, that does not mean that the government is controlled by that person.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12, 2008 @08:53PM (#23050462)
    This what Microsoft has done for this country. Their software runs alot of the country, their stock is probably is many people's 401Ks. By the way, Bill Gates sometimes knows WHAT HE IS TALKING ABOUT. Also, this may be good for the country's economy. At least some people are trying to make concrete recommendations about how to improve the economy rather than just complain about it.

    -David Tarlow, M.D.

    dtarlow@aol.com
  • by metlin (258108) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @08:57PM (#23050478) Journal
    Wow, if you read all the articles linked, you'd know that it was not just Bill Gates, but others as well who testified on this subject. Secondly, a lot of companies support this, Google included. Finally, people from both parties support this.

    The majority of the people who are on OPT are folks who're in the US to go to graduate school. Rather than send them back, they are trying to extend the amount of time that they can stay in the country. How is this a bad thing?

    If anything, the number of native US candidates going to graduate school is much lesser than the number of foreign nationals coming to the US for graduate school. How is trying to retain folks who get advanced degrees a bad thing in any way?

    Finally, a lot of people with graduate degrees (i.e. majority of folks on OPT) are by no means cheap - so, the old excuse that they are being exploited etc. does not quite work here.

    Enough of the bullshit, already. A lot of folks petitioned about extending the OPT status for international students who go to graduate school in the US, and have to return because of visa policies (the H1B cap was met within a few hours last year). So, the government considered what the companies wanted and agreed to do this.
  • by srobert (4099) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @08:58PM (#23050486)
    What's worse is that the 5 digits includes the cents.
    American Nerds should rise up and revolt.
    Have Fun Storming the Castle.
  • by smolloy (1250188) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @09:01PM (#23050504)
    Ridiculous headline. As a H1B myself, it's great to see someone trying to improve the system, even if it is archetypal /. enemy, Bill Gates. Now we need someone to work on the crazy rule that requires me to return home to renew my visa.

    Why can't I do it from here? It's not for security reasons (I'm easier to investigate while in the US, not whilst abroad) and it's not for economic reasons (surely they'd rather I was working, instead of taking weeks off to go home and wait for a new visa), so why is it?

  • Re:Oh FUCK (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12, 2008 @09:04PM (#23050520)
    Not all of them but there does seem to be an extraordinarily large group that are pretty bad.

    I think this is because most of them are doing programming just to make a buck. They are kind of like the McDonalds employees of the software world. They were given jobs after watching a video tape(*) and don't really want to be doing software development. They lack skill and any motivation other than money.

    * Yes, I know they go through school and supposedly have decent curriculums but that isn't enough to make of for the lack of talent.
  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Saturday April 12, 2008 @09:05PM (#23050526)
    Seriously, when?

    We're always hearing the employers claim that there's less H1-B Visas than jobs they want filled... how about letting supply and demand of the American workforce take over giving pay raises to nearly all of us IT workers.
  • by Dada Vinci (1222822) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @09:07PM (#23050536)
    They're going to do the same programming and science work, whether they are here or in India/Romania/Singapore/etc. We can get them to pay US taxes and buy other goods and services in the US, or we can just ship our money overseas and let other countries take a lead in high-tech. Smart students exist overseas; the question is whether we can get them to come here and benefit us, or let them work elsewhere and allow the US to decline.
  • Re:Oh FUCK (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wordplay (54438) <geo@snarksoft.com> on Saturday April 12, 2008 @09:11PM (#23050556)
    That's completely unreasonable. I've worked with many excellent Indian programmers. The ones who've been H1B and working here in the US have shown the same range of skill as US-native employees.

    This implies it's a factor of the company's hiring processes, not anything to do with their national or educational origin.

    Outsource teams have their own common issues, but they have a lot more to do with the distance and management issues than with ethnicity or culture.
  • Re:Oh FUCK (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @09:19PM (#23050602) Homepage Journal
    "Not all of them but there does seem to be an extraordinarily large group that are pretty bad.

    I think this is because most of them are doing programming just to make a buck. They are kind of like the McDonalds employees of the software world. They were given jobs after watching a video tape(*) and don't really want to be doing software development. They lack skill and any motivation other than money."

    I dunno if it is that. After working with a number of Indian programmers, I think many of the complaints against them and skills....are due to culture. It is so different than in the US with the caste system, etc.

    I've found in my experience, that many of the ones I've worked with, are quite good if it is rote, repeatable, coding with very clear and concise requirements.

    However, the areas I've seen that were lacking, were when the job required invention, finding a new way to do something that might have very vague requirements at best. I can only guess this is how it is taught over there, and with the culture, you don't question authority, but, obey it quietly. I guess that over there, they learn to work based only on what is given them, and not to think as independently as we are over here, to look for a new way to do things, etc.

    Of course, this is based only on my observations from work experience.

    I think the larger question is...why when we in the US have PLENTY of citizens that are capable of doing these jobs are we still having our politicians listening to corps that want nothing more than to lower the wages these jobs are worth....or ship them overseas. This economy is hurting...and crap like this, driving down wages to citizens (or pulling jobs from them) and giving them to foreigners that are just sending the money home is not helping matters.

    Pretty soon, the only jobs left here will be service jobs that involve a name tag and asking if "you want fries with that". Trouble is, if noone can make money, who is gonna be left to buy those fries?

  • by Dachannien (617929) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @09:29PM (#23050672)
    The reason that Social Security is forecast to go belly-up is because of the huge difference between the number of expected retirees (due to the baby boom) and the number of people expected to be earning a good wage in their younger years. The only fix for this that won't cost each individual taxpayer a crapload of money is to have more taxpayers.

    This is enough of a problem that immigration policy should, first and foremost, be about balancing out the population curve so that the burden per taxpayer involved in fixing Social Security is manageable (hopefully permanently, by injecting enough money so that today's taxpayers are paying for their own retirement, not that of their grandparents). The best way to do this is to expand visas for highly-skilled laborers who will earn a good wage, such as H-1B. Furthermore, it's in our best interest to convince these workers to remain in the country permanently and become citizens, rather than taking their expertise back to their countries of origin.

  • Re:Oh FUCK (Score:4, Insightful)

    by junglee_iitk (651040) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @09:47PM (#23050774)
    Every time there is a story about India, all comments are about call centers (yeah! I know they suck!), or Cows. Still, I have never read so much crap on Slashdot before.

    As an Indian, I have never, never, found caste being a problem, except when you want to marry a girl - and when a guy wants to bail out of some situation and invokes this card. Your hyperbole about "authority" and "cultural difference" is nothing but rotting xenophobia. That, or you are just pain trolling.

    GP was dead on point when it stated that most Indians are taught programming in the companies - they completely lack any interest in over the top performance - they know they are cheap workers, and they know their job is laborious. So much for the motivation.

    I guess that over there, they learn to work based only on what is given them, and not to think as independently as we are over here, to look for a new way to do things, etc.
    O RLY? So you don't know anything about "over there" and want to make sweeping uninformed statements... I wonder why you are not preferred.

    Of course, this is based only on my observations from work experience.
    I doubt GP had taken India culture as a course, or spent years in India. What you understand from what you see is a product of your mind. Until the Indians have personally told you how they are not taught to innovate(?), it is xenophobia - a complete lack of interest in people who are taking your jobs.
  • by KPU (118762) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @09:47PM (#23050780) Homepage
    Your link is a single snapshot in time which does not say anything to your claim regarding "rising wages." Further, I fail to see how rising wages would imply that H1-B has little effect on wages.
  • by hxdmp (448441) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @10:04PM (#23050868)
    Hear, Hear! I don't think 90% of the /. repliers here actually read the details to have a clue on this. This applies to international students who obtained a Masters Degree (typically in Computer Science) at a U.S. University. Geez, what's the Masters Degree percentage of /. readers I wonder.... low, so they don't have a clue that an international student has to be decent to graduate. Universities don't lower their exam and degree requirements for international students.

    We need these folks to stay in the U.S. rather than take their talents and U.S. taught skills overseas to complete with those of us in the U.S.

    As far as international students taking jobs away from U.S. citizens that is just hog wash! (at least for Computer Science and EE) In the Silicon Valley it is very hard to find talented OS programmers right now. The job demand is there and not enough U.S. citizens can be found.

    [Able to hack a BSD kernel and looking for a Silicon Valley job? My company is hiring. Search the job boards - you'll find it]
  • by ToasterTester (95180) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @10:04PM (#23050870)
    As some who has been in the computer industry over twenty years there was never need for the H1 visa program. The tech industry wanted to lower wages and H1 visas gave them people willing to work for less to gain entry into the country. Over the years every time you'd hear about the need for move H1 worker my friends and I could look around and see lots of Americans looking for work that were more than qualified for the jobs, just they want the current going wage. No different than the way the current administration wants open border just for cheap labor. The illegals are taking job American used to do, but corporate America wanted to increase profit margins. Perfect example of putting profits before people.

    I remember back in the early 90's the software industry started mumbling they thought programming was a trade not a profession every since then wages have declined and jobs have moved overseas. The only winners are the executives paying themselves more and more.
  • by $criptah (467422) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @10:16PM (#23050960) Homepage
    Hey dude,

    I don't know what wrong with you. I am not a doctor, but if you have good grades and you're from a good school, you should have no issues finding a job. Please notice how I say "any job."

    I went to a public school and my grades were not fantastic. I got a job. My friends who went to public schools and earned decent grades got jobs too. My friends who went to good schools and got excellent grades found decent places of employment as well. And all of this was right after 9/11 and the economic downturn that caused many job losses.

    You say that you're an excellent coder and I do not want to doubt those skills. However, you have to remember that today's economy is not really looking for people who are good at banging out C code. Have you ever thought of repositioning yourself as somebody who can solve problems? What about being just an IT guy with an open mind? Have you ever thought of looking for non-coding jobs in the fields of consulting, system engineering or network administration? I have many friends in those areas of IT and let me tell you, they started at more than 50K a year.

    Don't give up though.

  • Let Everyone in! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rcallan (1256716) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @10:17PM (#23050972)
    Honestly, why not, what does the US have to lose? As long as they can verify that the applicants actually have skills that are in high demand, and that these companies are willing to commit to employing them for a long period of time (say 5 years), why not let them immigrate here? What does the US have to lose?

    I'm an american "worker" and I think my job would probably be one of the first filled under such a policy. I think it would be much better to fire me and fill my job with someone who is willing to work for less (if that's really the optimal thing to do), so that I can learn some new skills and work in an area where my skills are valued more highly.

    I would much rather know that my employer values my work that little that I can be replaced that "easily" (I mean no disrespect to the immigrants that would fill the job), than work for years ignorant of the fact that there's a 1000 people out there that could do my job just as well as I can, and the only reason I have the job is because I was born here.

    I think there's no question that arbitrarily holding the system out of equilibrium is a bad thing (as much as I dislike agreeing with Mr. Gates), but the real question is why do all these intelligent people want to live and work here? I thought the rest of the world passionately hated the US?

    Isn't this a contradiction that this many intelligent people want to immigrate here, while at the same time they hate our policy and government? By saying you want to live and work here aren't you admitting that living and working conditions (which one could argue are a result of our policy and government) are better in our country than they are in whatever country you came from? Again, I mean no disrespect and I'm certainly no fan of the current administration, I am just ignorant of the motivations for wanting to live and work in the US.

  • Re:Why, DHS? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hibiki_r (649814) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @10:20PM (#23050990)
    The students would rather have an easier path to green cards, and eventually citizenship, but it's not the most popular idea among most Americans.

    We all know that most people's problem with illegal immigration and H1-Bs has nothing to do with the illegals being illegal or the H1-Bs lowering wages: It's plain old racism. Increasing the green card quotas would just bring more people with strange accents into the country, and that's not something that middle america wants.

    I for one find it ridiculous, but I see the racism every day.
  • Re:Oh FUCK (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cayenne8 (626475) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @10:22PM (#23051012) Homepage Journal
    "I doubt GP had taken India culture as a course, or spent years in India. What you understand from what you see is a product of your mind. Until the Indians have personally told you how they are not taught to innovate(?), it is xenophobia - a complete lack of interest in people who are taking your jobs."

    The GP's allude to how bad Indian programmers are perceived in the US. I was merely stating my observations from working with them in the business over several years. No, I don't know much about Indian culture, never been there, never had much need to learn it, but, from what little I do know or have read about, that was what I was basing my guess on as to the reasons behind my observations.

    Just because you observe something, and it happens to be another race, culture or whatever, doesn't make you racist or xenophobic. I hate to think stating what you have experience with others, even if it is negative is the latest thing in the new 'PC' world that you can no longer state or discuss.

    Sorry if what I and others have observed working with Indians, but, I cannot believe that all of us are making it up independantly. There must be some truth to it for these things to be stated so prevalently....sorry, but grow some thicker skin. If it doesn't apply to you, then don't worry about it.

  • by srobert (4099) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @10:23PM (#23051016)
    So somewhere on the BLS webpage you see evidence that "real" wages are rising? 'Cause I don't see it in the real world. Did you adjust those figures for inflation?
    In the 50's and 60's American dads put in 40 hours a week in a factory with just a high school diploma and families lived pretty well. Moms stayed home with the kids. Now with college degrees, Moms and Dads put in 80-Plus, and can't even achieve the same living standards they had as children. (Or worse, they are another generation removed, and have no recollection of better times.) The median American wage earner has been losing ground for decades. More immigrant labor (legal and illegal) and "free trade" agreements are the threats used by the have-mores to get the have-nots to produce more and expect less.
    Question: The 40-hour work week became a standard in the early 20th century. With all of the improvements in productivity that have come about since then, why are we not now on a standard 32-hour workweek? We should have been there 20 years ago. The answer is in the failure of economics professors to teach students to think critically about supply-side economic theories.
    I'm not whining (or "whinging"). I'm pointing out that we are being skillfully played against one another and our lives could be better if we get smart enough to recognize it.
    Oh, and by the way here's the proof you asked for:
    http://www.usw.org/usw/program/content/3060.php [usw.org]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12, 2008 @10:27PM (#23051042)
    Seems to me that students who have come a great distance to study at higher-end schools (I have no idea about Georgia Tech's stature) are a) often the cream of the crop, there on great scholarship offers b) are less reluctant to move, if need be, since they've already left their roots behind them and c) Can't so readily seize upon the 'damn foreigners stealing our jobs' excuse factory and push themselves to excel rather blaming other people for their own lack of drive or bad attitude.
  • Re:Oh FUCK (Score:4, Insightful)

    by carlzum (832868) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @10:40PM (#23051128)
    Don't believe these types of posts represent the attitudes of most slashdot readers. I suspect most of us have Indian friends and co-workers we respect professionally. I read posts like "they write inferior code" or "they aren't innovative", think the poster is a jerk, and move on. Unfortunately the few people who agree with the poster feel compelled to reply with "that's true, it's because of their [culture|genetic makeup|political system]". Anyone that's worked in the software industry long enough knows from personal experience it's BS.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12, 2008 @10:45PM (#23051174)
    I dare say that is because there is a large majority of foreign national students that pay significantly less than their domestic counterparts for that graduate school education. It's quite well-known that foreign nationals can get free rides to top schools (via government grants they don't have to repay) here while domestic students struggle just to get financial aid that might cover 1/3rd of the total cost. Basically, our tax dollars subsidize their education, living expenses, etc and then they compete for our jobs against our own students who are now so far in debt that it takes them years to dig themselves out. Oh, and then they can just skip on back to their native countries, and open companies that directly compete with our own.

    To your point about them not being cheap: That's because they are allowed to take salary, and can be covered by the same benefit packages, etc that their domestic counterparts fall under, yet their living expenses are sometimes totally covered by government handouts.

    They then wonder why domestic students don't bother with the more expensive routes of getting a Master's/Doctorate in engineering or other high-tech disciplines. It's laughable. They created the mess with outsourcing domestic jobs and importing cheap students/labor. Thank our wonderful government officials and corporate overlords for the fine kettle of fish we find ourselves in.

    By the way, our educational system takes some of the blame for this as well. When you have people that think things like "New Math", "No Child Left Behind", "Ebonics" and allowing calculators for basic math (on tests at that), are all good ideas, then you know we have some real rotten apples in the barrel someplace. Education should not be a social experiment or cater to the lowest common denominator.

    When was the last time you've actually read about any student becoming a "Renaissance Man"? We're sorely lacking something in this day and age when our best and brightest spend more time on YouTube or MySpace than learning multiple languages (verbal or otherwise), music, art, etc. It's sad that you can show a student a chess board or maybe a painting by Renoir, and they have no idea what hell it is. Show them a slide-rule, and get blank stares.

    It almost seems like students nowadays are being bred for failure or to work menial jobs from the get-go. A sad state of affairs - one witnessed by the popularity of shows like "American Idol", "Dancing with the Stars" and "Survivor". People are trained to the idiot box.

    Your point about it being a bad thing for them staying: No it would not be a bad thing, and in fact, I'd rather they be required to stay for a period of at least 10 years, along with the repayment of any grant monies received.

    (Disclaimer: I work in a grocery store and at a warehouse for Dad's Pet Foods, not because I choose to, but because I live in the middle of a national forest and have a wife and child to support. The local library is still using Pentium II computers running Windows 95 and tech jobs that don't involve plastics/tire/electrical parts manufacturing are right out. So yes, I happen to work what most might consider "menial jobs". She's a special education teacher. I sacrificed a state government IT job so she could further her career. Yes, I love my wife that much.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12, 2008 @10:58PM (#23051254)
    This is typical bullshit spewed off by people who never had to recruit people for tech jobs. Ask a recruiter sometime how much money they make for each successful connection they make between a qualified tech candidate and the company that'll hire them (hint, it's a far larger amount then you'd think). Then ask yourself why companies are willing to pay so much for that connection... along with high tech salaries and all the immigration processing expenses that come along with H1-B's etc (which often includes applying for their greencards) which also implies hiring specially trained employees for HR who need to handle the immigration crap.
    It's almost *always* more expensive and more hassle to hire an H1-B than a native citizen or permanent resident. But companies still go to all this trouble just to spite your sorry ass ?? Think about it.
  • Re:Oh FUCK (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross AT yahoo DOT ca> on Saturday April 12, 2008 @11:05PM (#23051284)
    Let's see... American's are loud mouths who want nothing more to do than make war with other countries.

    As you said...

    >Just because you observe something, and it happens to be another race, culture or whatever, doesn't make you racist or xenophobic.

    And you said...

    > Sorry if what I and others have observed working with [Americans], but, I cannot believe that all of us are making it up independantly. There must be some truth to it for these things to be stated so prevalently....sorry, but grow some thicker skin. If it doesn't apply to you, then don't worry about it.

    BTW I live in Switzerland and I have met Americans like this, and thus they must like this, no?

    Putting this into a REAL context. I have lived in North America (Canada, and the US) and Europe and did work in India. The reality is that you have idiots everywhere, and you have smart folks everywhere.

    The problem with your comments is that they are not PC based, but slander. Many folks confuse slander with PC, but they are two separate things. PC is to use the term person instead of man.

    Slander is when you make comments like the following:

    "I think many of the complaints against them and skills....are due to culture. It is so different than in the US with the caste system, etc"

    You freely admit:

    "No, I don't know much about Indian culture, never been there, never had much need to learn it, but, from what little I do know or have read about, that was what I was basing my guess on as to the reasons behind my observations"

    In other words you are talking out of your butt, which by legal terms is called SLANDER!
  • Re:Oh FUCK (Score:1, Insightful)

    by carlzum (832868) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @11:09PM (#23051310)
    I've had problems with H1B workers, but I've also had problems with US workers. I know there are companies that exploit the HB1 system, but I don't believe a person's ethnicity is related to their ability to innovate or write good code. Statements that suggest there is a relationship is what I believe most people disagree with.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 12, 2008 @11:15PM (#23051356)
    I have a PHD in EE from one of the top 10 engineering school. And now I am a postdoc who earns $40K because I cannot find any job. Hope this makes you feel better (also remember that I have spent many more years in school on petty pay).
  • by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross AT yahoo DOT ca> on Saturday April 12, 2008 @11:23PM (#23051398)
    This is political populism...

    Were the 50's and 60's better? Racism, male chauvinist oinks, and the boys club mentality... Add on the lack of being able to fly easily, travel easily, or have any luxuries.

    You know you can live like the 50's and 60's. I am serious here. Get rid of your cable subscription, your cell phone subscription, have a single car, and everything that you did not have in the 50's and 60's. And you can live quite well.

    The problem we have is that you have all of these additional costs because you want them. For example one of the things I have done away with is a cellular phone subscription. Here in Europe people look quite strange at me. I just say, "hey I hardly use it and it saves me quite a bit of money."

    The problem is not immigration. Look at the following website.

    http://www.fairus.org/site/PageServer?pagename=research_research05b5 [fairus.org]

    The immigration levels at the time you talk so fondly of were per-capita higher than now.

    The real problem is that due to globalization the West has to realize it is overpaid. The developing countries are just as smart and just as able, but paid less because they can be.

    Heck, I have had to take a massive pay cut so that I can compete in the market place. But I take in stride as I have to.

  • Re:Oh FUCK (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Torvaun (1040898) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @11:43PM (#23051488)

    Many folks confuse slander with PC,
    Many more folks confuse slander with libel.
  • by srobert (4099) on Saturday April 12, 2008 @11:50PM (#23051522)
    "Did you see HOW those people lived back then?"

    Yes. I saw it first hand.
    Did you?

    "Because, if you worked 32 hours, I would still work 40, so I could get a raise. If you work 40, I'll work 48, because I want my son to have more. This is America, competition matters, and if you want to have more, work more."

    And if you work 48, I'll work 56 etc. And someone will have more as a result of it. But I doubt if it will ultimately be either of us. Where in this endless competition to work more do our lives actually improve? It won't until we choose cooperation over competition.

  • Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sentientbrendan (316150) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @12:13AM (#23051614)
    I'm glad that more foreign workers will be coming to the US.

    Personally, had no trouble finding a good paying job coming out of college, so I can't say I see foreign workers "stealing" American programmers jobs. I've worked with many H1-B's and the like, but I've never felt like they were unskilled people here taking my job for less money. Instead, companies tend to use their *very* limited supply of H1-B's to poach the top talent from the foreign workforce, and it has generally been a joy to work with these people.

    People have this knee jerk reaction that "them foreigners is taking our jobs." However, this is stupid when you are talking about high tech work.

    First of all, this isn't the steel industry or the construction industry. There aren't a finite number of jobs to go around in high tech. What we see is that in practice, when there are more workers than there are secure jobs in big companies, people create their own startups in new markets that the big companies are too conservative to explore, thus creating more jobs and opening up more markets.

    For all practical purposes, there are infinite jobs in the high tech industry, because it has this property of increasing the industry in size in response to excess talent.

    The other reason it makes no sense to criticize allowing more foreign workers into the country is that this is part of a larger highly successful strategy that the US has always carried out where we brain drain other countries in order to keep them from competing from us technologically.

    It isn't that there aren't any smart people India who couldn't start their own software company. It's that all of those guys get hired by *American* companies, and end up contributing to the *American* software industry instead of the native Indian one.

    Bringing the top foreign talent here, means that we have the first pick at top people that the entire *world* has to offer working for American companies, whereas everyone else has to settle for leftovers.

    If anything, the criticism that I level against the H1-B program and other temporary work pograms, is that they are temporary. We should be recruiting top foreign workers for *immigration*. Highly educated people are a *boon* to our national economy, not a drag.

    Remember, that the national economy is the big picture that the government always has to keep in sight. A rising tide raises all boats, and we can't sacrifice the common welfare because of completely unsubstantiated fears that American born programmers can't get jobs.

  • Re:Oh FUCK (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2008 @12:31AM (#23051704)
    Isn't that how the whole America was formed?

    No, no! I am not talking about ethnically British people. I am talking about vast amount of immigration of Jews, Germans, East-Europeans - something that has been continuously happening at least after WW2.

    The reality is that immigration has never been a problem to US until now, when the economy is drowning. Of course we need to find an scapegoat.
  • Yes. I saw it first hand. Did you?
    No, but my parents did. And when they talk about their past, all they talk about is, how poor they were then. In fact, all -everyone- I know who lived in that era talks about is, how poor they were then. Yeah, my wife's grandmother and my grandmothers all complain about the price of food, but even my grandmother noted that it wasn't until recently (like the last 30 years), that she even had meat whenever she wanted it.

    Where in this endless competition to work more do our lives actually improve? It won't until we choose cooperation over competition.

    You worry too much about what other people have and not nearly enough about your own happiness. You can't go through your life measuring yourself by the yardstick of other's possessions. You need to make peace with yourself, because, until you do, you are just dragging everyone else around you into your inner wars.

    Seriously. At the end of the day, for all of its talk about brotherhood, there is no one more obsessed with what someone else has than a liberal.

    You can work less now, if you want, if you are willing to have less. You can choose to spend your time any way you want. It is your life. If you want to be happy, be happy, go ahead... but don't get bitter because your choice to work less has you clipping coupons every now and then or that maybe you can't be as up in the pecking order of euro-styled sports sedans.
  • Re:Oh FUCK (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dbIII (701233) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @02:12AM (#23052168)
    Historicly immigration has been a very major force in technical industry in the USA. People come from all over the world to work on large projects or meet in Silicon Vally to deliver the next big thing. US universities are full of the best and brightest from all over the world. Even if you did fix the appallingly poor levels of high school education to make that comparably to anywhere else it would still not match the benefit of the large numbers od skilled and educated people from all over the world coming into the univerisities or taking their ideas to where the money is. Perhaps it is the very susceptibility of poorly educated US investors to silicon snake oil (SCO, hydrogen car scams, naturopaths etc etc) that makes it possible for the googles and ebays to start in the USA and not in Japan, Germany or Brazil.

    None of this is going to push down US wages below the bizzare situations like cafe workers surviving from the charity of strangers (the "tip" system) and the construction of an illegal underclass that has to accept very low wages or get exposed and deported.

  • by jonadab (583620) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @05:45AM (#23052906) Homepage Journal
    Other people who support increasing the H1B-Visa program include, for instance, economist Alan Greenspan.

    Now, I personally haven't studied the issue enough to know what all the considerations are. But if somebody like Greenspan thinks it's a good idea, I think there's a very real possibility there might be some motivation behind doing it other than just making Microsoft happy. I believe Greenspan said something about enabling the US to better compete in the global economy. Not that Greenspan is right about everything, mind you. He also thinks our schools need to teach less advanced math and more long division because more advanced math is "vacuous" without arithmetic as a foundation -- which is clearly wrong, an idea you could only get if you were yourself never taught any advanced math in school. (Greenspan wouldn't have been, based on when he grew up; that's not his fault, but it is reality nonetheless.) Still, math and education aren't his specialty; economics _is_ his specialty, so maybe he has a rather better idea what he's talking about when he talks about the H1B program.

    Again, I haven't studied the issues surrounding H1B Visa program in any detail myself, so I won't make a claim one way or another about whether it's beneficial to ramp up the program. What I will say is that it's extremely stupid to dismiss it as just a measure to keep Microsoft happy, when it's also supported by, frankly, the leading economist in the world.
  • by vidarh (309115) <vidar@hokstad.com> on Sunday April 13, 2008 @06:17AM (#23053048) Homepage Journal
    You're not on a 32-hour work week because your unions have been broken. It was US unions that forced through the 40-hour workweek through decades of demonstrations, legal and illegal strikes and high risk organization work (see the employers didn't like the increasing unionization).

    Many of your union reps. and members gave their lives to secure the 8-hour day.

    To me, that is one of the things that you Americans should be most proud of, yet most of you seem to have absolutely no awareness about how much the US labor movement actually did for the world. Think about it on May 1st when the rest of the world see massive demonstrations on a day that was originally organized as a direct result of the fight of the US unions for the 8-hour day.

  • Re:Yay, Flamebait! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Viol8 (599362) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @06:32AM (#23053100)
    "this request was good for both parties, good for science, and good for the industry."

    Yeah , because there are no highly talented unemployed america IT engineers right now, oh wait...

    Idiot.
  • by drsquare (530038) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @08:29AM (#23053514)
    3.11% is much higher than nearly anyone else is getting, so I don't know what the hell you're complaining about. Only on Slashdot could someone complain about a TWO GRAND pay-rise. Back in the real world, most people are lucky to get two hundred. But go on, keep complaining about them foreigners tekking yerrrrr jerrbss.
  • by krysith (648105) on Sunday April 13, 2008 @02:07PM (#23055292) Journal
    Citizenship should be earned, not handed out willy-nilly.

    That's funny. I was born in the U.S., and they just gave me a citizenship for being born. Boy did I have to work hard at that! You don't even have to grow up in the U.S., just being born here is good enough. If that's not willy-nilly, what is?

    When people born here have to work as hard for their citizenship as your fiance did, then the system might be considered fair. As it is, I don't see the unfairness in giving rights and privileges to foreign-born individuals who didn't earn it, but rather, I see it as unfair that your fiance (and many others) had to work hard for what IS given out willy-nilly, on the basis of birth, like some aristocratic title. So, yes, it is unfair that others are getting for free what your fiance had to work for, but perhaps you should look first to those never had to do anything at all.

    The U.S. never quite gave out citizenships to all comers, but it was once much freer in allowing immigration. It should be noted that that period of freer immigration was also when we rose from being a third-rate backwoods nation to the most powerful nation on earth.

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