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Hillary Clinton Takes Data.gov Overseas 250

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the i-see-what-you-did-there dept.
theodp writes "ZDNet reports that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's office issued a fact sheet during her visit to India confirming that the U.S. and India will be working together to develop an open source version of the Data.gov project, which was launched in 2009 by off-to-Harvard Federal CIO Vivek Kundra to serve as a central repository of data collected by the US government. The Hindu Business Line notes that Clinton was also pressed to exempt Indian techies in the States on H-1B or L1 visas from U.S. social security taxes, an exemption that, if granted, could reportedly result in savings of at least a billion dollars for the country's software industry."
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Hillary Clinton Takes Data.gov Overseas

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  • by MikeRT (947531) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @08:47AM (#36822728) Homepage

    The Hindu Business Line notes that Clinton was also pressed to exempt Indian techies in the States on H-1B or L1 visas from US social security taxes, an exemption that, if granted, could reportedly result in savings of at least a billion dollars for the country's software industry."

    An exemption that would also cause an even more vitriolic backlash from American workers who would become even more expensive relative to Indian H1B and L1 holders because of a tax that only the Amish and a few others can avoid (for now).

    They'd have a case here if American developers could legally bow out of FICA. I'd take that deal without hesitation. I know a lot of developers who'd love to step outside that system and have the money for their 401ks and FSA/HSA instead.

    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @08:56AM (#36822838)

      She's a Democrat. Democratic negotiating skills can best be described with the analogy of the poker player who starts the game by showing everyone all his cards--then tries to bluff.

      • then at least the Democrats in Congress could go berserk and the press would dutifully report how much the President is selling out the hard working Americans who desperately need his help. Instead this won't even register except on techy sites.

        Kind of like how the press and Democrats are doing the big freak out when Republican controlled states are reigning in public employee entitlements and turning a blind eye to the Democrat controlled ones who in many cases are rolling over the employees worse.

        I so wis

    • by Nexus7 (2919)

      Wait... wouldn't you want them to be exempt? So that after working for a while they don't have the amount they've paid into SS sitting there, and they have lees of an incentive to become citizens.

  • as a protectorate of India!
  • oh wait, there is no global union of IT workers....

    (not yet anyway)

    • And it's amazing, too, since you can't just hire a scab to replace a programmer during a strike. It takes a month or two for a new hire to produce anything useful that integrates with your current software, and even that requires guidance from the people who are already there. If those people are out on strike, there is no such guidance, and maybe not even anyone to provide a list of servers and passwords. Nothing could possibly get done without the techies around to make it happen.

      For us web developers who

      • Its not just web developers who get billed out a 10x what they bring home. At my company I was a lead on a project and found out for T&M work individual workers are billed to the customer at about the same rate.
      • by hedwards (940851)

        You do realize that there's overhead and other costs involved, right. It's not just the cost of the wages that has to be included, there's the cost of benefits, pay roll taxes, capital expenditures and whatever other costs are involved with running the business.

        Even if one is working for oneself the actual take home pay is probably only a half or so of the total fee.

        • You do realize that there's overhead and other costs involved, right.

          10x? Fuck off.

          • I haven't seen a huge amount of billable rate information but 10x seems a bit high compared to those I have. The range I usually see falls in the 1.5 to 2.8 multiplier range for what a customer is billed versus employee salary (not including benefits). If you are seeing your work billed for 10x the amount, perhaps you are to blame for undervaluing your work.
      • by kent_eh (543303)

        Nothing could possibly get done without the techies around to make it happen.

        You're starting to sound a lot like the functionalist movement from Heinlein's "The Roads Must Roll" [wikipedia.org]

    • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @09:45AM (#36823492)

      time to start listening to pete seeger (again).

      UNIONIZE.

      we need this, now. yes, unions can go too far. but corp america already HAS gone too far.

      I'd take union corruption over employer based corruption any day.

      turn of the 1900's - here we come again!

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      You have nothing to lose but your on-call pager! IT workers of the world, unite!

      I'm actually being serious about that - a strong IT union or professional organization would go a long way towards improving developer working conditions.

  • Lord Vishnu thanks you, Hilary.

  • by gblackwo (1087063) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @08:54AM (#36822808) Homepage
    23 year old mechanical engineer here, where do I sign out of Social Security?
    • by OzPeter (195038)

      23 year old mechanical engineer here, where do I sign out of Social Security?

      Start here: http://www.immigrationindia.nic.in/ [immigrationindia.nic.in]

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      usually you sign out of social security by getting a job, if you want to sign out of paying for it start your own company and don't take a salary.
      what i'd like to know is were they eligible for the social security they were paying taxes for?

      • by gblackwo (1087063)
        I have a job. I simply have no faith that SS will be around by my retirement and would rather not throw my money away.
        • by Jawnn (445279)
          Got anything like, you know, facts which give rise to these doubts? And no, citations from Fox News personalities do not count.
      • by Winter (87716) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @09:08AM (#36822966)

        As a H1B, no, you are not eligible for social security.
        (Taxation without representation?)

        • by EvilStein (414640)

          Yet we're always told that illegal immigrants are paying into SS but won't ever get it. Now the H1B group will simply be exempt?

          How long before the new "guest worker" program wants the same treatment?

          We're going to have millions more *not* paying into the system, and people will act surprised when it fails.

          • by hedwards (940851)

            That's actually true. How that typically works is that they need to have a valid SSN in order to be hired and payroll takes the social security tax out automatically on whatever one makes up to the limit. So, they'll end up paying the taxes and whoever it is that the SSN corresponds to gets the benefits.

            As for the GP's taxation line, that really only applied because there wasn't any way of gaining representation. It doesn't really apply to individuals that don't go through the naturalization process.

        • Non-citizens in the country, and indeed most countries, regularly face taxation without representation. Heck, the U.S. now charges all guests to the U.S. a tax just to enter. If you want not to be taxed in a country in which you are a guest, don't visit the country. If you want representation in a country in which you pay tax, become a citizen.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      India ASKED her to exempt them from taxes, she DECLINED to do so, India has PRESSED her again... So even Clinton isn't that dumb.

      A lot of vague talk on working with them to market data.gov to other nations.... words.... cheap.

      Promises on Cybercrime from the Indians.... words,... cheap. They're a big malware laden pirate software market, up there with Russia & Turkey.

      • by kent_eh (543303)
        Sure, today I don't have mod points..
        +1 Reading Comprehension for you, anonymous sir
    • by Jawnn (445279)
      We'll get to that in a minute, but first, tell us why you believe that you can beat the (well established) odds and provide better retirement and disability insurance for you and your family.Oh, wait. You said you were 23 years old, so it's highly unlikely that you've given such things any serious thought. You've probably just swallowed the whole illogical notion that "free market" is better and "government is bad" without really thinking about it. Right?
  • They don't care (Score:4, Insightful)

    by soupforare (542403) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @08:57AM (#36822852)
    They don't even care to pretend to act in the best interests of the citizenry anymore. It's absolutely brazen.
    • Note that it was India who was pressing this. They were acting in the best interests of their citizenry, by making it more attractive for companies to hire Indians.

      The story, at least, doesn't give Clinton's response, so anything you are reading into it is part of your own bias. It does say that this has been a "persistent irritant" between the countries, which implies that India has asked for this before, and the U.S. hasn't given in to it yet. That makes it sound like she and her predecessors are looki

  • Screwing up good processes at State Dept., that is.
    This is strictly anecdotal evidence from personal experience, but under previous administration scheduling visa interview at US consulate abroad was a matter of going to a website and doing some clicks.

    Under Clinton that changed into two phone calls to the consulate: first to pay some bucks for the privilege to talk to a call center rep and second is to schedule appt.

    Job creating, my ass.

  • This angers me beyond belief! We have plenty of development talent here in the United States. I am so sick of the erroneous belief that Indians make better programmers. It is simply not true. Too often I have seen an inferior product. If a large sector of America is unemployed, why are we importing labor? I thought that Clinton and Obama were against H1B visas. Fucking politicians .... Promise one thing and do another.
    • by mdf356 (774923)

      This angers me beyond belief! We have plenty of development talent here in the United States.

      We don't, in the sense that the company I work for has open headcount and we can't find enough qualified people to fill it, either from the USA or anywhere else in the world. We've got a decent number of folks from Russia, India, Australia, Britain, Germany, etc. Neither the engineers nor the recruiters where I work think any specific nationality is "better" at writing software. We just hire the best wherever they come from.

      If a large sector of America is unemployed, why are we importing labor?

      Because none of the unemployed people can write good software? I dunno; I just k

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      I am so sick of the erroneous belief that Indians make better programmers. It is simply not true.

      You don't understand - when management says "better", what they really mean is "cheaper".

    • Are you assuming that all Americans with same qualifications as H1-B visa holders are jobless? I highly doubt that.
    • by goruka (1721094)
      It's not about talent, it's about commitment. Foreigners have to work hard to obtain a green card in the long run (something you are born with). Workers in H1B have a higher degree of commitment and will not (or cannot) switch jobs that easily if overworked or underpaid, so they are naturally very appealing to companies (who pay for the h1b and green card).
    • Note that it was India who was pressing this.

      The story, at least, doesn't give Clinton's response, or indicate if she likes H1-B VISAs at all, so anything you are reading into it is part of your own bias.

    • by TheSync (5291)

      "If a large sector of America is unemployed, why are we importing labor?"

      Most unemployed Americans are not competing with H1-B candidates. Americans with a 4-year college degree had an unemployment rate of 4.7% in 2010, compared with an unemployment rate of 14.9% for those without a high school degree.

      Of all unemployed Americans in 2010, 52% had a high school degree only or less education, and 80% had less than a Bachelor's Degree.

  • H1-B karma burner (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Urban Garlic (447282) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @09:28AM (#36823238)

    I was on an H1-B for a while (in academic research, not software development, as it happens), and was puzzled at the time by the requirement to pay US Social Security taxes -- the H1-B is a visitor visa, not an immigrant visa, it's time-limited, and when it runs out, the assumption is that the individual will return to their home country. I would imagine that very few H1-B visa holders ever recover this money, so it's effectively a tax on the employer, paid into the SS trust fund.

    Having H1-B holders not make SS contributions seems reasonable to me -- if you want to tax H1-B activity, you can always just raise the fees for the visa itself, to get the same effect -- but having only Indian H1-B holders be exempt from the SS contribution just seems bizarre.

    The summary is unclear, but on the grounds of basic common sense, I hope that pressure and lobbying went nowhere.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @09:41AM (#36823450)

      Having H1-B holders not make SS contributions seems reasonable to me

      The problem then is that it further incentivizes employers to hire an H1-B over an American citizen because the employer won't have to pay SS taxes on that employee.

    • by jameson (54982)

      No, there is no assumption that an H-1B holder `will return to their home country.' The H-1B is a dual-intent visa, meaning that you can apply for a permanent resident card while in the US and then legally stay as long as you want.

      Incidentally, I'm currently on that very route. I still don't expect to ever see any benefits from the near-decade social security and taxes I've already paid while working on F-1 and J-1 non-immigrant visas.

      • The H1B is not a "dual intent" visa. Rather, the doctrine of dual intent is recognized for people on that visa: they may be here with temporary intent for one job, but have permanent intent with regard to another one IF they obtain lawful permanent resident status. In other words, their having permanent intent is NOT a visa violation (as it would be, with, say, a TN1 visa.)

        Further, just because they may apply for permanent residence does not mean it will be easy for them to get it: it is far more than just

    • The reason that H1-Bs have to pay into social security is so that they system stays solvent longer. You don't get to collect, but you have to pay. This does show where the program is flawed and that it is similar to a Ponzi scheme (I know it isn't a true Ponzi scheme but has some similarities) in that it always need new people paying in (especially those that will never collect) so that it can continue to function.
    • If you didn't pay, then you'd be cheaper to employ than an American worker. The H1-B program isn't intended to displace American workers but to complement them. Americans are still supposed to come first (sorry) as it's our country and our government is supposed to favor our employment over that of other people.

      I'd be okay with them eliminating the social security contribution if they replaced it with an equal tax on H1-B workers that contributed toward, for example, education for American workers. Eithe

      • I'd be okay with them eliminating the social security contribution if they replaced it with an equal tax on H1-B workers that contributed toward, for example, education for American workers. Either way the employer needs to pay it.

        The employer should pay the same contribution, fine, that is fair as it puts everyone on the same level. But you want to give it to the American workers and not give it towards the welfare of the actual employee, exactly what Social Security is for in the first place. These compan

  • by goruka (1721094) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @10:06AM (#36823814)
    H1B is not taking your jobs, Outsourcing is.
    Workers under H1B may be appealing to some degree because they are cheaper and more over-workable, but they can be counted in the thousands, and they still help the economy by spending what they earn.

    Outsourced jobs, on the other hand, are in the millions and much more appealing economically to large companies. There's several millions of outsourced jobs, not only in India, but also taken by Chinese, east Europeans, Russians and Latin Americans.

    Also the tale that foreigners are less talented and that Americans should be hired instead is no longer relevant, the same way that china raised it's production standards the rest of the world is doing the same and each year there's more and more companies with excellent track records ready for outsorcing jobs from US and Euro companies.
    This is the real effect of globalization and opening trade. Rich countries thought they could own poorer countries by forcing them to compete equally and purchase their goods while providing cheap labor. This had the expected result of destroying most of the local industry in such countries and forcing them to rely on imports.
    However, no one expected the software industry to become so relevant worldwide. Cheap labor suddenly became cheap outsourcing, and there is no way first world workers can match the cheap costs of the third world, so this trend will continue and get worse.
    • by TheSync (5291)

      "Workers under H1B may be appealing to some degree because they are cheaper and more over-workable, but they can be counted in the thousands, and they still help the economy by spending what they earn."

      Workers overseas also help the US economy by spending what they earn. For example, Avatar grossed $204 million in China. Apple had $1.3 billion in China sales last year (most of which is realized by the American design & development teams).

      But more importantly, overseas workers also help the US economy

  • NWO (Score:2, Funny)

    by Curunir_wolf (588405)

    Lucifer Clinton doesn't give a rip about the US or any of the slaves living here. She's busy laying the groundwork for the New World Order, in which she will be one of the ruling elites. I mean, she spent more money securing a beard for her mistress Huma Abedin than I spend on everything over 10 years. And he couldn't even keep his hands off the Tweeter to keep from screwing that up.

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler." -- Albert Einstein

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