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Hillary Clinton Takes Overseas 250

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 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 Overseas

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  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @09:47AM (#36822728)

    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.

  • They don't care (Score:4, Insightful)

    by soupforare ( 542403 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @09:57AM (#36822852)
    They don't even care to pretend to act in the best interests of the citizenry anymore. It's absolutely brazen.
  • by Ogive17 ( 691899 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @10:23AM (#36823162)
    I think if you work here you should pay as much as the next guy. If you don't like it, find a job in another country.

    My wife is currently on an H1B visa (though we're going through the green card process right now). She's always had to pay the same taxes I've had to pay. She also cannot vote so she doesn't have a 'voice'.

    But you know what, that's part of the cost of immigrating to the US.
  • H1-B karma burner (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Urban Garlic ( 447282 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @10:28AM (#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 @10:41AM (#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 TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @10:45AM (#36823492)

    time to start listening to pete seeger (again).


    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 Bob the Super Hamste ( 1152367 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @10:56AM (#36823682) Homepage

    firmly believe the gov't will piss away all my Social Security 'savings' before I hit retirement age.

    I hate to break it to you but they have already pissed away all of your social security "savings". The lock box you hear about is just filled with I.O.Us (government bonds). In years where Social security takes in more than it gives out (probably all years until recently) the government borrows from social security thus adding to the bonds that are held by the trust fund. That money is then added to the general fund and pissed away. Now this in general works well if you have increasing funds entering the social security program, but we really don't any more with the current economic down turn and beginning of the baby boomer retirement. When/if we climb out of this recession there will be a few more years where social security takes in more than it pays out. The real problems arise once social security needs to start cashing in those bonds, and gets worse once there are no bonds left to cash in. When social security starts cashing in bonds congress will have to either cut back on spending since they no longer have that source of revenue, or raise taxes to keep spending levels the same. Things will really start to get harry when social security no longer has bonds to cash in as at that point they can't meet their obligations and will only be able to pay out a percentage of their promised benefits, or go and seek additional revenue from the general fund.

    Also keep in mind that you only pay in half "your money" to social security the other half is paid by your employer. Each pay period they take 6.2% from you pay while your employer also pays in that same amount on up to $106,800 of income currently, or in the case of a self employed person you get stuck paying the full 12.4%. To further worsen the current problems social security is facing there is a 2% deduction in the employ contribution so they are only paying 4.2% but their employer is still paying the 6.2% rate. The current benefits are based off of your highest 5 years of income up to some maximum so there is a maximum benefit for social security.

  • No, unions exist so that any type of workers can band together to push back against their employer when they inevitably get fucked over. Individuals are easy to replace, but there's power in numbers.

  • by goruka ( 1721094 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @11:06AM (#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.
  • Re:For Americans (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nschubach ( 922175 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @01:42PM (#36825948) Journal

    Anecdotal, I know... but I worked with a guy from Pakistan a few years back and he was tempted by offers to apply his physics degrees to scientific research at some large laboratories. He said that they posted job offers and listed starting pay as $25-30k/yr. Nobody in the US with a doctorate/masters would take those jobs... especially someone with multiple advanced degrees. After offering the job and having no takers they could then offer the same job outside the US and entice unaware workers and bring them in at a that wage. (After all, that sounds like a ton of money to someone unfamiliar with cost of living here.)

    So, I would say it's not about the bar being high, but the salary being low. (At least... in some cases.)

  • by StopKoolaidPoliticsT ( 1010439 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2011 @02:17PM (#36826416)

    Yes. Please ask someone old enough to remember the many, many private pension raids and bankruptcies in the 1960's & 70's ... gone bankrupt? I wonder when young people will realize they are being led to slaughter using the soothing drone of FUD on all government.

    In 1967, LBJ and Congress realized they couldn't afford the newly passed Great Society programs nor the escalation in Veitnam, so they passed an amendment to the Social Security Act stating that ANY government program which creates a surplus, will loan that surplus to the general fund, in return for a promise that the general fund will repay the program in the years that the program runs a deficit.

    Since that day, the entire Social Security "Trust Fund" has been drained to paper over the endless deficit spending by the federal government. Last year, Social Security started paying out more than it takes it and that difference must come out of the general fund - the same general fund that is already bleeding $1.5 trillion in deficits per year. Simply put, Social Security was raided just like those private pension funds because the politicians knew that by the time the shit hit the fan, they'd be dead or retired and, thus, untouchable. Only problem is, there's nobody to bail out the government the way the government bailed out those pensions... We're $14.5 trillion in debt with an additional $15 trillion in unfunded Social Security obligations (and another $100 trillion if you count the Medicare programs).

    People have been warning that Social Security was eventually doomed to failure since the early 60s. The same people that told us, just a couple years ago, that Fannie and Freddie were fundamentally sound are still telling us that Social Security is as well. The dirty truth is, we're closer to collapse than most people think.

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire