Dr. Norm Matloff On Obama, Krikorian and H1-B

Dr. Norm Matloff writes to his email list


Mark Krikorian of CIS published an excellent analysis (with the exception of one point) of the Darin Wedel story and its aftermath.

Good reading, here. [VDARE.com Note: See also Krikorian: GOP Victory To Mean High-Tech Cheap Labor Pig-Out?, by Patrick Cleburne]


The Washington Post's Fact Checker blog also has a piece:


President Obama’s Google Plus ‘hangout’ claims about engineering demand Posted by Josh Hicks, February 06, 2012


Pretty good, but not completely factual.


There is one more major online column that ran today, which I will actually NOT refer to here, for reasons to be explained below.


The Krikorian piece is, as mentioned, really good. It chuckles at the Republican Party's trying to make hay out of the Obama gaffe (if we may call it that), by pointing out the obvious: The Republicans are just as much to blame on H-1B as the Democrats are. Mark writes


The Bloomberg/Murdoch group Partnership for a New American Economy (a/k/a “Billionaires for Open Borders”) ran an ad in South Carolina showing that every GOP presidential candidate wants increases in “skilled” immigration, concluding that “there’s really no debate . . . America needs high-skilled immigrants to create new jobs and grow our economy.”

He follows up by saying, there IS a debate on this. He should have added, the problem is that there is no debate between the Democrats and Republicans, who both seem to care nothing for the many Darin Wedels trying to find tech work.


My only quibble--and to me, it's NOT a quibble--is Mark's wondering whether the University of Phoenix would qualify under the "automatic green cards for STEM foreign students" bills. The answer in the case of the Lofgren bill is that that institution would probably not count.


But lest you think I'm actually defending Lofgren here, let me hasten to point out that in a sense, MARK is doing so. Lofgren's bill limits its coverage to "research universities," so Mark almost comes across as supporting the Lofgren bill as "reasonable"--hey, it excludes the University of Phoenix!--which I doubt was his intention.


The fact is that while the University of Phoenix wouldn't be covered by the Lofgren bill, literally hundreds of universities would be included.


The bill language is vague, but DC sources have told me that at least 100 and as many as 300 institutions would be covered. Remember, this bill is advertised as bringing us the world's "best and brightest"--do we REALLY have 100-300 universities of the calibre of MIT? Of course not.


Let's pursue this a bit more. According to the US News and World Report rankings (I'm not a fan of rankings, but this is good enough for our purposes here), there is a multiway-tie for rank 99 in the field of computer science. Among those tied for this rank are Drexel University, Georgia State University and Kansas State University. Though there are in fact a few outstanding talents at any school, it ought to be clear that the students at those universities are typically of only average talent. Lofgren's bill is way too generous.


MOREOVER, Darin Wedel's institution, Texas A&M, is ranked 47. He's from EE, not CS, but I couldn't find full rankings for EE in my quick search, and again, these numbers are good enough to make my point, which is this: Borrowing Obama's phrase from two State of the Union addresses in calling for enactment of an automatic green card program, IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE TO REPLACE AMERICAN GRADUATES OF THE RANK 47 SCHOOL BY FOREIGN GRADUATES OF THE RANK 100 SCHOOLS. (Let alone the rank 300 schools.)


Now, what about the Josh Hicks' WP Fact Checker? Not bad at all, but there is one major error.


Hicks says that Obama never said the H-1B program should not be shrunken during his "debate" with Mrs. Wedel. True, but very misleading, because (a) he has supported the H-1B program all along, including when he was a U.S. senator, and (b) he has, as mentioned above, strongly supported an auto-green card program.


Hicks has a nice quote of Jared Bernstein:


 


Economist Jared Bernstein witnessed some of those lobbying efforts firsthand while serving as a member of President Obama’s economic team. “They want all the engineers they can get at the lowest price,” he said. “They say they can’t find enough talent, but what they really mean is that they can’t find enough people at the rate they want to pay.”

Bernstein does know about the H-1B program, and has had various positions in the Obama administration, including Chief Economist and Economic Policy Adviser to Vice President Biden. Presumably the president is aware, then, of Bernstein's views. If so, then Obama's surprise upon hearing about Mr. Wedel's plight was indeed feigned, as I put forth as one possibility in my original posting on the Wedel case.


I hope this is not true; "Say it ain't so, Joe [Biden]."


A huge obstacle in clear thinking on the H-1B/green cards issue is, as I've mentioned often, that some in DC think that the only abusers are the Indian-owned "bodyshops" (rent-a-programmer firms), and that the mainstream U.S. firms are just fine. Maybe Obama had misinterpreted Bernstein's input as being restricted to the Indian firms. Well, now Obama knows that TI is just as culpable as Tata.


Which brings me to the "mystery article," the third major piece that ran today. Sorry for sounding ornery, but I refuse to state where that piece ran and who wrote it. It actually has some excellent content, but its main theme is that the primary villains are the Indian-owned bodyshops. This simply distracts attention from the main issue, which is that H-1B and green cards are abused across the board, not just by the Indian-owned firms.


Well, I know I've got your curiosity up now. Where is that "mystery article"? Well, you figure it out.


Norm