Mr. President, Do Anatomically Impossible Things
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2019-01-12 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Education , 252 references Ignore this thread
Mr. President, Do Anatomically Impossible Things
[Comments enabled]

This is utterly outrageous.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Friday he is planning changes including a possible pathway to U.S. citizenship to foreigners holding H-1B visas, issued temporarily to highly educated immigrants who work in specialty occupations such as technology or medicine.

There goes what is left of the US middle class and the complete destruction of the value of college education.

College has traditionally been about two things: Teaching you how to think critically and providing very specific, career-oriented training.

The former has quite a bit of value -- provided it actually gets imparted to you.  Colleges have destroyed that over the previous 30 or 40 years; fields like "women's studies" and similar make a flat-out mockery of the precept of critical thinking, as has "affirmative action" which inevitably leads to taking the critical part out of the game because those who are "less advantaged" cannot possibly compete at anything approaching an appropriate level, and thus aren't required to.

But our college systems have ramped in cost to an insane degree as well, destroying the value equation for most students.  When I was of that age you could spin pizzas or flip burgers and not only pay for college pay for all your living expenses too.  It wasn't easy but it was possible.  Today it is flat-out not possible to work a part-time job and go to school.

Therefore the only options for most young people are either to have their parents cover it or to go into massive amounts of debt.  Very few parents have a hundred large or more laying around and further, the marginal value of that "education" is questionable at best unless you are interested in one of a few fields, so they'd be nuts to pay for it.  To say "yes" would be to coddle narcissism to an extraordinary degree, much like the so-called "parent" who buys his or her teen driver a brand-new $50,000 BMW and then is shocked when they wreck it.

The problem with H1b visas is that virtually all of those who come into the country using them are not burdened with that debt and further, they come from nations where their expectations and cost of living are a tiny fraction of ours.

The computer programmer coming in on an H1b from India, for example, will take a job programming for $30,000 a year.  To him or her that's decent money and they don't mind living six to an apartment.  As a US graduate today with $50,000 in debt you cannot survive on that salary but he can because he got his education with no debt and in many cases via a subsidized system abroad!

The H1b system is supposed to prevent this by insisting that said people are paid the US "prevailing wage or better."  The premise is that no company would intentionally overpay for workers, so they'll only use H1b employees if they can't find very high skilled US citizens who thus get high wages.  Therefore, the story goes, it doesn't harm US workers at all but does help US employers find the people they need.

That claim is a lie.

The requirements are never enforced.  Worse, many of those jobs are in very high cost areas yet the "prevailing wage" doesn't adjust for that, and as a result what appears to be a decent salary isn't.  Tell me how you make it on $60,000 a year in San Jose, CA?  You couldn't do that in the early 1990s and today you'd literally be living under a freeway overpass.

The H1b program has been riven through with fraud for the last 20+ years.  It has laid waste all but the very best in the US STEM fields in terms of actual salaries and advancement.  US "industry" has strongly resisted any reform, such as requiring they pay double the standard prevailing wage.

Such a requirement sounds crazy but it isn't -- if your intent is to use these people only in places where you need extraordinary capability.  In other words if the "average" programmer makes $50,000 a year to require that an H1b holder in that field be paid at least $100,000 would restrict their use to those who are truly extraordinary -- and unavailable in the United States.  Such a change would instantly stop nearly all of the abuse.

Should there be a path to citizenship for such people?  Maybe.  But only after we resolve all of the poaching and salary-deprecating "features" of the current system and see who still is here on one of these visas when they truly are extraordinary, and not simply being used as a means for US firms to drive down wages and trash the US middle class.

Until then the President go **** himself with this proposal, sans lube.

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