Sunday, July 04, 2010

Bammy Boy Misleads on Immigration

Norm Matloff thinks BammyBoy's immigration speech was misleading.

Some of this is blatantly misleading. Einstein is one of my
(intellectual, not personal) heroes, but he essentially did nothing
after he came to the U.S. Brin is a bright young man, but he came here
as a family immigrant at age 6, rather than as a foreign student as
Obama's listeners might conclude. Google's search engine, PageRank, was
originally the idea of Brin's U.S.-native partner Larry Page, not Brin,
and in any case there are lots of other search engines.

Our H-1B/green card policy (and Obama seems to be advocating a
fast-track green card system for certain STEM people, which I strongly
oppose) is causing our nation to have FEWER native best-and-brightest,
jobs-creating, world-leading scientists and engineers. As I've written,
our government's central science agency, the National Science
Foundation, explicitly admitted back in 1989 that H-1B and other efforts
to bring in more foreign scientists and engineers would suppress salary
growth and thus, the NSF went on to say, discourage of domestic students
from pursuing doctorates in science and engineering. Anyone without a
vested interest here would see the stupidity of such a policy, and would
be outraged.

This is simple economics. As Charlie Sykes often reminds us, taxing something reduces the desirability of that 'something.' The logic is identical here: reducing the reward for something (by increasing the supply) also makes it less desirable.

It's sadly ironic that Obama
trumpets the youth of the immigrants, since our H-1B and green card
programs have hit older (age 35+) workers especially hard--which is the
very reason why the industry likes these programs so much. Younger
workers cost less, in both wages and benefits, than older workers, and
our immigration policies provide employers with an inflated pool of
youngsters to hire, as Obama's own statement (hopefully NOT a Freudian
slip) shows.

Independence Day, indeed.

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