Thursday, April 24, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Patriotic talk, but the same aim

TomEliasW

By
From page A13 | July 07, 2013 | 1 Comment

Now it’s official: Despite happy talk about doing what’s best for America, Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg and the cadre of other Silicon Valley titans helping with his new lobbying organization FWD.us are looking out for their own self-interest, just like every previous political action committee or billionaires’ club.

Zuckerberg tried to explain himself the other day in the Washington Post, writing that U.S. immigration policy today is “unfit for today’s world. … To lead the world in this new economy, we need the most talented and hardest-working people. We need to train and attract the best.”

What that means is that Zuckerberg and allies from companies like Google, Netflix, Microsoft, Yahoo, Yelp and LinkedIn, along with some of the venture capitalists who bankroll many Silicon Valley high-tech start-ups, want to bring in more workers on H-1B visas.

They argue there aren’t enough American-born math and science majors to fill all job openings, leaving many companies starving for qualified workers.

But critics call that claim exaggerated, suggesting the real motive is to bring in workers at wages far below those the companies would have to pay equally qualified American citizens. They say the H-1B program, which lets companies bring in 65,000 workers annually for six-year sojourns, trains foreign workers who often continue in similar jobs for the same companies in their home countries after the visas expire. So the H-1B program, they say, is essentially an outsourcing system designed to save companies money and ship American jobs overseas.

One critic is Ron Hira, a professor of public policy at the Rochester, N.Y., Institute of Technology.

He told National Public Radio the other day that “What these firms do is exploit the loopholes in the H-1B program to bring in on-site workers to learn the jobs of Americans to then ship (jobs) offshore. And also to bring in on-site workers who are cheaper (to) undercut American workers’ rights here.”

Stunningly, three of the four largest users of H-1B visas — aimed at bringing in skilled workers to fill jobs for which no Americans qualify — last year were Infosys, Wipro and Tata, all India-based high-tech firms with facilities in the United States. H-1B workers are often paid 70 percent or less of what U.S. citizens make for the same work.

The biggest H-1B users did not answer queries about their use of the visas and the salaries they pay, but current immigration law requires that the workers get “prevailing wages.” However, the federal Government Accountability Office has found that supervision is “cursory” at best, which means companies can get away with paying far lower wages to immigrants than to citizens, because the immigrants are so happy to be here, even temporarily, and what they get is still much more than they can earn at home.

So it’s easy to see why Zuckerberg and friends want more H-1Bs, despite any high-sounding talk. As with most things political, follow the money to get a better understanding.

But the high-tech tycoons know they’ll need politicians of all stripes behind them in order to get a big H-1B increase into whatever immigration bill Congress eventually passes this year. The latest version would raise the number to 110,000.

So to please conservatives, they’ve aired TV commercials in “red” states backing the Keystone XL pipeline, criticizing President Obama and his health care reform plan and touting the work of Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, who has come under fire from fellow GOPers for helping craft an immigration compromise.

They’ve also aired an aid praising Democratic Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska for supporting oil drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.

To please liberals, they’ve paid for other ads praising more pro-environmental stands.

As the Business Insider blogger Henry Blodget put it, the idea of all these ads is “to grease senators on both sides of the aisle,” even if Zuckerberg and some of his friends who normally plug liberal causes might be appalled by some of the messages they are sending.

Which means that while Zuckerberg may be a newfangled social network trailblazer, he’s following the old-fashioned political path of doing and saying and spending whatever it takes to get the votes he wants.

— Reach syndicated columnist Tom Elias at tdelias@aol.com

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • sasshaJuly 07, 2013 - 10:33 pm

    Or maybe it's high time for the good ole' USA to provide free higher education to its citizens, instead of charging them outrageous sums in order to get the math and science needed for hi-tech jobs. In talking with many highschool age youth, they are reluctant to go into major debt to find a better career or job, especially in the current economy. The USA is one of very few industrilized countries that does not provide tuition free higher education for students.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Will city move forward on public power review?

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

     
    Attorneys at odds over Woodland infant’s death

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

     
    4-H members prepare for Spring Show

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

    Food insecurity remains an issue for many county residents

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

     
     
     
    Conference puts focus on Arab studies

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Youth sports in focus on radio program

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Rummage sale will benefit preschool

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Concert benefits South Korea exchange

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Davis honors ‘green’ citizens

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Water rate assistance bill advances

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Program explores STEM careers for girls

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Embroiderers plan a hands-on project

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Central Park Gardens to host Volunteer Orientation Day

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

    Volkssporting Club plans North Davis walks

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Hotel/conference center info meeting set

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Cycle de Mayo benefits Center for Families

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

     
    Author to read ‘The Cat Who Chose to Dream’

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A12

    .

    Forum

    Things are turning sour

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    The high cost of employment

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    High-five to Union Bank

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Broken sprinklers waste water

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Three more administrators?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Neustadt has experience for the job

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Here’s a plan to save big on employee costs

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Davis is fair, thoughtful

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Ortiz is the right choice for Yolo

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    DHS tracksters sweep another DVC meet

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Another DVC blowout for DHS girls soccer

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Young reinvents his game to help Aggies improve on the diamond

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    DHS boys shuffle the deck to beat Cards

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    DHS/Franklin II is a close loss for Devil softballers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Baseball roundup: Giants slam Rockies in the 11th

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    UCD roundup: Aggies lose a softball game at Pacific

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

    Jahn jumps to Sacramento Republic FC

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B8

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

     
    Bach Soloists wrap up season on April 28

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A11

    Congressional art competition open to high school students

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Emerson, Da Vinci to present ‘Once Upon a Mattress’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Winters Plein Air Festival begins Friday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, April 24, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6