Sunday, November 19, 2006

Offshoring vs. increasing the number of H1-B visas

I believe in a world economy, so if safeguards are in place that penalize corporations for unfair treatment of workers in areas with much lower cost of living, then I definitely support the concepts of off-shoring "white color" jobs and manufacturing jobs. I would like to financially penalize corporations for moving work to take advantage of a lack of local environmental laws. Business should be done in the least expensive and most productive way possible, but we need to factor in the importance of maintaining good working environment and environmental standards.

Although I support, with some small caveats, off-shoring work when it makes economic sense, I am very much against greatly increasing the number of allowed H1-B visas. I have heard too many stories of abuse of imported guest workers. For those H1-B workers that we allow in to the US every year, I think that they should be free to job hop, and try to maximise their salaries as can US citizens. Unfairly treating H1-B guest workers also has the effect of artificially lowering salaries for US workers - a bad thing. It might not seem fair, but I would allocate H1-B visas based on excellence - with the view that it is likely that many of these people will eventually become citizens and why not attract the very smartest people?

There is one thing that I would like to see done to help US workers, present and future: during the Bush administration we have seen a huge shift of wealth to the very richest via tax cuts and some sectors of the economy to support the war in Iraq. I would very much rather have seen most of this money not spent at all (smaller deficits!) and a little of it (perhaps 30%) spent for more effectively preparing our country for dealing with 4th generation war (nation state vs. organized groups) and to provide more scholarships and extended education funds for US workers.

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