The big argument for the 2003 tax cut passed by Congress is that it will create much-needed jobs. But one important question remains: Will those jobs be created for Americans, or will corporations simply hire more job-seekers from India and China?
It is time for Congress to call a halt to the scandal of the way big corporations are hiring foreigner workers at the same time they are laying off their American employees.
The hiring of hundreds of thousands of foreigners is why The New York Times proclaimed on Page One that this year's "Graduates Are Lowering Their Sights in Today's Stagnant Job Market."
Remember how, when U.S. corporations built hundreds of plants in Third World countries, we were told not to worry about losing blue-collar manufacturing jobs because we were keeping service jobs? Well, now the high-paying white-collar service jobs are going overseas, too, particularly jobs for engineers and computer specialists.
Follow the money. The big corporations hire Indians and Chinese for less than half what they pay their U.S. employees, work them long hours without overtime pay and treat them like indentured servants unable to quit for a better job. The corporations partner with the U.S. government by making political contributions to assure the passage of legislation that legalizes the importation of cheap foreign labor.
This racket started when Section 1706 was slipped into the Tax Reform Act of 1986. This uniquely discriminatory section required anyone who is an "engineer, designer, computer programmer, systems analyst or other similarly skilled worker" to be classified by the Internal Revenue Service as an employee rather than as an independent contractor, which hundreds of thousands of tech workers were at that time.
This change in the law plus aggressive IRS enforcement resulted in the creation of large consulting or contracting firms that hire tech workers as employees and then contract to sell computer services to big corporations. These "gatekeeper" firms and computer corporations soon began to exploit H-1B and L-1 visas by employing foreigners while at the same time dumping their American engineers and programmers.
H-1B visas were created in 1990 to allow corporations to import up to 65,000 foreign skilled workers to fill alleged labor shortages, a claim that was always a fiction and now is nonsense. L-1 visas were created to allow inter-office transfers of key managers, executives or persons with specialized knowledge, but there are no numerical limits and no safeguards against abuse.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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