The shocking announcement that Microsoft is cutting 18,000 jobs is still sinking in. Most of those employees do not have a realistic chance of obtaining as good a job as the one they are losing.
In the United States, the number of engineering jobs has been sharply declining. In 2002 the number of electrical engineering jobs in the United States was 385,000, but despite increased demand for technology, the job total dropped to only 300,000 last year.
And that number is not even for American workers, because thousands of these jobs are soaked up by the H-1B visa racket, whereby companies like Microsoft can import and pay foreign workers less than it costs to hire an American. High-tech companies have thousands of foreign employees working on H-1B visas who are almost like indentured servants to the company, because they lose their right to be in our country if they leave their job.
Microsoft's massive layoff makes downright ridiculous the op-ed recently published by Bill Gates and his billionaire pals, Warren Buffett and Sheldon Adelson. They and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, who financed the lobby group FWD.us, demand immediate amnesty disguised as immigration reform in order to bring in more cheap labor.
The real shortage is in good jobs, but these visas flood the labor market and hold wages down, when wages should be climbing for American workers. Fewer Americans have a job today than just six years ago, even though the potential workforce has expanded during that time. One reason is the overuse of foreign labor by large companies.
Microsoft is highly profitable, breaking its own records for revenue and profits as recently as last year, with an effective tax rate of less than 20 percent. One of its directors has agreed to pay $2 billion for a basketball team, and Gates is often listed as the wealthiest man in the world.
In 2007, at a U.S. Senate committee hearing, Gates asked for permission to import "an infinite number" of foreign workers. "I don't think there should be any limit," he continued, but at any rate the cap should be "dramatically increased."
In 2008, before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Gates claimed he had jobs "going begging" that no American could be found to do, so he had no choice but to import workers from India. When Representative Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., suggested he might consider raising the pay for those jobs, Gates impatiently dismissed that option, saying: "No, it's not an issue of raising wages. These jobs are very, very high-paying jobs."
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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