Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bill Gates - Clueless in Seattle

Same old Bill Gates song ... Americans are dumb, so smart foreigners are needed ....

Also, the reason that all H1-B's are gone in one day is that Indian outsourcing firms grab 80% of them and then slowly supply American firms with sub-contractors over the intervening year ...

And this quote:

Microsoft last year wasn't able to get the visas for roughly a third of the people it had planned to hire, he added.

OK then , ask the question : 'How many foreign workers did you plan on bringing in and what were the skills required AND also, how many American workers did you plan on hiring and what were the skills required? ' The assumption is 1) that the foreign workers had special skills that there NO Americans had and 2) Microsoft has a need to hire a lot (thousands??) of workers here in the US (versus how many overseas?) .

Why doesn't the Gates Foundation sponsor a college scholarship program IN THE US that would give incentives to local 'talent' to go to the college of their choice for FREE ?

Currently the most prestigious science fair in the country
gives out a top scholarship of $100k and then smaller $25K ones to the top High School science and math students (leaving out that many of them are not working independently but have professional family and outside help) . With College educations costs approaching $200K at many of the best private colleges, this is pitiful.

The Gates foundation (or even Intel) could easily create 100 or more FULL pay scholarships. 100 scholarships at $200K each would only set back the foundation a measly $20 million, much less than the cost of a single CEO at most American corporations.

It would also show young people that science careers are valued and not just for those who have an entrepeneural bent.

Overseas students see science and engineering careers as upwardly mobile since they can make several times the average salary of their country doing this work. If Americans could also make several times the average American salary in science and engineering then many would also flock to these fields, but this is not the case. In fact wages are declining because of the influx of H1-B workers, the very remedy that Gates is suggesting.

When the boom of the late 90's was going strong, there were more Computer Science majors than colleges could register, because of the financial possibilities this career offered . If American firms offer premium American pay then Americans will supply the 'talent' demanded. But if foreign workers are brought in to depress wages then few Americans will be enticed to these fields.

Gates to urge immigration, education reform
Microsoft's chairman will push Congress to let more skilled workers in the U.S. and increase math and science classes.
March 11, 2008: 4:15 PM EDT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Bill Gates is coming back to Capitol Hill with the same wish list he's had for years: more visas for highly skilled workers, more math, science and engineering in schools and more money for technology investment.
On Wednesday, Gates' scheduled testimony before the House Science and Technology Committee will amplify the call for major overhauls in education and immigration laws to help the U.S. technology industry stay competitive globally.
Congress has heard the requests before, especially about increasing the cap on H1-B visas, which are granted to skilled foreign professionals. While a Microsoft spokesman said there's been a "real effort" by Congress and the Bush administration to move the ball forward on broad immigration reform, they have failed.
Gates, who visits Washington about once a year, is also expected to meet privately with policy makers during his visit, said Jack Krumholtz, Microsoft Corp.'s managing director for government affairs. He declined to identify them.
The Microsoft co-founder has long championed such reforms -- especially raising H1-B visa cap -- and made a similar case before a Senate committee a year ago.
"We have to welcome the great minds in this world, not shut them out of our country," Gates said last year in testimony. "Unfortunately, our immigration policies are driving away the world's best and brightest precisely when we need them most."
Krumholtz thinks the changing political climate makes for a more responsive audience this time around.
"He sees this (appearance) as an opportunity in the political season ... to put out a call to both the Congress and to the current administration with an eye toward the new administration," Krumholtz said.
Not everyone sees the climate as warming to Microsoft's position. Roger Kay, a technology analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates, said an election year may be a difficult time to advance the issue, as it could be labeled a threat to American jobs. Democrats, relying on support from labor groups, might not want to push for legislation that lets more foreign professionals in this country.
The hot-button issue for the technology industry has been to find high-skilled workers in the United States and overseas.
The industry has long pushed for the H1-B visa cap to be raised from its current level of 65,000. In 2007, the quota was filled on the first day applications were accepted.
Krumholtz, who expects the same thing to happen this year, said it's an issue on which Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) and its rivals, including Google Inc. (GOOG, Fortune 500), Oracle Corp. (ORCL, Fortune 500), Sun Microsystems Inc. (JAVA, Fortune 500) and others agree. Microsoft last year wasn't able to get the visas for roughly a third of the people it had planned to hire, he added.
Gates will also urge for educational reforms to encourage more students to get into math and science. Last year, Gates said American high schools have one of the lowest graduation rates among industrialized nations.
"It's not an either or proposition," said Krumholtz. "We need to do both."
But Gates will also touch on positive developments, such as a Philadelphia high school that focuses on using the latest technologies and another effort to provide tech skills to the U.S. work force, Krumholtz added.
While Gates is expected to devote most of his time toward his philanthropic foundation starting in July, he will remain chairman of the company he founded.
Krumholtz said he doesn't know what Gates plans to do in the future, "but I can speak to the fact that I know these are issues that he is very passionate about."
He does know what Gates is doing one day into the future. On Thursday, he will deliver a keynote speech to a sold-out Northern Virginia Technology Council.

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