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Dice Report: 83,381 job ads
2006-02-28 21:30PST (2006-03-01 00:30EST) (2006-03-01 05:30GMT)
Indian government cuts back tech subsidies
"Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has dropped enough hints that the days of low taxes and subsidies are over for the infotech sector, now that India's IT industry has emerged on top of the world order. The Budget has imposed an 8% excise duty on packaged software sold over the counter, and a 12% excise duty on personal computers. However, local PC manufacturers can offset the duty on components by claiming Cenvat credit. It is the 8% excise duty on packaged software that has not gone down well with the IT sector. The Budget has also increased service tax and broadens the net to cover some previously-excluded IT-related services, which will not only raise costs, but also act as a deterrent to out-sourcing work to SMEs"
2006-02-28 21:30PST (2006-03-01 00:30EST) (2006-03-01 05:30GMT)
Parul Malhotra _CNN_/_IBN_
20 CEOs meeting with GWBush in India
"Twenty top CEOs are getting ready for their date with President George Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The forum, headed by Ratan Tata and Bill Harrison of JP Morgan Chase, will submit a report outlining concrete proposals to boost trade and investment. From GE and Motorola to Levi's and McDonalds, American companies are vying for the Indian wallet in the great Indian bazaar. But some believe its time to focus on the Indian brain and the American wallet. The CEOs want the cap on H-1B visas, utilised by IT professionals, engineers and scientists to go. But Bush has been unable to convince the Congress on this one. They will also push Bush to relax stringent US rules on imports of commodities like mangoes and shrimps and the President is expected to respond positively. India Inc. will also push for transfer of technologies of special importance for the defence and farm sectors while their US counterparts will want to see the retail, insurance and banking sectors opened up... President, CEO and Managing Director of Infosys Nandan Nilekani says: 'The extraordinary warmth between the Indians and US side shown by all the delegates and by the President and PM. So it was really good warmth between two countries.' American companies have out-sourced about a million American jobs to India."
Casey Newton _Arizona Republic_
State senate committee recommended doubling expenditures on National Guard posted at the border
Arizona Daily Star
"The Appropriations Committee voted 7-4 Tuesday to recommend approval of House Bill 2701. As passed by the House last month, the measure would appropriate $5M from the state General Fund to the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs to mobilize the Guard. Some law-makers have lobbied for troops at the border since the governor declared a state of emergency there last year in response to increased illegal immigration."
Nirmala George _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Thousands of Indians Protest GWBush Visit
Alan Tonelson _American Economic Alert_
Is Reality on Trade & Jobs Finally Penetrating the Federal Reserve?
"in a recent appearance before the House Financial Services Committee, Bernanke made some comments about globalization's emerging fall-out that would have been surprising coming from most globalization critics, much less a king-pin of the global economic policy establishment. In particular, Bernanke challenged two major myths about globalization spread energetically by its cheer-leaders generally, and by Greenspan specifically. The first is that trade deficits are at worst harmless and at best reflections of an American economy so strong that it can attract the foreign capital needed to enable its citizens to over-consume. The second is that the biggest problem in U.S. labor markets is a shortage of skilled workers that will increasingly ham-string national competitiveness. To be technically accurate, Greenspan did take to calling the trade and broader current account deficits (the latter also includes certain investment-related flows) 'unsustainable'...
Bernanke also spoke with unusual precision about the costs of not reducing the deficit, acknowledging that 'over a period of time, we will be building up a foreign debt to other countries which, all else equal, lowers national wealth and lowers our ability to consume in the future.' Now would be an opportune time for Members of Congress to ask Bernanke and Bush administration officials whether these costs aren't already being felt. After all, the United States has run a current account deficit every year since 1983, and the gap hit 6.2% of the national economy as of the third quarter of 2005. (Full 2005 figures will be released March 14.)
The current surge in the current account deficit began in 1991, when it stood well below 1% of gross domestic product. Does this 22-year stretch qualify as 'a period of time'? And if not, how long would Bernanke counsel tempting fate and waiting for a current account crisis to actually hit?...
At one point, Bernanke endorsed part of the labor shortage myth, agreeing that 'the most important factor [behind rising income inequality in America] is... the rising skill premium, the increased return to education'. But when asked about the need for American schools to turn out many more scientists and engineers, Bernanke brought the committee back down to earth. He suggested that many of the S&T graduates of the third world simply don't get the same quality of education as their U.S. counterparts. He also went on to offer an insight already clear to any serious labor market analyst, but that has almost completely escaped official Washington: '[S]imply producing more scientists and engineers may not be the answer because the labor market for those workers will simply reflect lower wages and perhaps greater unemployment for those workers. Currently, there's not an obvious shortage of scientists and engineers in terms of the labor market indicators; that is, wages for engineers are not rising more rapidly than other professionals.' Having pointed out the painfully obvious -- that sectors with sluggish wage performances by definition can't be suffering labor shortages, the new Fed Chairman concluded with an equally rare and valuable piece of advice: Government should focus on producing 'a demand side that strengthens the market, that therefore brings in people into science and engineering because there are opportunities there, not simply creating a bigger supply which will then compete with each other and drive down the wages in that category.'...
Why has all the hype about emerging markets and all the new consumers they're supposed to be generating not produced that commensurate rise in the demand side for scientists and engineers to which Bernanke just referred? Given that Washington clearly doesn't understand the relationship between expanding trade and commerce with these emerging market countries, OT1H, and this critical labor market, OTOH, shouldn't we re-think this trade expansion policy? If these expanding trade relationships have not boosted demand for scientists and engineers and all the wonders they can create, isn't it true that instead Corporate America has been using these new trade arrangements to replace high-wage U.S. scientists with low-wage third world scientists? Isn't this mainly why wages in these fields are going nowhere?"
2006-03-01 06:15PST (09:15EST) (14:15GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Inflation eats up most income gains
"U.S. personal incomes rose 0.7% in January, but higher inflation eroded most of the gains, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. Consumer inflation increased 0.5% in January on higher energy costs. Core inflation, which strips out food and energy costs to give a better view of underlying inflation pressures, increased 0.2%. Core inflation has risen 1.8% in the past 12 months, down from 1.9% in December and just below the 2% lid the Federal Reserve would like to keep on core inflation. It's the lowest year-over-year core inflation since 2004 March. Real disposable incomes -- after inflation and after taxes -- increased 0.1% in January, the weakest gain since August. Real disposable incomes are up 2.2% in the past 12 months. Real consumer spending -- adjusted for inflation -- increased 0.4% in January, the weakest growth since October."
BEA press releases
Convergys to expand operations in India
"Convergys Corporation, the $2.5G technology and call centre services provider, is in the process of expanding both its telecom software..."
WikiPedia: Convergys is a privacy-violation firm derived from the Cincinnati Bell local government-enforced monopoly and its privacy-violation arm, Cincinnati Bell Information Systems, together with MATRIXX/AT&T Solutions Customer Care/AT&T Transtech, DigitalThink, Intervoice, Datacom call center operations, Stream Global Services; with subsidiary operations including Infinys Rating and Billing (IRB), Dynamic Decisioning Solution (DDS), ICOMS, Customer Management Solutions
2006-03-01 07:54PST (10:54EST) (15:54GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
ISM factory index rose from 54.8% in January to 56.7% in February: First gain after 3 declines
2006-03-01 09:37PST (12:37EST) (17:37GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US average home prices up 13% since a year ago
Edwin Meese III & Matthew Spalding _Heritage Foundation_
Permanent Principles & Temporary Workers
The Spectre of the Specter Bill
"It starts out well, with long-over due enforcement measures... But it goes downhill from there. Specter's proposal would amnesty the 10M or so illegal aliens who were here before 2004 January 4, and their spouses and children -- dwarfing the 1986 amnesty that granted legal status to some 3M people. Unlike the 1986 measure, the recipients of this amnesty would not automatically be put on a path to citizenship (i.e., would not be given green cards), but would instead remain in the United States for the rest of their lives as non-citizens -- a permanent under-class. What's more, the Specter bill would establish a program to admit foreign workers into any occupation anywhere in the United States as long as no American was willing to take the job at the offered wage. There is no limit on the number of workers who would be allowed to enter in this fashion, and they would get to bring their families. The term of their visa would be a maximum of 6 years, after which they would be expected to leave the country for at least one year. The bargain of swapping amnesty for promises of future enforcement is the same bait-and-switch as in 1986, when amnesty was traded for a first-ever ban on hiring illegal aliens. But the ban was barely enforced, and once all the illegals were legalized it was effectively abandoned by the Clinton administration. Today, it is still ignored. Why should we expect things to be any different this time? Furthermore, the amnesty and temporary-worker provisions of Specter's bill are unmanageable."
Tom Knudson _Sacramento Bee_
Contractors rip rivals for treatment of pineros
"On the eve of a Senate hearing about the abuse of Latino forest workers on U.S. Forest Service land, some of the strongest calls for reform are coming from those who know the business best: the forest contractors themselves. These contractors -- who hire workers and compete for forest maintenance jobs from Georgia to Alaska -- blame problems in their industry on a few bad actors empowered by bureaucratic neglect and a low-bid government contracting system. 'Unsafe working practices. Undocumented workers. Atrocious living conditions.', said Eric Helpenstell, director of operations for Pacific Wildfire, an Idaho firm. 'It's hard to compete with that.'... Contracting out forest work on the cheap 'promotes the abuse of this kind of labor', said Mike Wheelock, owner of Grayback Forestry, a veteran forest contractor in Oregon. Companies 'charge (workers) for food and housing. They pay under the table. They manipulate the hours.' even those 10K or so pineros who labor legally in the U.S. as so-called guest workers are vulnerable. Over the past decade, they have been shorted hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid wages, federal records show. Many violations also go unreported because workers won't speak up. For them, making less than the legal wage of about $15 an hour for forest labor on government contracts 'is better than making $8 a day in their homeland', said Wills, the California contractor. 'That's the problem; that's the exploitation.' Contractors say there is a solution: Require that pay-rolls be inspected and certified as accurate."
Ed Feulner _Chicago Sun-Times_
USA Needs a Better Policy on Immigration
"In the past, new Americans were welcomed with a solemn ceremony that matched the commitment they were making to their adopted homeland. But today's new citizens have no such uplifting experience... they're not required to show much knowledge of English... too many people don't even go that far. Millions of foreigners are living here today with no expectation of ever becoming citizens. They're illegal immigrants. It's impossible to know exactly how many people are here illegally. But the Pew Hispanic Center, a Washington-based research group, estimates the United States hosted 10.3M illegal immigrants in 2004, up from an estimated 8.4M four years earlier. [Other reasonable estimates reach as high as 24M.] That's an awful lot of people doing all they can to avoid the American melting pot... Employers are already required to collect Social Security numbers from everyone they hire and to withhold state and federal taxes from everyone's wages. The federal government could start addressing the problem by cracking down on employers who hire illegals."
Suspected Gang Members, Illegal Aliens Detained
"Seven suspected gang members are in custody and face deportation after they were arrested in Orangeburg this week. Law enforcement officials in Orangeburg say the 7 are associated with one of the most violent gangs in this country - Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13)."
Senate Committee Holding Hearings on Border Violence
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Dallas-Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Senate Judiciary Committee
"A South Texas rancher and a sheriff were among the witnesses who testified Wednesday during a U.S. Senate committee hearing on violence along the Mexican border. The hearing before the Senate Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship subcommittee, chaired by senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, focused on the increasing crime and violence along the border, assaults on federal agents and the efficacy of physical barriers in providing border security... 'When [over] a million illegal aliens can come across our border each year, it's no wonder criminals and drug traffickers believe they are above the law. Unless and until Congress addresses the immigration problem across the board, we will continue to experience an unacceptable level of violence along the border.'"
2006-03-01 11:18PST (14:18EST) (19:18GMT)
Mark LaPedus _EE Times_/_CMP_
4 Hynix executives face prison & fines for DRAM price fixing
2006-03-01 13:39PST (16:39EST) (21:39GMT)
Michael Paige _MarketWatch_
Body shop BEA Systems bought Fuego for its "business process" software products
|10-year US T-Bond||4.59%|
2006-03-01 18:34PST (2006-03-01 20:34EST) (2006-03-02 00:34GMT)
Peter Svensson _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Advance in Privacy Protection Technology Facilitates Calling Line Identification Spoofing, but AP and the feral government would apparently prefer to smear privacy advocates than respect it
"The calls, which the Pennsylvania Republican estimated in the thousands, were apparently placed with fake Caller ID. That has been possible for a long time, but it generally required special hardware and technical savvy. In the last few years, [Calling Line Identification] spoofing has become much easier. Millions of people have Internet telephone equipment that can be set to make any number appear on a [Calling Line Identification privacy violating] system. And several web sites have sprung up to provide [Calling Line Identification] spoofing services, eliminating the need for any special hardware. For instance, Spoofcard.com sells a virtual "calling card" for $10 that provides 60 minutes of talk time. The user dials a toll-free number, then keys in the destination number and the [Calling Line Identification] number to display... Telephone companies can trace calls to their origin regardless of the [Calling Line Identification] information they carry, but the process is laborious, especially since a call may be carried by several companies before reaching its destination. The fragmented nature of the telephone network also makes it technically difficult for the carriers to prevent spoofing."
2006-03-02 04:54PST (07:54EST) (12:54GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Globe & Mail
Composite: "Planned lay-offs by U.S. corporations dropped 15.5% in February to 87,437, compared with 103,466 in January, the lowest level since October, according to a monthly tally compiled by out-placement firm Challenger Gray & Christmas released Thursday. Planned job cuts were down 19% from a year ago. Overall in 2006, U.S. employers have announced 190,903 job cuts, 4.9% lower than the 200,738 cuts in the first 2 months of 2005. Lay-offs had increased in each of the 4 final months of 2005 before falling in January and February... In February, the food industries announced 18,060 job reductions, while governments and non-profits said they'd cut 15,100 positions. Employers in the government and automotive sectors, which saw the heaviest job cutting in 2005, have continued to eliminate workers at a high rate in 2006, Challenger said in a statement. The 68,990 job cuts announced by these 2 sectors alone this year account for 36% of all down-sizing in 2006. In the most recent government data, 1.55M lay-offs and discharges were reported in December."
2006-03-02 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
un-employment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 271,543 in the week ending Feb. 25, an increase of 1,661 from the previous week. There were 290,776 initial claims in the comparable week in 2005. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.3% during the week ending Feb. 18, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,916,492, a decrease of 101,373 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.4% and the volume was 3,096,036."
|Date||Initial Claims||Continued Claims||Insured
George W. Bush _White House_
I think we should destroy employment prospects for US citizens in the fields of science and engineering by worsening the already disastrous flood of cheap foreign labor
"I think we ought to expand H-1B visas for Indian scientists and engineers and physicists and people in our country."
Rob Sanchez _Job Destruction News-Letter_
Bush trades jobs for nukes and mangoes
2006-03-02 09:03PST (12:03EST) (17:03GMT)
Jennifer Waters _MarketWatch_
February same-store retail sales up about 3%
"The country's largest chain stores turned in a cumulative 3.2% rise in same-store sales, a key industry measure of receipts rung up at stores open longer than a year, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. At Thomson First Call, the total results came in 3% higher."
Laurie Kellman _San Jose Mercury News_
Senate has amended UnPatriotic Act, clearing way for renewal
"The House is expected to pass the legislation Tuesday... The White House and GOP leaders finally broke the stalemate by crafting a second measure -- in effect an amendment to the first -- that would somewhat limit the government's power to compel information from people targeted in terror probes. That second measure passed overwhelmingly earlier in the day, 95-4. Voting 'no' with Feingold were senators Jim Jeffords, I-VT, Tom Harkin, D-IA, and Robert C. Byrd, D-WV. The second measure added new protections to the 2001 anti-terror law in 3 areas. It would: Give recipients of court-approved subpoenas for information in terrorism investigations the right to challenge a requirement that they refrain from telling anyone. Eliminate a requirement that an individual provide the FBI with the name of a lawyer consulted about a National Security Letter, which is a demand for records issued by investigators. Clarify that most libraries are not subject to demands in those letters for information about terrorism suspects. Feingold and his allies complained that the restrictions on government power would be virtually meaningless in practice..."
2006-03-02 10:17PST (13:17EST) (18:17GMT)
Indrajit Basu _UPI_
Indian IT executives divided over changes in government subsidies
"A day after the local IT hardware industry uncorked the bubbly for receiving unprecedented sops from the Indian 2006 Budget that gave local manufacturing a fillip, it appears that it would have the spend the next few months fighting none other than its own brethren and peers -- the local software industry and the foreign hardware makers. The Indian budget it appears has vertically split the country's IT industry by bringing in a rift between not only its hardware and the software sectors, but also between the local and foreign hardware makers. And more importantly it has brought its two main industry lobbies, the National Association of Software Services Companies (NASSCOM) and the Manufacturing Associations of Information technology (MAIT or the hardware lobby) at loggerheads. Bowing to pressure from local hardware manufacturers, India's finance minister brought back the 12% excise duty that was removed in earlier years, while allowing input tax credit to local manufacturers to enable them to face competition from imports. The budget also removed a 16% excise duty on components like DVD drives, flash drives and combo drives to 'bring down the prices of these entertainment and storage devices'. Earlier, while fully built computers were exempted from the excise duty, a 16% excise duty was levied on the input components, as a result of which the manufacturers were unable to offset the taxes on their input components. This discouraged local sourcing from the up-stream industry... But while the budget provided these sops to the hardware industry for the first time ever, it also dealt a blow to the software industry by imposing 8% excise duty on packaged software and bringing the so far exempted IT-enabled services, or the back office out-sourcing services sector under the services taxes fold thereby imposing a 10.2% services tax on the sector... Meanwhile, there seems to be at least one area where all in the Indian IT industry is united at the moment. Reportedly, the industry is planning to take advantage of the 3-day visit of George Bush that started Thursday to raise a few issues like the cap on H-1B visas and social security tax imposed on Indian companies and professionals in the U.S. for a resolution in Indian IT's favor."
Jacques Billeaud _San Diego Union-Tribune_/_AP_
Arizona governor Napolitano ready to spend state money to put National Guard on border
Salt Lake Tribune
Santa Fe Free New Mexican
Arizona Daily Star
"Under pressure from state law-makers, governor Janet Napolitano said Wednesday that she is now willing to consider spending state tax dollars to expand the presence of the National Guard along the border... Arizona is the nation's busiest illegal entry point, and the state feels the federal government is not doing enough to stop it. Napolitano has proposed expanding the National Guard's border presence from its current role in helping in anti-drug efforts to performing other duties to give federal agents more time to catch illegal border-crossers. Proponents say the National Guard's assistance in federal immigration efforts could help reduce border-related crime and make it more difficult for the tens of thousands of people who try to cross into Arizona illegally each year... Even though immigrants provide the economy with cheap labor, Arizona and other border states shoulder huge health care and education costs for illegal immigrants and their families... Arizona already has about 170 National Guard troops at the border assisting federal and state officers with communications, fence construction and anti-drug efforts. Napolitano now wants an unspecified number of additional troops to work at crossing points, assist with cargo inspection and operate cameras and mobile observation points so they can report suspicious activity... Law-makers are considering a proposal to require Napolitano to send troops to the border and provide $10M state money for the effort. Napolitano said the proposal, which has already cleared half of the Legislature, would intrude on her authority to command the Arizona National Guard. Republican senator Ron Gould of Lake Havasu City said the governor is trying to paper over her weak record on immigration."
Frosty Wooldridge _American Daily_
'Massachusetts militia stopped the British invasion...
"...but it sold out to an invasion of illegal aliens.', said Joe Rizoli of Concerned Friends & Citizens of Illegal Immigration Law Enforcement. If you think illegal aliens stay in the Southwest, think again. If you think Phoenix with 57K cars stolen annually by illegal aliens is an isolated problem, think again. If you think the 7K illegal aliens housed in Colorado prisons are that state's problem, think again. If you think the rapes, killings, drunks, over-run schools and anchor babies don't happen in your state, think again. 'My town of Framingham has a population of 67K.', Rizoli said. 'The most recent official count is that there are 20,329 Brazilians living in Framingham; most are illegal. Many take advantage of local social services and their children over-burden our schools and other public institutions, all of which seem to be more than happy to serve their needs. This creates a heavy tax burden on the average home-owner forcing them to sell their homes and move out of town..."
Joe Korpics _Allentown Morning Call_
Take a closer look at impact of illegal aliens
"The reason some politicians don't want to secure our borders and want to keep illegal aliens here is to lower the wages of middle-class working people. To compete against illegal aliens, we'll have no choice, and that's what some politicians want! The $10 to $20 middle class jobs will be gone forever. Politicians say that illegal aliens are here to do the jobs that American people do not want. Well, let's look into that. Many companies undermine American workers by hiring cheap labor in the form of illegal aliens, and this is going on right now. In Dallas, a school wants to hire illegal aliens because of what they say is a teacher shortage. Soon illegal aliens will be postal workers; school, state, city and federal grounds-keepers; janitorial workers; security guards; truck and bus drivers. You know, all the jobs that American workers don't want to do! I feel sorry for all of the legal immigrants who went through all the proper channels to become citizens. I want all illegal aliens deported and no amnesty."
Bob Kemper _Oxford Press_
Illegal Immigration Disagreements Numerous
"There is little consensus in this election year about what action Congress may take. But the pressure to do something is growing among constituents in the nation's politically influential suburbs and exurbs -- particularly in the Southeast... Now, the issue is becoming a national one. Some Georgia congressmen represent suburban counties that have seen the Hispanic populations -- including a large contingent of illegal immigrants -- surge 200% to 300% since 1990. They say they are regularly inundated with complaints about the pressures illegal immigrants are placing on local schools, jails, hospital emergency rooms and public services... About 40 governors in Washington this week for a National Governors Association meeting called on Congress and the White House to act on illegal immigration... Deborah Meyers of the Migration Policy Institute in Washington said that the dispersion of illegal immigrants to areas unused to dealing with them is driving up voter anxiety that gives Congress a potent incentive to act. 'There's a perception -- a legitimate perception -- that the system is out of control.', she said. 'And it is out of control.'... The House, with the unanimous support of Georgia's Republican delegation as well as Democrats Jim Marshall and John Barrow, passed a bill in December focused on increasing border security, including building walls along the border and requiring employers to verify the residency status of all employees. Representative Charlie Norwood, a Georgia Republican, is calling for 36K to 48K U.S. troops or National Guard members to be dispatched immediately to secure the border. Bush's immigration plans and many of the reform plans being weighed in Congress would take up to four years to fully implement, allowing 1M illegal immigrants a year to enter the United States, he said. 'We are by default agreeing to allow an additional 4M illegal aliens into our country, the equivalent of the entire population of South Carolina.', Norwood said. 'Think about that. We're being asked to add a 51st state, populated entirely by low-income illegal aliens.' Representative Nathan Deal, a Georgia Republican, tried unsuccessfully to include in the House bill a provision that would prevent U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants from automatically becoming U.S. citizens. In the Senate, Isakson and senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), among many others, have called for tighter border controls. However, Chambliss, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, also wants to establish [yet another] guest-worker program that would ensure that American farms have access to [vast numbers of] seasonal migrant workers."
Barbara Anderson _New Media Journal_
Illegal Immigration: When ID Doesn't Necessarily Mean Identification
"In many parts of the United States the Mexican Consulate Offices have set up traveling posts to distribute the Matricula Consular 'ID' cards. At least 47 of the consulate offices exist in the U.S.A. and have issued several million of the cards. A Mexican birth certificate (not legally recognized as ID here) and thirty dollars is all it takes to get a card. Since there are an estimated 12M to 20M (Bear Stearns last estimate) illegal aliens in the U.S.A., it would seem to be a lucrative income producing endeavor for the consulates. However, the Mexican government is not the only one making money from them. The cards are easy to get. Fake ID is often used to get them. D.A. King, activist in Georgia, says he has 3 of them himself, though he is not Hispanic and does not even look Hispanic. There are millions using them to get drivers' licenses, welfare benefits, sign up to vote, do banking, and transmit $20G dollars a year back to Mexico to support that economy instead of our own. Companies such as Wells Fargo and Western Union have been counting these millions of customers with satisfaction, seeming to care only about their bottom lines. Some of the lending institutions, sensing a large market, have arranged for loans for the illegal aliens, even using our government backed institutions. The only people needing these IDs are those who are here illegally..."
Jim Gilchrist _Renew America_
Cardinal Roger Mahoney's statements on illegal immigration were irresponsible
"As a Catholic, it troubles me to have to say that Cardinal Mahony is just flat wrong. First of all, he seems to not understand the difference between legal immigration and illegal immigration. It is illegal immigration that is costing us $10G a year -- not legal immigration... It discredits the church and brings shame to parishioners to say we are not going to follow the laws of the United States -- the most accepting nation on earth. What would happen if every church decided to only follow the laws with which they agreed? Those hit hardest by illegal immigration are the poor who are squeezed from the job market. Meanwhile, the middle class see their tax burden skyrocket to pay for education and healthcare for illegal immigrants. It is the church's flock that has to foot the bill and they are unlikely to be receptive to paying higher taxes to satisfy Cardinal Mahony's political agenda... It is emphatically not 'hysterical' to want to stop the flow of drugs streaming across our borders, not to mention ending the murders and rapes which are a regular occurrence -- and it is irresponsible to suggest it is... The Catholic Church is a worldwide institution. If this were only about helping the needy as the Cardinal claims, that could just as easily be done in any of the other of the dozens of nations illegal aliens come to America from."
Nick Mayfield _Jackson Clarion Ledger_
Illegal immigration threatening tax-victims' wallets and security
"State Auditor Phil Bryant's report on the economic impact of illegal immigrants was on the front page of The Clarion-Ledger ('Illegal aliens cost state $25M', 2006 Feb. 25). Illegal immigrants are costing us [tax-victims] approximately $25M annually for health care, education and prison costs. The gross amount is actually low, given the estimate by the auditor of 49K immigrants currently in our state; the number is actually much higher in all likelihood."
2006-03-02 14:22PST (17:22EST) (22:22GMT)
Laurie Kellman _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Full US Senate approved modified UnPatriotic Act extension
"The Senate on Thursday gave its blessing to the renewal of the USA Patriot Act after adding new privacy protections designed to strike a better balance between civil liberties and the government's power to root out terrorists. The 89-10 vote... The House was expected to approve the 2-bill package next week and send it to the president, who would sign it before 16 provisions expire March 10... Critics held their ground... modest new curbs on the government's power to probe library, bank and other records. Feingold insisted those new protections are cosmetic. 'Americans want to defeat terrorism and they want the basic character of this country to survive and prosper.', he said. 'They want both security and liberty, and unless we give them both -- and we can if we try -- we have failed.' Some law-makers who voted for the package acknowledged deep reservations about the power it would grant to any president... After prolonged negotiations produced a House-Senate compromise, Specter urged his colleagues to pass it even as he promised to introduce a new measure and hold hearings on how to fix it."
Bryanna Bevens _V Dare_
Guest-Worker Amnesty Pushes GOP To the Brink
"Reports reaching California from the Imperial Capital on the Potomac indicate that the Senate finally began work today (March 2) on an immigration bill to answer the flawed but fairly tough border security bill that the House passed last year [HR4437]... [California is now] a state where it was recently reported that one-fifth of high school seniors don't speak English well enough to graduate -- and don't see why they should... Rosemary Jenks, the Director of Government Relations for Numbers USA, strikes me as one of the few people in Washington with a finger on the real pulse of the electorate. She thinks a guest-worker bill may well pass the Senate: 'The bottom line is that House Republicans understand that the public does not want amnesty, and that they do not support the importation of more foreign workers. The Senate, as usual, is clueless as to public feeling on this issue... I absolutely believe that passage of a guest worker/amnesty program (and any guest worker program the Senate passes will be an amnesty because it will allow current illegal aliens to apply for work permits, whether or not they are allowed to stay permanently -- which, of course, they will do regardless of what the law says) will fire up the grass-roots and have a major impact on the November elections.'"
_Free Market News Network_
Harry Browne died at home Wednesday night from ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease)
PR News Wire
Hammer of Truth
Ludwig von Mises Institute
"How sad to hear the news that Harry Browne (b: 1933-06-17), author and long-time spokesman for libertarian causes, died yesterday, 2006-03-01."
|10-year US T-Bond||4.64%|
1865-03-03: battle of Natural Bridge, Florida
2006-03-03 07:17PST (10:17EST) (15:17GMT)<
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
ISM services index up from 56.8 in January to 60.1 in February
Joe Guzzardi _V Dare_
Meet the Senate Judiciary Committee -- Your Fate Is In Its Hands Right Now
Paul Craig Roberts _V Dare_
Data Show America's Economic Growth Has Benefitted Immigrants and Out-Sourcers
"If the job growth of the past half-decade is a guide, the forecast of 19M new jobs is optimistic, to say the least. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics pay-roll jobs data, from 2001 January to 2006 January the US economy created 1.054M net new private sector jobs and 1.039M net new government jobs for a total 5-year figure of 2.093M. How does the US Department of Labor get from 2M jobs in 5 years to 19M in 10 years?...
there is abundant evidence of the lost American jobs. Information technology workers and computer software engineers have been especially heavily hit by off-shore jobs out-sourcing. During the past 5 years (2001 January to 2006 January), the information sector of the US economy lost 645K jobs or 17.4% of its work force. Computer systems design and related lost 116K jobs or 8.7% of its work force. Clearly, jobs out-sourcing is not creating jobs in computer engineering and information technology.
Indeed, jobs out-sourcing is not even creating jobs in related fields. For the past 5 years US job growth was limited to these 4 areas: education and health services, state and local government, leisure and hospitality, financial services. There was no US job growth outside these 4 areas of domestic non-tradable services... Oracle, for example, which has been handing out thousands of pink slips, has recently announced 2K more jobs being moved to India. How is Oracle's move of US jobs to India creating jobs in the US for waitresses and bartenders, hospital orderlies, state and local government and credit agencies, the only areas of job growth?
Engineering jobs in general are in decline, because the manufacturing sectors that employ engineers are in decline. During the last 5 years, the US work force lost 1.2M jobs in the manufacture of machinery, computers, electronics, semiconductors, communication equipment, electrical equipment, motor vehicles and transportation equipment. The BLS pay-roll job numbers show a total of 70K jobs created in all fields of architecture and engineering, including clerical personal, over the past 5 years. That comes to a mere 14K jobs per year (including clerical workers). What is the annual graduating class in engineering and architecture? How is there a shortage of engineers when more graduate than can be employed? Of course, many new graduates take jobs opened by retirements. We would have to know the retirement rates to get a solid handle on the fate of new graduates. But it cannot be very pleasant, with declining employment in the manufacturing sectors that employ engineers and a minimum of 65K H-1B visas annually for foreigners plus an indeterminate number of L-1 visas... H-1B visas. The visas are nothing but a subsidy to US companies at the expense of US citizens...
All of the occupations with the largest projected employment growth (in terms of the number of jobs) over the next decade are in non-tradable domestic services. The top 10 sources of the most jobs in 'super-power' America are: retail sales-persons, registered nurses, post-secondary teachers, customer service representatives, janitors and cleaners, waiters and waitresses, food preparation (includes fast food), home health aides, nursing aides, orderlies and attendants, general and operations managers. Note than none of this projected employment growth will contribute one nickel toward producing goods and services that could be exported to help close the massive US trade deficit. Note, also, that few of these jobs classifications require a college education.
Among the fastest growing occupations (in terms of rate of growth), 7 of the 10 are in health care and social assistance. The 3 remaining fields are: network systems and data analysis with 126K jobs projected or 12,600 per year; computer software engineering applications with 222K jobs projected or 22,200 per year, and computer software engineering systems software with 146K jobs projected or 14,600 per year. Assuming these projections are realized, how many of the computer engineering and network systems jobs will go to Americans? Not many, considering the 65K [make that 100K] H-1B visas each year (650K [1M] over the decade) and the loss during the past 5 years of 761K jobs in the information sector and computer systems design and related...
If off-shore jobs out-sourcing is good for US employment, why won't the US Department of Commerce release the 200-page, $335K study of the impact of the off-shoring of US high-tech jobs? Republican political appointees reduced the 200-page report to 12 pages of public relations hype and refuse to allow the Technology Administration experts who wrote the report to testify before Congress. Democrats on the House Science Committee are unable to pry the study out of the hands of Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez. Obviously, the facts don't fit the Bush regime's globalization hype...
turning to the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics. We will look at 'computer and mathematical employment' and 'architecture and engineering employment'. Computer and mathematical employment includes such fields as 'software engineers applications', 'software engineers systems software', 'computer programmers', 'network systems and data communications', and 'mathematicians'. Has this occupation been a source of job growth? In November of 2000 this occupation employed 2,932,810 people. In November of 2004 (the latest data available), this occupation employed 2,932,790, or 20 people fewer. Employment in this field has been stagnant for the past 4 years. During these 4 years, there have been employment shifts within the various fields of this occupation. For example, employment of computer programmers declined by 134,630, while employment of software engineers applications rose by 65,080, and employment of software engineers systems software rose by 59,600. (These shifts might merely reflect change in job or occupation title from programmer to software engineer.) These figures do not tell us whether any gain in software engineering jobs went to Americans.
According to professor Norm Matloff, in 2002 there were 463K computer-related H-1B visa holders in the US. Similarly, the 134,630 lost computer programming jobs (if not merely a job title change) may have been out-sourced off-shore to foreign affiliates.
Architecture and engineering employment includes all the architecture and engineering fields except software engineering. The total employment of architects and engineers in the US declined by 120,700 between 1999 November and 2004 November. Employment declined by 189,940 between 2000 November and 2004 November, and by 103,390 between 2001 November and 2004 November. There are variations among fields. Between 2000 November and 2004 November, for example, US employment of electrical engineers fell by 15,280. Employment of computer hardware engineers rose by 15,990 (possibly these are job title reclassifications). Overall, however, over 100K engineering jobs were lost. We do not know how many of the lost jobs were out-sourced off-shore to foreign affiliates or how many of any increase in computer hardware jobs went to foreign holders of H-1B or L-1 visas. Clearly, engineering and computer-related employment in the US has not been growing, whether measured by industry or by occupation."
2006-03-03 07:33PST (10:33EST) (15:33GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
UMich consumer sentiment index crept up from 87.4 in early February to 86.7 in late February (but down from 91.2 in January)
2006-03-03 08:40PST (11:40EST) (16:40GMT)
Carla Mozee _MarketWatch_
Another vehicle parts maker, Dana, files for reorganization
Bruce A. Hake _Immigration Daily_
Moderate bill could criminalize all non-emergency aid to illegal aliens
Patricia Zapor _Tidings_
business owner whines about reasonable requirements for hiring immigrants & non-immigrants
"As the owner of AQUAS (Automated Quality Applications and Systems), a small [tech body shop] in Chevy Chase, MD, Larsen assumed that the costs and paper-work necessary to hire skilled workers from outside the United States would be far more trouble than it was worth... Having attended American schools abroad, she said, she never really thought of herself as anything but an American. 'I was an American long before I got here.', she said. She graduated from Georgetown University in 1973 and became a U.S. citizen not long after marrying an American when she was in her early 20s. Then, a Russian who had been an unpaid intern for AQUAS asked Larsen to sponsor his application for a visa that would allow him to return to work there. He had been an asset as an intern and Larsen was pleased at the prospect of getting him back. He even offered to take care of the paper-work himself and to delay his own salary to offset the extra expense to the company of paying immigration processing fees, she said. 'As it turned out, I really didn't have to do much.', she explained, and the Russian man became a valued employee. Since then Larsen has continued to hire immigrants for her staff of about 24. She has learned a lot about what employers and immigrants go through to meet the requirements for working legally in the United States. To start with, paper-work and related fees to obtain an H1B visa, the category for skilled workers, each cost her company between $3,600 and $4K, she said [a small fraction of what it would cost to do a thorough background check if the federal government were serious about its 'war on terror']... Employers of people with H1B visas are required to pay them at least the rate set by the U.S. Labor Department, no matter what the prevailing wage is for that job. 'That tends to be much higher than we would ever pay someone in the current market.', Larsen said. [So, she is in the habit of uner-paying her American employees and interns.] The foreign-citizen spouses and children of workers with H1B visas are allowed to join them in the United States, but they are not allowed to hold jobs here [unless they obtain a work visa]."
Sara A. Carter _Inland Valley Daily Bulletin_
Capitol border debate is hot: All agree that immigration should be reformed. The disagreement is how
"While a Senate Judiciary Committee began drafting an immigration reform bill Thursday, 2 House sub-committees got an earful from Texas law enforcement officials fed up with dangerously lax border security... Specter's measure includes the guest-worker program proposed by President Bush last year. It would allow illegal immigrants to apply for a work visa for up to 6 years before having to return to their home countries, he said. Other committee members suggested the program should give migrants the opportunity to apply for permanent residency in the United States. The bill calls for the creation of a 'virtual fence' along the border that will operate with new monitoring technologies. It also requires all employers to electronically verify whether their workers are legal, and it 'stream-lines the deportation process and reduces frivolous litigation'. 'For example, aliens who have been ordered deported, and then slip back into the country illegally, are not entitled to a full judiciary proceeding again.', said senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, who offered several amendments to the bill... More than 1.2M illegal immigrants were apprehended in 2004, according to Salvador Zamora of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. [In the past, Border Patrollers have estimated that only one third or fewer illegal immigrants are apprehended, but some are apprehended repeatedly.] Senate leaders said at Wednesday's hearing that Border Patrol officials have caught more than 400K people in the first 2 months of this year -- about double from last year..."
Warren Mass _New American_
Guest-Worker plans are anti-minority
"Liberal politicians such as Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy have long portrayed themselves as champions of minority Americans. But the guest-worker legislation cosponsored by Kennedy and Arizona Senator John McCain is actually feared by many black workers -- and with good reason... All political grandstanding aside, however, an article in the February 20 Los Angeles Times addressed another side of the guest worker coin -- a side that sheds light on a very illiberal aspect of it. The article, by Times staff writer Teresa Watanabe, publicized the plight of black workers in the L.A. area, where the unemployment rate for blacks is now 14%. A key figure in the story was a man named Drexell Johnson, who leads an organization called Young Black Contractors of South Central Inc. As Watanabe notes: 'The news that President Bush and some members of Congress are pushing to bring more blue-collar guest workers into the country — perhaps 400K annually -- leaves the contractors indignant. ''Hell, no, don't bring no one in from nowhere.'', said Johnson, a 47-year-old Mississippi native who founded his consortium of 35 minority contractors a decade ago. ''Train the people here. Give the people here the same opportunity you're willing to give someone out of this country.''' And it is not just black workers who are concerned about the flood of cheap labor that guest worker proposals would bring. The article cited a Pew Hispanic Center poll last August that reported that 34% of American-born Hispanics surveyed believed that illegal immigrants hurt the economy by driving down wages and 32% opposed a temporary-worker program."
Barbara Anderson _American Chronicle_
Illegal Aliens are Cleaning Up in Boston
Hamas refused to be civil
"Mashaal in turn struck an uncompromising stance, saying the Jewish state must first withdraw from territories occupied in 1967 [after defeating their attackers] and allow the return of Palestinian refugees among other conditions if it wants peace. That statement -- while sticking to Hamas' tradition of ambiguity -- could be significant, because Hamas in the past has called for Israel's elimination altogether... He also ruled out any negotiations with the current Israeli government."
GWBush confessed that off-shore out-sourcing does harm Americans
"You lost your job. It's probably one of the most dreaded things you'll ever hear from your boss. Then you find out that your white-collar position moved to the other side of the globe -- to India. President Bush says he feels your pain and that education -- not trade protectionism -- is the answer to deal with the increasing globalized world in which we live and work... 'It's painful for those who lose jobs.', Bush said. 'But the fundamental question is, how does a government or society react to that. And it's basically one of 2 ways. One is to say, losing jobs is painful, therefore, let's throw up protectionist walls. And the other is to say, losing jobs is painful, so let's make sure people are educated so they can find -- fill the jobs of the 21st century.', he said [ignoring the fact that many of the millions of un-employed and under-employed Americans are among the brightest, most highly educated in the world]... Last year, 11,375 U.S. workers were laid off because their jobs were moved over-seas, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In many of those cases, Mexico and [Red China] were cited as the place where the jobs were going, a bureau official said. In 2004, 16,197 workers were laid off because their job was moved over-seas. The figures don't capture all lay-offs -- only the bigger ones, the official said [nor does it count the tens of thousands whose displacement has been less than blatant]."
_India Business Standard_
GWBush asks India to open up further
"US president backs out-sourcing, says America is against protectionism. President George W. Bush today asked India to open up further for US business interests, even as he sent out strong signals in support of out-sourcing by American companies to low-cost destinations like India."
Bush Admits that Out-Sourcing and Off-Shoring Does Hurt the USA
Week's News Summary
Enquirer 80 stock index down 0.08%
"The Enquirer 80 Index of local interest stocks rose .25 points, or 0.08%, to 295.00. 27 issues were up, 50 were down and 3 were unchanged. Leading gainers were AK Steel, up $2.19 to $13.53; Dillard's Inc., up $1.08 to $25.38; LCA Vision Inc., up 71 cents to $43.18; Federated Department Stores, up 60 cents to $71.10; and Humana Inc., up 55 cents to $51.49. Biggest losers were Toyota Motor Co., down $1.359 to $105.47; Midland Co., down 66 cents to $33.72; Gannett Co. Inc., down 51 cents to $62.24; Boston Beer Co., down 40 cents to $26.35; and Standard Register Co., down 37 cents to $16.81."
|10-year US T-Bond||4.68%|
2006-03-03 17:03PST (2006-03-03 20:03EST) (2006-03-04 01:03GMT)
Alistair Barr _MarketWatch_
Share-holders gain concessions as proxy season draws near
"Determined to avoid embarrassing and potentially damaging votes at annual share-holder meetings, more companies are bowing to pressure from activist investors. Corporate governance experts say the trend highlights a major shift in the balance of power toward share-holders and away from corporate executives and directors... And the growth in settlements could shrink the volume of votes being held. In each of the past 3 years, more than 1,000 share-holder proposals were put forward at the start of proxy season, but this year will likely fall well short of that, according to Patrick McGurn of Institutional Share-holder Services, another proxy advisory firm. That's not because investors have stopped making demands. It's because more companies are cutting deals to kill off ballot proposals deemed unacceptable before they go before the broader body of voting share-holders, McGurn said... The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which claims its member organizations own at least 3% of the largest U.S. companies, has been filing share-holder proposals and pressuring firms to change for years. But 2006 is already turning into a banner year for the group, which counts pension giants CalPers and the New York State Common Retirement Fund among its members, according to Director of Pension and Benefit Policy Richard Ferlauto. 'Settlements with companies are up significantly on last year.', he said... One of the biggest concessions companies are making this year is a move to majority voting for directors."
2006-03-04 11:17PST (14:17EST) (19:17GMT)
Mark Cotton _MarketWatch_
Warren Buffett blasts excessive executive pay: Trade deficit & rising money-management fees are also causes to worry
"'Too often executive compensation in the U.S.A. is ridiculously out of line with performance.', said Buffett in his 2005 letter. Buffett said the problem lies in the way executive compensation is decided. 'Huge severance payments, lavish perks and out-sized payments for ho-hum performance often occur because comp committees have become slaves to comparative data.' Buffett said compensation committee members are bombarded with pay statistics and told about new perks that other managers are receiving. 'In this manner, outlandish goodies are showered upon CEOs...'"
Buffett's "letter" (pdf)
"Rather than address the situation head on, however, I wasted several years while we attempted to sell the operation. That was a doomed endeavor because no realistic solution could have extricated us from the maze of liabilities that was going to exist for decades. Our obligations were particularly worrisome because their potential to explode could not be measured. Moreover, if severe trouble occurred, we knew it was likely to correlate with problems elsewhere in financial markets. So I failed in my attempt to exit painlessly, and in the meantime more trades were put on the books. Fault me for dithering. (Charlie calls it thumb-sucking.) When a problem exists, whether in personnel or in business operations, the time to act is now. The second reason I regularly describe our problems in this area lies in the hope that our experiences may prove instructive for managers, auditors and regulators. In a sense, we are a canary in this business coal mine and should sing a song of warning as we expire. The number and value of derivative contracts outstanding in the world continues to mushroom and is now a multiple of what existed in 1998, the last time that financial chaos erupted. Our experience should be particularly sobering because we were a better-than-average candidate to exit gracefully. Gen Re was a relatively minor operator in the derivatives field. It has had the good fortune to unwind its supposedly liquid positions in a benign market, all the while free of financial or other pressures that might have forced it to conduct the liquidation in a less-than-efficient manner. Our accounting in the past was conventional and actually thought to be conservative. Additionally, we know of no bad behavior by anyone involved. It could be a different story for others in the future. Imagine, if you will, one or more firms (troubles often spread) with positions that are many multiples of ours attempting to liquidate in chaotic markets and under extreme, and well-publicized, pressures. This is a scenario to which much attention should be given now rather than after the fact... For his accomplishments, Jim was paid very well -- but he earned every penny. (This is no academic evaluation: As a 9.7% owner of Gillette, Berkshire in effect paid that proportion of his compensation.) Indeed, it's difficult to over-pay the truly extraordinary CEO of a giant enterprise. But this specie is rare. Too often, executive compensation in the U.S.A. is ridiculously out of line with performance. That won't change, moreover, because the deck is stacked against investors when it comes to the CEO's pay. The up-shot is that a mediocre-or-worse CEO -- aided by his hand-picked VP of human relations and a consultant from the ever-accommodating firm of Ratchet, Ratchet and Bingo -- all too often receives gobs of money from an ill-designed compensation arrangement. Take, for instance, 10 year, fixed-price options (and who wouldn't?). If Fred Futile, CEO of Stagnant, Inc., receives a bundle of these -- let's say enough to give him an option on 1% of the company -- his self-interest is clear: He should skip dividends entirely and instead use all of the company's earnings to repurchase stock. Let's assume that under Fred's leadership Stagnant lives up to its name. In each of the 10 years after the option grant, it earns $1G on $10G of net worth, which initially comes to $10 per share on the 100M shares then outstanding. Fred eschews dividends and regularly uses all earnings to repurchase shares. If the stock constantly sells at 10 times earnings per share, it will have appreciated 158% by the end of the option period. That's because repurchases would reduce the number of shares to 38.7M by that time, and earnings per share would thereby increase to $25.80. Simply by withholding earnings from owners, Fred gets very rich, making a cool $158M, despite the business itself improving not at all. Astonishingly, Fred could have made more than $100M if Stagnant's earnings had declined by 20% during the 10-year period. Fred can also get a splendid result for himself by paying no dividends and deploying the earnings he withholds from share-holders into a variety of disappointing projects and acquisitions. Even if these initiatives deliver a paltry 5% return, Fred will still make a bundle. Specifically -- with Stagnant's p/e ratio remaining unchanged at 10 -- Fred's option will deliver him $63M. Meanwhile, his share-holders will wonder what happened to the 'alignment of interests' that was supposed to occur when Fred was issued options. A 'normal' dividend policy, of course -- one-third of earnings paid out, for example -- produces less extreme results but still can provide lush rewards for managers who achieve nothing. CEOs understand this math and know that every dime paid out in dividends reduces the value of all outstanding options. I've never, however, seen this manager-owner conflict referenced in proxy materials that request approval of a fixed-priced option plan. Though CEOs invariably preach internally that capital comes at a cost, they somehow forget to tell share-holders that fixed-price options give them capital that is free. It doesn't have to be this way: It's child's play for a board to design options that give effect to the automatic build-up in value that occurs when earnings are retained. But -- surprise, surprise -- options of that kind are almost never issued. Indeed, the very thought of options with strike prices that are adjusted for retained earnings seems foreign to compensation 'experts', who are nevertheless encyclopedic about every management-friendly plan that exists. ('Whose bread I eat, his song I sing.') Getting fired can produce a particularly bountiful pay-day for a CEO. Indeed, he can 'earn' more in that single day, while cleaning out his desk, than an American worker earns in a life-time of cleaning toilets. Forget the old maxim about nothing succeeding like success: Today, in the executive suite, the all too-prevalent rule is that nothing succeeds like failure. Huge severance payments, lavish perks and outsized payments for ho-hum performance often occur because comp committees have become slaves to comparative data. The drill is simple: Three or so directors -- not chosen by chance -- are bombarded for a few hours before a board meeting with pay statistics that perpetually ratchet upwards. Additionally, the committee is told about new perks that other managers are receiving. In this manner, outlandish 'goodies' are showered upon CEOs simply because of a corporate version of the argument we all used when children: 'But, Mom, all the other kids have one.'. When comp committees follow this 'logic', yesterday's most egregious excess becomes today's base-line. Comp committees should adopt the attitude of Hank Greenberg, the Detroit slugger and a boyhood hero of mine. Hank's son, Steve, at one time was a player's agent. Representing an out-fielder in negotiations with a major league club, Steve sounded out his dad about the size of the signing bonus he should ask for. Hank, a true pay-for-performance guy, got straight to the point, 'What did he hit last year?' When Steve answered '.246' [for all of the non-mutant fans that's not very good, Hank's comeback was immediate: 'Ask for a uniform.'. (Let me pause for a brief confession: In criticizing comp committee behavior, I don't speak as a true insider. Though I have served as a director of 20 public companies, only 1 CEO has put me on his comp committee. Hmmmm...)..."
Llewellyn H. Rockwell
The State and Its 5 Rationales
2006-03-05 12:19PST (15:19EST) (20:19GMT)
Jonathan Burton _MarketWatch_
AT&T to re-absorb BellSouth for $67G
"would give it sole control over the biggest U.S. wireless operator, Cingular Wireless, and dramatically expand the reach of the nation's largest telecommunications company."
Governor prepares his final to-do list
"Where Bush claims success in lowering unemployment, his political opponents point to the growing ranks of the under-employed and uninsured..."
2006-03-06 03:38PST (06:38EST) (11:38GMT)
AT&T merger a flash-point for concerns about market concentration
"'This merger becomes a critical flash point in this growing concern about the future of the Internet in the United States.', Jeff Chester, executive director for the Center for Digital Democracy, a Washington, DC-based non-profit, told MarketWatch. 'This deal is based on the ability of AT&T to control a huge sector of the broad-band market-place... We see it as anti-competitive and undemocratic... If we permit more take-overs, such as AT&T and BellSouth, we will soon witness a further shrinking of the number of conglomerates dominating our local and national media... But [the companies] are sadly mistaken if they believe there won't be intense opposition to this deal.' The consumer groups and activists blame the 1996 Telecommunications Act for a wave of mergers and consolidation in broadcast, communications and media markets that they say has brought higher prices and fewer options for customers."
2006-03-06 06:59PST (09:59EST) (14:59GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
2005 Q4 productivity fell 0.5%
"Unit labor costs... increased 3.3% annualized, revised down from 3.5% earlier. It was the biggest increase in [total compensation] in a year... In all of 2005 compared to 2004, productivity increased 2.9%, the slowest rate of growth since 2001. Unit labor costs rose [a mere] 2.6% last year, the fastest gain since 2000 [but still lagging inflation]... The United States has enjoyed a once-in-a-generation boom in [statistical] productivity in the past 4 years, averaging 3.5% rather than the 2.2% long-term trend. It takes 85 workers today to produce what 100 could produce in 2001 [if various statistical lags and productivity shifting are ignored]... the fourth quarter, output in the nonfarm business sector increased 1.5%, the smallest increase in 3 years. Hours worked rose 2%, revised up from 1.5% earlier. Unit labor costs, which track the cost of the labor used to make one "unit" of output, increased 3.3%, a stiff warning that inflationary pressures could be rising. However, real hourly compensation (adjusted for inflation) fell 0.4% in the quarter and is up just 0.1% in the past four quarters, matching the slowest growth in nearly nine years. Unit labor costs are up 1.3% year-on-year, the slowest growth in 6 quarters. 'The four-quarter increase in unit labor costs remains fairly modest and this is likely to provide comfort to some members of the FOMC.', Ryding said. In the manufacturing sector, productivity increased 4.7% in the fourth quarter, with unit labor costs falling 2.8%. Output in manufacturing rose 9.3%, the most in 8 years."
Robert Kilborn _Christian Science Monitor_
A Week's Worth: Lay-off announcements were down 15.5% from January to 87,437
Los Angeles Times
2006-03-06 07:08PST (10:08EST) (15:08GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
US factory orders fell 4.5% in January
census bureau report
Paul McDougall _Information Week_
Legislation to help displaced workers is slightly off the mark: Legislation would give people hurt by off-shore out-sourcing longer unemployment benefits, access to training, and other assistance.
"Some Michigan law-makers want to help IT professionals and other workers whose jobs have been out-sourced over-seas. Senator Liz Brater and several other Democrats in the Michigan Senate are backing a bill that would give out-sourced workers benefits such as emergency assistance with car and mortgage payments, longer-term unemployment insurance, fast-track admission into state community colleges, and job placement assistance... Companies rarely advertise out-sourcing initiatives, and in many cases it's difficult to make a direct connection between a job lost in the United States and one created off-shore. Michigan lost 38K jobs in 2005 to out-sourcing and other factors, according to the Mackinac Center For Public Policy. As many as 6M U.S. jobs may go off-shore over the next decade, Goldman Sachs says. [Some academic estimates reach as high as 16M.]... Ford is evaluating a plan to move IT help-desk positions to Romania. GM recently included Indian out-sourcer Wipro Technologies in a group of vendors to which it will hand $15G in IT work over the next five years. Bosch, Electrolux, and Johnson Controls also are among the Michigan companies that have recently out-sourced work."
Frosty Wooldridge _American Daily_
How stupid or ignorant is this president... and congress?
News with Views
"Last week, Congress and President Bush invited 7K Russian Muslim immigrants, without inspection of any kind, into our country with a life-time promise of unlimited welfare. Was this a hoax? Was this a madcap moment? Who got high on paint fumes wafting through the halls of Congress? Why didn't someone protest adding 7K members of a religious sect that bomb their way into the 21st century and whose Koran espouses death to all Christians and Jews?... Bush not only invited 7K Muslims; he signed over 22 ports to United Arab Emirates. These people fund the deadly terrorist group Hamas which is bent on killing every Jew in the world. The UAE served up 2 of the 9/11 terrorists that killed 3K Americans. UAE launders terror-sponsoring money throughout the world. At the United Nations, United Arab Emirates votes against the U.S. 70% of the time... What about our own elected Congress and president supporting H-1B, H-2B and L-1 visas that have stolen jobs from 1M Americans? What about the out-sourcing, in-sourcing and off-shoring of American jobs? It's unconscionable! Why hasn't he done something about the $700G trade deficit? What's he waiting for? [The US owes Red China] over $280G in trade deficit from last year alone! We've got 14M unemployed American workers and Bush hasn't created jobs for them, but he wants to legalize 20M illegal aliens to work those jobs at slave wages. How completely stupid is that? How much does he want to swamp this country with foreigners? Another 10M Mexicans? That's right; we've got 10M Mexicans and if Bush has his way, we'll have another 10M. So when does the need for 'cheap labor' end and the rights of American citizens begin? As our national language vanishes into a Tower of Babel, why hasn't Bush rescinded Bill Clinton's insane E.O.13166 that forces us to give all immigrants documents in their own language instead of them learning English? It's a national nightmare we may not survive as we balkanize ourselves into city states where language separates us from ourselves. How stupid is this president? What about illegal Mexicans colonizing us from the south? Bush pushes a guest worker program that will give us millions upon millions of legalized illegal aliens with a promise of more to come! He does it in spite of the fact that they are not working the 'jobs that Americans won't do' but taking jobs in all sectors that Americans have always worked -- for a living wage. Bush forces our working poor into welfare lines while we pay food stamp and unemployment costs. While illegals don't pay into our income tax (half work off the books), school and medical systems but use them, they send $20G back home to Mexico annually... Does Bush have any inkling as to 'carrying capacity' and the lack of water in the West that's already screaming for water that isn't available?"
Peter G. Gosselin _Los Angeles Times_
Good Education Is Not Enough: American workers at all levels are vulnerable to out-sourcing, experts say, posing a challenge to the assumption that more education is the answer.
"President Bush met with a group of business school students in the Indian city of Hyderabad last week [when he should have been meeting with groups of science, engineering and computer programming students across the USA]... readiness to work for a fraction of U.S. wages were tugging jobs over-seas, away from even well-educated Americans. Bush used the occasion to offer some pointed advice to workers back home: Get more training. 'Let's make sure people are educated so they can fill the jobs of the 21st century.', he said [but most of the jobs created in the USA in the 21st century have not been for the well-educated]. But the president's assertion that the answer to foreign out-sourcing is education, a mantra embraced by Democrats as well as Republicans, is being challenged by a growing body of research and analysis from economists and other scholars. Education -- at least as delivered by most of the nation's colleges, universities and technical schools -- is no longer quite the economic cure-all it once was, nor the guarantee of financial security Americans have come to expect from college and graduate degrees. 'More education has been the right answer for the past few decades', said Princeton University economist and former Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Alan S. Blinder, 'but I'm not so convinced that it's the right course' for coping with the upheavals of globalization. Not that Blinder or other experts think workers would be better off not going to school. Rather, they point to emerging evidence that education may not offer as much protection against the effects of globalization as Bush and others claim... Starting in 1975, the earnings difference between high school- and college-educated workers steadily widened for 25 years. But since 2000, the trend appears to have stalled. Census figures show that average, after-inflation earnings of college graduates fell by more than 5% between 2000 and 2004, whereas the earnings of those with only high school degrees rose slightly... Blinder offered a rough estimate that suggested that as many as 42M jobs, or nearly one-third of the nation's total, were susceptible to off-shoring... Bush previously has defended the off-shoring of jobs as an economic reality [a fait accompli] and a trend that ultimately would work in America's favor. But he was exceptionally candid about its down-side during his exchange with the Indian students."
Stop Arlen Specter's Illegal Immigrant Amnesty
"'It's going to be an extraordinary debate filled with fear and guilt and racism and xenophobia.', said a former U.S. senator, as he attempted a blanket assassination of the characters of all those who simply want to secure our borders, enforce our immigration laws and do so without granting amnesty to immigration law-breakers... They were attributed in the Philadelphia Inquirer last week to former senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming, whose most memorable act as a law-maker was to sponsor the first illegal immigration amnesty, which passed Congress in 1986 amid promises from its supporters, including many conservatives, that it would once-and-for-all solve the problem of illegal immigration. Last week, Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) introduced a 21st Century version of Simpson's amnesty plan... The key element in Specter's 305-page bill is that it would convert illegal aliens already in the United States into legal 'temporary' workers... There are many objections to a guest-worker/amnesty plan, and they have nothing to do with racism and xenophobia. For starters, a plan that converts illegal aliens into legal temporary workers rewards law-breakers with a prize of great value: the right to legally live and work in the world's greatest nation. Not only is it wrong to reward an immigration law-breaker this way, it is unjust to aliens who are trying to immigrate to the U.S. and have chosen to respect and abide by our law. Secondly, a guest-worker/amnesty program is also unjust to U.S. citizens on the bottom rungs of the earnings ladder because it forces them to compete for jobs and wages with foreign nationals who will be allowed to come here only if they agree to work for lower wages than an American. Thirdly, a guest-worker/amnesty program is double-barreled corporate welfare. It lets corporations import foreign laborers into the U.S. and pay them wages they could not hire an American worker for, while forcing American taxpayers to pick up the tab for the public services these low-wage foreign workers will consume. [Tax-victims] will not only subsidize the cost of guest-worker health care, but also pay the cost of educating guest-worker children. Indeed, these could end up being very expensive 'guests' from [tax-victims'] perspective. Most importantly, a guest worker/amnesty program would exacerbate our greatest immigration problem, which is really a national security problem. In the midst of a war against terrorists, our government has failed to stem the massive, unmonitored flow of unknown persons crossing our borders. When foreign nationals now pondering illegally entering the U.S. learn that illegal aliens who went before them were granted legal status by an all-Republican government that prides itself on upholding the rule of law and putting national security above all other federal duties, it will provide a powerful new incentive for those aliens to come..."
|10-year US T-Bond||4.74%|
2006-03-06 19:20PST (2006-03-06 22:20EST) (2006-03-07 03:20GMT)
Sinead Carew _Reuters_
AT&T plans 10K job cuts after BellSouth acquisition
2006-03-07 10:18PST (13:18EST) (18:19GMT)
GM shifts pension costs to employees
Monsters & Critics
Detroit Free Press
"The world's biggest auto-maker will freeze accrued pension benefits for salaried employees starting 2007-01-01, shifting toward a reliance on 'defined contribution' plans, such as 401(k)s. Salaried employees hired after 2001-01-01, will move solely to the defined contribution plans, receiving a contribution from GM to their 401(k) program of 4% of their annual base salary. Employees hired before 2001 will remain under a type of pension plan, but will receive a reduced retirement benefit for future accruals. The move won't affect current retirees or the vested benefits of former employes, GM said. GN expects the changes to lower its pre-tax pension expense by $420M in 2007. The additional 401(k) contributions are expected to increase expenses by $15M. The company also plans to record a pre-tax charge of $120M related to the move."
Eric Krol _Chicago Daily Herald_
Candidates open up on health care, reform, war in Iraq
"The primary race for the 6th Congressional District involves Democrats Lindy Scott, Tammy Duckworth and Christine Cegelis. The winner will face Republican state senator Peter Roskam in the November election... I strongly support campaign finance and lobbying reform. An immediate contribution I would make would be to either sponsor or co-sponsor a reform package that would end the pay-to-play system so prevalent in the top levels of our government. Leaders in our House need to step forward with legislation that proposes solutions to the health care crisis facing our nation. I support and would be a strong advocate for universal single-payer health care as a means to provide coverage to millions of uninsured Americans and reduce the heavy financial burden for those businesses bearing the brunt of escalating costs. Other immediate priorities would be legislation mandating the reduction of the H-1B Visa program that is currently allowing corporations to train foreign employees here in the U.S. and then ship the jobs over-seas. As a member of Congress, I will fight to preserve jobs and create new opportunity."
Lynne Brakeman _Landscape Management_
Senate hearings begin this week on comprehensive immigration changes (with links to related stories)
"On March 7, Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced comprehensive immigration reform legislation for hearings. According to media reports, the committee plans to send the legislation to the Senate floor by March 27. Last December, the House of Representatives passed an immigration reform bill (HR4437) that was supported by the Bush administration, but denounced by advocates for immigrant workers. Under that plan, qualified workers (including undocumented workers) could stay in the country 6 years, but then would have to return home. Specter's proposed legislation reportedly aims for a compromise. Among the initial proposals: a 'gold card' program for undocumented workers already in the country and a guest-worker program to bring in more foreign laborers. Workers who qualify for the gold card would get a background check by the Department of Homeland Security. After that, they would be eligible for 2-year work visas that could be renewed indefinitely. 'What do you do with the undocumented, that's the most controversial piece of this debate.', said Craig Regelbrugge, senior director of government relations for the American Nursery and Landscape Association (ANLA) in a phone interview. 'Senator Specter's starting point for this conversation is a non-immigrant visa that would allow qualified workers who stay employed to remain indefinitely.', he added. 'This would be good for our industry. At some landscape and nursery companies, workers have presented documents that turn out to be not valid. Many times, they are skilled workers, supervisors or equipment operators. If they have to leave after 3 years or 6 years, that will have an impact on that business.' Regelbrugge says the ANLA and other small business advocacy groups are closely monitoring the progress of the Senate bill. He says the H-2B program for seasonal workers is still an important part of the legislation under consideration. 'In our view, any temporary worker visa program would be in addition to the H-2B program. We're going to want to see a seasonal program and a year-round program. This whole issue is very important to our industry.', he said."
NC congress-critters say they want to lower costs to farmers and drive down compensation for workers
"The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that energy is costing farmers $5.2G more now compared to a year ago, said representative Brad Miller, D-NC... Etheridge said he wants to examine how farmers can provide alternative sources of fuel and help draw up trade agreements to benefit farmers. Miller added that comprehensive reform is needed to provide a dependable, affordable work force. Tobacco growers, for example, have said labor is their greatest cost, nearly twice as costly as machinery or fuel for curing the leaf. Many of them employ immigrant laborers, and the Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina's top resolutions include asking Congress to revise the guest worker program so that temporary visas for laborers are easier and cheaper to get. The fee to process visas and transport workers is nearly doubling to $900 for each worker, and the hourly wage is kicking up 30 cents to $8.58, tobacco farmers have said. Some believe they should be paying closer to $6.50 an hour."
"This month, politicians are once again fighting it out over what to do about illegal immigration. Proposals range from a guest worker program that would grant citizenship to illegal immigrants to a 700 mile wall along [a small fraction of] the southern border of the U.S.A. And while politicians debate, every day in countless poor villages across Central America and Mexico, young boys and girls leave their homes for the United States in a desperate journey to find the mothers who left them behind. Nazario discovered that 48K children a year make the trip from Central America and Mexico to the United States."
Terrence Dopp _Bridgeton News_
Driver licenses not supported
"During a State House demonstration Monday, Guzman, 43, of Glassboro, and others touted a petition with 1,000 signatures -- some legal immigrants, some not, they said -- calling for New Jersey to issue so-called driver privilege cards... it was panned by both Democrats and Republicans [and Libertarians who realize that driving -- an exercise of liberty -- and privacy are fundamental human rights]."
Illegal immigration into USA grew by 500K in last year, since Bush began talking about amnesty/guest-workers
"The study, by the Pew Hispanic Center, said that the population of unauthorised migrants reached between 11.5M and 12M last year, accounting for nearly a third of the foreign-born population in the USA. That number is up from roughly 8.4M in 2000. [Other reasonable estimates have reached as high as 24M.] The continued rise was driven primarily by the strong demand for low-skilled work in the USA. 'What we're seeing is a labour migration that is tied to employment opportunities.', said Jeffrey Passel, the study's author... The Senate judiciary committee is launching a 3-week effort to produce a bill that the committee's chairman, Republican Arlen Specter, hopes will create new legal channels for foreign workers in the USA. The proposal, outlined by committee staff on Monday, would allow those illegally in the US to apply for renewable 2-year work visas, and would create a new guest worker programme to allow new workers to come to the US legally. That contrasts with legislation that passed the House of Representatives late last year and would toughen enforcement against illegal aliens but would not allow for new guest workers. Differences between the House bill and the Senate version would have to be resolved later this year. The Pew survey underscored the substantial presence of illegal workers in the US labour market. It estimated about 4.9% of the US labour force, or 7.2M workers, was composed of unauthorised migrants. Nearly a third of those work in service occupations, 19% in construction and 15% in production, installation and repair jobs. Illegal workers are especially prevalent in farming, where they make up nearly a quarter of all workers, as well as cleaning, residential home construction and food processing... The study found that the southern border remains the gateway to the US, with Mexican migrants making up 56% of the unauthorised population, and another 22% coming from the rest of Latin America, particularly Central American countries such as Guatemala and El Salvador. The vast majority of those end up finding work in the USA. Among adult males, 94% of illegal immigrants participated in the US labour force, compared with an 83% participation rate for native-born men."
Michael E. Telzrow _New American_
Latino Immigration Reformers
"Ignoring conventional wisdom, Americans of Hispanic descent are at the forefront in the battle against illegal immigration. Lupe Moreno and Angie Morfin Vargas grew up the daughters of a bracero. Their father was one of the 5M temporary contract guest-workers who crossed the U.S./Mexican border between 1942 and 1964 to work in America's agricultural fields. Like many other braceros, Jesus 'Jesse' Morfin periodically returned to Mexico, but ultimately settled in the United States. With his American-born wife and their four children, Morfin lived a dual life -- publicly a hard-working immigrant, privately a smuggler of illegal aliens. Lupe Moreno helped her father run a safe house for illegal immigrants, in addition to attending school, running a household, and toiling in the fields. Today she lives in the same Santa Ana, California, house she grew up in, but in an unlikely twist of fate, she and her sister Angie now devote much of their time to campaigning against illegal immigration. As president of the 200-member Latino Americans for Immigration Reform, Lupe Moreno has emerged as one of California's most vocal Hispanic activists speaking out against the illegal immigration invasion... Ruben Morfin, Angie Morfin Vargas' son, was just 13 years old in 1990 when he was shot in the head by Ezequiel Mariscal while walking home from a party. The killer, Mariscal, a gang member and Mexican national, fled to Mexico, where he was eventually apprehended by Mexican authorities with assistance from San Diego's Foreign Prosecution Unit. Mexico's fugitive-friendly laws prevented Mariscal's extradition, but he is now serving a 20-year sentence without parole in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. For Angie Morfin Vargas, her son's death was a brutal call to action. The former Chicana activist felt particularly wounded because Mariscal, an illegal alien, was the sort of person she might have befriended in previous times... Once a proponent of unfettered immigration, Morfin Vargas now began to take a critical look at America's immigration policy. Sensing a link between illegal immigration and increased gang activity, she formed Mothers Taking Action Against Gang Violence and began to lobby for an end to the nation's de facto open border policy."
Peter Clark _New York News Day_
Danbury, CT panel discusses immigration reform
"The federal government 'aids and abets' employers who cheat the system by hiring [illegal alien] workers, Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy said here yesterday at the inaugural meeting of a coalition for immigration reform. Levy and Danbury, CT, Mayor Mark Boughton formed Mayors and Executives for Immigration Reform to organize local leaders from across the country to pressure Congress to deal with the strain they believe illegal immigrants put on local governments. Levy spoke of a disconnect between Congress and the American people, saying that 'everybody gets that immigration is a serious issue except those who represent us in Washington'. He said the federal government has failed to implement effective policies and local governments have been left with the financial burden of laws that allow undocumented residents to remain in the country and use public services. Though organizers say they hold no official stance or ideology, speakers were invited from conservative organizations the Federation for American Immigration Reform and the Center for Immigration Studies. Mark Krikorian, executive director for the Center for Immigration Studies, said he favors erecting 'firewalls', which he described as 'barriers to illegal immigrants to important institutions in our society so they can't live a normal life here'. Like many of the 60 attendees from 26 states, Krikorian spoke out against allowing [illegal alien] workers to stay in the country as guest workers, an idea that has support in the U.S. Senate and the White House. Krikorian said re-labeling illegal immigrants wouldn't solve any problem, but that there needed to be a change in the atmosphere that would encourage illegal immigrants to leave the country. Bill Schmidt, a councilman from Peekskill, feared the guest-worker program would create a tier of second-class citizens... Lynn Tramonte, a senior policy-communication associate at the National Immigration Forum, said illegal immigration continues to soar despite tougher laws passed in the past 10 years."
2006-03-07 13:59PST (16:59EST) (21:59GMT)
Robert Schroeder _MarketWatch_
US January consumer credit was up 2.2%
"U.S. consumers took on an extra $3.9G in debt in January, pushing total outstanding consumer credit up by 2.2% to $2.16T, the Federal Reserve reported Tuesday."
Federal Reserve data release
Michael Smith _MedPage Today_
Gene may reduce enzyme activity and increase heart attack risk among the heaviest coffee drinkers
"reported in the March 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association... 95% of consumed caffeine is metabolized in the liver by cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2), which varies greatly in terms of activity among individuals. Specifically, a substitution - dubbed CYP1A2*1F -- in the CYP1A2 gene decreases its activity, and carriers of the allele, whether homo- or hetero-zygous, are called 'slow' metabolizers of caffeine. By contrast, carriers of another variant -- CYP1A2*1A -- are called 'fast' metabolizers of the stimulant, Dr. El-Sohemy and colleagues noted. In that context, between 1994 and 2004, he and colleagues enrolled 2,014 people in Costa Rica who had survived a first MI and matched them for age, sex, and area of residence. They were genotyped to see which CYP1A2 allele they carried and a food frequency questionnaire was used to assess how much caffeinated coffee they drank. A cup of coffee was defined as 250 mL. Most of the coffee drunk in Costa Rica is filtered, rather than espresso or other varieties of the drink. Analysis of the study population showed that 55% of cases, or 1,114, and 54% of controls, or 1,082, carried the 'slow' allele. Using people who drank less than a cup of coffee a day as a reference group (with an odds ratio of 1.00), the researchers found:
* Overall, only drinking more than 4 cups of coffee a day increased the risk of MI -- by 40%, with a 95% confidence interval between 1.05 and 1.87. Other levels of intake were not significantly associated with increased risk.
* But for those carrying the 'slow' allele, drinking 2 to 3 cups a day increased the risk by 36% (OR: 1.36) and drinking 4 or more increased it by 64% (OR: 1.64). (The 95% confidence intervals were 1.01 to 1.83 and 1.14 to 2.34, respectively.)
* Meanwhile, for those with the 'fast' allele, there was no significant increase in risk even at or above the 4-cup-a-day level, compared with those who drank less than a cup a day."
Tony Dolz _California Chronicle_
Illegal Immigration & the Hisponic Vote: What does the RNHA & La Raza Have in Common?
"What a 'coincidence' that on the eve of the senate debate on the merits of Congressman Sensenbrenner's HR4437 bill on Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control, Mr. Pedro Celis, Chairman of the National Republican Hispanic Assembly (RNHA) sent out a missive supporting Guest Worker Amnesty and the out-sourcing of American jobs. As strange as it may seem, Pedro Celis would have us believe that Guest Worker Amnesty is something that the highly respected RNHA and racist and pro-illegal immigration organizations, such as MEChA [Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan] and La Raza (The Race) organizations have in common... There are Hispanic organizations that identify so strongly with their original homelands, in some cases to cling to exclusivist racists ideologies, that their loyalty to the United States is secondary. These extremist organizations find justifications for lawless behavior, such as supporting illegal immigration; aiding and abetting illegal aliens; illegally seeking or accepting work or illegally partaking of tax-paid benefits they are not legally entitled to, if it suits it's members needs and goals. The RNHA, OTOH, stand for colorless integration into the American political and social landscape, undivided loyalty to the United States -- and a devout adherence to our Constitution and all the laws of this nation. For patriotic Hispanics, for example, border security including the building of a border wall or deploying the military to deter the $140G border trade in illegal drugs, for the security of all Americans, is more important than advocating open-borders. La Raza and MEChA are examples of extremist racist organizations that claim that the United States has no jurisdiction over several Southwestern states because only people that have at least marginal Amerindian descent have a right to live and rule a mythological land they call 'Aztlan'. Ironically most members of these extremist organizations speak a language, Spanish, and profess to adhere to a religion, Catholicism, that originated in Europe. Furthering the confusion, some extremists claim instead that these lands 'belong' to modern Mexico, not because Mexico represents Amerindian people, but because Spain ruled over those lands before modern Mexico defeated Spain in war. Well, those claims would seem to put Spain, a European nation, as the legitimate authority over those lands, otherwise Mexico would not have a claim based on having won a war with Spain. The Mexican occupation of California following the war with Spain lasted only 23 contested years. During those occupation years, Mexico only managed to muster about 300 troops to travel the distance to subdue the local Californians. This hardly represents a mandate to rule. The most extremist racist organizations make claims over 'Aztlan' based on race alone. As the mythology goes, Aztlan is the ancestral land of the Aztecs, so that would rule out any role for other Amerindian people as well as people of European, African and Asian descent..."
2006-03-07 10:00PST (13:00EST) (18:00GMT)
Marianne Kolbasuk McGee _Information Week_/_EE Times_
HP being sued over Carly Fiorina's $42M pay-out
"Pension fund investors filed a suit against Hewlett-Packard directors on Tuesday, calling 'excessive' the $42M severance package plus other perks paid last year to fired chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina. The action was filed in U.S. District Court in Northern California by Indiana Electrical Workers Pension Trust Fund and pension funds administered by the Service Employees International Union. The suit alleges that HP's board breached company policy last year by granting a pay-out to Fiorina that exceeded 2.99 times the sum of an executive's base salary, plus target bonuses, without seeking share-holder approval. That HP policy had been put in place in 2003 after share-holder dissent over a $16M pay-out to former HP president Michael Capellas, who had been in the position for only about 7 months, according to a statement released by law firm Grant & Eisenhofer, which is representing the 2 pension funds in the new law-suit..."
|10-year US T-Bond||4.74%|
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Questioning the Hallowed Value of Education
"As many readers of this e-newsletter know, my analysis of the off-shoring issue is that off-shoring becomes really big, the effect will mainly that we lose jobs requiring higher levels of education while gaining jobs which require lesser levels of education. There are two reasons for this. First, there is potentially such a large variety of jobs for the well-educated which, in principle, could be sent off-shore. The second reason is... Friedman, visiting offices in India in which software engineers were doing work off-shored from the U.S., noticed that the offices were cooled by Carrier air conditioners... But while this is conceivably correct in terms of GDP, you have to ask who in the U.S. really benefits. It won't be engineers who benefit, for instance. Carrier sales may increase by, say, 20% due to Indian purchases, but Carrier won't have to hire more engineers to design the air conditioners. After all, they'll be selling the same air conditioners as before. In fact, Carrier probably wouldn't hire many new people in the U.S. at all. Look at accountants, for instance. Carrier might need a few more of them to handle the increased sales, but not very many. In fact, Carrier might lay off its accountants and off-shore that work too. So, Friedman's own poster example involves a net loss of jobs generally held by well-educated people; Carrier would off-shore its [manufacturing], programming, accounting and other similar work, and not hire many new well-educated people, if any. [It's darkly amusing to consider that the Great Depression followed shortly after Carrier installed air conditioning in the US Capitol.] The IT industry's own report showed that this swap of higher-education jobs for lower-education jobs is already happening in IT. See my CACM article (pdf)... President Bush's claim that all the engineers displaced by off-shoring need to do is go back to school ignores reality, which is that most of them will end up retraining for a job at a lower level than engineering. Again, this is already happening in IT; a Dept. of Commerce study showed that most of the retraining funds which come out of the H-1B work visa user fees are going to train technicians, not engineers."
2006-03-08 08:00PST (11:00EST) (16:00GMT)
Paul McDougall _EE Times_/_Ingormation Week_
IBM is moving its body shop to India
_Southwest Nebraska News_
Cracking Down on Illegal Immigration
"And last Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee began hearings into immigration reform. What was clear from the very beginning among committee members, including the co-sponsors of my bill, is that they believe that we need to secure our borders first, before we can address other issues. My bi-partisan bill, offered with Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Jeff Sessions (R-AL), is a border security first bill. When I first announced last September that I would propose a border security bill I said at the time that Congress needed to change its thinking on how to address illegal immigration. The huge bills with guest worker programs and amnesty were going nowhere. I recommended securing our borders first, before we could address the other issues."
Danielle Belopotosky _Government Executive_
Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy lobbies for more bodyshopping
"McNealy said the greatest chllenges facing the technology industry and government are security threats, finite resources and the global demand fo energy... On Friday, Sun and more than 35 other organizations and technology companies formed the Open Document Alliance to improve access and retrieval of government e-documents. The misison is to enable governments to offer documents and records 'independent of the applications' [so that they] will be able to be accessed today, as well as [in] the future. They support the use of open document formats based on extensible mark-up language, or XML, including text and spread-sheets... Other government issues for Sun include access to H-1B visas... export controls, and patents..."
2006-03-08 10:28PST (13:28EST) (18:28GMT)
Lisa Sanders _MarketWatch_
Resistance is futile: Exxon Mobile CEO says goal of energy independence is unrealistic
"The U.S. government is doing a disservice to the American public by suggesting that the country can become energy-independent, especially since the country has oil and gas resources that are off-limits to development, Exxon Mobil Corp.'s top executive said Tuesday. America imports 10M barrels of oil a day while it sits on an abundance of potential, according to Exxon Mobil Chairman and Chief Executive Rex Tillerson, who spoke to reporters and editors from Dow Jones & Co. (publisher of MarketWatch) one day ahead of the company's annual meeting."
Sue Pleming _Courier-Mail_
US report records serious human rights abuses around the world
US State Department
"In its annual report detailing human rights abuses worldwide, the US State Department said in 2005 reports increased of killings by the Iraqi Government or its agents and members of sectarian militias dominated many police units... The global report also listed abuses among both allies and traditional foes, from close friends Saudi Arabia and Egypt to adversaries Iran, Syria and Zimbabwe. 'The People's Republic of China (PRC) is an authoritarian state in which, as specified in its constitution, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is the paramount source of power. Party members hold almost all top government, police and military positions. Ultimate authority rests with the 24-member political bureau (Politburo) of the CCP and its 9-member standing committee. General Secretary Hu Jintao holds the 3 most powerful positions as CCP general secretary, president, and chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC). The party's authority rested primarily on the government's ability to maintain social stability; appeals to nationalism and patriotism; party control of personnel, media, and the security apparatus; and continued improvement in the living standards of most of the country's 1.3G citizens. Civilian authorities generally maintained effective control of the security forces. The government's human rights record remained poor, and the government continued to commit numerous and serious abuses. There was a trend towards increased harassment, detention, and imprisonment by government and security authorities of those perceived as threatening to government authority. The government also adopted measures to control more tightly print, broadcast and electronic media, and censored online content. Protests by those seeking to redress grievances increased significantly and were suppressed, at times violently, by security forces. There were notable developments in legal reforms during the year. However, some key measures to increase the authority of the judiciary and reduce the arbitrary power of police and security forces stalled. The government adopted new religious affairs regulations expanding legal protection for some activities of registered religious groups but was criticized for failing to protect unregistered groups. The following human rights problems were reported:
* denial of the right to change the government
* physical abuse resulting in deaths in custody
* torture and coerced confessions of prisoners
* harassment, detention, and imprisonment of those perceived as threatening to party and government authority
* arbitrary arrest and detention, including non-judicial administrative detention, re-education-through-labor, psychiatric detention, and extended or incommunicado pretrial detention
* a politically controlled judiciary and a lack of due process in certain cases, especially those involving dissidents
* detention of political prisoners, including those convicted of disclosing state secrets and subversion, those convicted under the now-abolished crime of counter-revolution, and those jailed in connection with the 1989 Tiananmen demonstrations
* house arrest and other nonjudicially approved surveillance and detention of dissidents
* monitoring of citizens' mail, telephone and electronic communications
* use of a coercive birth limitation policy, in some cases resulting in forced abortion and sterilization
* increased restrictions on freedom of speech and the press; closure of newspapers and journals; banning of politically sensitive books, periodicals, and films; and jamming of some broadcast signals
* restrictions on the freedom of assembly, including detention and abuse of demonstrators and petitioners
* restrictions on religious freedom, control of religious groups, and harassment and detention of unregistered religious groups
* restrictions on the freedom of travel, especially for politically sensitive and underground religious figures
* forcible repatriation of North Koreans and inadequate protection of many refugees
* severe government corruption
* increased scrutiny, harassment and restrictions on independent domestic and foreign nongovernmental organization (NGO) operations
* trafficking in women and children
* societal discrimination against women, minorities, and persons with disabilities
* cultural and religious repression of minorities in Tibetan areas and Muslim areas of Xinjiang
* restriction of labor rights, including freedom of association, the right to organize and bargain collectively, and worker health and safety
* forced labor, including prison labor'"
_McCook Daily Gazette_
Ben Nelson's fence plan deserves consideration
"Democrat senator Ben Nelson, joined by 2 Republican senators, from Alabama and Oklahoma, is proposing a -mile fence from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, aimed at keeping illegal immigrants out of the United States. Make that  miles, since it would be a double layered security fence. The law also would increase the number of Border Patrol agents by 3K each year from 2006 through 2011, promote coordination between the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense, increase the number of investigative personnel and immigration attorneys and judges, add 20 new detention facilities and 10K new beds for illegal immigrants arrested at the border, require all employers to verify that their workers are authorized to work in the United States, and eliminate tax breaks currently going to employers of illegal workers. Nelson says he's had it with guest worker programs and amnesty, and we need to secure our borders before making things easier for illegal workers already here... nearly 5% of the civilian labor force is made up of [illegal] migrants. If Red Willow County follows that trend, that means there are more than 350 illegals working here."
Dave Montgomery _Grand Forks Herald_
Senate Judiciary Committee has started work on overhaul of immigration laws
"Well over 100 amendments faced the 18-member, Republican-controlled panel as it plunged into one of the country's most volatile issues, hoping to prepare a final bill for the full Senate by a March 27 dead-line. A maze of hot-button issues faces the committee over the next 3 weeks, including provisions calling for a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border and a variation of President Bush's proposal for [an additional] guest-worker program admitting foreign workers. The central issue driving the debate is how to deal with the more than 11 million illegal immigrants now in the country, more than half of whom are from Mexico. A House-passed bill calling for tough new border-security measures includes a proposed 700-mile long fence along portions of the 2,000-mile-long border from Texas to California. Some law-makers are proposing a full, border-length fence to halt illegal immigration and smuggling."
James W. Brosnan _Albuquerque Tribune_
Senate Judiciary Committee debating illegal immigration
"There are now between 11.5M to 12M undocumented immigrants in the United States, the Pew Hispanic Center said Tuesday. Last year, the non-profit group estimated the number at 11.2M. [Other current estimates range as high as 24M.] And for those who think the solution is to round them up and send them all home, the Pew data says undocumented immigrants hold 5% of the jobs, including 24% of all farmworkers, 27% of all butchers, 14% of construction workers and 21% of home-cleaning workers... Two-thirds of their nearly 5M children were born here, making [those children] U.S. citizens... The [proposed Senate] bill would also set up a separate guest-worker program for immigrants not already in the United States and raise various legal immigration quotas by about 500K."
2006-03-08 11:08PST (14:08EST) (19:08GMT)
Alan Elsner _Wired_/_Reuters_
Ports deal sparked biggest party revolt against Bush
"Defying Bush, Republicans in the House of Representatives intended on Wednesday to attach an amendment blocking the deal to legislation providing $91G for states recovering from Hurricane Katrina and to finance wars in Iraq and Afghanistan... Polls show about 70% of Americans and almost half of Republicans oppose the port deal... Jeffrey... said many conservatives were adamantly opposed to legislation being crafted in the Senate and to create [an additional] guest-worker program to bring foreigners into the country -- an idea original proposed by Bush in 2004."
Robert J. Samuelson _Charlotte Observer_
Build border wall to stop illegal immigration: It beats the alternative of a growing under-class and social tensions
"It's time to build a real fence or a wall along every foot of the 1,989 miles of the U.S.-Mexican border. There can be only 2 arguments against this approach to keeping out illegal aliens: (1) it won't work -- possible, but we won't know unless we try; or (2) we don't want it to work -- then, we should say so and open our borders to anyone but criminals and terrorists. Either way, we need more candor in our immigration debates. In 2005, the Border Patrol stopped 1.19M people trying to enter the United States illegally; 98.5% of them were caught along the Southern border. Of those who got through and stayed, about two-thirds lack a high school education. Even a country as accepting of newcomers as the United States cannot effortlessly absorb infinite numbers of poor and unskilled workers. Legal immigration already totals 750K to 1M annually, many of them also unskilled... The construction of about 10 miles of steel and concrete barriers up to 15 feet high in San Diego has reduced illegal crossings in that sector by about 95% since 1992, reports representative Duncan Hunter, R-CA, a supporter of a U.S.-Mexico fence. Sure, there will be tunnels and ladders. But getting in will be harder. Policing will be easier. We also need to stiffen employer fines for hiring illegal aliens... Now, employers only have to inspect physical documents, which are easily forged. Even these lax rules are widely flouted and poorly policed. There are an estimated 10M to 12M [reasonable estimates range up to 24M] illegal aliens in the United States. Fewer jobs and genuine border control ought to curb illegal immigration... common sense and available evidence suggest skepticism. If there are 'shortages of unskilled American workers, the obvious remedy is to raise their wages. A Texas roofing contractor testified to Congress that he couldn't get enough roofers at $9 an hour. OK, increase it to $10 or $12. Higher wages will bring forth more workers. Perish the thought. Business groups, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, clamor for more 'guest-workers'. That's a euphemism for cheap labor. These business groups seem unperturbed by extravagant increases in CEO pay. But they're horrified by anything that might raise the wages of maids, waitresses, laborers or gardeners... Since 1990, about 90% of the increase in people living below the government's poverty lines are Hispanic. That has to be mainly immigrants and their American-born children. The median net worth of Hispanic households is about 9% that of non-Hispanic whites, reports the Pew Hispanic Center. Assimilation takes time. The big difference between today's Hispanic inflows and past immigration waves is that those stopped. History or restrictive laws intervened. There was time for newcomers to adapt. Left alone, there's no obvious reason why the present Hispanic immigration should even pause. Today's unskilled arrivals make it harder for yesterday's to get ahead. The two compete. There's a paradox. To make immigration succeed, we need to curb some immigration. That's why it's vital to control our border. It also explains why it's important not to 'solve' that problem merely by legalizing these huge inflows."
2006-03-08 14:58PST (17:58EST) (22:58GMT)
Carolyn Pritchard _MarketWatch_ House committee voted to block foreign governments from control of US port operations
Laura Mandaro _Investors Business Daily_
Tech Workers Say Excessive H-1B Visa Caps Have Added to Glut of Skilled Who Are Under-Employed and Un-Employed, and Depress Compensation
"Groups like the IEEE-USA, which represents U.S. engineers, [support decreasing] the cap, saying the visas cost Americans jobs and pay. 'U.S. workers do get displaced by easier access to foreign labor, particularly those willing to work for less.', said Vin O'Neill, IEEE-USA's senior legislative representative... the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors stiff immigration limits, released a report in December concluding H-1B visa holders are paid less than their U.S. counterparts."
Matloff analysis of Fed study of H-1B visa program
Nicole Gaouette _Los Angeles Times_/_Seattle Times_
Raising a racket against employers of illegal immigrants
"When an undocumented worker gave birth to a premature baby, the county wound up with a $174K hospital bill. County officials say the jail spent thousands to house another illegal immigrant at a motel to keep him from spreading tuberculosis to fellow inmates... The all-Republican county commission has filed a racketeering law-suit against 4 big businesses in the area, charging that they knowingly and deliberately hired illegal workers."
Jonathan Lopez _Baylor Lariat_
Economics Prevents Shortages
"[Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson,] Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and now George W. Bush has warned that America will go through a manpower shortage of scientists and engineers. The Bush administration is looking to spend $50G of our money over the next 10 years to fix this problem. Is there a valid reason to divert career paths, change majors or even spend tax money on this? The heads of government who push for the sudden influx of scientists have not taken into account the simple concept of supply and demand. How does this work in the real world?... In a normal market economy, if the demand for house painters increased, their wages would increase to meet the demand. More professionals would leave their lower-paying jobs to make more money as house painters. As wages continued to increase, more people would become house painters. Eventually the market would be saturated with house painters and wages would eventually even off as demand decreases. The system would automatically gain equilibrium. No government intervention would be needed. The same example can be applied to scientists and engineers. According to the 2000 Census Report, the average salary scales for professors show the marketplace had a different demand than what we are being told. The average law professor makes $109,478; business, $79,931; biomedical sciences, $63,988; and mathematics, $61,761. Most scientists in the field know firsthand how difficult it is to retain their jobs. If there were a sudden influx of people, it would push wages down and further push people to the unemployment lines. As the law of supply and demand works, if pay is high, then that is where the students will go. The market works without any government subsidies, tax breaks or speeches."
NYSE shares rose 24.51% in first day of trading
"NYX Last: 80.00, Change: +15.75 +24.51%, Volume: 18,226,600; Open 67.00, High: 80.50, Low: 66.98"
|10-year US T-Bond||4.73%|
2006-03-08 19:17PST (2006-03-08 22:17EST) (2006-03-09 03:17GMT)
Ruth Mantell _MarketWatch_
Google agreed to settle click fraud suit for $90M
"In a Google blog, Wong wrote that under the settlement, the company will 'open up' a 60-day notification window for advertisers to apply for reimbursement for clicks that they believe are invalid. 'For all eligible invalid clicks, we will offer credits which can be used to purchase new advertising with Google.', Wong wrote. 'We do not know how many will apply and receive credits, but under the agreement, the total amount of credits, plus attorneys' fees, will not exceed $90M.' Wong added that the agreement covers all advertisers who claim to have been charged but not reimbursed for invalid clicks dating from 2002 through the date that the settlement is approved."
2006-03-09 02:49PST (05:49EST) (10:49GMT)
Chris Oliver _MarketWatch_
Nikkei & yen were lifted by Bank of Japan scrapping of easy-money policies
"Japanese shares and the yen got a lift Thursday after the central bank finally moved to scrap its 5-year old ultra-easy monetary-policy stance. The Bank of Japan concluded that economic and price conditions favor the return to a more normal monetary-policy position, according to a statement at the end of a two-day meeting in Tokyo. The news boosted the yen to 117.44 against the dollar in early London trading, up from 117.75 yen before the BoJ announcement. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average surged 409.42 yen, or 2.62%, to 16,036.91, while the Topix index of all first-section issues climbed 35.43 points, or 2.21%, to 1,641.01. The BoJ's policy board concluded that recent gains in the consumer price index fulfilled the original mandate, which sought to arrest deflation."
2006-03-09 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
un-employment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 300,738 in the week ending March 4, an increase of 28,349 from the previous week. There were 332,067 initial claims in the comparable week in 2005. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.3% during the week ending Feb. 25, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,989,181, an increase of 83,606 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.5% and the volume was 3,226,999."
2006-03-09 07:05PST (10:05EST) (15:05GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
US trade deficit widened in January to $68.6G
census bureau statistics
Diana Washington Valdez _El Paso Times_
Study of border counties: un-employed, under-employed
"A high rate of hepatitis, a young population and a high rate of homeownership are among the findings released Wednesday in an unprecedented study of U.S. border counties. 'It is apparent that the poorest families in the country are absorbing a disproportionate share of the costs of federal policies, or the lack of policies.', said El Paso County Judge Dolores Briones, who was in Washington, DC, with other county leaders to unveil the study. 'The border is the work force of the future, yet the study shows that we are under-employed, un-employed, under-educated and lack access to health care.'... If the region were a 51st state, it would rank first in federal crimes, second in tuberculosis, third in deaths due to hepatitis, and near the bottom in education, per capita income and access to health care, the study found. As a state, the region would rank 51st in the number of health care professionals... The UTEP study also noted that the border would rank fourth in military employment, 12th in government and government enterprise employment, and 22nd in homeownership... 'The Southwest is what the rest of the country is going to look like in 5, 30 years: Hispanic majority, very young population, immigrant population.', said Dennis Soden, director of UTEP's Institute for Policy and Economic Development. 'That places a burden on the school systems, on the health system.', Soden said. The study found that El Paso County had 186,168 foreign-born residents, and that 108,347 of the county's residents were not U.S. citizens. Despite immigration, more people move out of the region to seek higher wages than move in."
2006-03-09 07:40PST (10:40EST) (15:40GMT)
Robert Schroeder _MarketWatch_
seasonally adjusted unemployment insurance claims rose 8K to 303K
Scott Saia _Edmond OK Evening Sun_/_Joplin Globe_
What will be the ending?
"I have an idea for a novel, but I need an ending. The idea is for a suspense thriller wherein rich oil men take control of political parties in the 1980s and manage to elect national politicians. These politicians infiltrate commissions and congressional committees designed to protect the public from monopolies. Soon the cost of these necessities, such as utilities and gasoline, sky-rockets, causing bankruptcy in entire industries and households. Mega-corporations, including banks, oil companies, and defense contractors, are allowed to merge and create super-mega corporations, which lower the price of their product, drive out the competition and monopolize the market. Their friends in Washington pass legislation that allows the super-mega corporations to replace their American employees with foreigners and avoid hundreds of billions of dollars in pay-roll, pay-roll tax, [Socialist Insecurity], health insurance and workers' compensation premiums. The never-before-heard-of profits from these foreign-made goods, when returned to America for sale, are taxed at a 10% rate, a 30% reduction! The promise of new jobs from this 'globalization' quickly results in a $762G trade deficit. Homeless, unemployed, under-employed, and uninsured families rise at an alarming rate. The masses become unsettled. The underworld, through their elected officials, quickly act to divert the uprising by implanting fear and bickering. Gripped with fear and lacking options to remedy the situation, the masses turn to God, igniting the most fatal cause of war and destruction in the history of mankind -- religion. Meanwhile, the oil men are taking in $1G a day while the standard of living erodes for the majority of Americans. I can't figure out how to end this story. Does anyone have any ideas? Thank God this could never happen in America."
2006-03-09 08:28PST (11:28EST) (16:28GMT)
Steve Goldstein _MarketWatch_
Dubai Ports closes P&O acquisition: US unit separated
2006-03-09 08:54PST (11:54EST) (16:54GMT)
Harry Sheff _Communications Convergence_/_CMP_
Convergys ordered to back-pay
"The Labor Department has ordered Cincinnati-based Convergys [formerly CBIS] to pay 1,400 current and former employees some $350K in back pay. According to KPHO TV News in Phoenix, the Tucson, Arizona Convergys call center wasn't paying workers for so-called 'pre-shift' work time between late 2002 and mid 2005. Convergys reached an agreement with the Labor Department, though it denies violating the Fair Labor Standards Act... Attendees to a recent Scottish call center conference discussed industry fraud, says Grampian TV. Worry that organized crime groups are starting to look into call centers as a source of exploitable private data prompted police detectives from Scottish forces to address the conference. 'Will the giant health insurer Blue Shield move its call center from Lodi to a location near Stockton Metropolitan Airport? Or will it expand in Lodi?'..."
WikiPedia: Convergys is a privacy-violation firm derived from the Cincinnati Bell local government-enforced monopoly and its privacy-violation arm, Cincinnati Bell Information Systems, together with MATRIXX/AT&T Solutions Customer Care/AT&T Transtech, DigitalThink, Intervoice, Datacom call center operations, Stream Global Services; with subsidiary operations including Infinys Rating and Billing (IRB), Dynamic Decisioning Solution (DDS), ICOMS, Customer Management Solutions
Chanin Rotz-Mountz _Fulton County News_
Community College Plans
"Counties addressed in the plan are Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata and Mifflin. 'An economic snapshot of this 4-county region demonstrates persistent population decline and a poverty level almost twice the statewide average.'... The plan also indicates 'chronic unemployment and under-employment of a native work-force are persistent obstacles' for families within the 4-county area."
2006-03-09 10:25PST (13:25EST) (18:25GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US household debt up the most in 20 years: Net worth $52.1T
Federal Reserve flow of funds
_Episcopal News Service_
a lot of under-employment in Mississippi delta region
"Gulick announced that a new approach to ministry, spear-headed by the Rev. Jay Magness, canon to the ordinary, and other regional diocesan leaders, is being developed in the Mississippi Delta Region, which includes western Kentucky, western Tennessee, eastern Arkansas and eastern Missouri. The region has many households headed by a single parent, mostly women, and a great deal of underemployment."
2006-03-09 13:02PST (16:02EST) (21:02GMT)
William L. Watts _MarketWatch_
Dubai Ports World will sell US operations to a US entity
"Dubai Ports World has decided to sell operations at some U.S. ports to a domestic entity in a bid to end a political fire-storm, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner said on the Senate floor Thursday afternoon."
Cynthia T. Pegram _Lynchburg News & Advance_
Nursing care key to patient care
"Hospitals with the best nursing care have patients who do better... Aiken said the average nurse is over-worked, but under-employed. 'They have talent and expertise to do so much more than they are able to do. They're filling gaps -- trying to solve problems that have been there for years.'"
Jeff Adams _Ether Zone_
What to ask your congress-critters before the 2006 election
New Media journal
"Survey after survey shows the American people not only want the feds to stop illegal immigration, but to deport illegals, and punish those who hire illegals. Study after study show that illegals commit a disproportionate number of violent crimes (theft, robbery, rape, and murder). Study after study show that illegals, in total, do not contribute to our economy, but are a drain on it by abusing our medical services, straining the finances of our education systems, and causing a lowering of wages. With President Bush insisting on aggressively pursuing his War on Terror, it does not make sense to make it easier for foreigners to gain entrance to our country, much less watch the feds refusing to enforce the laws concerning immigration that are currently on the books... If we the people don't ask the questions, and demand answers, don't expect them to be addressed by the slick shysters that tend to hold public office. With this in mind, I offer this list of questions that people can go to their representatives, and would-be representatives, and ask them to answer these questions as clearly and concisely as possible (and it wouldn't hurt to do this in a public forum when the opportunity arises, so as to put them on the spot). What is your position/view concerning illegal immigration? Since over 80% of the American people want illegal immigration curbed, and illegals deported, will you work to enact the will of the American people? How? Do you support President Bush's 'guest-worker' program? How is the 'guest-worker' program not amnesty? Since the government doesn't enforce our laws now concerning illegals, how do we know they will enforce 'guest-workers' leaving when their time is up? Will you work to defeat the 'guest-worker' program? Knowing that H-1B Visas undermine employment of Americans, will you work to reduce the number of H1B Visas allowed each year? Should Congress work to reinterpret the 14th Amendment so as to deny 'birthright' citizenship to the children of illegals born on U.S. territory, thus denying illegals the use of anchor babies to remain in the U.S.?"
Todd Bishop _Seattle Post-Intelligencer_
Union says MSFT salaries lag
"The Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, which hopes to unionize the MSFT work force, says it plans to release data today from 2 documents delivered anonymously to its offices late last year. The documents, which the union made available to the Seattle P-I and other media, show 'compensation guide-lines' for fiscal 2004 and 2006. The documents appear to show minimum, mid-point and maximum compensation guide-lines at MSFT going unchanged between 2004 and 2006 for 8 of the 21 salary categories, at the lowest end of the pay scale. In other categories, many of the increases shown are below 3%. 'Overall, you can clearly tell what their goal is.', said Marcus Courtney, president of the WashTech union. 'In terms of what they're paying out in annual increases to employees, they're trying to hold the line well below 3% a year.'... In a statement, the company called its overall compensation 'highly competitive in the industry'... A survey by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers showed the median base salary for its members in the computer industry rising by about 6.7% between 2004 and 2005. In the Seattle area, where MSFT has a large presence, the survey showed salaries fell by about 2%. Courtney acknowledged that the rates of increase shown in guide-lines might not reflect the experience of individual employees in some cases, but he said he believes they make an overall trend clear."
House Resolution 717 [HRes717]
"the Secretary of Commerce is directed to transmit to the House of Representatives, not later than 14 days after the date of the adoption of this resolution, a copy of the final draft report, produced by the professional staff of the Technology Administration, entitled: 'Six-Month Assessment of Workforce Globalization In Certain Knowledge-Based Industries'."
"House Resolution 717 directs the Secretary of Commerce to transmit to the House of Representatives, not later than 14 days after the date of the adoption of this resolution, a copy of the final draft report, produced by the professional staff of the Technology Administration, entitled: `Six-Month Assessment of Workforce Globalization In Certain Knowledge-Based Industries.' The resolution seeks a pre-clearance draft of a report that was released in 2005 by the Technology Administration of the Department of Commerce entitled, 'Six-Month Assessment of Work-Force Globalization In Certain Knowledge-Based Industries'. The Committee notes that the report has been superseded by a far more extensive report on outsourcing being prepared by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA), at the request of the same House Appropriations subcommittee that had requested the Commerce Department report."
index of proposals from 109th congress
2006-03-10 07:11PST (10:11EST) (15:11GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Wholesale inventories rose 0.1% in January: sales rose 1%
2006-03-10 12:12PST (15:12EST) (20:12GMT)
Robert Schroeder _MarketWatch_
US government deficit reached record $119G in February
2006-03-10 12:30PST (15:30EST) (20:30GMT)
Tomi Kilgore _MarketWatch_
Nasdaq still has a long way to recover from 2000-03-10
"The index may have more than doubled in the last 3.5 years, but it still has a long way to go before it erases the memory of the bear market that erased nearly 80% of its value. Six years ago Friday, the high-flying Nasdaq, which was seen as a proxy for the go-go technology and Internet sectors, had run up as much as 86 points, or 1.7% in intraday trading to a high of 5,132.52, before pulling back to close up just under 2 points at 5,048.62."
Carolyn Lochhead _San Francisco Chronicle_
Senate immigration bill would add thousands more tech guest-worker visas
Arizona Daily Star
"The measures include nearly doubling the number of H-1B skilled-worker temporary visas to 115K -- with an option of raising the cap 20% more each year. H-1B visas were highly controversial in the Bay Area when their numbers reached a peak of 195K in 2003... Other provisions include a new F-4 visa category for students pursuing advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. These students would be granted permanent residence if they find a job in their field and pay a $1K fee toward scholarships and training of U.S. workers... Opponents of broadening immigration for skilled workers said doing so would defeat efforts to get more Americans interested in science, math, engineering and other technological fields. 'It sends the message to students in those fields now, why bother if you're going to have a hard time getting a job in the U.S. because we're importing workers in those fields who are working for less than it would take to hire an American worker.', said Caroline Espinosa, spokeswoman for NumbersUSA, a group opposed to expanding immigration. NumbersUSA estimated, using Department of Education figures, that 250K non-resident aliens are studying math, science, engineering and related fields in the United States."
2006-03-10 14:53PST (17:53EST) (22:53GMT)
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Specter bill would be a sea change on H-1B & green cards
"Near the end of last year, senator Arlen Specter and senator Ted Kennedy tried to pass legislation expanding the H-1B program. Due in part to an outcry by techies and immigration reform groups, that effort failed. However, as Rob Sanchez and I pointed out at the time in our e-news-letters, the H-1B expansionists would soon be back with another bill...
The press has been flooded with misleading plants about the alleged failure of U.S. education in math and science, and the lobbyists know that Pushing the Education Button always works in H-1B lobbying. So I'm sure Specter believes he will succeed, if not this time then sometime this year.
Here are some specific comments:
'The measures include nearly doubling the number of H-1B skilled-worker temporary visas to 115K -- with an option of raising the cap 20% more each year.'
This basically gives the industry and the immigration attorney lobbyists a blank check.
'Congress had increased the visas during the late 1990s dot-com boom, when Silicon Valley [executives] complained of tech-worker shortages, although native-born engineers complained that their wages were undermined by cheap labor from India and [Red China].'
First, the victims here are ALL American engineers, not just natives. Naturalized citizens and permanent residents (i.e. green card holders) are harmed just as much as the natives.
Second, the issue is less about undermining of wages than about being locked out of jobs and driven out of the field...
Reiff is an immigration lawyer. The American Immigration Lawyers Association [AILA] has a huge vested interest in H-1B. H-1B forms the largest part of most immigration lawyers' business...
I'm sorry to see that the author does not challenge the claim that we need these foreign students to maintain our competitiveness. The fact is that because of H-1B and off-shoring (which are connected), the best and the brightest American students are choosing to avoid studying engineering. What is THAT doing to our competitiveness?...
'Other provisions include a new F-4 visa category for students pursuing advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. These students would be granted permanent residence if they find a job in their field and pay a $1K fee toward scholarships and training of U.S. workers.'
'Other provisions' is putting it mildly. From my point of view, this is the central feature of the bill. Let's look at it more closely.
First of all, the premise here (sadly, not questioned by the reporter) is that we need to have those foreign MS/PhD students. Actually, we are over-producing MS/PhDs as it is. We've got tons of MS/PhD holders who have been forced out of the field. For instance, I've mentioned before my former student (domestic), who has an MS, holds several patents and had his work written up in the Wall Street Journal, is articulate and well-liked by his peers, but who now in his late 30s cannot find an engineering job.
Again it boils down to an issue of cheap labor. As I've discussed before, part of the H-1B issue relates to age. Younger workers are cheaper, whether domestic or foreign. When employers run out of younger Americans to hire, they turn to younger H-1Bs rather than older (e.g. late 30s) Americans.
For example, I've enclosed another recent San Francisco Chronicle article below, consisting of an interview with Intel's Director of Global Staffing. That job title speaks volumes, doesn't it? Well, so does another remark the director makes: '(We're looking for) Ph.D candidates with semiconductor experience.'
The key word here is 'candidates'. This is an academic term, meaning someone is close to finishing his/her PhD. IOW, Intel doesn't want PhDs or Master's degree holders in general, such as my former student in his late 30s described above. They want the young ones, as they are cheaper...
Note carefully that Intel does this entirely within the laws and regulations. The vast majority of employers who underpay H-1Bs in full compliance with the law. This is due to the huge loop-holes in the program. Intel and the other big firms [and small] exploit these loop-holes just like they exploit loop-holes in the tax code. I must say that the lack of awareness in Congress [and the media] on the cheap labor nature of the H-1B program is outrageous...
Congress' own commissioned studies found employers actually admitting to paying H-1Bs less. Note too that the GAO phrasing... should have shown Congress that the prevailing wage provision in H-1B law is a joke, illustrating the point that the law is full of loop-holes...
The biggest reason employers can get away with paying their H-1Bs less than Americans is that if an H-1B is being sponsored for a green card by the employer, she becomes a de facto indentured servant, i.e. is immobile for the several years it takes to get the green card. She dare not move to another employer, because it would necessitate starting the multi-year green card process all over again. (Except in the very last stage of the process, due to a provision enacted in 2000.)
This puts the H-1B at the employer's mercy, with lower salaries, raises and bonuses. In addition, the employers love the 'loyalty' of the H-1Bs stemming from this de facto indentured servitude. One immigration attorney described it well (Dayton Daily News 1999 July 11):
'[Attorney Sherry] Neal said foreign nationals may appear to be more loyal workers because they aren't as mobile as other in-demand tech workers. The Immigration and Naturalization Service must give approval before foreign nationals change jobs -- a process that can take 6 weeks. '''Some of the U.S. workers, they get a job offer and they are gone in a week.''' she said.'
Similarly, WorkForce Magazine, a publication for HR executives, pointed out that from the employer point of view (John Wentworth 'Stop-gap Measures for the IT Staffing Crunch', WorkForce Magazine 1999 May):
'There are two good things about H-1Bs. First, they allow you to travel the globe while you identify technical professionals who want to work in the United States. Second, the H-1B is valid only for the employer who arranges it. If you bring a technical professional into the country and he or she decides to jump ship, its likely that the ship he or she will have to jump on is the one thats going back to the home country. If the person wants to come back, he or she has to start the immigration process all over again. As a result, most H-1B visa holders demonstrate remarkable loyalty.'...
That 'raft of high-profile studies' comes from groups with the most intense vested interests in having a liberal H-1B program -- industry [executives], immigration lawyers, academia. Austin Fragomen, one of the most prominent immigration attorneys in the U.S. and a major players in lobbying efforts to get Congress to enact liberal H-1B legislation, told WorkForce Magazine in 1996 March (emphasis added): 'The business community mobilized, forming American Business for Legal Immigration (ABLI), a Washington, DC-based lobbying group that represents a number of associations and employers, and commissions academic studies to support its position.'...
Academia depends hugely on industry for donations for research, equipment and even buildings (it's no accident that Stanford's Computer Science Dept. is housed in Bill Gates Hall). Furthermore, they need the cheap research labor provided by the foreign graduate students to maintain their research empires. This is a big deal, as it is key to getting federal research funds (San Francisco Chronicle 2002 Jan. 27)...
Consider the 'Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study' eighth-grade science test, for instance, and the scores achieved by Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Had these states -- none of which has a substantial under-class -- been treated as separate nations, each of them would have been out-scored only by Singapore. (BTW, [Red China] and India, main sources of the engineering foreign students, refuse to participate in TIMSS.) See David Berliner 'Our Schools Versus Theirs' Washington Post 2001 January 28."
How guest-worker visas are used to depress compensation
Trends in International Math & Science Study
Gerard Wevers _Baylor Lariat_
No shortage of tech talent in USA
"Jonathan Lopez's Wednesday article titled 'Economics could fix shortages' is right on target. Big Business has been 'shortage shouting' about an alleged low supply of scientists, engineers, mathematicians and computer programmers for the past 20-plus years. The reality: there is not now, nor has there ever been, a dire shortage of qualified Americans to fill such tech jobs. Our law-makers in Congress have enacted the H-1B and L-1 visa programs to address this alleged shortage. There are now more than 1M foreign workers in the United States today on H-1B and L-1 visas. Unemployment and underemployment of American citizens in the tech fields is at all-time record levels and wages are declining. At the same time, CEO pay packages have sky-rocketed. If a true shortage of tech workers exists, if tech companies really value well-educated American tech workers, why are these same companies that pay CEOs obscene salaries, bonuses and stock option packages laying off so many American tech workers, and why are these companies unwilling to pay higher wages? The H-1B and L-1 visa programs amount to nothing less than a government subsidy to the corporations that hire these foreign workers, and in fact these visa programs short-circuit the laws of supply and demand that Jonathan refers to. A bright young person would be very foolish indeed to pursue a rigorous, difficult course of study in engineering or the sciences, given that the prospects of getting a good job with decent pay and growth potential aren't very good. The CEOs and their highly paid lobbyists who scream shortage need to shut up and put their money where their mouths are. American young people would be interested in tech jobs again if the pay, growth prospects and respect for such jobs were better than they are."
Alan Choate _Utah Daily Herald_
Utah economy faring moderately well
"4,200 jobs created in Utah County last year, said Utah Valley State College president William Sederburg on Thursday... Some bad economic news -- or at least less good -- is that many of the jobs being created are at the lower end of the wage scale, he said. But that could change if a work force is developed that has the skills employers in the state are seeking. Many workers already are trying to develop those skills, said Casey Peterson, a spokesman for the state Department of Work-force Services and an exhibitor at the business expo. Unemployment is not really a problem in Utah right now, he said, but 'we have a very high under-employment rate'. It's not something that's easily quantified, but he said a number of Work-force Services clients already have jobs but are looking for something better."
2006-03-10 07:22PST (10:22EST) (15:22GMT)
Peter Clarke _EE Times_
Red China buying 3G RFID tags
"The major application for the RFID tags would be for the identification of humans by way of [Red China's] second-generation resident ID card program, said In-Stat (Scottsdale, AZ)."
Aletha Hart _Triangle Business Journal_
Immigration bill a concern for construction workers & employers
"The House passed the Border Protection, Anti-terrorism and Illegal Immigration Control Act, commonly referred to as the Sensenbrenner-King bill [HR4437], on Dec. 16. Referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the bill has not been scheduled for hearings. The legislation calls for greater border security, policing of the American work place and penalties for employers that hire [illegal alien] workers... 'One of the regular challenges of our organization is to convince parents and their children that the construction industry is a good career choice. There's a shortage of skilled construction workers and will be for the foreseeable future. Immigrant workers are vital for our industry...', Gennett says. The national AGC estimates the construction industry will need to attract 200K workers a year for the next decade to meet demand... The national AGC says the bill's penalties against employers that hire [illegal alien] workers and requirements to verify their legal status are a concern. A recent AGC statement notes the bill calls for employers to check the papers of not only new hires, but also current employees and the potentially could involve former employees."
2006-03-10 14:01PST (17:01EST) (22:01GMT)
Matt Andrejczak _MarketWatch_
Tech stocks snap losing streak
"Technology stocks ended higher Friday, snapping six straight losing sessions as the broader market was propelled by a strong jobs report. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index rose 12.32 points. Tech bellwethers Cisco Systems Inc., Dell Inc., Hewlett-Packard Inc. and International Business Machines Corp. all rose. The Morgan Stanley High Tech 35 Index and Goldman Sachs Hardware Index both rose more than a half point. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index shed more than 1 point. Gainers included Chartered Semiconductor, a third-party chip contractor that plans to make some chips for Advanced Micro Devices Inc. this year. The shares rose 1.7% to $8.75."
2006-03-10 08:35PST (11:35EST) (16:35GMT)
Enquirer 80 stock index rose 0.59%
"The Enquirer 80 Index of local interest stocks rose 1.74 points, or 0.59%, to 294.20. 59 issues were up, 14 were down and seven were unchanged. Leading gainers were Federated Department Stores Inc., up 86 cents to $72.15; International Paper, up 84 cents to $34.08; Humana Inc., up 82 cents to $49.73; Emerson Electric, up 73 cents to $84.74; and Fifth Third Bancorp, up 69 cents to $38.01. Biggest losers were Atricure Inc., down 34 cents to $7.72; Pomeroy IT Solutions Inc., down 34 cents to $9.86; Chiquita Brands International, down 27 cents to $17.93; Midland Co., down 26 cents to $34.14; and Reed Elsevier PLC, down 26 cents to $36.11."
|10-year US T-Bond||4.76%|
|"[K]nowledge-adding functions like R&D & marketing are abstact. Work is done invisibly inside employees' heads, where thoughts & information flow in unpredictable, non-linear ways that sometimes appear to be almost random." --- Wellford W. Wilms 1996 _Restoring Prosperity_ pg 173 (referencing C.H. Pava 1983 _Managing New Office Technology_)|
2006-03-10 16:23PST (2006-03-10 19:23EST) (2006-03-11 00:23GMT)
Chris Oliver _MarketWatch_
BHP Billiton supplying Red China's epic expansion (graph)
"From iron ore to copper to oil, the global boom in commodities prices has thundered along at a historic pace in recent years. In its frantic rush to erect sky-scrapers, sell refrigerators and run power plants, [Red China's] economy has led world demand with an unquenchable appetite for basic materials and energy [thus driving up prices]. And few companies have profited from it more handsomely than the global enterprise of BHP Billiton... an Australian-based metals and oil empire with 37K employees working in 25 countries."
_Long Beach Press Telegram_
Speak Out on Immigration
"Each year an estimated 400K to 500K immigrants enter the United States illegally [most reasonable estimates range from 770K and 1.5M per year], despite the fact that the number of Border Patrol agents has tripled, along with the increased use of more sophisticated surveillance technology along the border with Mexico. Illegal immigrants have doubled in the past decade. It's estimated there are between 6M and 7M illegal workers, or 5% of the total U.S. work-force, yet the Immigration and Naturalization Service has decreased the number of agents who monitor the work-place for illegals from 9% to 4% of its work-force, according to The New York Times. In 2004, according to the Times report, only 3 companies were fined for hiring illegals. Those fines are as low as $275 per worker -- and that's negotiable."
Anne Howland _Ottawa Sun_
Jobless rate works its way down
"Ottawa's employment scene is looking better than it has since the tech meltdown of 2001. According to figures released yesterday by Statistics Canada, the jobless rate for Ottawa-Gatineau dipped to 5.1% in February -- down from 5.2% -- and close to the 4.9% level reached in 2001 February, said Danielle Zietsma, labour force survey economist with the agency. The crash of the high-flying tech sector in early 2001 [actually early 2000] sent the region's jobless rate up to 6% and higher, where it stayed until late last year when it began to retreat to the 5% mark, said Vincent Ferrao, also with Stats Can. Since 2005 August, the jobless rate has dropped two percentage points, from 7.1% to the current 5.1%. 'It's a substantial decline.', Zietsma said... According to Stats Can, employment in computer and telecommunications jobs rose 2,300 to 58K last month -- still far below the peak of 70K in 2001 March. A year ago, the local tech sector employed 49K."
Karen Hawkins & Nathaniel Hernandez _San Diego Union-Tribune_
Jonathan David Farley _San Francisco Chronicle_
Math Education: Where are teachers coming from?
"The average starting salary of a teacher is only $30K, whereas the average starting salary for a recent college graduate in computer science or engineering is $50K. Short of following the British, who have proposed paying experienced math teachers more than $100K, with a guaranteed minimum of $70K, where will we find a way to attract the thousands of teachers George Bush wants? New York State initiated an innovative program to bring teachers from Jamaica for two or four years to teach in New York schools. Jamaica, a developing nation where one U.S. dollar equals 65 Jamaican dollars... Autumn told her nephew about my work in counterterrorism and for the television crime drama 'Numb3rs'... Mathematics is art, and should be appreciated for its beauty, not simply for its utility. But we cannot expect 11 year-olds to cherish totally order-disconnected topological spaces as much as professional mathematicians do. As I first proposed in 2005 January, television shows like 'Numb3rs' (or 'Medium') -- where the main characters are mathematicians -- could work with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics to show kids how math is really used; the council and Texas Instruments are now working together to use 'Numb3rs' to promote math literacy in schools... 61% of all U.S. doctorates in math going to foreigners (15% to Chinese), we readily accept a 'math gap'."
2006-03-12 04:46PST (07:46EST) (12:46GMT)
WTO/G6 talks fail to end trade stalemate
Glasgow Kentucky Daily Times
Tampa Bay News 9
Ames/West Des Moines Iowa WOI
Lafayette Louisiana KPLC TV
"Developed countries want equal concessions in the trade of industrial goods and services, but Brazil, India and others say rich nations need to make the first move."
Lynn Brenner _Parade_
How Did You Do?: Losing Ground
"most families have lost ground: In 2005, more than 80% of American workers saw their inflation-adjusted wages fall for the second year in a row... While the economy has been growing since 2001, all the benefits of that growth have gone into corporate profits, says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com, a Pennsylvania-based consultant firm: 'Corporate profits' share of the national income is at a 60-year high -- and that has come directly out of wages and salaries, which are at a record low.' And wages of the top 10% of earners -- people making more than $90K a year -- have risen much faster than everyone else's. The average worker's pay stayed almost flat at $27K from 1990 to 2004, one study finds... there's a lot of uneasiness among workers, notes John Challenger, chief executive of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a Chicago-based outplacement firm. 'Many people have been falling behind, especially in the middle class.', he says. In 2005, for the first time since the Great Depression, Americans borrowed more than they earned. 'Wages haven't kept up with inflation, and many employers have pushed the cost of health care back to employees in the form of higher premiums and co-pays.', notes Challenger. 'Added to that, there's the higher cost of driving to and from work and heating a home.'"
What Hong Kong deal means for IT sector
"India's eagerness to open up social sectors for increased concessions in the IT and BPO sectors is criticised. The hue and cry over the 6th WTO ministerial meeting, held in Hong Kong in 2005 December, has died down but not quite [completely]."
_Cincinnati Post Times Star_
A bitter divide over immigration
"The White House and both parties in Congress agree immigration laws must be reformed. Unfortunately, that's as far as the consensus goes... The hard-liners want beefed up border security with fences and walls, and state and local law enforcement officers enforcing the immigration laws, and they want penalties imposed on employers who hire illegals... an estimated 10M to 11M [reasonable estimates range from 8M to 24M illegal aliens residing in the USA]. The hard-liner's [sic] plan, most of whose features are in a House-passed bill, does have the virtue of simplicity."
'No' to guest-worker and amnesty legislation
"Tom Tancredo will appear at a press briefing Thursday, 2006-03-16 from 09:30 to 11:00 EST in the John Peter Zenger Room at the National Press Club. A continental breakfast will be served."
2006-03-13 07:57:08PST (10:57:08EST) (15:57:08GMT)
Kim Berry Programmers Guild & Carrying Capacity Network
Show-down in the US Senate this week
"Bills calling for illegal alien amnesty, [huge expansion of] guest-worker [visa programs], doubling immigration hang in the balance... a disastrous immigration bill proposed by Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) that would amnesty all illegal aliens presently in our country, as well as double permanent immigration green cards and create an unlimited foreign guest-worker program. The bill would double legal immigration to over 2M a year! This week the Senate Judiciary Committee meets to consider the Specter bill and other bills amnestying illegals and giving them guestworker status. The committee is scheduled to begin final mark ups of the bills Wednesday this week!!"
Ann Cahill _Irish Examiner_
Irish government pushing for amnesty for 50K Irish illegal immigrants
"The Taoiseach and Foreign Minister are taking advantage of the traditional St Patrick's Day festivities to support a bill drawn up by US Senators Ted Kennedy and John McCain. 'We are lobbying not just President Bush in the Oval Office but congressmen all over the US during the next week.', said Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern as he set off for Dallas at the weekend. Ten senior and junior ministers, including the Taoiseach, are in the US this week where they will cover 13 cities with a brief to push for the bill... It was organised by the recently-formed Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, funded by a 30K euro grant from the Irish Government."
2006-03-13 06:02PST (09:02EST) (14:02GMT)
Robert Roy Britt _Live Science_
Even Hands-Free Telephoning Is Dangerous
"On average they were 174ms slower at braking when the two tasks occurred at the same time compared to when the tasks were presented 350ms apart. That 174ms delay translates to 16 feet in a car going 65 mph, the scientists say."
David R. Francis _Christian Science Monitor_
Divide is too deep for immigration reform
"Steven Camarota doubts that Congress will agree on an immigration bill this election year. The research director for the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, DC, sees too great a divide between the views of 'elites' and the 'public' over the economic and social merit of a massive inflow of foreigners. A legislative stalemate would result in a continuation of what a study for the conservative Heritage Foundation calls 'a policy of benign neglect' [while most see it as malign]. The elites, including business leaders, would like an amnesty for the nearly 12M [reasonable estimates range from 8M to 24M] illegal immigrants in the United States - though it wouldn't be called an amnesty but a 'guest-worker program', perhaps. They welcome cheap immigrant labor. Contrariwise, polls show the public is strongly opposed to letting undocumented immigrants (many with fake papers) obtain citizenship... Fear of terrorism has led to more calls for reform. Almost 4 of every 100 people in the country today sneaked across the borders or over-extended their visa, according to numbers in a new Pew Hispanic Center report. Some 850K illegal immigrants have entered the country annually for each of the past 6 years. [Estimates range from 500K to 1.5M new illegal immigrants per year.]... If a tough law is passed to limit illegals, any plan to send them home would not be enforced, Camarota predicts. Politically powerful business and religious groups would block such action. Making matters more difficult, illegals bear some 380K children a year. These babies become US citizens automatically... Harvard University economist George Borjas reckons that the inflow of so many immigrants with less than a high school education has depressed the wages of similar American citizens by 7% of what they would otherwise be. He charges Card with using a cross-city comparison that ignores the national labor picture... Large-scale immigration in recent decades has increased the foreign-born share of the US population from 4.7% in 1970 to 12.7% in 2003."
Alfred Tella _Washington Times_
"The law of supply and demand can't be repealed, either by politicians or supporters of illegal immigration. In Economics 101, we learn an increase in supply lowers prices. Wages are the price of labor. Higher wages call forth more labor supply. To say the continuing influx of low-skilled immigrants willing to work cheaply doesn't depress the wages of workers already here is to deny the basic laws of economics. To say a reduction or slow-up in the numbers of illegals competing with legal residents, i.e., a smaller labor supply, wouldn't improve wages and re-employ many who have lost their jobs to illegals also doesn't square with the law of supply and demand. The re-employment of legal workers at better wages would mean some marginal employers would go under. Also, some of the higher labor costs could be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices, although such price increases would probably be small and thinly spread. With higher labor costs, employers would have a greater incentive to invest in technology, which would lower prices and lead to higher standards of living."
2006-03-13 14:08PST (17:08EST) (22:08GMT)
Dylan McGrath _EE Times_
Mercury Computer Systems to cut 8% of work-force
|10-year US T-Bond||4.78%|
2006-03-14 05:22PST (08:22EST) (13:22GMT)
Rich Lowry _National Review_
Jobs Americans Won't Do? Think again
"A core element of the American creed has always been a belief in the dignity of labor -- at least until now. Supporters of a guest-worker program for Mexican laborers say that 'there are jobs that no Americans will do'. This is an argument that is a step away from suggesting that there are jobs that Americans shouldn't do. President George [W.] Bush, a strong supporter of the guest-worker program, has long said that 'family values don't stop at the Rio Grande'. We are supposed to believe, however, that the work ethic does stop there -- it is only south of it that people can be found who are willing to work in construction, landscaping and agricultural jobs. So, without importing those people into our labor market, these jobs would go unfilled, disrupting the economy (and creating an epidemic of unkempt lawns in Southern California). This is sheer nonsense. According to a new survey by the Pew Hispanic Center, illegals make up 24% of workers in agriculture, 17% in cleaning, 14% in construction, and 12% in food production. So 86% of construction workers, for instance, are either legal immigrants or Americans, despite the fact that this is one of the alleged categories of untouchable jobs. Oddly, the people who warn that without millions of cheap, unskilled Mexican laborers, this country would face economic disaster are pro-business libertarians. They believe in the power of the market to handle anything -- except a slightly tighter labor market for unskilled workers. But the free market would inevitably adjust, with higher wages or technological innovation... Phillip Martin, an economist at the University of California, Davis, has demolished the argument that a crack-down on illegals would ruin it, or be a hardship to consumers... Only about 20% of the farm sector does, chiefly those areas involving fresh fruit and vegetables. The average 'consumer unit' in the U.S. spends $7 a week on fresh fruit and vegetables, less than is spent on alcohol, according to Martin. On a $1 head of lettuce, the farm worker gets about 6 or 7 cents, roughly 1/15th of the retail price. Even a big run-up in the cost of labor can't hit the consumer very hard..."
2006-03-14 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
US February retail sales down 1.3% (biggest drop since August)
more complete story
census bureau report
2006-03-13 21:01PST (2006-03-14 00:01EST) (2006-03-14 05:01GMT)
Andrea Coombes _MarketWatch_
Employers' hiring plans improve little for 9th quarter, but Japan fares best, and outlook in Phoenix is dim
Los Angeles Times
Twin Cities Business Journal
Phoenix Business Journal
South Florida Business Journal
"21% of the firms surveyed [by body shop ManPOWER] plan to hire in the second quarter of 2006, about flat from the 20% who intended to hire in the first quarter this year -- and the percentage of firms planning to hire has remained about the same every quarter for more than 2 years now. [The] seasonally adjusted net-employment numbers measure the percentage of firms planning to hire minus those intending lay-offs. It does not measure the number of jobs. ManPOWER surveys about 16K U.S. companies on their hiring plans each quarter."
|industry||percent planning to hire|
|Wholesale and retail trade||22%|
|Finance insurance and real estate||21%|
|Transportation and public utilities||17%|
2006-03-14 08:26PST (11:26EST) (16:26GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
US current account deficit reached $224.9G in 4th quarter
The U.S. current-account deficit -- the combined balances on trade in goods and services, income, and net unilateral current transfers -- increased from $185.4G (revised) in the third quarter to $224.9G (preliminary) in the fourth quarter of 2005. The increase was mostly accounted for by increases in net unilateral current transfers and in the deficit on goods. In addition, the balance on income shifted to a deficit from a surplus, and the surplus on services decreased... The deficit on goods increased from $197.3G in the third quarter to $212.4G in the fourth quarter. Goods exports increased from $224.8G to $231.3G. Much of the increase was in capital goods and in automotive vehicles, engines, and parts. Goods imports increased from $422.1G to $443.7G. Two-thirds of the increase was attributable to industrial supplies and materials, but all other major goods categories also increased. The surplus on services decreased from $15.9G in the third to $15.1G in the fourth quarter. Services receipts increased from $96.2G to $96.8G. Increases in 'other' private services (such as business, professional, and technical services, insurance services, and financial services) and in 'other' transportation (such as freight and port services) were partly off-set by decreases in other services categories. Services payments increased from $80.4G to $81.7G. Increases in 'other' private services, in 'other' transportation, and in passenger fares were partly offset by decreases in other services categories.
2006-03-14 08:26:48PST (11:26:48EST) (16:26:48GMT)
Mike Gildea _AFL-CIO Department of Professional Employees_
Battle is engaged in Capitol over immigration, guest-workers & border security
"We're sending up a letter/making calls focusing on both the H-1B garbage and the student visa expansion. House-which passed the so-called border enforcement billlate last year-appears to be in no mood to accept guest worker provisions. BUT major business lobbies -- Chamber, NAM, NFIB, ITAA etc, etc. -- are all out in force to get [a lot more] guest-workers. So the lay of the land there could change. Bush admin -- FWIW -- also strongly supporting guest-worker expansions."
2006-03-14 08:49PST (11:49EST) (16:49GMT)
Anne Fisher _Fortune_/_CNN_/_Money_
Bringing The Jobs Home
"What does Michael Fields know that other software CEOs haven't figured out? The number of jobs off-shored from the U.S. to India and elsewhere has tripled since 2003, to a projected total of 1M in 2006, with roughly a quarter of them in high tech. Yet Fields, a former president of Oracle USA who now runs $60M-a-year software maker KANA, is bringing his company's programming jobs home to Menlo Park, CA. He calls it 'back-shoring' and predicts that once they start doing the math, other software makers will follow suit. 'For companies our size, sending jobs to India just doesn't make economic sense.', says Fields. Since KANA and its confreres aren't big enough to open their own over-seas facilities (like Oracle (Research) and MSFT (Research)), they end up entrusting the work to outside contractors. That means KANA's intellectual property is in the hands of non-employees over whom it has little control -- especially scary now that, as even far bigger companies are finding, turn-over among engineers in India is rapid, loyalty is nil, and poaching and piracy are rampant... Fields notes that software development is a collaborative process that works best when everybody involved -- designers, programmers, project managers -- is together under one roof. 'If your team isn't closely bonded, you'll see more rewrites, more performance issues, and more delays.', he says. 'For us, having the designers and architects in California and the programmers in India has actually meant longer delivery times and higher costs.'"
Norm Matloff 2004 November Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery: Globalization and the American IT Worker: Exporting IT jobs and importing IT workers not only harms U.S. IT workers, it also harms U.S. firms and the broader economy
Norm Matloff 2005 August IT Pro article: Off-Shoring: What Can Go Wrong (pdf)
Brenda Walker _V Dare_
#3 on Forbes' wealthiest list is Mexican telecomm magnate
"The number one and two richest men in the world are probably recognizable names to most Vdare.com readers, namely the purveyor of second-rate computer software (as well as champ out-sourcer and H-1B promoter) Bill Gates and the investment wizard of Berkshire-Hathaway Warren Buffett. The new number 3 on the Forbes Billionaires list is not some oil-pumping sheik, but a Mexican, the telecom magnate Carlos Slim Helu, with an impressive net worth of $30G. He is one of 10 Mexican billionaires, compared with oil-rich Saudi Arabia's 11 billionaires. The important point is that Mexico is a very wealthy country (as I wrote in Mexico's Rich Don't Like To Pay Taxes: They Think You Should). Yet it works tirelessly to dump its unwanted peasants on the American [tax-victim], even though Mexico could well afford to invest in its people and infrastructure..."
2006-03-14 10:44PST (13:44EST) (18:44GMT)
_CBS 2 Chicago_
20 illegal alien fugitives captured in ICE operation
"U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents arrested 20 fugitive aliens following a weeklong operation targeting criminal aliens in the Chicago area who were avoiding federal deportation orders, according to a release. Twenty fugitive aliens and 2 illegal aliens were arrested in Chicago, Westmont, Wheeling, Elmwood Park, Oak Lawn, Addison, Bensenville, Norridge and Des Plaines, ICE field officer Deborah Achim said in the release. The arrests were part of the National Fugitive Operations Program, part of ICs ongoing effort to restore integrity to the immigration system, Achim said. Those arrested, including one who had been a fugitive alien for 10 years, included 18 men and two women from Bulgaria, Israel, Jordan, Latvia, Mexico, Moldova, Poland, Russia and the Ukraine, one of whom had been a fugitive alien for 10 years, Achim said. Nineteen of those arrested have criminal records ranging from DUI and visa fraud to drug possession and conspiracy to sell false [Socialist Insecurity numbers (SINs)]."
Ian Johnston _Scotsman_
Anti-biotics can double risk of asthma in children
"Dr. Carlo Marra, of British Columbia University in Vancouver, an author of a paper published yesterday in Chest, the journal of the American College of Chest Physicians, said: 'Anti-biotic use in children has been found to coincide with an increased incidence of childhood asthma.'"
2006-03-14 11:04PST (14:04EST) (19:04GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US government demands opening of markets in Red China
"The Bush administration warned Beijing on Tuesday that the United States is increasingly fed up with [Red China's] closed markets and rampant theft of intellectual property. [Expressions of good] intentions from [Red China] are no longer enough. 'Our focus is on results.', said Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez in a speech to the Asia Society on Tuesday. 'Without concrete results, the administration, and the American people, may be forced to reassess our economic relationship.', he said... Pending legislation would impose tariffs of 27.5% on all [Red Chinese] imports unless [Red China] revalues its currency."
_New York Jewish Times_
USCIS Issued E-3 Specialty Occupation Guide-Lines
"Established by the REAL ID Act of 2005, the E-3 non-immigrant classification allows for the admission of a temporary worker who is national of Australia and is entering the U.S. to perform services in a 'specialty occupation'. As is generally the case, non-immigrant aliens who are already legally in the United States may apply to change their status to that of an E-3 specialty worker and, eventually, apply to extend their stay in E-3 classification. Note: The new E-3 non-immigrant category should not be confused with the separate and independent H-1B non-immigrant category for 'specialty occupation' workers. To qualify for E-3 classification, an alien must, among other things, be an Australian national who is seeking employment in a specialty occupation requiring possession of a bachelor's degree or higher (or its equivalent), and possess the appropriate degree (or its equivalent) in the field in which the alien wishes to work. E-3 non-immigrant status is initially granted for a period of no more than 2 years. Extensions of stay may be granted indefinitely in increments not to exceed 2 years. Congress has established a yearly cap of 10,500 new E-3 workers. For purposes of the cap, 'new E-3 workers' are those who, coming from abroad, are admitted initially in E-3 classification or those who change their non-immigrant status to E-3 classification or change employers while in E-3 status. Unlike the dependent of an alien in H-1B non-immigrant classification, the dependent spouse of an E-3 temporary worker may apply for and receive work authorization."
Sarah L. Bachman, Rafiq Dossani, Martin Kenney, Nayan Chanda, David Dapice & Susan Froetschel _Yale Global_
Anxious America and the Off-Shore Out-Sourcing Debate: Another Perverse View
Debbie Campoli: Change in IT labor force in USA
Alan Elsner _Olberlin Times_
GWBush and senate face more trouble over immigration proposals
Leading the Charge
"Specter is pushing Bush's proposal to create [another] guest-worker program... The committee is also trying to agree on a provision for illegal aliens to gain legal status. That has angered a sizable anti-immigration wing in the Republican Party. More than 90 House members, nearly all Republicans, have joined a caucus headed by Colorado representative Tom Tancredo, who has vowed to derail Bush‘s guest-worker plan and any legislation that smacks of what he calls amnesty for illegal immigrants... The House of Representatives, where anti-immigration sentiments are stronger than in the Senate, passed a [compromise] bill last December to tighten border security and toughen enforcement against illegal immigrants. It included money to build [only] 700 miles of fencing along the [1600 mile long] Mexican border. But there was no guest-worker program and no mechanism for illegal aliens to become legal [i.e. no amnesty]... The House bill also included a clause stating that anyone who helps undocumented immigrants live or remain in the United States, or transports or harbors them knowingly, could face prosecution and even imprisonment... the provision was aimed at alien smugglers and those who knowingly exploit illegal immigrants by giving them low-wage jobs... Polls show Americans are worried about the porous southern border."
Suresh Pathkar _American Worker Coalition_
Immigration between USA & India Should Be 2-Way Street
"There is nothing to be very ecstatic about doubled H-1B visas to US. H-1B allows American companies to exploit Indians at a lower wage and deprive American citizens from decent jobs... When it comes to the point of providing the green card, increasing smaller numbers are qualifying... Indian media is ecstatic about the [rumor] that H-1B visa numbers are getting doubled."
Jonette Christian Respecting the rule of law
vs. Joshua Hoyt Illegal immigrants protest
Edwin S. Rubenstein _V Dare_
Fuzzy data, flawed economics underlie H-1b. out-sourcing enthusiasm
"much of what qualifies as engineering programs in Asia would not make the cut in the U.S.A. 'As a result, any bachelor's or short-cycle [2-3 year] degree with engineering in its title is included in these numbers, regardless of the degree's field or the academic rigor associated with it. This means that the reported number of engineers produced by [Red China] in 2004 may very well include the equivalent of motor mechanics and industrial technicians.' [Framing the Engineering Out-Sourcing Debate, Duke University School of Engineering report 2005 December 12 (PDF)]... U.S.: 750 engineering degrees awarded per 1M citizens. [Red China]: 500 engineering degrees awarded per 1M citizens. India: 200 engineering degrees awarded per 1M citizens. Obviously, our lead would be still larger if comparable 'engineering degree' definitions were used... H-1bs facilitate out-sourcing. Indeed, a just-released study lists immigration -- together with cheap global telecommunications, advances in information technology, and the free market economy -- as a major enabler of the out-sourcing phenomenon: 'In concentrated high-tech regions of the United States, most notably in Silicon Valley, communities of Indian high-tech entrepreneurs emerged and bonded with other Indians in the high-tech community, and similarly for the Chinese. In many cases, these technical entrepreneurs were the ones who started off-shoring companies or who were the go-betweens to ease the difficulties of doing business across so many miles and such different cultures. U.S. immigration policy, especially the H1-B and L-1 visa programs, have enabled Indians and other foreigners to gain valuable experience and contacts in the United States before returning to their home countries.' [Globalization and Off-Shoring of Software Association for Computing Machinery]...
'[In misleading claims that guest-work and off-shoring create jobs in the USA] they are including job categories which are not suitable for computer science graduates, e.g. computer support jobs [sales, accounting, etc.]. (Worse, they include such a category for 2004 that didn't even exist in BLS data in earlier years.)' [Norm Matloff H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-NewsLetter 2006 February 24.]...
Economics Nobel laureate Paul Samuelson has noted that classical economics long assumed that, while some groups are hurt by free trade, 'the gains of the American winners are big enough to more than compensate the losers'. But, writing in 2004, Samuelson questioned whether the classical result holds when the trading parties are as different as the U.S.A. and [Red China]. According to Samuelson, a low-wage country that is rapidly improving its technology, like [Red China] or India, has the potential to reduce American wages in out-sourced fields like call-center services and computer programming. [Where Ricardo and Mill Rebut and Confirm Arguments of Main-Stream Economists Supporting Globalization Journal of Economic Perspectives 2004 Summer] 'Being able to purchase groceries 20% cheaper at Wal-Mart does not necessarily make up for the wage losses.', Samuelson said in an interview. [A Dissenter on Out-Sourcing States His Case ECT New Business Desk 2004 September 7)."
Hu Jintao _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Stuart Anderson criticized John Miano's study of compensation to H-1B-holders
"The _National Foundation for Anti-USA Policy_ is apparently one of those Beltway organizations that have grandiose names but in actuality are one-man shows. The one man here is apparently Stuart Anderson, a long-time lobbyist and activist in favor of [an excessive] H-1B program. Anderson began these activities by writing pro-H-1B articles for Jack Kemp's Empower America, then for the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. He also was the author of the 1997 study by the ITAA, the industry lobbying group. He then went to work for then-senator Spencer Abraham, in which job Anderson authored the 2000 legislation which expanded the H-1B program. He's also a favorite author in the house magazine of the National Association of Foreign Student Advisers, one of the most ardent lobbying groups on Capitol Hill for [an extravagant] H-1B policy. (Anderson was also in tune with them when he lobbied against instituting a system, brought in after 2001/09/11, to track whether foreign students are still attending college.) Most importantly, he served as Executive Associate Commissioner in the INS Office of Policy and Planning during the first term of George W. Bush. A Washington Monthly article at the time (about the foreign student issue contained this passage: '''The best analogy I can draw about Stuart Anderson is something that an INS agent said to me: If you were going to hire someone to run the DEA, you wouldn't pick somebody who favors legalizing drugs.', says a top Republican aide on the Hill. 'And by putting Stuart Anderson in a ranking position in the INS, you've essentially done the same thing -- you've got somebody who favors open borders running the agency that regulates the borders.''''...
he is a genuinely nice guy IRL. But in his lobbyist, i.e. 'shark', mode he is extremely aggressive on immigration and trade issues (both being big libertarian issues). In particular, I suspect that Anderson was the one in the INS who basically shut down data sources at the time he was there. For example, a researcher in the INS who had been helpful to me [earlier] suddenly stopped returning my phone calls and replying to my e-mail messages. Thus it is quite hypocritical, to say the least, that Anderson now bemoans the lack of data... over the years Anderson has been quick to jump on every study criticizing the H-1B program...
Madeline Zavodny of the Federal Reserve Bank...didn't study H-1Bs who worked in the main computer-related category occupied by H-1Bs, namely programmers. That's a fatal flaw, a show stopper... she [Zavodny] goes on to say, for 2001 October - 2002 September, 'the results are quite different... The unemployment rate IV regressions indicate a positive relationship between the [number of H-1B applications] and the unemployment rate for IT workers.' IOW, in the second year she studied, H-1B did have an adverse impact on American workers... It's hard to view this omission as anything other than deliberate disinformation on Anderson's part. It was stated explicitly in one of the highlighted, set-off quotes in Zavodny's report -- 'some results do suggest a positive relationship between the number of LCA applications and the unemployment rate a year later'. The same quote appears in the Fed's press release. As I said, Anderson is extremely aggressive...
the vast majority of the foreign-born are not H-1Bs, and are thus not exploitable. Thus studies of the foreign-born as a whole will not show the exploitability of H-1Bs. For example, the foreign-born category includes those who immigrated to the U.S. as children with their families, and thus were not exploitable when they reached working age. Even for those who start work as an H-1B, their window of vulnerability is only the 3-6 years it takes to get a green card, which is a very short period compared to a career which spans 30 or 40 years. So, any effect of exploitation would be washed out.
Age Issues: Anderson says it's unfair for Miano to compare the H-1Bs to the median salaries across all age groups. More experienced people cost more. But that in fact is one of the major reasons why employers see as the ADVANTAGE of hiring H-1Bs -- it's a way to save in labor costs. Recall that I call this Type II salary savings. As the IT director at a large law firm put it, 'I'd love to have somebody with 20 years of experience, but unfortunately I'm only paying for 3 or 4' (Margaret Steen 'Many Older IT Workers are Fishing for Jobs Despite Labor Shortage' InfoWorld 1998-07-23). When employers run out of young Americans to hire, they turn to hiring young H-1Bs instead of older Americans. The Indian IT giant Tata Consultancy Services states that 50% of its H-1B programmers are under age 25, and 88% are under 30. Moreover, even when one controls for age (and education), one sees substantial savings in labor costs (which I call Type I). See for example the study by Ong and Blumenthal, and my two studies; all are discussed in my Michigan Journal of Law Reform article (pdf)... Using census data, Ong and Blumenthal found that the immigrant engineers made 33% less than comparable Americans, including controlling for age. (Anderson later tried to 'spin' that study, claiming that Ong never meant that the immigrant engineers were under-paid. This is a ridiculous claim for Anderson to make, since Ong told the Electrical Engineering Times 'Companies took advantage of immigrants'. See my Michigan Journal of Law Reform article (pdf) for details.) My own studies also involved the census data (1990 and 2000). I found that the H-1Bs were paid between 15 and 20% less than comparable Americans (again, holding age constant).
Enforcement Issues: As I've said many times, the problem of under-payment of H-1Bs is NOT an enforcement issue. The problem is in the law itself, not in the enforcement of it. There are huge, gaping loop-holes. All the immigration attorneys and HR people know about those loop-holes (of course they know, since they put them there), and they make full use of them. For example, on the open market employers must pay a premium for 'hot skills'. But the employers are not required to factor in hot skills in calculating the prevailing wage. Another example is that an employer can hire an H-1B who has a Master's degree and yet pay him a Bachelor's-level salary if the job only requires a Bachelor's. IOW, the employers can under-pay H-1Bs and yet still be in full compliance with the law and regulations. The 2003 GAO study unwittingly illustrated this. Concerning the employer survey GAO conducted, the report said, 'Some employers said that they hired H-1B workers in part because these workers would often accept lower salaries than similarly qualified U.S. workers; however, these employers said they never paid H-1B workers less than the required wage.'... They were paying the H-1Bs below market rates but were still in compliance with the law... when the DoL has found violations of the law, the amount of under-payment found has been small. This is correct. But it is again due to the fact that the under-payment is being calculated relative to the 'prevailing wage', which as we have seen, is well below market wage. The true under-payment is much larger. Anderson calculates that hiring an H-1B costs [only] $5,900 in legal and other fees... That $5900 or whatever it is pales in comparison with the savings the employer incurs by hiring the H-1B [rather than a US citizen, and in comparison with the cost of a thorough background check]. For a conservative comparison, let's take the 20% underpayment that I found for Type I savings -- much less than Ong's 33% figure, and much less than the figure one would get by combining Types I and II savings. Say the job would have paid $75K. So the employer is saving $15K per year. Say the H-1B works for the employer for 4 years. That $60K, which is 10 times those fees Anderson discusses.
Mobility: The primary situation in which H-1Bs become de facto indentured servants is that in which the employer is sponsoring the H-1B for a green card. The H-1B has the legal right to change employers, but dare not do so, since that would mean starting the green card process all over again from scratch... [The] National Research Council report, commissioned by Congress, noted this: 'Foreign nationals dislike [labor certification, one of the stages in obtaining a green card] because the process is so lengthy (often 3 years or longer in some areas of the country) and prevents them (on pain of having to begin the process all over again) from changing employers...'... Murali Devarakonda, a member of the Board of Directors of the Immigrant Support Network, an H-1B organization which became quite influential in Congress in 2000, said, 'This is legal human rights violation in America... You [as an H-1B] are an indentured servant, a modern-day slave...' (Straight Talk [weekly television program produced by Santa Clara County Democratic Club], 2000-06-10.) The ISN convinced Congress to make some small technical improvements in the process, but the 'indentured servant' situation remains as before. Indeed, immediately after that legislation was enacted, immigration attorney Latour hastened to assure nervous employers that things would indeed continue to be business as usual in terms of indentured servitude. An employer had asked him, 'Won't this [new bill] mean that H-1B employees will start jumping from job to job more often?' Latour answered that there may be some reduction in green card time, but assured the employers that 'the labor certainly process [still] requires a trusting relationship between employer and employee... the need for stable employment for the realization of permanent residency remains unchanged.', i.e. H-1Bs will continue to need to stick with their employers for the several years while the green card is pending, which is exactly what has happened. An example [of guest-worker mobility] is the situation in which the company at which an H-1B had been working goes out of business or lays the H-1B off. This occurs often. Also, many H-1Bs first work in jobs which are short-term contracts while they are trying to find an employer who will sponsor them for a green card. In all of these scenarios, the H-1B's ability to get a green card ceased or wasn't there to begin with, so the H-1B can move to another job without loss... Over the years, most H-1Bs have been sponsored for green cards (Alexander Nguyen 'High Tech Migrant Labor' The American Prospect 1999-12-20). Anderson concedes this point, but says that the industry has supported proposals to expedite green card processing, thus reducing the duration of the immobility period. But in fact the industry has OPPOSED such measures in private, according to a Capitol Hill insider's account, and given the employer who worriedly sought immigration attorney Latour's advice, described above, you can see why: Employers LIKE the immobility of the H-1Bs. Indeed, that immobility has been extolled by the immigration attorneys as a major benefit for hiring H-1Bs. For example, the Dayton Daily News reported that '[Attorney Sherry] Neal said foreign nationals may appear to be more loyal workers because they aren't as mobile as other in-demand tech workers...' (1999-07-11). Similarly, an article in a magazine for HR executives said that a virtue of hiring H-1Bs is that if the H-1B were to leave the employer, 'he or she has to start the immigration process all over again. As a result, most H-1B visa holders demonstrate remarkable loyalty...' (John Wentworth 'Stop-gap Measures for the IT Staffing Crunch' WorkForce Magazine 1999 May). To many employers, that 'loyalty' is even more important than the salary savings.
Anderson says, 'The key flaw in the CIS [i.e. John Miano] study is that it utilized data that do not reveal what employers actually pay individuals on H-1B visas. The data showing what an employer pays an H-1B visa holder is contained on the I-129 form filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. However, the information on that form is not publicly available.' Did you catch that last sentence? Recall what I said at the outset of this posting concerning the fact that the BCIS stopped making detailed data available to us researchers around the time Anderson became a BCIS official. I can't say for sure that this stonewalling was his doing, but in view of his position at BCIS, his statement about Miano's study above is real chutzpah. Anderson goes on to say: 'the CIS paper used the prevailing wage data that employers file with the Department of Labor -- even though employers do not necessarily pay H-1B visa holders just the prevailing wage indicated on the filing to DoL. In fact, the prevailing wage is a minimum requirement and is usually lower than what the H-1B visa holder actually receives, which makes it impossible for the CIS paper to conclude much of anything with regard to H-1B wages.' Contrary to Anderson's claim, in most cases the wage reported on the LCA is indeed what the H-1B is actually being paid. Miano's LCA data track quite well with the INS (now BCIS) data. For example, Miano found that the LCAs indicated that 85% of the computer-related H-1Bs were paid less than the overall median for their occupations. My analysis, using actual aggregate INS data for 2001, indicated that the figure was around 90%. Second, Anderson is missing an even more important point, which is that the LCA data at least say what employers are reporting as the prevailing wage -- and those prevailing wages, Miano shows, are far below the occupational median... the official 'prevailing wage' levels do NOT reflect true market values..."
Matloff analysis of Zavodny study
2006-03-15 06:48PST (09:48EST) (14:48GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Prices of imports into USA fell 0.5% as energy costs fell, but non-fuel import prices were up 0.8% over the last year
"prices of U.S. exports were unchanged in February. Agricultural export prices fell 1.1%. Prices of all other exports rose 0.1%. In the past 12 months, export prices are up 2.6%... Prices of imported capital goods increased 0.2%, the first increase in 10 months. Prices of imported consumer goods were unchanged."
2006-03-15 06:49PST (09:49EST) (14:49GMT)
Padraic Cassidy _MarketWatch_
DuPont to dut 1,500 workers in Europe
2006-03-15 08:58PST (11:58EST) (16:58GMT)
Robert Schroeder _MarketWatch_
Capital flowing into USA rose in January to $66G
"Net foreign purchases of long-term domestic securities stood at $78.1G. Foreign official institutions bought $20.2G in securities, while private investors accounted for $57.9G, Treasury said. Private foreign investors sold $4G in Treasuries in January, after buying fewer Treasuries in December."
Bryanna Bevens _V Dare_
Guest-Worker Plan Discredited by GAO Report
"Aside from the fact that any [additional] guest-worker plan [as with those that were hatched before] would be nothing more than an amnesty deal tied with a big red bow for law-breakers, there is another reason to reject it: Our government can't handle it!... IMMIGRATION BENEFITS: Additional Controls and Sanctions Strategy Could Enhance DHS's Ability to Control Benefit Fraud (GAO-06-259)... It reveals that an adjudicator for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) reviewing an application for legal residency has to follow a very specific guide-line: Just glance at it... and maybe check for spelling errors... Adjudicators don't interview these people unless they are 'undecided'?!!? That explains a lot! Bryanna translation: If the USCIS adjudicator were to look at the application, open a desk drawer and pull out a Magic 8 Ball, shake it and then make their decision based on the words that appear in the answer window that would be a more reliable system (in terms of fraud detection) than what is currently in place!... The GAO also says that fraud is basically rampant where immigration benefits are concerned. Here's the problem with their methodology: Current USCIS policy states that when the USCIS cannot adjudicate an application for permanent residency that contains an accompanying application for work authorization within 90 days, the applicant is entitled to an interim work authorization... 'The interim benefit remains valid until it expires or until it is revoked by USCIS.'... 'Failure to complete the adjudication within 90 days will result in the grant of an employment authorization document for a period not to exceed 240 days.' [Title 8 Code of Federal Regulations Sec. 274a.13 sub (d)] That's 8 months (for those like me with math issues) to do a lot of damage... 'In fiscal year 2004, 67% of applications were adjudicated in service centers that generally process only applications that do not require an interview with the applicant.'... This means that roughly 5M applications were adjudicated without interviewing the applicants to verify the evidence they provided [let alone conducting actual, feet-on-the-ground background investigations]. Now then, according to the GAO report, in FY2005 there were 3 application categories which accounted for more than 3-quarters of the fraud denials: Temporary work authorization (36%), Application for permanent residency (30%), Application for a spouse to immigrate (14%). (Almost half of the applications adjudicated by USCIS in FY2005 fell into these 3 categories.)... In a nut-shell, roughly two-thirds of the applications that are denied based on fraud are from applicants seeking authorization for temporary employment. Some people call them guest-workers... 'DHS does not currently actively use the administrative sanctions available to it.'... 'For document fraud (committed after 1999) the DHS can impose fines ranging from $275 to $2,200 per document for a first offense and from $2,200 to $5,500 per document for those with prior violations.'... The penalties collected would go into a fund -- the Immigration Enforcement Account at the Department of the Treasury. This account can be used to pay for a variety of enforcement enhancement provisions, including: 1. A system to identify and track criminal aliens, deportable aliens, inadmissible aliens, and aliens illegally entering the United States; and 2. The repair, maintenance, or construction of border facilities to deter illegal entry along the border. Yep, that 700 mile fence [stretching across a mere fraction of the 1600 mile border with Mexico, and the 3300 mile border with Canada] everybody keeps talking about could have been paid for by the law-breakers themselves."
Diane Hirth _Tallahassee Demagogue_
Florida Legislators Wrestle over Tuition for Illegal Immigrants
"A bill (HB205) by representative Dick Kravitz, R-Jacksonville, passing 7-2 in the House Education Council, would prohibit foreign students at state universities and colleges from receiving state money. The exception would be graduate students with assistantships or work-study. A bill (SB366) by senator Frederica Wilson, D-Miami, clearing the Senate Education Committee on a 5-2 vote, would let children of illegal immigrants who've been in Florida for 3 years pay in-state tuition at state universities and colleges. The number of Florida high-school students helped by this proposal may be from several hundred up to 4K. Senate President Tom Lee, R-Brandon, said he is concerned about the concept of higher-education incentives 'to take advantage of life in America without going through the legal process.' However, House Speaker Allan Bense, R-Panama City, said, 'If the children of illegal aliens performed in high school and made good grades, they should not pay out-of-state tuition.'... The Kravitz bill would redirect about $6.9M in universities and $1.3M in community colleges from international students to Florida students needing financial aid. Yet foreign students plowed $626M into Florida's economy in 2004-05, according to the Association of International Educators."
2006-03-15 10:04PST (13:04EST) (18:04GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Home builders are less confident in March
"The NAHB-Wells Fargo housing market index fell to 55 in March from a downwardly revised 56 in February, the industry group said. It's the lowest level since 2003 April for the index, which has declined by 13 points in the past 5 months."
Gregory Siskind _Immigration Daily_
Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006
"The Specter bill is [an extreme proposal]. Most of the enforcement provisions from the Sensenbrenner bill HR4437 remain, but the Senate bill provides for new guest worker programs designed to ensure employers can access needed workers and that the large undocumented population in the US can be put into legal status. The bill does not grant permanent residency to the [illegal aliens], but it does make it possible for workers to get to the back of the line and pursue a green card legally. The Specter bill is still being revised, but changes now being introduced are relatively modest compared. Important amendments may still be offered and the bill still may not pass in the Senate, but we decided to proceed with offering a detailed review of the 305 page piece of legislation... Section 401 creates a new H-2C visa. This visa appears targeted to workers either outside the US or currently in legal status in the USA. A separate guest-worker program targeted at out of status workers is outlined in Title VI. The visa is available to those coming to the US temporarily to perform temporary labor or services other than labor or services covered in H-1B, H-1C, H-2A, H-2B, H-3, or L, O, P, or R visas... Employers are subject to civil fines of $2K up to $35K per worker depending on whether the violation is willful and whether a worker was harmed. Imprisonment of up to 6 months and additional fines of up to $35K are possible if a willful violation occurs and an individual suffers extreme physical or financial harm... The Spector bill makes important changes regarding student visas. First, F-1 optional practical training [OPT] time is now extended from one year to 24 months. (Section 408). A new F-4 student visa is created for students pursuing advanced degrees in math, engineering, technology or the physical sciences. F-4 students would need to either return to their country of origin or remain in the USA and pursue a job in their field and then pursue permanent residency. F-4s will be dual intent and the status can be extended while the applicant pursues permanent residency through a labor certification or other means. The alien must be working in his field as well to qualify to adjust status. Applicants for adjustment under this new section would pay a fee of $1K which will fund scholarships and fraud prevention. Section 407 also would allow F-1 and F-4 students to accept off-campus jobs outside of the student's field if the student is enrolled and in good standing at their educational institution, an employer provides the school and the Labor Department with an attestation that it has spent 21 days unsuccessfully recruiting for the job and is paying the higher of the actual or prevailing wage, and the student will work no more than 20 hours during the academic term or 40 hours per week on vacations. Section 409 exempts aliens who have earned advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering or math and have been working in their fields under a non-immigrant visa in the 3 years prior to filing for adjustment, recipients of national interest waivers, immediate relatives of aliens granted employment-based immigrant visas are exempt from green card quotas. Section 409 waives the labor certification recruitment requirement for those with advanced degrees in the sciences, technology, engineering or math from American universities. The H-1B cap is lifted for 3 years to 115K. (Section 409). After that, the cap will remain at 115K but may rise up to 20% per year if the whole cap is used up in the prior year. If the cap is not reached, then the cap the next year will remain the same as the current year. Allows recapture of unused visa numbers and increases employment-based green cards from 140K to 290K. Visas for spouses and children shall not be counted against the numerical limits. Immediate relatives would no longer be counted against the 480K annual cap on family-based immigration. (Section 501). The per country limits are raised from 7% to 10%... In addition to the H-2C visa program described in Title IV, the Specter bill creates an alternative guest worker program called conditional non-immigrant status."
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Comprehensive Immigration [Perversion] Act of 2006
"I noted that the bill did not have a number yet... There has been some information on the bill in the press and on the web sites of some immigration reform organizations, but both are very short on details. And as they say, 'the devil is in the details'. Yet the Beltway insiders seem to have no problem getting copies of the bill. The immigration attorney and industry lobbies clearly have this access, as does at least one of the immigration reform organizations. But the rest of us are on the outside looking in. Fortunately, immigration attorney Greg Siskind obtained a copy and has published his analysis of it... This is a highly complex bill. What will get it the most press, of course, is its proposal of a very broad guest worker program, but it has other sections which would have huge implications for programmers and engineers who are U.S. citizens and permanent residents. To describe the effect the bill would have on American techies, let's put it this way: The phrase, 'final nail on the coffin' immediately comes to mind... Specter's bill sets up TWO [additional] guest-worker programs, one for illegals and the other general... For the last 5-10 years, it has been typical in the industry to have a policy in which it is very difficult for a new graduate to get a software development job without having had internship/co-op experience. And if you don't get into a development position at the beginning, it is quite difficult to get one later. IOW, internship/co-op experience is crucial to being able to have a development career. Moreover, often in internship/co-op positions a bond develops between the employer and student, making it much easier for the student to get a permanent job with the employer after graduation. Again: Internship/co-op positions play a key role in getting good jobs in this field. But internship/co-op experience is difficult to come by these days. Yet many of these jobs are taken by foreign students, who have the right to work via OPT. The main thing which has served as a damper on that effect is that OPT has been limited to one year. Many foreign students have been reluctant to use any of that one-year time, because they want it to apply to their permanent job in the U.S. after graduation. If H-1B visas are in short supply when they graduate, employers can still hire them under OPT. IOW, this doubling of OPT time is (a) specifically aimed at enhancing the ability of foreign students to work in the U.S. and thus reduce job opportunities for American students, and (b) would have the additional effect of literally making it impossible for many American students to ever enter the software development field... Dual intent, which means [foreign students] also wish to become permanent residents of the U.S., at least would make them honest, but again the overall aim here is to enhance the ability of foreign students to get U.S. jobs..."
Gregory Siskind analysis of Specter proposal
Virus vulnerability of RFID demonstrated
Seattle Post Intelligencer
"A group of European computer researchers has demonstrated that it is possible to insert a software virus into radio frequency identification tags, part of a microchip-based tracking technology in growing use in commercial and security applications. In a paper to be presented yesterday at an academic computing conference in Pisa, Italy, the researchers planned to demonstrate how it is possible to infect a tiny portion of memory in the chips that is frequently large enough to hold only 128 characters of information. Until now, most security experts have discounted the possibility of using such tags, known as RFID chips, to spread a computer virus because of the tiny amount of memory on the chips... Radio tags have even been injected into pets and live-stock for identification. In the researchers' paper, 'Is Your Cat Infected With a Computer Virus?', the group, affiliated with the computer science department at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, also describes how the vulnerability could be used to undermine a variety of tracking systems. The group, led by Andrew Tanenbaum, a US computer scientist, was to make the presentation at the annual Pervasive Computing and Communications Conference sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers [IEEE]."
2006-03-16 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
un-employment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 291,258 in the week ending March 11, a decrease of 10,533 from the previous week. There were 307,061 initial claims in the comparable week in 2005. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.2% during the week ending March 4, a decrease of 0.1 percentage point from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,873,166, a decrease of 102,134 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.4% and the volume was 3,085,920."
2006-03-16 05:58PST (08:58EST) (13:58GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Seasonally adjusted unemployment insurance claims reach 309K, highest for the year
_Below the Belt-Way_
This Land Is Our Land: The Latest Round in the Eminent Domain Battle
2006-03-16 07:02PST (10:02EST) (15:02GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Consumer prices tame in February
"In the past 3 months, the CPI has risen at a 2.7% annual rate, while core prices are rising at a 2% pace."
2006-03-16 08:39PST (11:39EST) (16:39GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Housing starts fell 7.9% in February to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2.12M housing starts
census bureau report
2006-03-16 08:40PST (11:40EST) (16:40GMT)
Stocks steady: Enquirer 80 stock index up 0.32%
"The Enquirer 80 Index of local interest stocks rose .97 points, or 0.32%, to 299.78. 55 issues were up, 20 were down and five were unchanged. Leading gainers were Humana Inc., up $2.03 to $51.07; LCA Vision Inc., up $1.37 to $42.11; Meridian Diagnostics Inc., up 98 cents to $23.50; Cincinnati Financial, up 94 cents to $45.40; and Dillard's Inc., up 56 cents to $26.66. Biggest losers were E.W. Scripps Co., down $1.51 to $46.49; Toyota Motor Co., down 64 cents to $107.75; Procter & Gamble, down 60 cents to $59.30; Kendle International, down 46 cents to $31.61; and Harris Corp., down 45 cents to $46.47."
Foster Klug _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Assistant Secretary of Defense Has Warned of Red Chinese Build-Up
"Peter Rodman, assistant secretary of defense for international security policy, said [Red China] has more than 700 short-range ballistic missiles aimed at Taiwan, with numbers increasing at about 100 missiles a year. 'When there are zero ballistic missiles opposite the Taiwan Strait, and a few years later there are 700, that's a change in the status quo.', Rodman told reporters after testifying before the U.S.-[Red China] Economic and Security Review Commission, an advisory panel created by Congress. 'Our job is to maintain a military balance in the region, and we take our responsibility seriously.' The United States opposes changes in the [Red China]-Taiwan relationship unless both sides agree to it, Rodman said. But, he testified, [Red China's] 'military build-up changes that status quo and requires us to adapt to the new situation, as we are doing.' He did not elaborate."
David A. Utter _Web Pro News_
New Bill Is a Specter over Tech Jobs
"The Comprehensive Immigration [Law Perversion] Act Of 2006 submitted by senator Arlen Specter will be the 'final nail in the coffin' for US technology job seekers, with plenty of loop-holes for employers to exploit while hiring foreign-born workers at lower wages. Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be n. Steer them to be pharmacists or investment bankers instead. If provisions of CORA play out in the manner foreseen by long-time H1-B/out-sourcing observer Dr. Norm Matloff of UC-Davis, very few US-born computer science graduates with degrees higher than an Associate's stand a chance of finding a job in their field... Again, the future is not bright for the prospective computer science student. As many high school students shy away from the profession in favor of ones with the potential for, well, employment, the ones who have not should consider [Dr. Matloff's warnings]."
C.E. Scott _Tallahassee Demagogue_
Businesses told to beware of espionage: FBI meet with Tallahassee technology leaders
"The digital age has sparked an increase of electronic espionage in the United States, but the weakest link in protecting vital commercial data remains the individual worker, FBI officials told Tallahassee information specialists Wednesday... Electronic espionage aimed at U.S. businesses and, in some cases, educational centers has mushroomed since the mid-1980s because of ever-widening access by other nations to the Internet, Beiner told members of The TalTech Alliance... He said the United States is one of the few nations in the world that does not use its intelligence services to spy on foreign companies and then pass information along to businesses."
_San Jose Mercury News_
Treasury Secretary John Snow says, Don't expect more H-1B visas from congress
"National Semiconductor, a Santa Clara chip maker, plans to lobby for a change in the law to protect companies against what Chief Executive Brian Halla described as 'patent trolls'. The company will ask the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to prevent companies from buying patents, with no intention of using them, and then suing companies that sell similar products, Halla said in an interview with Bloomberg News. Halla also said Treasury Secretary John Snow told corporate executives not to expect an increase in the number of visas that let skilled engineers enter the country. Snow's comment came at a March 2 visit to National Semiconductor head-quarters, Halla said. Snow told executives the administration had little hope that Congress would grant a request to extend the current annual limit of 65K H-1B visas, Halla said."
Bill Cotterell _Tallahassee Demagogue_
Personal private information about Florida state employees did go to India: Convergys claims it was misled
"Convergys [formerly Cincinnati Bell Information Systems, CBIS & Matrixx Marketing Inc. & Transtech] and the Department of Management Services [DMS] admitted Wednesday that personnel data for some state employees wound up in India. The state said it wants $5M from Convergys, partly to punish the company but also to help improve its People First system for more than 100K workers whose sensitive data could have been compromised. Department of Management Services Secretary Tom Lewis and Chris Emerick, Florida director for Convergys on the state project... a sub-contractor, GDXdata of Denver [which shipped the] work over-seas for 12 months starting in mid-2003. Lewis said Convergys knew of the violation last August, when it cut off its contract with GDXdata, but it did not tell the state until about 3 weeks ago. Emerick disputed that, saying the company alerted the state after receiving an anonymous letter about the India operation on July 11. GDXdata President Nancy Sauer said her company 'does not believe that it violated any material provision of the GDX/Convergys contract'... Lewis, who took over DMS after the Convergys-People First contract was in place, told the Senate Governmental Oversight and Productivity Committee: 'The use of off-shore services was inappropriate and unacceptable.' In addition to the investigation by the DMS inspector general -- which mushroomed to include the Office of Statewide Prosecution, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and U.S. Attorney's Office - the case was pushed by state senators Walter Campbell, D-Fort Lauderdale, and Les Miller, D-Tampa. Democratic law-makers pressed Convergys to disclose when and why it dumped GDXdata... He said Convergys has agreed to provide a 'one-year credit protection program' for state employees, allowing up to $50K coverage for losses. Lewis said Convergys agreed to 'an independent audit', if he can find a company willing to take on the job 'in this post-Enron era'. Lewis said Convergys will also cover the cost of notifying state employees to check their financial records. He said the state is activating a telephone call line and an e-mail link on DMS web sites for employees to get information. He said the state also wants Convergys to name a new program manager and appoint a full-time security manager for People First. The contract will also be toughened to require state approval of all subcontractors, as well as immediate notice of any possible breaches, he said... The former GDXdata employees who filed the suit in Leon County Circuit Court alleged that the subcontractor cut indexing costs from about 6 cents to a penny per page by using services in India."
WikiPedia: Convergys is a privacy-violation firm derived from the Cincinnati Bell local government-enforced monopoly and its privacy-violation arm, Cincinnati Bell Information Systems, together with MATRIXX/AT&T Solutions Customer Care/AT&T Transtech, DigitalThink, Intervoice, Datacom call center operations, Stream Global Services; with subsidiary operations including Infinys Rating and Billing (IRB), Dynamic Decisioning Solution (DDS), ICOMS, Customer Management Solutions
|10-year US T-Bond||4.65%|
2006-03-16 21:03PST (2006-03-17 00:03EST) (2006-03-17 05:03GMT)
John C. Dvorak _MarketWatch_
Dell's discontented customers are growing more vocal
"Some of this has to do with the current Brooks Brothers management, some has to do with the founder Michael Dell. Of all the super-star billionaires Michael Dell is one of the most sedate. While he's a nice guy and savvy, nobody calls him Mr. Excitement. This lack of real enthusiasm and pride is now reflected in both the management and the products which simply put, have no flair. Fundamentally a Dell computer is the same as most Chinese manufactured machines made by every me-too vendor selling PCs. What would it take to incorporate a case crafted by someone who actually understood cool industrial design? It would take someone who actually cared... Within the not-so-small confines of the powerful blogosphere there is a growing discontent with Dell and its once legendary customer service that could eventually hurt earnings. This situation might actually be at a crisis point already. [Blogs] have been picking on Dell and linking to horror stories... And over the past few years grudge sites began to appear. Among the most irate is the Rip-Off Report. -- 'Dell has the worst customer service I've ever experienced! I've spent OVER 4.5 HOURS on the phone (with people from India) trying to get a refund for a second monitor they sent me -- when I only ordered one! -- They also billed me almost twice as much for the second one (without my knowledge or authorization), which arrived two days earlier, so I unwittingly refused delivery on the lower priced one.'-- Not a lot of happy Dell campers at this place. Yet instead of addressing the complainers with blogs and posts of its own, Dell has stuck its head in the sand... Generally when a company is protecting its trademarks it doesn't go this far [suing customers who have made public their complaints]. Dell has a serious risk of losing even more good-will and potentially creating a genuine ground-swell of hatred that may become difficult to reverse."
2006-03-16 20:40PST (2006-03-16 23:40EST) (2006-03-17 04:40GMT)
Matt Krantz _USA Today_
Leveraged buy-out firms up to their old scams
"Private equity firms are arguably the hottest thing on Wall Street right now, packing the financial fire-power to buy all but the nation's largest companies. Their reach into the financial markets stands to transform the stock market's landscape by putting a growing number of brand-name companies out of the reach of average investors while also putting many retirees' pension and retirement funds into much more speculative investments than ever before. Essentially a revamped version of the leveraged buyout firms of the 1980s, these firms buy under-valued or under-appreciated companies, fix them up and sell them for a fast profit, sometimes in as little as 3 years. Their secret sauce is the use of debt -- usually as much as 70 cents of every dollar they invest. Because they pile debt onto the companies they buy, private equity firms free up their own cash, allowing them to make additional investments and maximize their potential returns... The amount invested in private equity hit $139.6G in 2005 and was twice as much as in 2003, says Tobias Levkovich, strategist at Citigroup. That's more than the $135.8G that flowed into stock mutual funds last year... Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, Black Entertainment Television founder Robert Johnson and U2 front-man Bono have all taken the private equity plunge. Welch has joined Clayton Dubilier & Rice to help with strategic planning on operating companies, Johnson created a private equity firm that will work with larger firm Carlyle Group, and Bono has joined the private equity firm Elevation Partners... As similar as the return of private equity might seem to the 1980s, the firms say this time it's completely different. Instead of buying companies and dismantling them, as was their rap in the 1980s, private equity firms install experienced management teams that can squeeze more profit out of under-performing companies. Critics say private equity firms are up to the same old tricks and are taking short-term profits without regard for the long-term outlook for the companies they buy. 'Private equity firms have repeatedly extracted cash from companies knowing there was a significant risk they will later run out of funds [e.g. to cover pension obligations] and be unable to raise more.', says Gary Diamond, a restructuring adviser for Berger Epstein & Garber."
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
"There [have] been a ton of items in the press lately bemoaning the allegedly low math and science scores of U.S. kids in international tests. As I've explained before (and will elaborate on later in this posting), that actually is misleading, and the flurry of items in the press is due to very aggressive PR activities by various special interest groups with their own agendas. (Industry wants to use it to justify an expanded H-1B program and to shut up critics of off-shoring, the education lobby wants it to get more federal dollars, etc.)... Paying math teachers a salary attractive enough to draw really good people to the field is, in professor Farley's mind, unthinkable. That already shows that all those recent statements by politicians (both Democratic and Republican) about the need to make science and math education a top priority is total b.s. But even worse, the author says that an 'innovative' alternative is bringing H-1B teachers from Jamaica! This is stating what the H-1B program is all about -- cheap labor -- in the baldest possible terms. The National Education Association has said so too: 'Some foreign teachers receive lower pay than comparable teachers in their schools... Some school districts pay their non-immigrant employees as new teachers, regardless of their experience and qualifications.' See my analysis of the teacher situation in Las Vegas, where by the way the school district rejected an applicant who had won a teaching award... the main-stream kids are doing fine, but our system is still failing to devote enough resources to our social under-class. I've mentioned the TIMSS test, for instance, which showed that if Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa and 10 other states -- none of which has a substantial under-class -- had been treated as separate nations, each of them would have been out-scored only by Singapore (Prof. David Berliner, 'Our Schools Versus Theirs' Washington Post 2001 January 28). Now let's look at the test Farley cites, the Program in Student Assessment (PISA). For the 2000 survey (the 2003 report does not have enough data for what I will emphasize here), the U.S. ranked 18th of the 27 OECD countries, with a mean score of 493. However, broken down by race, the means in the U.S. were:
2006-03-17 06:15PST (09:15EST) (14:15GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Industrial production in the USA rose in February by 0.7%, mostly from utilities as people heated their homes, etc.
2006-03-17 07:24PST (10:24EST) (15:24GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
UMich consumer sentiment held at 86.7 for second month
_Bergen Herald News_
School officials' perks have gone over the top
"A report by the State Commission of Investigation revealed that the process of hiring and keeping top-flight school administrators has become a costly and most cynical exercise. Titled 'TaxPayers Beware: What You Don't Know Can Cost You', the report documents how the recruitment of administrators has been transformed into a series of bidding wars more befitting big-time athletics, where outrageous perks are hidden deep within the fine print of contracts, well out of view of the public eye... Duroy, who was paid a salary of $173,056 in 2003-04, took home an additional $24,655 in annuities by cashing in life insurance and unused vacation leave. And, even though he was forced off the job in June 2004, a negotiated termination agreement brought him an additional $99,587. This extravagant spending is doubly outrageous when one considers the real daily needs of Paterson public schools, many of them so crowded or in disrepair that English or science classes have been moved to hallways and cafeterias, and where gymnasium space has been severely limited or done away with altogether. The sad part is that Duroy's contract has more often been rule than exception... The money spent on expensive buyouts, manipulated pensions and questionable compensation packages are commonplace. They include everything from retirement golf trips to Myrtle Beach, to thousands of dollars in clothing allowances as well as the use of 'district' cars. A 7-year examination of some 334 state contracts found that salaries for superintendents, assistant superintendents and business administrators rose by 31% -- more than twice the growth rate of average teacher salaries, which increased about 14% over the same time."
Off-Shoring Propaganda War Is Very Hot
Contractor UK: The IT bodyshopper portal
"As media interest in off-shore out-sourcing begins to wane, a trio of industry [propagandists] are continuing to [propagate] the myths of a business process that [they allege] has cut the US IT work-force by 3%. Gartner this week declared that contrary to corporate sound bites about off-shoring, most large organisations in Europe pursue off-shore deals purely to cut costs... an overwhelming majority of companies admitted achieving 'cost take out' was the primary driver, with larger organisations much more likely to take this view than their smaller counterparts... Gartner reminded Western companies that only with a combination of cost control and reduction, under-pinned by the goal of maintaining consistency in service delivery, would they achieve their foremost goal of 'cost take out'... 'Companies have a growing concern about losing control of their intellectual capital and the business knowledge of key employees whose jobs or roles may be threatened by out-sourcing, particularly when down-sizing occurs.'... Earlier this month, the OECD reported 1 in 5 [20% of] IT jobs could be affected through off-shoring, though it [still alleged that] the long term economic benefit to the country out-sourcing outweighs the interim losses... Yet its latest report conceded there appear, 'no clear patterns as to how off-shore out-sourcing affects productivity, and that much depends on both sector and firm-specific characteristics'."
2006-03-17 08:04PST (11:04EST) (16:04GMT)
Laurie Sullivan _EE Times_/_TechWeb_
GW Bush signed bill targeting knock-offs
James R. Edwards jr _Immigration Daily_
Illegal & Legal Immigration Go Hand-In-Hand
Bill Frist _US Senate_
Frist introduced "Securing America's Borders" act: Ensures senate consideration of border security
"U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D. (R-TN) yesterday introduced S2454, the Securing America's Borders Act (SABA). SABA focuses on border security and interior law enforcement and will also enable the Senate to pursue comprehensive immigration reform. The legislation ensures that the Senate can consider a border security bill during the week of March 27 in case the Judiciary Committee does not report a bill that meets these objectives. The foundation of the Securing America's Borders Act is Chairman Specter's mark-up of the border security bill and includes Republican-sponsored amendments adopted in the Judiciary Committee's hearings. The bill does not include the guest worker titles included in the current version of the committee bill but does include provisions regarding highly skilled immigrants."
section-by-section analysis of SABA (pdf)
the complete bill text as introduced by Senator Frist last night on the Senate floor (pdf)
Week's Top News Summary
|10-year US T-Bond||4.67%|
2006-03-19 05:49:56PST (08:49:56EST) (13:49:56GMT)
"B4Ranch" _Free Republic_
Great American Job Sell-Out: Economy in Crisis
Angela Charlton, Jean-Marie Godard & Greg Somerville _AP_/_Yahoo!_
French Police Are Trying To Subdue Riots Over Jobs Law Changes
Napa Valley Register
Ely Times & County
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier
"The protests, which drew 500K people in some 160 cities across the country... The law would allow businesses to fire young workers in the first 2 years on a job without giving a reason, removing them from protections that restrict lay-offs of regular employees. Companies are often reluctant to add employees because it is hard to let them go if business conditions worsen. Students see a subtext in the new law: make it easier to hire and fire to help France compete in a globalizing world economy. Youth joblessness stands at 23% nationwide, and 50% among impoverished young people. The lack of work was blamed in part for the riots that shook France's depressed suburbs during the Fall... The Paris protest march was the biggest, attracting some 80K people, according to police. 'Organizers' put the number at 300K."
David S. Broder _Washington Post_
Gates is pushing hard for more H-1B visas for cheap, young, pliant, low-skilled labor with flexible ethics
Fort Worth Star Telegram
National Association of Manufacturers
Buffalo NY News
Quad City Times
NorthEast Mississippi Daily Journal
"The MSFT billionaire does not love this capital, but he decided to add his personal voice to his Washington office's lobbying effort to expand the number of foreign-born computer scientists allowed to work in this country under a special program known as H-1B visas... The draft bill that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter has been preparing for floor consideration would expand the annual H-1B limit from 65K to 115K. By excluding dependents (who now are counted against the cap) from the total, it might mean the entry of as many as 300K people a year -- 0.1% of the U.S. population. As Gates said, these are highly paid, highly qualified individuals. Salaries for these jobs at MSFT start at about $100K a year. Their counterparts can be hired more cheaply in [Red China] or India, he said, but MSFT does 85% of its research and development work in the United States because it wants its computer scientists interacting directly with its program managers and its marketing people on its own campus."
_Mohave Daily News_
Frist proposal would crack down on employers of illegal immigrants
North San Diego County Times
"Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist dodges President Bush's call for giving illegal immigrants temporary work permits in an election-year immigration bill the Tennessee Republican unveiled Friday. Frist, who is seeking his party's presidential nomination in 2008, said the Senate will turn to his proposal to tighten borders, punish employers who hire illegal immigrants, and provide more visas if the Senate Judiciary Committee doesn't complete a broader bill in the next 10 days. A clear majority on the 18-member committee has come out in favor of [an additional] guest-worker program [or two] that would allow employed illegal immigrants to remain in the U.S. - at least temporarily - rather than be deported. They agreed Friday to attempt forging a substitute for Frist's bill by March 27."
Wilma Ward _Whittier Daily News_
Reader poll sought on immigration
"Do you believe illegal immigrants are doing jobs legal residents want? Do you believe illegal immigrants are having an unfavorable impact on this state? As residents here legally are paying more than their share of medical, education and housing costs, they are beginning to pay attention and want this problem addressed."
Jean Simpson _Whittier Daily News_
Pasadena Star news
"How can the president, in good conscience, even consider signing the [Socialist Insecurity] Treaty between the United States and Mexico. It's outrageous! If he signs this treaty, it would mean that full [Socialist Insecurity] benefits would be provided to every illegal alien who is granted amnesty or is enrolled in the president's proposed guest worker (amnesty) program. It would also provide illegals with Medicaid benefits, guaranteeing that local hospitals will be filled to overflowing with illegal aliens, and quality of service provided will become even worse. Unfortunately, the treaty has already been signed and approved by both the U.S. and Mexican [Socialist Insecurity Abomination], and needs only the president's signature. We understand that this would drain as much as $345G from our [Socialist Insecurity] Trust Fund over the next 2 decades, wiping out our nation's primary retirement system. This would leave millions of Americans at risk of financial disaster. The problem is that this Social Security Treaty will automatically become law 60 days after the president signs it, Congress is able to pass a bill of disapproval within the next 60-day limit. House Concurrent Resolution 50 urges the president not to sign the treaty, while HRes20 officially disapproves of the treaty, thereby killing it, if passed."
Christine MacDonald _Boston Globe_
Immigration bills elicit sharply divergent views
"Robert Casimiro of Weymouth, president of the Massachusetts Coalition for Immigration Reform, said the country should focus on securing the borders and deporting immigrants already in the country illegally. 'When the government gets that done, maybe we can talk about a guest worker program.', said Casimiro, who supports the House bill but remains skeptical that law-makers will provide the necessary funding and enforcement to make a difference. 'It won't mean a thing unless they get serious about it -- unless they back it up with funding and a commitment from the executive branch.', said Casimiro... 'We don't know who is coming over our border.', White said. 'If we don't have protection of our border, we have no country.' Business leaders have long maintained that the country's economy depends on [cheap] immigrant workers... But White isn't buying the argument. He said he has nothing against immigrants but fears the growing illegal population is taking middle-class jobs and driving down wages. 'I'm a Christian man and I know that I'm supposed to extend my hand outward to my fellow human beings.', White said. 'But if you had 10 or 20 people storm into your house, how would you feel?' William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration, a political action group based in Raleigh, NC, that states it has members in 50 states, said what's needed is enforcement of existing immigration law, noting that the federal government has essentially abandoned efforts to police companies that employ illegal workers... Gheen, who believes lax enforcement has emboldened illegal immigrants. He said '75K illegal aliens marching down the streets, out in the open, is utterly ridiculous.', referring to the March 7 march in Chicago to protest the House bill."
2006-03-20 07:15PST (10:15EST) (15:15GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Leading Economic Indicators Fell 0.2% to 139
Conference Board data
2006-03-20 08:30PST (11:30EST) (16:30GMT)
interview with Ira Mehlman about immigration reform proposals in the Senate judiciary committee & the House
Federation for American Immigration Reform
Tim Funk _Charlotte Observer_/_South Carolina State_
70 House members sent warning to Specter on immigration law changes
Myrtle Beach Sun News
Lexington Herald Leader
"More than 70 conservative House members - including GOP representatives Patrick McHenry and Sue Myrick of North Carolina - sent a warning to the Senate last week on the hot-button issue of immigration. Their message: We don't like what we're hearing about Senate proposals to launch a guest-worker program and legalize undocumented foreign workers already here. Ideas like that are 'fundamentally incompatible' with get-tough legislation already passed by the House and could "doom any chance of a real reform bill reaching the president's desk this year," the House members wrote in a letter to senator Arlen Specter, R-PA... The House letter to Specter touts the House provisions -- including one to build a fence along the Mexican border -- as steps 'to restore the anarchical borders and to reform our dysfunctional immigration system'."
Mike Gildea & Paul E. Almeida _AFL-CIO Department of Professional Employees_
AFL-CIO enters guest-worker fray
"Based on what we've seen and the nature of on-going discussions, whatever is considered on the Senate floor is likely to be the absolutely worst H-1B legislative construct that has ever emerged in the congress... It is hard to imagine how the so-called 'guest-worker' provisions contained in the immigration bill currently pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee could protect the general welfare of America's working families in any way, shape or form. In our opinion, the guest worker provisions contained in this draft bill -- as the AFL-CIO had stated in previous correspondence -- is an unconscionable give-away of domestic job opportunities. The massive, new H-2C program would create a gigantic pool of... easily exploitable foreign workers who would not only displace American workers but as well serve to drive down wages, working conditions and living standards. No meaningful protections would be in place to protect domestic or foreign workers... from economic abuse. It is truly unfathomable as to why the Committee appears to be hell-bent on repeating the sordid history of past Congressional mistakes from Bracero to the H-1B debacle. The bill also proposes unwarranted expansions in the poster child program of bad immigration law -- the H-1B. Among the most egregious provisions:
Alan Caruba _New Media Journal_
Illegal Immigration Time Bomb
"According to the Center for Immigration Studies that has just issued a 44-page report on 'The Connection Between Legal and Illegal Immigration', as legal immigration levels have risen since 1965, illegal immigration has increased with it. The Center found that 'the share of the foreign-born population who are illegal aliens has risen steadily. Where they made up 21% of the foreign-born in 1980 and 25% in 2000, they numbered 28% as of 2005.' Several amnesties have masked the rise in illegal immigration, the most recent being the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. Suffice it to say this whitewash piece of legislation did nothing to reform or control immigration. It legalized 3M illegal aliens. They, in turn, became eligible to sponsor additional immigrants, thus contributing says the Center to the ranks of both legal and illegal immigrants. The more you legalize, the more who see the opportunity to enjoy the same instant process. As commentator Michelle Malkin points out, this is a slap in the face to every naturalized American who patiently went through the process to become a citizen. The entire immigration system is broken and, to make matters infinitely worse, Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) of the Senate Judiciary Committee has begun debate on a proposal that would create a 'Gold Card' program to grant amnesty to illegal aliens who broke the law to get here before 2004 January 4. So we have the Democrats criticizing efforts to make illegal entry a felony offense with senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) saying it would make the job of law enforcement seeking illegal aliens more difficult. Isn't that the job of law enforcement, finding criminals? And isn't it the job of Immigration and Customs Services to deport illegal aliens? Meanwhile, on the other site of the political aisle, you have Republicans saying that we should expect the ICS department to conduct background checks on those who want the Gold Card visa. The only problem with that is that the Government Accountability Office has issued a report that says ICS has no grasp whatever on the problem of immigration fraud, doesn't do enough to deter it, and won't have any kind of a working fraud-management system in place until 2011. The ICS can barely cope with those seeking naturalization."
John Soat _Information Week_
Privacy & Security: Who Is Your Friend?
Dell plans to double India staff to 20K by 2009
"The Round Rock, Texas-based company has 10K staffers in India. Most of them work in call centers, though the company also employs about 300 engineers to develop and test enterprise products such as servers and storage systems. The company plans to double the number of these engineers doing product development in India over the next 2 years."
Patrick Thibodeau_Computer World_
Senate bill seeks to increase basic H-1b visa cap to 115K, instead of decreasing it to a reasonable level of 5K: Would also vastly increase green cards
"If the measure fails, H-1B proponents will continue their efforts to increase the cap, likely by adding the proposal to another bill, said Sandra Boyd, chair-woman of Compete America, a Washington-based group of [executives] and universities supporting a visa cap increase. The group also supports the bill's proposal to speed up the permanent residency, or green card, process for foreigners with advanced degrees. 'We will continue to press on these issues.', said Boyd... The current cap of 65K doesn't include the 20K H-1B visas that were issued to advanced-degree holders. The Senate bill would provide for automatic increases in subsequent years once the proposed 115K H-1B cap is reached and would eliminate any visa cap for advanced-degree holders. Any H-1B cap increase is opposed by IEEE-USA, which instead supports efforts to make it easier for foreign workers to gain permanent residency. One provision in the legislation is to create a student visa that can ease the process of gaining a green card. Ralph Wyndrum, president of IEEE-USA, said his group opposes the H-1B visas because they can be abused by employers, who often treat visa holders like indentured servants. Such workers also risk losing their employers' support for permanent residency if they push for improvements, he said. Raising the cap to 115K would make 'a bad situation worse', Wyndrum said."
Patrick Thibodeau_Computer World_
IEEE*USA plans to create "Innovation Institute" to train American tech workers
"IEEE-USA plans to create an Innovation Institute as part of its effort to offer advanced training to U.S. workers. [They hope that] more technical jobs will be filled by U.S. workers... Ralph Wyndrum, president of IEEE-USA, said his organization will hold a workshop for faculty in July. The institute is currently recruiting technology innovators to teach there. At the same time, IEEE-USA plans to ask companies to nominate students for the institute, he said. The ideal student, said Wyndrum, would be a young advanced-degree holder who is already considered to be among the most prolific of a company's product developers and patent holders... IEEE-USA began offering online courses last year to help engineers upgrade their skills after many companies stopped offering training for mid-career employees."
Robert L. Mitchell _Computer World_
Why Good Technologists Are Easy To Find, But Executives Refuse To Look For Them
"One of the more perplexing conundrums, and an area where the answers should be clearer, is the challenge of finding enough highly skilled technologists. 'The shortage of IT talent is a major challenge to staying competitive.', lamented one P100 honoree in a panel discussion. But where IT [executives see] a shortage, the public may have a different view. In the broadest sense, there is no shortage. Technically speaking, there is exactly enough trained IT talent in the U.S. market to fill all available positions at the current salary levels... Students have always poured into the most lucrative and promising careers. If IT salaries doubled tomorrow, college students might give IT another look and start switching majors; the flow of newly minted technologists would quickly increase. If only it were that easy. Money is just part of the solution. Today's students need to know that IT is [not] a viable long-term career path... Now, students are hearing that a 4-year degree in programming or engineering doesn't matter because all of those jobs will eventually go off-shore to foreign workers at very low wages. A generation has been dissuaded from pursuing what is in reality [not] a very promising career choice."
Chris McManes _IEEE*USA_/_US News Wire_
IEEE-USA Questions Need to Expand H-1B Program When Proposals to Increase Permanent Admissions Are Better for US High-Tech Work-Force
"Despite numerous government reports pointing out major flaws and weaknesses of the H-1B visa program, Congress is considering increasing the annual H-1B visa cap by at least 50K without strengthening safeguards to protect foreign and domestic technology workers. The reports reveal 'significant weaknesses in the H-1B program that must be corrected to ensure that U.S workers are not adversely affected and H-1B workers are not exploited.', IEEE-USA President Ralph W. Wyndrum jr said in a March 15 letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee. 'As the administration concluded last year, the program has major flaws that leave it vulnerable to fraud and abuse.' Wyndrum also questioned why Congress is considering increasing the H-1B visa cap from 65K to 115K, and including an automatic escalator mechanism for future years, when current legislative provisions would expand permanent admissions of skilled foreign professionals. Among the proposals is a new student visa (F-4) that leads to a green card for foreign nationals pursuing advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics at U.S. colleges. Another proposal would expand employment-based immigrant admissions visas from 140K to 290K; exclude immediate family members from the limit; recapture unused immigrant visas from prior years and exempt advanced-degree professionals from the cap. IEEE-USA believes the permanent immigration of skilled scientists and engineers is better for our country's capacity to innovate and meet high-tech work-force demands than another expansion of the badly broken temporary H-1B guest worker program. 'Immigration-based admissions level the playing field for all workers, and ensure that America benefits from recruiting the world's best and brightest as future Americans, rather than training future competitors.', Wyndrum said. 'We hope Congress will see that permanent immigration is the better solution to strengthening the U.S. high-tech work-force.'"
Wyndham letter to Specter
2006-03-20 10:46PST (13:46EST) (18:46GMT)
Michael Paige _MarketWatch_
Unisys beginning 3600 job cuts: 3K by September, the rest by end of 2007
2006-03-20 12:01PST (15:01EST) (20:01GMT)
Jennifer Waters _MarketWatch_
WM to hire 150K in Red China over the next 5 years
2006-03-20 12:06PST (15:06EST) (20:06GMT)
David Weidner _MarketWatch_
2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals Over-Turned Conviction of Frank Quattrone for Obstruction of Justice
"The key evidence in the trial was an e-mail sent by Quattrone to his staff telling them to 'clean up those files' while the firm was under sub poena by regulators."
2006-03-20 14:50PST (17:50EST) (22:50GMT)
Timothy Roberts _San Jose Business Journal_
Dianne Feinstein supports an increase in H-1B visas, a reduction of troops in Iraq and tighter controls on green-house gases emissions
Juan Mann _V Dare_
Instead of "sanctions" for immigration benefit fraud, how about deportation
"The recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report -- IMMIGRATION BENEFITS: Additional Controls and Sanctions Strategy Could Enhance DHS's Ability to Control Benefit Fraud (GAO-06-259) -- reviewed by Bryanna Bevens here on VDARE.com, certainly raises more questions about the ability of the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) division to even detect, let alone do anything about, the massive tidal wave of immigration benefit fraud that inundates its service centers, district offices and asylum offices nationwide... INA Section 101(f) -- 'For the purposes of this Act -- No person shall be regarded as, or found to be, a person of good moral character who, during the period for which good moral character is required to be established, is or was... (6) one who has given false testimony for the purpose of obtaining any benefits under this Act;'... So why not go one step further and give Summary Removal a chance... especially for fraudulent application filers?"
Robert Kuttner _American Prospect_
Consternation over Immigration
"America today is failing to control its borders. Most estimates place the number of immigrants here illegally at around 12M [though reasonable estimates range from 8M to 24M]. Despite heightened security since 2001/09/11, the Pew Hispanic Center estimates that well over 500K entered illegally in 2004, more than in 2001. As anti-terrorism measures have increased, all these people are outside the law in both senses. They are here without papers, and they are also beyond normal legal rights and protections. On immigration, two prime Republican constituencies are diametrically at odds. An [anti-illegal immigrant] back-lash has been brewing in the heartland. It was reflected in a harsh bill passed last year by the House, rejecting even President Bush's call for a guest-worker program. The House bill would deny [illegal] immigrants a path to citizenship, build a 2-layer, 700-mile wall [along the 1600-mile border] between the United States and Mexico, and redefine undocumented presence in the United States as a felony. Good Samaritans who helped illegal immigrants could be punished. The bill's sponsors have the... hope of [gradually] rounding up all 12M and sending them back. By contrast, Republican business [executive] groups like lots of vulnerable immigrant workers, whose presence drives down wage levels. The last major reform, passed in 1986, failed because it was not serious about punishing businesses that hired workers illegally. If an employer tells an applicant with a wink and a nod to 'come back when you have papers', and the papers are forgeries, the employer is not held responsible. Nor is a large corporation liable if the worker was hired through a contractor. The Bush administration has weakened enforcement further. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the number of employers notified of possible fines for illegal hires in 2004 was exactly 3, down from an already low 417 in 1999... Ellis Island, which served as principal screening point for immigrants between 1892 and 1954, evokes an era of awful Atlantic crossings in steerage, culminating in terrifying inspections that divided immigrants into tolerably fit people who could stay and those who were sent back... Until 1924, there were no quotas. The huddled masses were welcomed to the island with decent meals, cups of milk for the children, physical exams, showers, blankets, and some rudimentary explanations of how things worked in the new land... inspectors sought to exclude people who they thought had been recruited by unscrupulous labor contractors. It was a time of massive citizenship education. Immigrants were seen as future citizens, not just cheap workers..."
|"Integrity, respect, & trust for the individual provided hospitable conditions in which this radical, high-speed redesign could develop... if people are given tools & resources, they will do the right thing." --- Wellford W. Wilms 1996 _Restoring Prosperity_ pg 195|
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Feinstein backs increase in H-1B
"Today Feinstein said that she supports an increase in the H-1B cap... 'We have to insure that we have the best and the brightest people.'... I'm sure that even Feinstein knows that 'the best and the brightest' in the computer field make well over $100K per year. Yet, the government data show that the computer-related H-1Bs in 2003 (the latest data) had a median salary of $60K, with a 75th percentile of $73K. (Characteristics of Specialty Occupation Workers (H-1B): Fiscal Year 2003, 2002 October to 2003 September, Office of Immigration Statistics pdf) Even allowing for the under-payment of H-1Bs, you can see that the vast majority of H-1Bs are NOT 'the best and the brightest'. Some industry lobbyists meet with Feinstein and tell her that the H-1Bs are 'the best and the brightest' and she'll take it at face value. But she doesn't want to hear that claim rebutted, for example as I've done in the last paragraph (lots more data on this in my [Michigan Journal of Law Reform article How guest-worker visas are used to depress compensation]). To my knowledge, Feinstein has never met with any engineering organization which is critical of H-1B. At one point a couple of years ago, one organization finally did get a meeting scheduled with her, but then her office mysteriously canceled it. 'Why risk losing all those industry campaign funds?', she must think. Recall senator Bennett's statement, 'Once it's clear (the visa bill) is going to get through, everybody signs up so nobody can be in the position of being accused of being against high tech. There were, in fact, a whole lot of folks against it, but because they are tapping the high-tech community for campaign contributions, they don't want to admit that in public.' (Carolyn Lochhead 'Bill to Boost Tech Visas Sails Through Congress: Clinton Expected to Sign Popular Measure' San Francisco Chronicle 2000 October 4)... ALL of the increases in the H-1B program have come in ELECTION YEARS. There were the 2 big ones in 1998 and 2000, and then the 20K increase in 2004. In fact 2 of those years were not only congressional election years, but also presidential election years. Election years are the times in which the politicians are most in need of campaign funds, right? In my experience, Feinstein is a pretty reliable barometer. In 2003, Feinstein talked about abuses of the H-1B program, and, sure enough, Congress allowed the higher cap enacted in 2000 to sunset. In 1998, she said we needed H-1Bs, and that that need was 'an indictment of our educational system' for not producing enough engineers (in that year, many older engineers could not get engineering work, in spite of the boom). Now she is supporting an increase. I think she has a good sense of which way the wind is blowing on this issue..."
index to reports from the USCIS Office of Immigration Statistics
Frosty Wooldridge _Reality Check_
Mexico's War on America
"In 1836, legends Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and William Travis, along with 180 fearless men, fought Santa Anna's 2K Mexican troops at the Alamo in San Antonio, TX. Santa Anna killed every last one of those brave men. Six weeks later... Texans beat back the Mexican army and established Texas as a republic, and later, part of the United States of America... Vicente Fox is not content with retaking Texas. He invades all American states... Did any of you watch the 100K illegal Mexicans and others storm chicago, IL on 2006-03-10 [coincidentally, just 6 years to the day after the stock market crash]? How many Mexican insurgents stand on American soil? At last count, in excess of 9M illegal Mexicans! [Reasonable estimates range from 8M to 24M.] It's the largest invasion force without firing a shot EVER on American soil. This invasion is encouraged, abetted and organized by the Mexican state and supported by all citizens in Mexican society. Fox provides his troops with maps, water, provisions and aid to invade America... Lawrence Auster, in his 'The Second Mexican War' 2006-02-17, wrote, 'In orchestrating this war on America [that] the Mexican state represents the desires of the Mexican people as a whole: Political revanchism -- to regain control of the territories [surrendered and sold] to the USA in 1848, thus avenging themselves for the humiliation they feel they suffered at our hands for the last century and a half; In effect, Mexico is colonizing the USA. Cultural imperialism -- to expand the Mexican culture and Spanish language into North America. They destroy English as America's language. Economic parasitism -- to maintain and increase the flow of $20G that Mexicans in the USA send back to their relatives at home every year, a major factor keeping the chronically troubled Mexican economy afloat and the corrupt Mexican system cocooned its status quo.' They use us against ourselves to benefit themselves."
2006-03-21 06:26PST (09:26EST) (14:26GMT)
Sher Zieve _Conservative Voice_
Illegal Immigration Reforms Stalled
"A bill designed to quell illegal immigration into the US, has been stalled in Congress. At odds are said to be lawmakers who want to stop uncontrolled access across the border and those who side with pro-illegal immigration groups, including Open Borders, who want it to continue... Americans widely support controls being put in place at US borders to stem the increasing waves of illegals entering the country. However, US law-makers are now delaying any action. Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) introduced a bill on Thursday and commented: 'Our country needs security at our borders, in order to slow the flow of illegal immigration and make America safer from foreign criminals and terrorists.' But, Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Ted Kennedy (D-MA) are calling for the entry of approximately 11M illegals to be allowed into the country each year and that these apply for 'guest worker' status."
2006-03-21 08:27PST (11:27EST) (16:27GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
PPI fell 1.4% as energy prices drop a fraction toward normal: Core up 0.3% in February
BLS PPI data
Ephraim Schwartz _InfoWorld_
Homeland Security Is Investigating L-1 Visa Abuses
"The program allows a foreign worker employed by a company over-seas for at least one year to enter the United States temporarily, 'in order to continue to render his services to the same employer or a subsidiary or affiliate... in a capacity that is managerial, executive, or involves specialized knowledge'. According to Frank Robinson, CFO at Darwin Partners, insurance companies are bringing in foreign workers under L-1, providing food and lodging, but are paying the guest workers at the salary they were getting back home. If a typical programmer in the United States makes $60K to $80K per year, these workers are being paid as little as one-quarter of that. And they can stay as long as 5 to 7 years. These workers may be employees of the insurance company; or worse, they could be employees of IT services companies, known as bodyshops, [which] hire them out for a fee... Using foreign workers and paying them below American scale is only one abuse. A second is bringing in workers for training. In this case, there is no way to pretend that these workers have skills that the company needs. I am told that many high-tech companies do this and that I should ask Intel [and Siemens] about it, especially at Intel's Folsom, CA, location. I called 3 or 4 Intel public relations people I know but got no response. The irony here is that when workers are brought in like this for training, the American workers are in essence training their own replacements, according to Kim Berry, president of the Programmers Guild. that DHS report I mentioned calls L-1 'The Computer Visa', saying 9 out of 10 companies that use the L-1 are 'computer- and IT-related'."
Department of Homeland Security Inspector General's Review of Vulnerabilities and Potential Abuses of the L-1 Visa Program (pdf)
Daneen Peterson _American Daily_
Anarchy Reigns: Enforce the laws. Stop the invasion
"America is world renowned as the most successful nation in achieving the integration and assimilation of people from diverse nationalities, cultures, languages, and religions. It is significant that our national motto... E Pluribus Unum, translates to... Out of Many... ONE! As Americans, we have collectively prided ourselves on our unique ability to acculturate and assimilate all new immigrants. As a nation, we have jointly shaped a culturally blended society reflective of our well know 'melting pot' metaphor. Unfortunately, there is a widening rift appearing in the fabric of our society. It is causing the temperature of the melting pot to approach the boiling point. What has gone wrong? To answer that question, read on..."
Going to the heart of illegal immigration
"For starters, it would become a felony for Alabama employers to knowingly hire illegal immigrants. In addition, the bill would make it a felony for an illegal immigrant to give false information when applying for a job. And anybody applying for public assistance would have to provide proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residency. The first provision -- to punish employers -- is the most significant. How can the government hope to stanch the flow of illegal immigrants when companies are willing to hire undocumented workers because enforcement and penalties are so light? In Alabama, the population of illegal immigrants is swelling, according to the federal government. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services estimates there are more than 24K illegal immigrants in Alabama, which is nearly 5 times the organization's 1990 estimate."
Dave Montgomery _Fort Worth Star Telegram_
Mexican ads push additional guest-worker programs
North San Diego County Times
Biloxi Sun Herald
"Mexico joined the U.S. debate on immigration Monday with full-page newspaper advertisements advocating [yet another] guest-worker program to [give amnesty to] millions of illegal Mexican immigrants living in the United States."
C.J. Karamargin _Arizona Daily Star_
Arizona state legislators put forth 50 bills that deal with borders and immigration
"both want to stanch a torrent of illegal immigration. Upwards of 50 bills dealing with the border and illegal immigration have come before the Republican-controlled Legislature this session, more than in any other session in state history... law-makers are convinced they've found an issue that not only resonates with the voting public but that can be used against the governor as she campaigns for a second term. Other get-tough bills include proposals to erect a wall along the border, build a road to facilitate law enforcement and bar non-citizens from adult education services... Republican representative Russell Pearce of Mesa dismissed the term guest-worker as 'a code-word for amnesty' [for the 8M to 24M illegal immigrants now in the USA]."
_Bloomberg_/_Arizona Daily Star_
Detention center to house captured illegal alien families to be in use by May
"Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said Monday the United States will open a detention center in May to house families caught illegally crossing the border, ending the practice of releasing some back into the U.S.A. The United States will speed the deportation process by stepping up pressure on the illegal entrants' countries to accept their return, he said."
Howard Greninger _Terre Haute Tribune-Star_
US representative John Hostettler says illegal immigrants are hurting the USA
"Stemming the tide of illegal immigration across U.S. borders is important to national security and causes a loss of jobs for American workers, U.S. representative John Hostettler said Monday during a town hall meeting in World Gospel Church in Terre Haute. 'Illegal immigration hurts American workers. From 2000 to 2004, over half a million American jobs were lost. In 2004, there were more than half a million fewer native-born Americans employed than in 2000.', said Hostettler, R-Blairsville, who is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee's Sub-committee for Immigration, Border Security and Claims. 'It was not from a change in demographics, but rather there were a half million fewer jobs held by native-born American citizens. However, in the same time period there were over 2.2M new jobs that were held by foreign-born workers.', Hostettler said... Immigration added 1.1M adult workers in these categories over the 4-year period, 'but there was nearly 2M unemployed, adult native-born Americans in those same occupations in 2004.', Hostettler said."
Stephen Dinan _Washington Times_
Americans view Mexicans well, but the feelings are not mutual
"The poll, taken by New York-based Zogby International and the Centro de Investigacion para el Desarrollo AC in Mexico City, found that 62% of Mexicans surveyed said the United States is more wealthy than Mexico because 'it exploits others' wealth' Only 22% said it was because the United States is 'a free country where people have plenty of opportunity to work'. Among Americans, 78% saw Mexicans as hard-working, and 44% saw them as tolerant. Among Mexicans, just 26% saw Americans as hard-working, 16% saw them as honest and 73% said Americans are racist... The House last [December] passed an immigration-enforcement bill that calls for building [only] 700 miles of fence on the [1600-mile long] U.S.-Mexico border... the poll found that 62% of Americans want their member of Congress to support 'more restrictive' immigration laws, while 30% support 'more open' laws. While 84% of Americans had a favorable opinion of Mexicans, just 27% have a favorable opinion of the Mexican government. By contrast, just 36% of Mexicans have a favorable opinion of Americans."
Mandy Stoltzfus _Human Events_
Tancredo Perseveres in Fight Against Amnesty for Illegal Aliens
Ronald R. Pollina _PR News Wire_/_Pollina Corporate Real Estate_
Pay Cuts Pummel US Middle Class: Fair Trade Needed
"Did you know that the average American who loses their job to out-sourcing takes a pay cut of 20% when they are re-employed?... National Manufacturer's Week... For every two US jobs lost abroad, we lose at least another US job, a factor we call the reverse multiplier effect... 'America's Economy In The 21st Century: Pollina Corporate Top 10 Pro-Business States 2006'... since 2000, approximately 8,500 industrial facilities annually have been closed or significantly vacated as blue-collar jobs move over-seas. Since 2003, the equivalent of the Chicago Central Business District has gone dark across America as more professional office jobs are out-sourced... for policies promoting job retention while helping businesses compete globally. Named as America's Most Business-Friendly states were: South Carolina, Virginia, South Dakota, North Carolina, Wyoming, Georgia, Florida, Maryland, Alabama and Kansas."
Moscow to terminate contracts with firms using illegal labor
"Moscow authorities said they would terminate contracts with the construction firms employing guest-workers illegally..."
2006-03-21 14:00PST (17:00EST) (22:00GMT)
Rex Crum _MarketWatch_
Proposed French law may require e-music vendors & equipment makes to be compatible with competitors
|10-year US T-Bond||4.72%|
2006-03-22 (5766 Adar 22)
2006-03-21 17:07PST (2006-03-21 20:07EST) (2006-03-22 01:07GMT)
Paul Streitz _Magic City Morning Star_
Mexican War part 2
"Mexico has declared war on the United States. The Mexicans call it Reconquista. They say they are reconquering Aztlan."
John J. Sweeney _Detroit News_
Let's stop destroying good jobs
"In Michigan, we lost more than 224K manufacturing jobs between 1998 and 2006 -- jobs in an industry that typically provides higher wages and good benefits. And with the proposed closures at Ford and General Motors, Michiganians stand to lose many more... the jobs we are generating are too often low-paying, no-benefit jobs that threaten to destroy the vast middle class of American workers who built the most dynamic economy and the strongest democracy the world has ever known. Since 1985, the global labor force has effectively doubled, with the entrance of 1.4G new workers from [Red China], India and the former Soviet Union. And in the absence of new rules to prevent them, corporations have pitted the new workers against America's workers in a merciless race to the bottom. They've chosen to compete in the new global marketplace not by innovation and ingenuity, but by cutting and running on working families. The result is a perfect storm of out-sourcing, off-shoring, tax evasion, lay-offs, work speed-ups, wage cuts, health care cuts, pension cuts, risk shifting, union bashing and short-changing communities... In Michigan, more than 1.3M people lived below the poverty line in 2004 and bankruptcy filings increased 77% between 2000 and 2004... Those receiving Medicaid increased 32% between 2000 and 2004 and those receiving food stamp assistance increased 63% between 2001 and 2005..."
_New York Daily News_
NY leading boom in Hispanic business: Nationally tripled over last 5 years
Pueblo Chieftain (graphs)
_KKTV Colorado Springs_
Government extortionists would let preparers sell returns to other businesses
Leni Uddyback-Fortson _US Department of Labor_
New Jersey Employers Ordered to Pay over $650K for H-1B Violations
"Administrative Law Judges from the U.S. Department of Labor have found 2 New Jersey companies and their presidents in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act and ordered them to pay $567,090 in back wages to 16 foreign workers hired under the Act's H-1B visa program. 'Abuse of the foreign labor certification program undermines the integrity of the program and its goal of protecting wage standards for U.S. workers.', said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. 'As these cases demonstrate, this Administration will [not very] aggressively pursue companies that violate this program.' One Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) ruling held that Home Mortgage Company of America Inc., located in Hamburg, NJ, and its president, Roland David, willfully failed to pay 14 foreign workers the prevailing wages required by law. The defendants also misrepresented the job classifications on the labor condition applications used to obtain employment status for the workers. The company and David were ordered to pay $513,036 in back wages and $84K in civil money penalties and were disqualified from participating in the H-1B visa program for two years. In another decision, an ALJ found that Priority I Software Solutions, Cinnaminson, NJ, and president, Anthony Corradetti, did not pay two foreign workers the prevailing wage. Corradetti was held personally liable for $54,054 in back wages."
DoL Wage & Hour division
Kathy Gill _About_
Full Senate to Address Immigration Next Week -- Ready Or Not
"Arlen Specter (R-PA) has embraced the concept of immigration forgiveness (amnesty) articulated by Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Edward Kennedy (D-MA): when illegal immigrants meet specific criteria (such as returning home first) and pay fines and back taxes, they should have the opportunity to obtain a green card and pursue the road to citizenship. Specter has only one more legislative day to fashion consensus. Majority Leader senator Bill Frist (R-TN) plans to move debate to the floor [the full Senate] the week of 27 March. Frist is proposing to raise the employment-based visa quota and deal with enforcment, not amnesty. High-tech [executives] are pushing for H-1B [guest-worker] quota increases. Last week, Bill Gates told David Broder that 'high-skills immigration issue is by far the #1 thing' for the computer/electronics sector... The draft bill that Specter is shepherding through his committee would expand the annual H-1B limit from 65K to 115K [and allow family-members to work, also], a move supported by President Bush [greatly expand the numbers of green cards issued, and create two additional guest-worker visa programs]. The House appears reluctant to address expansion when many Americans are calling for better border patrol, seeing no difference between illegals crossing the border and foreign high-tech workers coveted by the high-tech industry. Another sign the current system is broken: a back-log of 3M visa applications."
Will Weissert _Fort Worth Star Telegram_
Mexican government optimistic they'll conquer USA through puppets in White House and congress
"'It's a complex issue.', Aguilar said when questioned about Bush's comments. 'He (Bush) also said there is a possibility of an agreement on temporary workers that could start with at least 400K' people."
Harold Myerson _Washington Post_
Will your job survive?
"In the new global order, Blinder writes, not just manufacturing jobs but a large number of service jobs will be performed in cheaper climes. Indeed, only hands-on or face-to-face services look safe. 'Janitors and crane operators are probably immune to foreign competition', Blinder writes, 'accountants and computer programmers are not.'"
Robert Samuelson _Buffalo NY News_
guest-workers create more poverty
"Economist Philip Martin of the University of California likes to tell a story about the state's tomato industry. In the early 1960s, growers relied on seasonal Mexican laborers, brought in under the government's 'bracero' program. The Mexicans picked the tomatoes that were then processed into ketchup and other products. In 1964, Congress killed the program despite growers' warnings that its abolition would doom their industry. What happened? Well, plant scientists developed oblong tomatoes that could be harvested by machine. Since then, California's tomato output has risen 5 times. It's a story worth remembering, because we're being warned again that we need huge numbers of guest-workers -- meaning unskilled laborers from Mexico and Central America -- to relieve American 'labor shortages'. President Bush wants an open-ended program. Senators Edward M. Kennedy, D-MA, and John McCain, R-AZ, advocate initially admitting 400K guest workers annually. The Senate is now considering these and other plans. They're all bad ideas. Guest workers would mainly legalize today's vast inflows of illegal immigrants, with the same consequence: we'd be importing poverty. This isn't because these immigrants aren't hard-working; many are. Nor is it because they don't assimilate; many do. But they generally don't go home, assimilation is slow, and the ranks of the poor are constantly replenished. Since 1980, the number of Hispanics with incomes below the government's poverty line (about $19,300 in 2004 for a family of four) has risen 162%. Over the same period, the number of non-Hispanic whites in poverty rose 3% and the number of blacks, 9.5%. What we have now - and would with guest workers - is a conscious policy of creating poverty in the United States while relieving it in Mexico. This is a bad bargain for the United States. It puts stress on schools, hospitals and housing; it feeds social tensions... what would happen if, magically, new illegal immigration stopped and wasn't replaced by guest workers? Well, some employers would raise wages to attract U.S. workers. Facing greater labor costs, some industries would -- like the tomato growers in the 1960s -- find ways to minimize those costs. As to the rest, what's wrong with higher wages for the poorest workers? From 1994 to 2004, the wages of high-school drop-outs rose only 2.3% (after inflation), compared to 11.9% for college graduates... Business [executive] organizations understandably support guest-worker programs. They like cheap labor and ignore the social consequences... We've never tried a policy of real barriers and strict enforcement against companies that hire illegal immigrants. Until that's [been seriously tried and] shown to be ineffective, we shouldn't adopt guest worker programs that don't solve serious social problems but add to them."
Ruben Navarrette _Bucyrus Telegraph_
In immigration debate there is some common ground
San Diego Union-Tribune
"the new ground zero is the South and the Midwest, areas of the country where the Hispanic immigrant population has exploded in the last 15 years. A recent study by the Brookings Institution confirmed that more and more Hispanic immigrants, after crossing the border, are settling in traditionally non-Hispanic areas in states such as Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan... I was invited to participate along with other speakers including Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies. CIS produces a lot of research, always with the same goal: to bolster its arguments in support of both eliminating illegal immigration and limiting legal immigration... I'll think for myself -- just like Krikorian does. During the few days we spent together, we even saw eye-to-eye on a few things. Who would have thought? He's a prominent voice in the immigration control movement, and I'm a frequent critic of immigration control measures that, in my opinion, range from the unrealistic to the unfathomable to the just plain un-American. We both oppose importing new guest workers, and offering amnesty to those undocumented workers already here. We oppose the... proposal to deny U.S. citizenship to the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants, and support the idea of cracking down on employers not just with severe fines but perhaps even going so far as to begin seizing assets -- something that even the toughest-talking members of Congress will support only when pigs fly... And there's the main difference of opinion: Krikorian says he wants to limit legal immigration to the point where we admit only the spouses and young children of US citizens... But what I like about Krikorian is that he's obviously a smart and thoughtful guy who is trying to be reasonable in a debate where not many people are."
John Reiniers _Hernando Today_
A World of Ethnic Cliques
"Germany is a good example of what can happen here with our out of control... immigration."
Brian DeBose _Washington Times_
Group proposes private data-base for guest-workers
Katie Dean _The Street_
Unisys Is Pulling Plug on Employee Pensions
Hemmy So _Contra Costa Times_
Diebold charges whistle-blower with theft
Albert J. Simone president of Rochester Institute of Technology _Rochester Democrat & Chronicle_
We must sucker more women, people of color into under-employment by inducing years of difficult study of math, science, engineering
RD&C VP and News Editor
Marianne Kolbasuk McGee _Information Week_
The H-1B Visa Race Begins Soon: Will Congress Reduce the Cap? Americans Can Only Hope
"the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration office generally accepts about one-third more applications than are approved. This year, that means around 90K to 100K requests for H-1B visas, says a spokesman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services."
Demir Barlas _Line 56_
Off-Shore's Total Cost of Ownership Burden
"Look at this scenario: 1. You buy Lap-top A for $2,000 and it fails after five years. 2. You buy Lap-top B for $500 and it fails after one year. Here, 2 is likely the off-shore scenario and 1 the U.S. scenario. I'm speaking based not on platitudes about the relative merit of the world's workers and factories but on personal experience... It used to be that there was such a thing as the 'family' appliance. It stood in a corner for years, maybe decades. Our family had the same telephone for 20 years, and I still have a camera from my childhood. Now there are disposable telephones and cameras everywhere I look. You have to think in terms of total cost. You can buy a $10 telephone every year, or you can spend $50 on a telephone that can go the distance... We're suckers being preyed upon by hucksters. The hucksters seduce us with low prices and advertising, and cement their strategy by agreeing among themselves to stop manufacturing affordable high-quality goods. The suckers never think past the dollar amount of a purchase, forgetting that they may have to replace their $500 lap-top with another one the next year, and the next, and the next. This is reminiscent of the philosophy at the heart of off-shore out-sourcing, whether of manufacturing or IT. The idea is, in both cases, short-term seduction. For a consumer, it sounds great to have a $500 lap-top. For a business, it sounds great to pay an engineer $6 an hour. But these are very short-term and irrational ways of thinking that will be corrected by the market. Products should be built not where they are cheapest to build, but where they will endure the longest and embody the highest quality. This is what the market will eventually reward, as consumers wake up, one experience at a time, to the unchanging facts."
2006-03-23 (5766 Adar 23)
2006-03-23 01:15PST (04:15EST) (19:15GMT)
Ray McNulty & Steven K. Ladd _Business Wire_
Over 1M income extortion forms will be off-shored
"More than 1M US citizens will have their income tax returns out-sourced to India this year. Most citizens are not being told that their private tax and financial documents can be seen on computer screens all over the world."
2006-03-23 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
un-employment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 267,682 in the week ending March 18, a decrease of 27,019 from the previous week. There were 290,719 initial claims in the comparable week in 2005. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.2% during the week ending March 11, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,850,264, a decrease of 10,270 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.4% and the volume was 3,090,703."
2006-03-23 08:11PST (11:11EST) (16:11GMT)
Robert Schroeder _MarketWatch_
Seasonally adjusted US unemployment insurance claims fell by 11K to 302K
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
non-citizen engineers are paid less
"I would urge caution in interpreting it, as no details are given. For example, judging by some of the reports I found on the SPE web page, at least part of the difference may be explainable by differences in years of experience between citizens and non-citizens.
Daniel Noll _Daily Texan_
Non-Citizen Engineers Are Paid 17% Less than US Citizens
"Of the 10 jobs with the highest average starting salary in 2005, 7 required an engineering degree, according to a National Association of Colleges and Employers survey released last year. Chemical engineering was ranked the highest, with a starting salary of $54,256, a 4.3% increase from the previous year. Average salaries for noncitizens were 17% less than U.S. citizens with equivalent engineering degrees, according to a Society of Petroleum Engineers survey. Top students in UT's under-graduate engineering programs, 7 of which ranked in the top 10 nationwide, can expect to earn above the national average. Graduates with a bachelor's degree from the UT Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering, which is ranked first nationwide, received salaries as high as $75K and signing bonuses as large as $20K, said Tim Taylor, program coordinator for the department... Only 30% of U.S. [citizen engineers] have education beyond a bachelor's degree, compared to 51% of [non-citizen engineers], according to a 2004 membership survey from the society. At UT, international students accounted for 6.1% of under-graduate engineering students and 49.7% of graduate engineering students, according to the College of Engineering web site."
Jim Tharpe _Atlanta Journal-Constitution_
Lobbyists influence bill on illegals: Farm-owners shielded, status section delayed
"Georgia's multi-billion-dollar farming industry has significantly altered key sections of the General Assembly's proposal to deal with illegal immigration. The startup date of a centerpiece section of Senate Bill 529 — the Georgia Security and Immigration Compliance Act — was delayed at the urging of lobbyists for the agriculture community, which also insisted on language clarifying that farmers would not be held responsible for the hiring decisions of their crew chiefs. 'We have bent over backwards to accommodate the agricultural interests.', state senator Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock) told the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee on Wednesday before it approved his bill. The bill, which has already been approved by the Senate, could be debated by the full House before week's end. Rogers was responding by a written request from the Georgia Agribusiness Council, the Georgia Farm Bureau, the state's Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association and the Georgia Cattlemen's Association, who were asking that a provision requiring that private employers verify the legal status of their workers be delayed until 2009 January 1... In the employee verification section of the bill, farmers would not be financially penalized if their crew chiefs hired illegal workers. Farmers who need labor often hire crew chiefs who act as sub-contractors, sometimes recruiting workers who are unlawfully in the country. Rogers also removed a state RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) provision from the bill. The provision, which carries tougher criminal penalties, was aimed at combatting human trafficking of immigrants, and Rogers said it was removed after prosecutors voiced concerns. However, some farmers were worried they could be prosecuted under the provision if their crew chiefs mistreated workers... Legislation targeting illegal immigration is also moving through Congress, where farm groups have also exerted their clout. U.S. senator Saxby Chambliss, among many others, has called for tighter border controls. But, mindful of his South Georgia farm constituency, Chambliss, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, also wants to establish a guest-worker program that would ensure that American farms have access to [cheap] seasonal migrant workers... Lobbyists reports show that the state's major farm groups spent more than $3,700 on meals and gifts for legislators last session... more than 80% of Georgians want law-makers to crack down on illegal immigration... State representative Tom Rice (R-Norcross) inserted a provision that would add a 5% fee for wire transfers of money out of the U.S. by illegal immigrants. Rice sponsored a bill on that topic which passed the House but had not been acted on by the Senate."
Of Asian Ancestry _V Dare_
Racial Distribution of UnEmployment Statistics Is UnSurprising
"I read Rubenstein's statistics on white unemployment and frankly, as a 28-year-old Asian, I'm not surprised. I live in New York and grew up with a multiethnic circle of friends consisting of whites, Hispanics and Asians. As a post college graduate, I know that the realities of affirmative action and the broader goal of diversity are more far reaching than any statistics can indicate. Let me start off by saying in the private sector minorities like me generally have lay-off protection. We are essentially guaranteed employment regardless of down-sizing or off-shoring. Frankly, the only people I know who have been laid off in the past few years are white. Some white friends who are computer programmers or engineers have been unemployed for some time. Most of the black and Hispanics from our group have stable civil service jobs at various levels of government which pay private sector salaries but offer public sector benefits and stability. As an Asian professional, I have my pick of job openings when they become available. I have already landed positions where there were an average of 200 applicants. I have started a business and bought real estate through Small Business Association and other minority programs. The whites in our group have not fared as well. To be honest, I feel for them. I have 3 or 4 friends who have applied for graduate programs who have at least 3.8 grade point averages. None of them have gained admission. Other white friends have applied for public sector and teaching jobs but again none have been called for interviews except to undesirable school districts."
Tom Abate, Benjamin Pimentel, Dan Fost _San Francisco Chronicle_
"TechsUnite, an advocacy group for U.S. tech workers, is taking senator Dianne Feinstein to task for apparently changing her mind on whether to allow additional temporary visas for high-tech workers. Just two weeks ago, Feinstein appeared to be cool to the idea of allowing more foreign tech workers into the country, but the tech group said she seems to have had a change of heart. TechsUnite cited a story Monday in the San Jose Business Journal in which Feinstein called for more H-1B visas. 'This appears to be a complete about-face on this issue.', Techs-Unite said, noting that a March 10 story in The Chronicle said Feinstein has not 'shown much enthusiasm for more skilled workers, preferring her own plan for a guest-worker program limited to agriculture'. Her position had angered the high-tech business community, according to the story by Carolyn Lochhead of The Chronicle's Washington bureau."
2006-03-23 08:38PST (11:38EST) (16:38GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Existing home sales rose 5.2% in February
National Association of Realtors
National Association of Realtors related data
|10-year US T-Bond||4.74%|
2006-03-24 (5766 Adar 24)
2006-03-23 22:41PST (2006-03-24 01:41EST) (2006-03-24 06:41GMT)
Norm Matloff _American Workers Coalition_
Big Fish, Little Fish and guest-worker visa abuse
"the multi-nationals don't cheat--because they don't have to. Congress has already arranged for them to under-pay H-1Bs in full compliance with the law, by giving them tons of huge gaping loop-holes to use. The bodyshops are different, because they are selling their services to other firms, which means that the cost of labor has a much more direct impact on their bottom line. This causes some of them to try to cut labor costs EVEN MORE, and some of them feel 'forced' to cheat in order to compete. And 'going after the little fish' serves a purpose in that it PROTECTS the big fish. Recall that when DoL fined Computech last year, I predicted that the industry lobbyists would use this to their advantage, by portraying the action as signifying that 'the system does work'. Sure enough, a couple of months later an industry lobbyist brought up Computech in a debate with representative Pascrell, and used exactly the argument I predicted. IOW, these actions by DoL are NOT victories for us. Getting back to the multinationals: Even though they 'only' use loopholes instead of violating the law, they are just as harmful to the American worker. They STILL are hiring H-1Bs for cheap labor (albeit legally). And most importantly, the result of that is that H-1Bs are being hired INSTEAD OF Americans. If multi-nationals were angels in the H-1B issue, Rob would still have his job at Motorola."
analysis of Intel pay to H-1Bs vs. other employees
2006-03-24 04:30PST (07:30EST) (12:30GMT)
Ted Bridis & John Solomon _AP_/_Ocala Star-Banner_
US gives sole source contract to Red Chinese to scan cargo
"In the aftermath of the Dubai ports dispute, the Bush administration is hiring a Hong Kong conglomerate to help detect nuclear materials inside cargo passing through the Bahamas to the United States and elsewhere. The administration acknowledges the no-bid contract with Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. represents the first time a foreign company will be involved in running a sophisticated U.S. radiation detector at an over-seas port without American customs agents present. Freeport in the Bahamas is 65 miles from the U.S. coast, where cargo would be likely to be inspected again. The contract is currently being finalized. The administration is negotiating a second no-bid contract for a Philippine company to install radiation detectors in its home country..."
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
senator Frist bill about the same as Specter's
"The enclosed excerpt from Lou Dobbs, while containing only a brief reference to H-1B and related issues, at least gives some idea as to where the various bills are going. I looked at the Frist bill today, and in H-1B and employer-based green cards, it appears to be identical to the Specter bill. I wish to emphasize in the strongest terms that I regard the Specter/Frist proposal of establishing a special F-4 visa for foreign graduate students in tech as just as much of a problem as is its provision to increase the H-1B cap... The bills give the foreign student A FULL YEAR to look for work after graduation. Think of it: The whole rationale for F-4 and related provisions is that there is a shortage of engineers with graduate degrees. If there's such a shortage, why do the foreign students need a full year to find a job? You'd think they'd have multiple job offers before graduating, right? This more than anything shows that the industry's claim of a shortage is just a pretext for bringing in cheap labor."
Lou Dobbs & Lisa Sylvester _CNN_
"Lisa Sylvester: There are as many as 20M illegal aliens in the United States. The Senate Judiciary Committee has been weighing what to do about them. But time is up on Monday. That's when Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist expects the committee to send a proposal to the full floor. If not, Frist is waiting in the wings with his own legislation... Frist's bill was originally touted as an enforcement-only plan. It has border security measures, but it doubles the number of green cards from one million to two and significantly expands the number of skilled foreign workers allowed in under the H-1B visa program. Frist's bill has left immigration reformist like Bay Buchanan dismayed.
Bay Buchanan: 'And he has a bill that is almost as bad as Kennedy's, to be quite honest. It is -- it's doubling illegal immigration every single year.'
Lisa Sylvester:The McCain-Kennedy bill would grant amnesty to illegal aliens and puts them on the path to citizenship. It sets up a guest worker program for new workers with little on the enforcement side. Indications are that this week Judiciary Committee staffers have merged this bill with one offered by Senator Arlen Specter. His plan includes amnesty, allowing illegal aliens to live and work indefinitely in the United States, a guest worker program, and a 750K increase in the number of green cards. All of the versions have one thing in common. They would bring in more workers to compete for American jobs.
Roy Beck of NumbersUSA: Of course the working class suffers the most, not so much due to taxes, but due to the fact that the -- that these foreign workers are competing the most directly in their job market. So their wages are depressed, maybe even going down in real terms.
Lisa Sylvester: And there is an effort by some Republicans to get the McCain-Kennedy-Specter compromise through the Judiciary Committee on Monday and to the full Senate as soon as possible. But assuming it even gets to the floor, no one knows then what is going to happen next. Some Democrats, as you mentioned, are threatening to filibuster if amnesty is not included. Republicans, on the other hand, are threatening to filibuster if it is included.
Lou Dobbs: And the fact is that Senator Frist and the House legislation, should the senator -- the Senate majority leader -- decide to bring forward his legislation, those would be the only 2 bills, the Sensenbrenner legislation in the House [HR4437] and the Frist proposed legislation, that would move toward border security. It promises to be an extraordinary week."
2006-03-24 06:09PST (09:09EST) (14:09GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Duable goods orders were up 2.6% in February
census bureau press release
2006-03-24 08:02PST (11:02EST) (16:02GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
New home sales fell 10.5% in February: lowest level since 2003 May
census bureau press release
_Southern Baptist Convention_
Southern Baptists want immigration enforcement, Richard Land tells G.W. Bush
"Most Southern Baptists want the country's immigration laws to be enforced before supporting a type of guest-worker program, ethics leader Richard Land told president Bush March 23 at a White House meeting on the controversial subject. The president discussed the topic with Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and 14 others during a week in which the rhetoric on illegal immigration had escalated even as the United States Senate prepared to confront the issue when it returns from a recess March 27. Various proposals have been offered to address the increasing number of illegal immigrants, which numbers [between 8M and 24M] in this country... The ERLC's Land said he told the president Southern Baptists 'are deeply offended at a very basic level when the government doesn't enforce the law. And it's clear that the government is not rigorously enforcing the law at the border or in the country when it comes to illegal immigration. As Southern Baptists, we believe that Romans 13 teaches the government is to punish those who break the law and reward those who obey the law.' Land told Baptist Press he also said to Bush, 'Second, if it is felt that there needs to be comprehensive immigration reform and the laws need to be changed, then change the laws but rigorously enforce the law, whatever it is. Third, the overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists want the government to secure the borders. That does not mean sealing the borders but having control over who goes in and who goes out and making sure that everyone is doing so legally. And finally,' Land said, 'if the government can convince Southern Baptists it is serious about controlling the borders, then I think a consensus can be built for some kind of guest-worker program that does not involve amnesty and that does not allow people who have come here illegally to jump place in line over those who are attempting to come into the country by the normal, legal channels.'"
Chad Groening _Agape Press_
"In the U.S. Congress, House Immigration Reform Caucus member representative Steve King (R-Iowa) says a possible fight between the House and the Senate over immigration may be forthcoming -- a fight over the issue of guest worker amnesty that he believes could split the GOP. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has given the Senate until Monday (March 27) to come up with an immigration bill. Three bills have been introduced, and Frist could end up putting forth his own. However, Congressman King is concerned that whatever comes out of Senate will not come close to the House version passed late in the last session. 'If the Senate sends us a bill that waters down enforcement and adds to it guest worker or temporary worker [provisions],' he says, 'there will be a big battle in the Conference Committee, and I'm very concerned about the results of that.' The Iowa Republican is afraid the outcome will be a guest worker amnesty bill, which he says will not only be rejected by the American people but 'Every Democrat will vote for it because they get political gain out of it, and it splits the Republicans, perhaps, right down the middle.' King says if there is anything that can cost the Republican majority next November, it will be an amnesty bill coming from the Senate and being 'force-fed' into the House."
James P. Pinkerton _Salem Statesman-Journal_
Media plays elitist tunes and seduces politicians
"The bipartisan elite that runs the United States is not to be trusted with safeguarding America's national destiny. Most of these elitists worship the strange gods of multiculturalism, globalism and relativism, and so they are blind to the practical realities of preserving a single country -- this country. The most influential newspaper in the United States, The New York Times, demonstrates a determined carelessness about domestic tranquillity and homeland security. And here's the scary part: Top politicians, including the Republican president, George W. Bush, are often eager to sign on to the same schemes, too... The first praised the effort by senator Arlen Specter, R-PA, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, to create a 'guest-worker' program as the key to a new immigration bill. Most Americans understand by now that 'guest-worker' is code for amnesty and permanently porous borders. Which, of course, is exactly what the donkey and elephant elite want to see happen."
Jonathan Weber _New West_
Immigration Debate Hits Center Stage
"Colorado representative Tom Tancredo -- calling for stiff measures against illegal immigration are increasingly dominating the discussion."
G.W. Bush's immigration proposals face a tough time
"With poll numbers falling, U.S. President George Bush faces a tough time with the U.S. Senate to win support for a guest-worker plan in his immigration policy... The president's plan would let millions of illegal immigrants continue working in the United States but that is not sitting well with some Republicans... the fierce Senate debate next week may touch on economics, race and national identity."
Frosty Wooldridge _American Daily_
Mexico's War on America: resultant collateral damage
"'If u dont like that sh*t, get the f**k outa here. Go back to europe where there are no mexicans. this is our land and u white devils took it from us and the indians... ya baby we takin ova..... first l.a... now Denver, then the rest of the east coast sucker.... hahaha.', eloquently chortled an illegal Mexican into my in-box. This writer fails to understand that red, brown, yellow, black and white Americans make up the United States. More than 150 countries represent Americans... Naively, Americans don't understand the implications of Mexico's methodical colonization of the United States."
Ken Herman _Oxford Press_
As Senate battle continues, G.W. Bush continues push for an additional guest-worker program
"President Bush urged the Senate on Thursday to back a guest-worker program as part of an immigration reform package, taking on an issue that will be center stage next week both on Capitol Hill and at his summit in Cancun with out-going Mexican President Vicente Fox. Fox supports the guest-worker concept, which could allow millions of illegal immigrants, including many from Mexico, to seek permits allowing them to work north of the Rio Grande while periodically commuting south to return home. The Senate resumes debate on immigration reform next week, and the Mexican government has purchased full-page advertisements in major newspapers in Los Angeles, Washington and New York in advance of the action. In the ads, Mexico commits to efforts to reduce smuggling and beef up border security. The House late last year approved an immigration bill without the guest-worker component that aims to shore up the porous southern border and sanction employers who hire illegal immigrants."
Immigration Reform Battle Continues in Congress
"Anticipating turbulent debate over immigration, President Bush urged Congress on Thursday to grapple with the emotional issue in a way that avoids pitting groups against each other... The president is working hand-in-hand with employers who want cheap labor to clean hotel rooms, pick crops and do other tasks that they say keep their businesses competitive... The public appears to be more on the side of tougher border control. Three-quarters of respondents to a Time magazine poll in January said the United States is not doing enough to keep illegal immigrants from entering the country. Roughly the same amount said they favor a guest worker program for illegal immigrants, but 46% said those workers should have to return first to their native countries and apply. About 50% favored deporting all illegal immigrants."
Diana Hull _National Ledger_
Immigration Policy: House vs. Senate (warning: lots of pop-ups)
"The classic definition of a insanity is someone who keeps repeating the same behavior and expecting different results. One has to wonder, then, about the mental well being of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is tackling our illegal immigration crisis with a bill whose center-piece is a combination amnesty and guest worker package -- two ideas that have failed miserably in the past. In 1986 Congress passed, and President Reagan signed, the Immigration Reform and Control Act. Almost 3M people received lawful permanent residence ('green cards') in the late 1980s and early 1990s as a result of the amnesties contained in that legislation. A decade later the INS found that those former illegal aliens had been entirely replaced by new illegal aliens whose population stood at more than 5M. Today, another ten years and several mini-amnesties later, the illegal alien population is [betwen 8M and 24M] and growing by a record [770K to 1.5M] per year. Virtually all of them would be awarded legal status under this Senate amnesty proposal... Similarly, 'temporary' guest-worker programs have never worked in an industrialized country. The workers do not return to their poorer countries. Germany today is struggling with honor killings and forced marriages among the grand-children of 'temporary' guest workers from Turkey whom it imported in the 1960s. Efforts by the U.S.A. to deport bracero workers were criticized for their harshness, yet failed to remove many of the workers who illegally remained. If it passes this guest worker program that allows unlimited entry into the U.S.A., the Senate will be ignoring the advice of experts it asked to study the problem. In 1990, Congress established the Commission on Immigration Reform, chaired for most of its duration by the late Barbara Jordan. The Commission made a number of recommendations to reduce immigration and adamantly rejected the idea that guest worker programs were part of any solution. It stated that 'a guest-worker program would be a grievous mistake' because, among other reasons:
Linda Evans _V Dare_
American Workers Already Have Training and Education
"American employers want cheap labor. Off-shoring and the H-1B work visa allow them to have it. The H-1B (and the L1) is a big part of the American worker replacement scheme being pushed by IT employers. Like the majority of Americans, I used to believe it was illegal to import cheaper labor to take American jobs. Then my husband and his co-workers lost their computer programming jobs to programmers brought from India on non-immigrant work visas. The Americans had to train their replacements in order to receive severance. We discovered from the Labor Condition Application sheets that the Indian programmers are earning about half what the Americans had been earning. At that time, I naively believed that our elected officials care about this country and the American workers who made it great. After numerous calls and letters to Washington, their collective response was 'Americans need training and education'. I had to admit the sad truth. They've sold us out to the highest bidder -- corporate America. My husband has training and education. He still lost his job to cheaper imported labor; I discovered that it is legal to import cheaper labor to take American workers' jobs. Out of sheer frustration I wrote a novel titled Jobless Recovery about an American programmer who lost his job to cheaper H-1B workers. I used part of my husband's severance pay to publish the book. Last year I read an article about a former American programmer who lost his job, couldn't find another and is now in the dog waste removal business. I suppose former programmers and engineers could always get jobs removing the waste from dogs owned by the H-1Bs who took their jobs. After all, our president insists that out-sourcing and work visas create jobs for Americans."
Robert mcMillan _InfoWorld_/_IDG_
Off-Shoring Cited in Florida State Employee Data Leak
US immigration reform debate intensifies
Top markets & economy news of the week
|10-year US T-Bond||4.68%|
2006-03-25 (5766 Adar 25)
2006-03-24 16:39PST (2006-03-24 19:39EST) (2006-03-25 00:39GMT)
Ruth Mantell _MarketWatch_
SEC over-turns Frank Quattrone's security industry ban
2006-03-25 08:03PST (11:03EST) (16:03GMT)
Jim Abrams _AP_/_Minneapolis Star Tribune_
Guest-Worker Programs Have a Flawed Past
Mohave Daily News
Los Angeles Times
Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Similar programs in the past have been plagued by abuses and have done little to stem the influx of [illegal alien] workers. 'These programs are seductive, and that is what is so troubling to us right now.', said Ana Avendano, associate general counsel of the AFL-CIO. The labor federation has been critical of guest worker programs in proposed immigration reform legislation that the Senate will debate next week... The bill by McCain, a contender for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination, and Kennedy would provide up to 400K visas in the first year and allow participants, after 6 years, to seek permanent residency. Their proposal, strongly backed by the business community, would supplement existing temporary worker programs, such as the H-2A program that brings about 45K agriculture workers into the country every year, and H-1B visas issued to up to 65K high-tech and other skilled foreign workers... In 1917, during World War I, an agreement was reached with Mexico to let in unskilled workers. During the program's five-year life span, 77K Mexicans were admitted but fewer than half returned to Mexico. 'The program spawned illegal immigration.', Briggs said. A much larger exchange, the Bracero program, began in 1942, during World War II, and continued in varying forms through 1964. Some 4.6M Mexicans came to the United States, with a peak of 439K in 1959. The program stipulated that guest workers were to get free housing, medical treatment, transportation and prevailing wages. The reality was often different. Avendano of the AFL-CIO said workers were under-paid or cheated out of wages, exposed to unsafe conditions, faced racial discrimination and were saddled with debt from recruiters and employers. Workers were unable to exercise their rights because the employer could have them deported. Under such conditions, she said, 'Workers would rather be undocumented because they have full mobility.' Others argue that guest worker programs create an underclass of foreign workers and stigmatize some jobs associated with foreign labor... Major immigration reform enacted in 1986 included language providing eventual permanent resident status to those who could prove they had worked in agriculture the previous year. Nearly 1M applications were accepted. Critics argued that many used fraudulent documents and that this amnesty rewarded those who entered the country illegally. In 1995, the U.S. Commission on Immigration, headed by the late representative [and UTA professor] Barbara Jordan, D-Texas, reported to Congress its unanimous conclusion that an agriculture guest worker program 'is not in the national interest and... would be a grievous mistake'... 'When you were dependent on that one employer, people couldn't complain.', Medina said. 'That was my father's experience.'"
Comparison of Specter, McCain, and Frist Immigration Proposals
2006-03-26 (5766 Adar 26)
2006-03-26 00:00PST (03:00EST) (08:00GMT)
John Aloysius Farrell _Denver Post_
Science & engineering shortage propaganda
Option Queen _Barron's_
MaketWatch quote of the day on government & private US debt
"The other huge ointment-fly in our economic well-being is the risky continued support of our debt by foreign buyers. Should they start to simply cut back a bit, we would be in very deep doo-doo."
Jerry Davich _NorthWest Indiana Times_
Protest of Calumet Bank loans to illegal aliens counter-protestors broke into epithets and shoving
"Blaring car horns, racist slurs and angry fisticuffs punctuated a volatile encounter of protesters and counter-protesters Saturday morning outside Bank Calumet. "God bless America! Stay out of our business!" yelled members of the locally based Indiana Federation for Immigration Reform and Enforcement. 'Go home (expletive) Nazi racists!', yelled members of an opposing group of circling counter-protesters. The federation, a public interest organization advocating what it calls immigration policies with an impact, demonstrated against bank loans for undocumented aliens, echoing 6 similar previous local protests. Several members of the Chicago Minuteman Project joined the federation, hoisting protest signs to passing motorists and exchanging verbal jabs with visibly angry counter-protesters."
2006-03-27 (5766 Adar 27)
Suzanne Gamboa _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Guest-Worker/Amnesty Issue Tops Immigration Debate
"The Senate tackles the hot-button election issue of what to do with the nation's estimated [8M to 24M] illegal immigrants this week, with President Bush coming down on the side of letting many of them stay if they have jobs. Since the 2001 September 11, terrorist attacks, calls for tougher border security have dominated debate over the knotty problem of controlling immigration. But a [compromise] immigration-enforcement bill passed by the House last year has galvanized forces that want worker programs for illegal immigrants already in the country."
Marianne Kolbasuk McGee & Paul McDougall _Information Week_/_TechWeb_/_CMP_
Vendors & Politicians Create More Tech Jobs for Foreign Workers: Tech companies expand over-seas while Congress considers allowing more foreign workers into the country
"U.S. tech vendors CA, Dell, and EDS last week unveiled separate off-shore expansion plans that will add tens of thousands of workers abroad within the next few years. Those revelations came on the heels of IBM's announcement 2 weeks ago that it plans to boost staff in India by 40% within 3 years, to more than 55K. The vendors cited lower wages, improving skills, and booming markets in India and China as reasons for expansion in that region. It's not just U.S. companies that are bulking up with [cheap] Indian workers. French IT services firm CapGemini, which employs about 4K in India, said it's looking to add 2K workers there by the end of the year and another 4K by the end of 2007, bringing its work-force there to 10K."
2006-03-27 09:03PST (12:03EST) (17:03GMT)
Senate moves to further weaken an already weak House immigration bill
"senators broke Monday from the House's [compromise] approach by refusing to make criminals of people who help illegal immigrants [i.e. aid or abet other criminals]... The committee also approved more than doubling the current force of 11,300 Border Patrol agents in an effort to stem the tide of new undocumented workers arriving daily. It voted to add 2K agents next year and 2,400 more annually through 2011 [as opposed to the 2K per year provided for in existing legislation]. In December the House voted to make offers of non-emergency aid a felony. Senator John Cornyn, R-Texas, proposed Monday requiring humanitarian groups providing aid to illegal immigrants to register with the Department of Homeland Security but withdrew the idea in the face of opposition from the Senate panel... The committee faces a midnight deadline for completing a bill with a version of the [additional] guest-worker program that Bush wants for illegal immigrants. The House rejected that program and Majority Leader Bill Frist has said the Senate will start debating a bill Tuesday without it if the committee fails... Some 59% say they oppose allowing illegal immigrants to apply for legal, temporary-worker status, an NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll found... 62%, say they oppose making it easier for illegal immigrants to become citizens, according to a Quinnipiac University poll. 9 in 10 in that poll say they consider immigration to be a serious problem -- with 57% of those polled saying very serious. Three-fourths say the United States is not doing enough along its borders to keep illegal immigrants out, a Time Magazine poll found."
Johanna Neuman _Los Angeles Times_
Senate Struggles to Craft Immigration Bill
"The Senate Judiciary Committee today attempted to craft an immigration reform bill that would stave off attempts by the Republican leadership in Congress to punish businesses for hiring undocumented workers... Bush favors a guest-worker program for the estimated [8M to 24M illegal alien] workers now in the country... Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) plans to open a two-week debate on the issue [on the floor of the] Senate tomorrow. Frist has authored [a bill nearly as weak as that proposed by Specter]. But Frist has said he will withdraw his bill if the Judiciary Committee comes up with a more comprehensive approach."
Suzanne Gamboa _abc_
Senate Grapples with Illegal Immigration
Tim Funk _Kansas City Star_/_Charlotte Observer_
Illegal Immigration Show-Down Begins in US Senate
"The House-passed bill called for building a 698-mile fence along the [1600-mile long] Mexican border. It would also require employers to verify the legal status of their workers and make it a crime to shield or [give any but emergency help to] illegal immigrants."
Juan Mann _V Dare_
Do Reconquistas Already Run Federal Immigration Bureaucracy?
"Through its Office of Communications [OoC], DHS' U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services [CIS] division has just (March 26) chosen to alert its employees in its Daily News e-mail broadcast that a 'wave of anti-immigration sentiment is building throughout the state [of Colorado]... [c]learly there is a need to highlight the positive aspects of legal immigration.' To combat this 'wave of anti-immigration sentiment', the CIS announced that the Denver District Office, in cooperation with the Office of Citizenship's 'Community Liaison Officers' has launched 'a new initiative that embraces the rich diversity of culture that now exists in Colorado'. What a relief. So this is the tally: Nonexistent 'lack of embracing diversity' problem: solved. Glaring immigration fraud problem: ignored."
Lou Dobbs & Dana Bash & Lisa Sylvester & Peter Viles & Christine Romans _CNN_
Guest-Worker Plan Came Out of Senate Judiciary Committee; Interview with James Sensenbrenner
"And in Los Angeles, where illegal aliens and their supporters today staged new protests in support of the rights of illegal aliens in the United States, more than 10K students, by police estimates, took to the streets today to demand the rights and privileges reserved for citizens of the United States... I'll also be talking with Hutchison Whampoa managing director John Meredith. His Hong Kong-based firm is poised to win a key United States port security contract [via sole sourcing]. Critics say the contract will further weaken U.S. national security. Others say it is a beginning to providing real port security... they just passed the bill out of committee which does have a provision in it, sponsored essentially by Senator John McCain of Arizona and Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, which would give some [8M to 24M] illegal workers in the United States an eventual path to citizenship. Now, that is a major development. It, again, was just in the Senate Judiciary Committee. That means that the full Senate will take up this issue tomorrow... Senators first voted to beat back a provision outraged religious leaders said would make criminals out of people who help illegal immigrants... And they approved allowing some [illegal alien] farm workers to legally stay in the U.S. for 5 years... It passed by a vote of 12-5... Now is this, in effect, the agriculture jobs bill that would -- that would provide up to a million workers, guest workers? That's correct. I think it's about 1.5M. It's not to exceed 1.5M guest-workers. Right. Well, the actual number is 500K for workers, estimates, 500K to 800K with their families... Gabe, his wife and son came to the United States from Mexico on a legal visa to visit Disneyland. They never left... The family settled in Georgia illegally, with Gabe working as a restaurant manager. Decisions being made in Washington could determine the family's fate and as many as 20M other illegal aliens in the United States... Rosemary Jenks of NumbersUSA: 'If you give legal status to an illegal alien, if you give them the right to be here, even if it's temporarily, you're still giving them amnesty.'... some 3K illegal aliens will enter this country today...
James Sensenbrenner: ...the Senate Judiciary Committee is repeating the mistake that Congress made 20 years ago when it passed the Simpson-Mazzoli bill. The Simpson-Mazzoli bill granted amnesty to illegal aliens who were in the country at the time and also set up a system of employer sanctions to try to prevent employers from hiring any more illegal aliens. Well, the employer sanctions were never enforced. The amnesty was a big flop because people were afraid of losing their job. And instead of having two million illegal aliens, we have 10M to 12M now.
Lou Dobbs: 10M to 12M. And as you know, Mr. Chairman, some estimates put it as high as 20M in this country....
James Sensenbrenner: Well that shows how hard it is to do anything about illegal aliens and border security. But if we don't do something effective and workable, we're going to have 20M more illegal aliens in the next 10 years, according to a demographic study I've seen. They'll flood our schools. Our health care system will collapse. And our social services system will end up being over-taxed. And we've got to get control of our borders because if we don't, we're going to see our economy collapse...
Christine Romans: Today, anywhere from 3K to 8K illegal aliens will cross the border. Most disappearing into American society. A wave of illegal immigration affecting every aspect of American life. Under-cutting wages and jobs for low-skilled Americans and legal immigrants and crowding classrooms, hospitals and prisons.
Jan Ting, Temple Law School: We've really cut off the bottom rung of the economic ladder for the less-skilled, less-educated portion the American work force."
Don Tennant _Computer World_
"...to what should you devote your energy? What causes or initiatives should you champion?... What if all the energy that has been expended on restricting H-1B visas had instead been directed toward raising the value of what it is we have to contribute? Do we even know how to go about accomplishing the latter?... In case you missed it, Computerworld's Patrick Thibodeau reported last week that IEEE-USA has announced plans to create what it's calling an 'Innovation Institute' as part of an ongoing program to provide advanced training to U.S. workers (see IEEE-USA plans 'Innovation Institute' to help keep jobs in U.S.). With a mission to keep U.S. employees competitive in the global technology job market, the institute is being aimed at high-potential students who can learn from one another, according to IEEE-USA President Ralph Wyndrum. IEEE-USA, a long-time foe of H-1B visas, remains staunchly opposed to raising the current cap of 65K. A bill being debated by the Senate Judiciary Committee that would raise the cap to 115K would only make 'a bad situation worse', Wyndrum says."
Ernest C. Hollings _American Prospect_
Free trade, fair trade, & protectionism
"We started a 'trade war' when Alexander Hamilton rebuffed Britain's proposal that the freed colony should trade what it produced best while Britain would trade what it produced best -- David Ricardo's 'Doctrine of Comparative Advantage'. In his famous 'Report on Manufacturers', Hamilton told the Brits to bug off: We are not going to remain your colony, trading our rice, cotton, indigo for your finished goods. We will become a nation-state by building our own manufacture. The first bill to pass Congress on 1789 July 4, was for the seal of the United States. The second bill was a 50% tariff on numerous articles. The United States was built on managed trade or protectionism. Abraham Lincoln managed trade for steel for the intercontinental railroad; Franklin Roosevelt managed trade for agriculture; Dwight Eisenhower for oil; John Kennedy for textiles; Ronald Reagan for semiconductors. By the time of Teddy Roosevelt, Edmund Morris in Theodore Rex wrote: 'This first year of the new century found her (the U.S.A.) worth $25G dollars more than her nearest rival, Great Britain, with a gross national product more than twice that of Germany and Russia. The United States was already so rich in goods and services that she was more self-sustaining than any industrial power... More than half the world's cotton, corn, copper, and oil flowed from the American cornucopia, and at least one third of all steel, iron, silver, and gold... the excellence of her manufactured products guaranteed her dominance of world markets.' This industrial might -- personified by Rosie the Riveter -- was a principal force for victory in World War II. At the end of the War, the United States had the world's only manufacture and wisely launched the Marshall Plan to develop manufacture in Europe and the Pacific Rim. We called for 'free trade' in an effort to open markets. But Japan and South Korea's markets remained closed. Even our winking at dumping violations and transshipments failed to budge Japan and South Korea. Now [Red China] follows suit... 8600 American companies, at a cost of $1.3T, have been lost to foreign control in the last 10 years. NAFTA with Mexico was supposed to create 200K U.S. jobs. Instead, we lost 400K. NAFTA was supposed to limit immigration, but subsidized American agriculture put 2M Mexican farmers out of business -- farmers who later headed for the U.S. border. Even the Mexican industrial worker makes less today than before NAFTA. The U.S. trade deficit last year was $725.8G. The United States lost 2.8M manufacturing jobs in the last five years. The growth of the U.S. labor force has also slowed. Had it continued at its normal rate, unemployment today would be 6.8%, instead of 4.8%. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that our workforce is so depleted that with two-and-a-half times the population, today we work less manufacturing hours than we worked when Japan hit Pearl Harbor. The Defense Department had to wait for Japan to furnish flat-panel displays so that we could attack Saddam Hussein during Desert Storm. Our defenses are down. The middle class disappears. Democracy weakens. The country is going out of business. To open Jones Manufacturing in the United States, Mr. Jones must provide a minimum wage, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, clean air, clean water, a safe working place, safe machinery, plant-closing notice, parental leave, and labor rights; he must also comply with equal pay, age discrimination, disability, and anti-trust laws. Our standard of living is a cost of doing business. Today, Jones can go to [Red China], which provides the factory and labor force for 58 cents an hour and none of the cost of doing business in the United States. If Jones's competition out-sources to [Red China], and Jones continues to work his own people, Jones Manufacture will go bankrupt... First, we need to stop financing the elimination of jobs. Tax benefits for off-shore production must end. Royalty deductions allowed for off-shore activities must be eliminated, and off-shore tax havens must be closed down. Next, we need an assistant attorney general to enforce our trade laws and agreements. Currently, enforcement is left to the injured party. It takes corporate America years to jump the legal hurdles. At the end, the president, under his authority for the nation's security, cancels the court order against the trade violation. Rather than waste time and money, corporate America moves off-shore. Trade policy is set by a dozen departments and agencies. Policy should be reconstituted in a Department of Trade and Commerce with the secretary acting as a [the responsible individual]. Then trade treaties can be negotiated for the good of the U.S. economy, instead of for the good of the [trans-national executives]. The department's International Trade Administration, finding a dumping violation, should also determine the penalty. The International Trade Commission should be eliminated. Custom agents charged with drug enforcement and homeland security are hard-pressed to stop trade trans-shipments. We need 1K more Customs agents. We need more funding for research in physical and mathematical sciences and engineering; more funding for the Manufactures Extension Partnership Act and the Advanced Technology Program. The list of materials critical to our national defense should be enforced. H1-B Visas should be repealed, and the United States should give notice of withdrawal from the World Trade Organization. Finally, competition in world trade today is not for profit, but market share. The closed markets of Japan, South Korea, and [Red China] enable exports at cost with the necessary profit being made up in the closed domestic market. A Lexus selling for $33K in the United States sells for $47K in Japan. Corporate America's rush to produce for profit in [Red China] is a losing game for the nation."
2006-03-28 (5766 Adar 28)
2006-03-28 07:11PST (10:11EST) (15:11GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Conference Board consumer confidence index fose from a revised 102.7 in February to 107.2 in March, highest since 3rd year of Economic Depression
more indicators from the Conference Board
"Richard" _American Workers Coalition_
Changes to Existing Guest-Worker Programs Buried in Fuss Over Illegal Immigration
"Taking advantage of all this public outrage over illegal immigration, our enemies are using this very public outrage to bury and disguise guest worker quota increases in the details of their solutions to the illegal immigration problem. Will the public be able to recognize that embedded in the details of the illegal immigration solution(s) are changes to guest worker programs that displace Americans from good-paying jobs that you typically have to go to college to get? Will the public be able to recognize in all this debate that they are fighting to get back the jobs that illegal immigrants are taking (typically those low-paying ones previously held by our high-school kids), and in exchange there is hidden legislation that takes away the higher-paying jobs typically held by our college graduates and hard-working adults? This is why the immigration debate is so dangerous to our efforts to reform guest worker programs. Too much emotion. Too much outrage. Our enemies are very smart. They have turned it around on us. They are going to trick the public into unknowingly tossing the baby out with the bathwater because the public won't be paying attention to the legislative details that take their good-paying jobs away in the process of perhaps getting a few of the fast food and janitorial jobs back from illegal aliens and granting amnesty to everyone else already here illegally. Someone needs to represent the high-tech American workers soon because the high-tech American worker is going to pay the ultimate price for all this illegal immigration reform going on today."
Jim Puzzanghera _San Jose Mercury News_
H-1B visa increase proposal advanced in Senate
"A Senate committee voted Monday to significantly increase the number of visas for highly skilled foreign workers as part of a controversial immigration bill that faces an uncertain future in Congress. Silicon Valley high-tech companies are strongly backing the proposed increase in H-1B visas... Various exemptions in the program for certain types of jobs, such as those with non-profit organizations, mean that approximately 220K foreigners a year now actually receive the 6-year visas. The proposal approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee... effectively would boost the number of H-1B visas to nearly 300K a year. The plan, written by committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-PA, also would automatically boost the annual cap by 20% after any year in which the federal government reaches the limit. And the legislation would create an unlimited number of F-4 visas for students pursuing advanced university degrees in science, technology, engineering or math, that would allow them to seek permanent residence in the United States if they find a job here... high-tech workers argue that no increase is needed. They say that companies prefer less expensive foreigners to Americans and that part of the reason high-tech employment has improved the past 2 years is because the annual allotment of H-1B visas has gone down..."
Daneen G. Peterson _Michigan News_
Our Ancestors Were Immigrants; WE Are Native Americans
"Most Americans today are NATIVE BORN and therefore NOT IMMIGRANTS! What is left unsaid in the above phrase is the significant fact that our American ancestors came to this country as LEGAL immigrants, which is the antithesis of the current invasion of ILLEGAL ALIENS supported by the open borders, pro-illegal alien crowd! The mantra 'a nation of immigrants' is an inaccurate 'branding' of our current American culture and society. It is an incantation that contains substantial disinformation, some subtle, some blatant, which never seems to receive any scrutiny or debate... Unfortunately, in this 'war of words'... those who control the semantics... guarantee that the choice of words and phrases used will essentially control the debate. That is why the pro-illegals crowd will NEVER use the word 'illegal' in conjunction with 'immigrants'... It is propaganda meant to disarm Americans so that we will not resist the human tsunami of some 23M illegal aliens that have already invaded and balkanized America, and continue to arrive at a rate of 10K per day."
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Feinstein follows her usual pattern to attempt to get it both ways
"Senator Feinstein is very skilled at having it both ways on H-1B. Here's her usual pattern: First she publicly plays 'hard to get' when the [tech executives'] lobbyists want an H-1B increase, then finally makes a big show of giving in and endorsing an increase, while telling U.S. citizen/ permanent resident programmers and engineers, 'I'm on your side, because I tried to limit the amount of the increase.'. You see this pattern once again in the article enclosed below. As anticipated (a better word would be planned), the Senate bill's provisions on undocumented immigrants is getting all the press, allowing the industry lobbyists to get outlandish increases in H-1B, and an even more outlandish addition of a new F-4 visa category, to pass by without much public scrutiny... 'high-tech workers argue that no increase is needed. They say that companies prefer less expensive foreigners to Americans and that part of the reason high-tech employment has improved the past 2 years is because the annual allotment of H-1B visas has gone down.' No specific organization or individual is quoted here, no reference to Congress' own commissioned studies finding that abuse of the program is common-place, no reference to academic studies, etc... Just as the undocumented immigrant parts of the bill are getting the lion's share of attention from the press [while other visa program change proposals are being ignored], the same is true for the large organizations which have generally fought increases in H-1B and related measures. FAIR appears to have nothing on its lobbying web page on the H-1B and F-4 provisions of the bill. NumbersUSA does have something on H-1B but nothing about F-4. The AFL-CIO's Dept. of Professional Employees is opposing both the H-1B increase and F-4, but as usual the AFL-CIO parent organization is mum on the issue. IEEE-USA is opposing the H-1B increase, but incredibly they are actually SUPPORTING the F-4 proposal."
2006-03-28 09:45PST (12:45EST) (17:45GMT)
Carolyn Pritchard _MarketWatch_
Federal judge dismissed 3 of 31 charges against Enron CEO Skilling, and 1 of 7 against founder Lay
2006-03-28 11:31PST (14:31EST) (19:31GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
Fed Open Market Committee raised rates 15th straight time and signals still more increases will follow
Statement from FOMC
Tech Executives & Their Lobbyists Push for Cheap Labor Amidst Immigration Debate
"As senators began [floor] work Monday on an immigration bill [that has been in the works for a month or more in committee], officials from tech companies, universities and trade groups gathered in a Senate meeting room to tick off some of their top priorities: adding more visas for high-tech workers and making it easier for tech-savvy foreign students to come to the U.S. and stay. They aren't the issues that have grabbed head-lines... An immigration bill the House passed in December did not contain any of the main provisions high-tech companies are seeking. They are more hopeful about what [will] come out of the Senate, although the two measures would then have to be reconciled... 'A lot of that innovation, talent and invention is now pushed to other countries [rather than being open to US citizens].', said Tod Loofbourrow, president and chief executive of Authoria, Inc., a Massachusetts company that focuses on recruitment and work force productivity. The Judiciary Committee passed Specter's bill Monday and the full Senate was expected to take it up Tuesday. '...there's enough support in the Senate for this that we can get this through while they're arguing about the other issues.', said Victor Johnson, associate executive director at the Association of International Educators."
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
AP coverage of Specter bill
"As we all know, 'the best and the brightest' in the computer field make well over $100K per year. Yet, the government data show that the computer-related H-1Bs in 2003 (the latest data) had a median salary of $60K, with a 75th percentile of $73K (Characteristics of Specialty Occupation Workers (H-1B): Fiscal Year 2003, 2002 October to 2003 September). Even allowing for the under-payment of H-1Bs, you can see that the vast majority of H-1Bs are NOT 'the best and the brightest'. What is more interesting is his point about 'remote areas'. A few months ago an employer contacted me from a California Central Valley town, saying he just couldn't get good applicants, due to his geographical 'handicap'. I sent him a couple of people that he conceded were good, and who were quite willing to relocate and to take a salary commesurate with the region, but he hired neither. The fact is that what he and the other employers want is cheap labor... A few months ago, I was invited to give a talk (pdf) at the UC Berkeley Center for Globablization and Information Technology in the UCB Institute of Governmental Studies. The talk was very well received, one of the attendees, a member of IGS, asked me if I would be interested in speaking at the DC forum cited above in the article. IGS' director, Bruce Cain, is serving as director of the DC Center this year. I said sure, I'd be happy to make a presentation at the forum, and the IGS guy said I'd be hearing from them. Well, I never did hear from them, and now the above passage from the article suggests an explanation as to why: TechNet may have nixed me. If this speculation is correct, why would UC cave to such pressure from industry? Well, as I've said before, academia has [academic executives have] always made common cause with industry [busiess executives] on the H-1B and related issues, for a variety of reasons. One big reason is that academia [academic executives] reaps major monetary benefits from industry [business executives], ranging from research funding to donations of equipment and even buildings (pdf). 'The web page of the Computer Science Department at the University of Washington, a leading supporter of industry's labor shortage claims, showed the following as of 2000 March 16: $1.5M from Ford Motor Co. in research funds; several million dollars in equipment from Intel; $500K from Boeing for an endowed faculty chair; another $500K chair from MSFT; another chair from Boeing; and finally, $3M from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for two endowed chairs. Department chair Ed Lazowska, who has been an outspoken supporter of the H-1B program, personally benefits financially from a cozy relationship with industry too. According to his personal web page, http://lazowska.cs.washington.edu/, he is member of the Technical Advisory Boards for MSFT Research, Voyager Capital, Ignition, Frazier Technology Ventures, Madrona Venture Group, and Impinj, and of the Boards of Directors of Data I/O Corporation and Lguide.com.' In addition, universities depend crucially on foreign graduate students, who do the research which bring in the federal grant money. The foreign students come here in the hope of getting sponsorship for green cards (with temporary status via H-1B) in industry after graduation, so the universities 'need' a big H-1B cap in order to make U.S. study attractive to foreign students. Recall that the National Science Foundation planned it this way, advocating bringing in large numbers of foreign PhD students in order to hold down PhD salaries in science and engineering in the U.S.A. The NSF said at the time that the foreign students would come here for the green cards, while U.S. domestic students would turn away from graduate study due to the low PhD salaries... a check of the web page shows that the title of the UC DC Center's forum turns out to be titled 'Maintaining America's Competitiveness: Immigration and Higher Education, a title that might as well have been (and indeed probably WAS) written by the industry lobbyists. In my earlier posting today, I noted that the lobbyists planned on sneaking the H-1B/F-4 provisions through without much debate, as the focus would be on undocumented immigration. Well, interestingly, here is one of the major lobbyists saying so: '''Hopefully there's enough support in the Senate for this that we can get this through while they're arguing about the other issues.' said Victor Johnson, associate executive director at the Association of International Educators.''"
Matloff received Distinguished Public Service Award
Gail Russell Chaddock _Christian Science Monitor_
Face-Off Over Illegal Immigration Reform
"Senate majority leader Bill Frist and GOP senator Sam Brownback stood together on trade, war, judges, guns, energy, abortion, and war, but they are bookends in this week's debate on 'earned' amnesty for illegal aliens -- the toughest issue before the Senate this year... Frist... wants a 'virtual barrier' to secure borders first... Brownback... wants to get [8M to 24M illegal aliens] into legalized status... Polls show a strong majority of Republican voters oppose amnesty for those in the country illegally, but business [executive] groups, a core GOP constituency, want to assure a supply of low-wage workers for agriculture, construction, restaurant, and other services... [The Specter bill] allows those who were in the US before 2004 to get a temporary work visa, if they pay a $1K fine and clear a criminal background check. After 6 years, they would be eligible for permanent legal residence, if they learn English and pay back taxes and another $1K fine. Frist's alternative, still in play, focuses exclusively on border security. That means more boots on the borders, unmanned aerial vehicles, cameras, sensors, and 'a virtual barrier to cover every mile of our 1,950-mile long border with Mexico.' (The House bill also includes a [mere] 700-mile [fence] along the [1900-mile] southern border.)"
2006-03-28 13:35PST (16:35EST) (21:35GMT)
William L. Watts _MarketWatch_
Senators once again wimp out, delay vote on tariff penalties for Red China
"Following a week-long trip to [Red China], 2 of the Senate's most vocal critics of Beijing's currency policies agreed Tuesday to delay a vote on legislation that would slap punitive tariffs on [Red Chinese] goods. 'We were very pleased with the results of our trip. We learned that the [Red Chinese] have come to a conclusion that a fixed currency is no good for [Red China] -- at least [not] any longer.', senator Charles Schumer, D-NY, said at a news conference. The bill, introduced last year by Schumer and senator Lindsey Graham, R-SC, would put 27.5% tariffs on all [Red Chinese] goods unless Beijing moves aggressively to loosen a peg between its yuan currency and the U.S. dollar. It was scheduled for a vote on Friday. Schumer and Graham spoke to reporters after a closed-door meeting with Treasury Secretary John Snow. The law-makers emphasized that they are ready to bring the bill back to the floor by the end of September if they're unsatisfied with [Red China's] efforts in coming months to further loosen the tether between the yuan and the dollar."
Karina Rusk _KGO_
Local Executives Support Increase in Tech Guest-Worker Visas
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Proposed F-4 visa program is tech executives' top priority
"Earlier today I mentioned that even many critics of the H-1B program are missing the pernicious effects of the new F-4 visa category proposed in the Senate bill. In that light, it is interesting that the enclosed press release by major lobbying group for the tech industry actually highlights F-4 (and the related OPT extension). H-1B is only mentioned later in the document. This would seem to indicate that F-4 is actually the industry lobbyists' top priority. Note the phrasing: 'The Specter proposal would improve our nation's ability to recruit and retain highly skilled foreign students seeking advanced degrees here in the US.' The key phrase here is 'recruit and retain'. As I've discussed before, foreign student applications to U.S. university graduate programs in the tech field are down considerably in the last few years. Contrary to the explanation originally cited by academia that the reduction is due to the draconian visa screening since 2001/09/11, the main factor is that the tech job markets in [Red China] and India are on the upswing while those in the U.S. are bleak. IOW, foreign students used to come to the U.S. because they hoped to get into its good job market, and now that that market is poor and will permanently be poor, they're staying home. The industry [executives & lobbyists publicly claim] that it really needs people with grad degrees, but the fact is that, again, what they want is cheap, young labor. Intel, one of the most strident lobbyists claiming they hire H-1Bs because not enough Americans have graduate degrees, has an awful record on the Dept. of Labor web H-1B site. The prevailing wage levels claimed by Intel are way below national medians for engineers with Master's and PhD degrees. Moreover, they've admitted that they only want the young holders of grad degrees. There are tons of U.S. citizen/permanent resident engineers with grad degrees and excellent track records that cannot even get an interview with Intel. Younger means cheaper, and that's what Intel really wants."
TechNet applauds Specter bill to drive down compensation and opportunity for US citizens in the USA
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
WashTech news interview
"If lots of constituents were willing to talk to their people in Congress, they could not only stop the expansion of the H-1B program but also achieve some genuine reform. Unfortunately, programmers and engineers, being highly reserved types of people, tend not to be activists, election year or no election year. And presumably the industry's campaign donations are even more sought after by politicians during an election year. One way or the other, all the expansions of the H-1B program have come in election years (1998, 2000, 2004)... I am not aware of any race in 2004 in which offshoring was much of an issue. I wish there were some. The current Democratic primary race for Senate in Virginia may become such an example, by the way, since industry uber lobbyist Harris Miller is running. It's probably been 20 years since the programming profession was mostly white male. For example, in my department, our enrollment has consistently been 65-70% Asian-American (that's [born in the USA of Asian ancestry], not Asian foreign students) for all of its 23-year existence. [Marcus Courtney of WashTech said] 'You can't go below 65K [for the H-1B cap] because of the WTO (World Trade Organization). That's the lowest it can go. In reality Congress will never go below that because they won't want to take on a challenge from the WTO... And they never ask the employers to back up what they say with facts.'... Yes, this is a very good point. But if people in Congress were asked about this, they would say (sincerely), 'Yes, it's well established that there is a tech labor shortage. Studies have shown that the schools aren't producing enough of them. The Dept. of Labor has shown it, etc.' All of that is false, but the problem is that they don't meet much with H-1B critics (and sometimes the critics themselves don't know the facts), so they don't hear the other side. Again, Courtney's point is very important, and I would extend it to the press. A good example is that Intel is constantly saying that it hires H-1Bs because not enough Americans pursue a PhD. Yet journalists don't ask Intel to back that up, i.e. they don't ask Intel how many PhDs Intel hires each year. Based on various things I've [learned] from people who work at Intel, the number is quite small... though WashTech makes a strong statement on its web page in opposition to the Specter/Frist bill's expansion of the H-1B visa program, it says nothing about the bill's proposed new F-4 visa category."
2006-03-28 (5766 Adar 28)
Thomas Sowell _Contra Costa Times_
Gate-crashers are not guests
"words have been twisted beyond recognition. We can't even call illegal immigrants 'illegal immigrants'.They are 'undocumented workers'. Do Americans carry documents when they work or apply for work? Most are undocumented but they are not illegal immigrants. There is a difference. The Bush administration is pushing a program to legalize 'guest workers'. But what is a guest? Someone you invited. People who force their way into your home without your permission are gate crashers. If truth-in-packaging laws applied to politics, the Bush guest worker program would have to be called a 'gate-crasher worker' program. The president's proposal would solve the problem of illegal immigration by legalizing it after the fact. We could solve the problem of all illegal activity anywhere by legalizing it. Why use this approach only with immigration? Why should we pay a speeding ticket if immigration scofflaws are legalized after they commit a federal crime? Most of the arguments for not enforcing our immigration laws are exercises in frivolous rhetoric and slippery sophistry, rather than serious arguments that will stand up under scrutiny. How often have we heard that illegal immigrants 'take jobs that Americans will not do'? What is missing in this argument is what is vital in an economic argument: price. Americans will not take many jobs at their current pay levels -- and those pay levels will not rise so long as poverty-stricken immigrants are willing to take them. If Mexican journalists were flooding into the United States and taking jobs as reporters and editors at half the pay being earned by American reporters and editors, maybe people in the media would understand why the argument about 'taking jobs that Americans don't want' is such nonsense. Another variation on the theme is that we 'need' the millions already in the United States. 'Need' is another word that ignores prices. If jet planes were on sale for a thousand dollars each, I would probably 'need' a couple -- an extra one to fly when the first one needed repair. But since these planes cost millions of dollars, I don't even 'need' one. There is no fixed 'need' independent of prices with planes or people..."
2006-03-29 (5766 Adar 29)
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
MSFT salary data contradicts shortage claims
"Gates claims that MSFT needs H-1Bs to deal with a serious labor shortage. But guess what! WashTech managed to acquire an internal MSFT memo which showed that MSFT salaries aren't increasing. What kind of '[labor] shortage' is that? Unfortunately, this major story hasn't gotten much coverage, other than the article in the local paper [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]... Unfortunately, once again we see the problem: The press never asks for actual data when industry lobbyists make such statements, and never bothers to check an independent data source like the DoL."
Union says MSFT salaries lag
2006-03-28 21:03PST (2006-03-29 00:03EST) (2006-03-29 05:03GMT)
Jonathan Burton & Greg Taxin _MarketWatch_
Share-owners, executives & directors continue manuevering for position for proxy season
"[Share-owners] are continuing to press for improved corporate governance, really on 3 fronts: Linkage between executive compensation and performance, takeover defenses and making the board more accountable to share-holders through a more effective election process. We have in this country a very funny system of electing company directors. It's an election in the sense that the election of a single dictator in a banana republic is an election. People get to cast ballots, but the outcome is never in doubt. We have as a default rule in most states in this country what's called the 'plurality rule'. That's the case in Delaware, where most public companies are incorporated. The plurality rule provides that the directors who receive the most votes -- even if they don't receive the majority of votes -- get seated. And as share-holders who've looked at a proxy know, if there are 5 available seats on a board, there are almost always just 5 nominees. So of course those 5 nominees will receive the most votes of the nominees running, because they're the only people running. So essentially in the United States, to be elected to a board of directors, what you really need to do is to get nominated by the board to run for that seat. Then vote for yourself and you'll be elected. There's no accountability back to share-holders, no ability to turn someone away or reject a nominee."
2006-03-28 22:00PST (01:00EST) (06:00GMT)
_World Net Daily_
Marchers say gringos have to leave USA, not illegal aliens: Offer no amnesty
"Mexica Movement activists protest in L.A. While debates about guest-worker programs for illegal aliens take place in the corridors of power, in the streets of America's big cities no amnesty is being offered by activists calling for the expulsion of most U.S. citizens from their own country... 'This is our continent, not yours!', exclaimed one banner. 'We are indigenous! The only owners of this continent!', said another. 'If you think I'm illegal because I'm a Mexican, learn the true history, because I'm in my homeland.', read another sign... Aztlan, the mythical birth-place of the Aztecs, is regarded in Chicano folk-lore as an area that includes California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and parts of Colorado and Texas. The movement seeks to create a sovereign, Spanish-speaking state, 'Republica del Norte'... A group called 'La Voz de Aztlan'... Others in the coalition hope to see a 'reconquest' of the American southwest by Mexico... through a slow process of migration -- both legal and illegal."
Mike Buetow _Circuits Assembly_
Senate committee's proposal would increase number of H-1B visas
"The Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday voted to double the number of H-1B visas for highly skilled foreign workers as part of a controversial immigration bill that faces a tough fight in Congress. The proposed measure, which would raise the number of H-1B visas to 115K, with an option of raising the cap 20% more each year, was included in the Senate's immigration bill. The committee passed the bill 12-6. It now goes before the full Senate. H1-B visas are controversial as many tech companies insist on them and yet critics claim they come at the expense of American workers who would otherwise fill those jobs. H-1B visas are currently capped at [over 90K] a year. The visas are good for 6 years. The Judiciary Committee proposal would increase the annual cap of H-1B visas to 115K beginning in 2007 while maintaining all existing exemptions, a move that would effectively would boost the number of H-1B visas to nearly 300K a year, according to published reports."
Ann Marie Chaker _Wall Street Journal_
Tuitions Rise Sharply at Private Schools: At Some Annual Costs Reach $30K and families making 6 figures are receiving more aid
"Nationally Median tuition for 2005-2006: $16,970; Rise since 2000-2001: 14.5%"
2006-03-29 08:02PST (11:02EST) (16:02GMT) (19:02CET)
French unions strike again over change that makes it easier to fire young employees who have been employed for less than 2 years
San Diego Union-Tribune
"Villepin hopes the CPE First Job Contract, which allows employers to sack workers under 26 at any stage in a 2-year trial period, will help create jobs. Trade unions say it decreases job security."
Judy Newman _Madison Wisconsin State Journal_
SOME college grads savor sweetened job offers
"Nimroz Momin was worried about his job prospects. Born in India and raised in Houston, the senior finance major fired up his computer last fall, sending a flurry of 75 applications [a very small number these days, though several times what was needed to land a good job in the 1970s and 1980s], mostly over the Internet, to companies around the Midwest and in Texas. By Thanksgiving, he was mulling over 6 solid job offers, with base pay of up to $65K. So Momin, 21, put his interview suit back in the closet. After he graduates from the UW-Madison School of Business in May, Momin will start work at General Electric's Consumer Finance headquarters in Stamford, CT. GE will pay for the move, hand him a $1K signing bonus on top of his $50K-a-year salary and pay him an $1,800 cost-of-living stipend every 6 months of the 2-year management training program... It's the 'hottest entry-job market in 5 years [since a year into the on-going economic depression].', proclaimed Chicago job consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Nationwide, companies have said they plan to hire 14.5% more graduating students than in 2005, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers... Starting salaries for engineering students average about $54K, up 7% to 8%, after comparable increases last year, Piacenza said..."
|Electrical and electronics and communications engineering||$52,899|
|Economics and finance, including banking||$45,191|
|Business administration and management||$39,850|
|Marketing and marketing management, including marketing research||$36,260|
Thomas Geoghegan _NY Times_
How pink slips hurt more than workers
"_The Disposable American_ is an history in which odd characters like Pat Buchanan, the former chief executives Jack Welch and Albert J. Dunlap (known as Chainsaw Al), the economist Alfred Kahn and others loom large -- but so do Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Robert E. Rubin, former secretary of the treasury. But [Louis Uchitelle] is just as interested in ordinary people and in the way that lay-offs keep tormenting those who have been let go... a whole ghost nation trekking into what for most will be lower-wage work. This is the Dust Bowl in our Golden Bowl, and to Mr. Uchitelle, lay-offs in one way are worse than the unemployment of the 1930s. At least then, most of the jobless came back to better-paid, more secure jobs. Those laid off in our time almost never will... But to lay off is now like a business school tic, whether it makes any sense or not. With fewer employees, many companies begin to crumble. Innovation also suffers. 'Rather than try to out-strip foreign competitors in innovation, a costly and risky process, we gave up in product after product.', Mr. Uchitelle writes... A growing number of economists argue that lay-offs cause more problems than they solve... During the Clinton era, the claim was that the United States was expanding high-wage, high-skilled jobs, and that the laid off could simply jump into jobs as good or better. But Mr. Uchitelle takes apart this argument. After all, he writes, as of 2004, more than 45% of American workers were earning $13.25 an hour or less. The jobs that the country has been 'growing' the fastest include those like janitor, hospital orderly and cashier... it is Mr. Uchitelle's point that it took government action to bring about the reign of lay-offs... He urges -- demands -- that Americans speak up: not to give empty speeches about how more of us should go to college, or 'skill up', but to stop the lay-offs from ravaging us all."
2006-03-29 07:21PST (10:21EST) (15:21GMT)
Matt Moore _Business Week_/_AP_
German workers stage warning strikes
"Factory workers at Ford, Infineon, DaimlerChrysler and other companies... over demands for higher wages."
2006-03-29 06:58PST (09:58EST) (14:58GMT)
McAfee to invest $80M, hire 400, in India
2006-03-29 08:15PST (11:15EST) (16:15GMT)
Raytheon to bid on border security
"SBInet Program... announced 2005 November, is a multi-year [gradualist] plan meant to secure US borders and reduce illegal immigration."
Roger Clawson _Billings Outpost_
Things to remember when planning space travel
Ben Johnson _Front Page Magazine_
Who Is Behind the Rallies for Illegal Immigration
Composite: "Whenever the issue of immigration is discussed I am reminded that our forefathers were once immigrants themselves as they sought shelter from political and religious persecution. As our nation continues to be seen as a haven of freedom and liberty people will continue to leave their homeland for an opportunity at achieving the American dream. Thank you for your recent letter regarding the Border Protection, Anti-Terrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005. As you may know HR4437 would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to strengthen the enforcement of the immigration laws and enhance border security for land and maritime areas. Most recently, the House passed the HR4437 by a vote of 239-182 and it has been passed to the Senate for consideration. I agree there is a continuing problem with the number of illegal immigrants who manage to enter our country. With my support, over the previous few years Congress has added over 4K new Border Patrol Agents and tripled the funding for border enforcement. In addition, as a member of the House Caucus on Immigration Reform I have some input as to the changes of our country's immigration policy. I believe, through fairness and accountability, all those who are eligible to become citizens when they arrive here legally should be given the opportunity. However, I also believe that additional steps need to be taken to protect the United States from the 8M illegal immigrants who are within our borders. During the remainder of the 109th Congress, immigration is going to be a highly discussed topic in both the House and the Senate, and I am pleased that both parties have proposed plans for dealing with this issue. In the coming months I look forward to reviewing and debating the issue of immigration as the proposed plans become better defined."
Allen Boyd web site
write to your representative
Frank Madarasz, PhD _View from 1776_
Scientific Research: Maybe It Is Salaries
Cost savings to executives keep H-1B reform from happening
2006-03-29 (5766 Adar 29)
Thomas Sowell _Jewish World Review_
Guests or Gate Crashers, part 2
|10-year US T-Bond||4.81%|
2006-03-30 (5766 Adar 30)
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Starting salaries lower in 2005 than 2001
see also for Master's degrees
2006-03-30 05:30PST (08:30EST) (13:30GMT)
Subri Raman & Tony Sznoluch _DoL ETA_
un-employment insurance weekly claims report
"The advance number of actual initial claims under state programs, unadjusted, totaled 263,689 in the week ending March 25, a decrease of 5,476 from the previous week. There were 291,378 initial claims in the comparable week in 2005. The advance unadjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.2% during the week ending March 18, unchanged from the prior week. The advance unadjusted number for persons claiming UI benefits in state programs totaled 2,773,885, a decrease of 66,395 from the preceding week. A year earlier, the rate was 2.3% and the volume was 2,914,529."
2006-03-30 02:44PST (05:44EST) (10:44GMT)
Suzanne Gamboa _AP_/_Yahoo!_
Senators Are Divided on Illegal Immigrants
"Should they stay or should they go, those [8M to 24M] illegal immigrants living in the United States?... The fight is over whether they should have to leave 3 years to 6 years down the road. Even senators who oppose providing a path to citizenship to illegal immigrants are willing to grant them temporary legal status as long as they register with the government, pay fines and eventually leave [though they may argue over the amounts of the fines]. 'Our first obligation is to bring them out of the shadows, make sure we know who they are, why they're here, make sure we have a name and some kind of identification for them.', Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said in an interview with The Associated Press. 'Then there will be a period of time, whether it's 3 years or 6 years... but they can continue to work here and at that point in time -- that's where the debate is -- do they have to go home or are they put on some sort of path to citizenship?', Frist said... Senators John Cornyn, R-TX, and Jon Kyl, R-AZ, rail against what they call amnesty but would give illegal immigrants 6 months to register with the government. Those who do, could stay in the U.S., but only for up to 5 years. They would have to pay $2K fines annually for the privilege. Those who don't could be deported."
2006-03-30 07:09PST (10:09EST) (15:09GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
2005 Q4 GDP revised up to a 1.7% growth rate: Core inflation rate revised to 2.4%
"For all of 2005, [GDP] grew 3.5% compared with 2004. In the past 4 quarters, [GDP] has grown 3.2%. In nominal terms, GDP totaled $12.5T in 2005... Before-tax corporate profits increased 14.4% to an annual rate of $1.48T, or 11.6% of GDP, up from $1.29T, or 10.3% of GDP, in the third quarter."
BEA press release
"The price index for gross domestic purchases, which measures prices paid by U.S. residents, increased 3.7% in the fourth quarter...; this index increased 4.2% in the third quarter. Excluding food and energy prices, the price index for gross domestic purchases increased 3.2% in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 2.5% in the third. Real personal consumption expenditures increased 0.9% in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 4.1% in the third. Real non-residential fixed investment increased 4.5%, compared with an increase of 8.5%. Non-residential structures increased 3.1%, compared with an increase of 2.2%. Equipment and software increased 5.0%, compared with an increase of 10.6%. Real residential fixed investment increased 2.8%, compared with an increase of 7.3%. Real exports of goods and services increased 5.1% in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 2.5% in the third. Real imports of goods and services increased 12.1%, compared with an increase of 2.4%."
2006-03-30 10:59PST (13:59EST) (18:59GMT)
William L. Watts _MarketWatch_
USA & EU complain to WTO over Red Chinese tariffs on auto parts
"The dispute stems from regulations that govern the importation of auto parts into [Red China]. Beijing requires that all auto-makers in [Red China] tally up the imported and domestic parts used in each vehicle. If the value or number of parts exceeds a specific threshold, the [Red Chinese] government assesses a tariff on each of the parts equal to the tariff on a complete automobile -- a duty as high as 28%. That's at least twice the amount of the tariff imposed on most auto parts, according to USTR. Washington and Brussels say the duties discourage automakers from using imported auto parts. When it became part of the WTO, [Red China] promised to eliminate all local content requirements and to lower its tariffs on auto parts, the USTR said."
Florida Attorney General Charlie Crist issued sub poenas to voting-machine firms
Daytona Beach News-Journal
Saint Petersburg Times
Contra Costa Times
San Luis Obispo Tribune
Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Akron Beacon Journal
Leading the Charge, Australis
Jackson Wyoming News-Tribune
Compilation: "Attorney General Charlie Crist said Wednesday that his office has issued subpoenas to the 3 companies certified to sell voting machines in Florida as he reviews a dispute between the firms and Leon County's elections supervisor [Ion Sancho]. Diebold Election Systems, Election Systems & Software and Sequoia Voting Systems have refused to sell equipment to let disabled voters cast ballots without help in Leon County. Elections Supervisor Ion Sancho has been outspoken about his concern that the devices can be easily manipulated to change race outcomes. The sub poenas are seeking information about whether the companies [conspired] not to do business with Leon County [out of vengeance against Sancho for pointing out the devices' short-comings]. 'It is critical for our democratic process to work efficiently and effectively, but of most importance, fairly.', Crist said. 'These sub poenas are to ensure that the rights of our voters with disabilities as well as all Florida voters are secured.' Crist wants to see copies of documents relating to sales of voting machines by Diebold, Election Systems & Software and Sequoia in Florida since 2003 January. 'Up to this point in history, no vendor has ever refused to sell to a willing jurisdiction who wants to purchase equipment.', Sancho said. 'Ironically, after Leon County conducted tests that revealed vulnerabilities to their e-voting systems, then nobody would sell to us.' Florida ACLU executive director Howard Simon called the attorney general's action 'the first step to ensuring that the right to vote is not held hostage to the whims of the vendors of voting equipment'."
2006-03-30 14:36PST (17:36EST) (22:36GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Profits Reach 40-Year High and Rising: When Will They Invest in USA?
"U.S. corporate profits have increased 21.3% in the past year and now account for the largest share of national income in 40 years, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Strong productivity gains and subdued wage growth boosted before-tax profits to 11.6% of national income in the fourth quarter of 2005, the biggest share since the summer of 1966..."
"Saj" _Word Press_
Cheating on Exam goes super hi-tech in India
Grant Gross _IDG_/_ComputerWorld_
Congress urged to limit H-1B visa program: Workers say it hurts US citizens
"The H-1B visa program, used by companies to import foreign labor, is 'far different' than the program described by supporters as a way to fill high-skill jobs, said David Huber, a network administrator with 15 years of experience. 'The real H-1B program has more to do with providing companies with cheap labor, and little to do with making America more competitive.', he told a House of Representatives sub-committee. Huber, who has worked as a network administrator for the U.S. space program, said his 'life has been devastated' by the H-1B visa program. In early 2002, a Chicago bank told Huber a networking job he was interested in paid $30K less than he was originally told after the bank applied for 33 H-1B visas, he said. Then in 2003 May, Huber was laid off from a utility company that hired foreign workers to replace him, he said. Between mid-2002 and 2006 January, Huber has worked less than seven months and has filed for bankruptcy, he told the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims... John Miano, a computer programmer for 18 years, told the sub-committee that the prevailing-wage rule isn't working. Miano's independent research found that companies using H-1B programmers filed reports showing they paid the foreign workers $13K less than the median wage in the area in which the company was located, he said... But some subcommittee members questioned the need for more H-1Bs. The program has legitimate uses, but it raises several questions, said representative Steve King (R-IA). 'We should not have a visa program that allows an employer to lay off U.S. workers in favor of cheaper foreign labor.', King said."
John Miano's testimony (pdf)
David Huber's testimony (pdf)
By how much should congress reduce the H-1B cap? (pdf)
Jim Bookman _USA Today_/_Atlanta Journal-Constitution_
Origins of the Flood
"The modern era of runaway, all-but-unregulated illegal immigration has a birthday -- 1998 May 13... On that date, about 45 federal immigration officials launched a raid on the Vidalia onion fields of southeast Georgia, where thousands of workers -- 70% to 90% of them illegal -- had been brought to pick the crop. But instead of being lauded for enforcing the law, the Immigration and Naturalization Service came under blistering attack from Georgia's congressional delegation... INS officials were forced to halt the raid and take the extraordinary step of granting 'temporary amnesty' to the illegal workers it had arrested so they could go back to picking onions... From that point forward, the INS abandoned any serious effort to enforce federal law... The issue of workplace enforcement is all but ignored. In truth, U.S. officials have no real interest in trying to halt the influx of illegal immigrants to this country."
_Middletown Ohio Journal_/_USA Today_
Undefended borders harm local communities
"The federal government's unwillingness to secure our borders and to stop the steady rush of people illegally coming into the United States threatens to overwhelm local communities' resources, services and employment opportunities. The numbers of illegal immigrants are so great that nearly every state in the Union has been affected... It's time for Congress and the White House to do their jobs."
_House Immigration Sub-Committee Hearing_
By how much should Congress reduce the H-1B visa cap? (pdf)
"fraud has historically been a problem with the H-1B visa category... "
David Huber's testimony (pdf)
alternate link to David Huber testimony
Latin American guest-workers and illegal aliens remit $54G per year to their families in Latin America; displaced US citizen workers have no money for their families
"The temporary visa program known as H-1B enables U.S. employers to hire professional-level foreign workers for a period of up to six years. Employers must pay H-1B workers either the same rate as other employees [at their firm] with similar skills and qualifications or the 'prevailing wage' for that occupation and location [which is set in such a way as to be below market compensation for the job, skills, experience, etc., in that location], whichever is higher... The analysis demonstrates that…actual pay rates reported by employers of H-1B workers were significantly lower than those of American workers... [R]ather than helping employers meet labor shortages or bring in workers with needed skills, as is often claimed by program users, the H-1B program is instead more often used by employers to import cheaper labor. On average, applications for H-1B workers in computer occupations were for wages $13K less than Americans in the same occupation and state. Wages on approved Labor Condition Applications (LCAs) for 85% of H-1B workers were for less than the median U.S. wage in the same occupations and state. Applications for 47% of H-1B computer programming workers were for wages below even the prevailing wage claimed by their employers..."
|10-year US T-Bond||4.86%|
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Congressional H-1B Hearing
"As I've often said, I fully support bringing in 'the best the the brightest' from all over the world. However, only a tiny percentage of H-1Bs are in this category. 'The best and the brightest' in the computer field make well over $100K per year. Yet, the government data show that the computer-related H-1Bs in 2003 (the latest data) had a median salary of $60K, with a 75th percentile of $73K (Characteristics of Specialty Occupation Workers (H-1B): Fiscal Year 2003, 2002 October to 2003 September). Even allowing for the under-payment of H-1Bs, you can see that the vast majority of H-1Bs are NOT 'the best and the brightest'. For a more detailed analysis, see Section IV.E of my law journal article (pdf)... 'Do we want to educate those students and send them out of the country to compete against U.S. firms?', [Stuart Anderson] asked. 'Wouldn't it be better to assimilate this talent and allow them to create jobs and innovations here in America?' I've never understood this argument. If Anderson is really worried about this, an equally logical conclusion would be to reduce the number of foreign students. And concerning his words 'talent' etc., again I am strongly in favor of rolling out the immigration red carpet for those of exceptional talents, and have personally gone to bat for many of them, urging Silicon Valley and academic employers to hire them and sponsor them for green cards. But most are not in that league. For example, research by David North has shown that the foreign PhD students tend to be concentrated in the less-selective universities."
2006-03-30 21:01PST (2006-03-31 00:01EST) (2006-03-31 05:01GMT)
Daniel Henninger _Wall Street Journal_
Immigration Foes Want a Little Respect
"Another 19th-century Frenchman close to the hearts of American conservatives is Frederic Bastiat, who had a further thought: 'The surest way to have the laws respected is to make them respectable.'..."
2006-03-31 06:04PST (09:04EST) (14:04GMT)
Steve Gelsi _MarketWatch_
Ethanol firms -- Aventine & VeraSun -- going public
" Ethanol producers VeraSun Energy and Aventine Renewable Energy Inc. both filed to raise a total of $200M as alternative energy makes its way into the market for initial public offerings. Brookings, S.D.-based VeraSun filed to raise $150M as the larger of the 2 deals after inking pacts in February with both General Motors and Ford to install ethanol fuel pumps in the Midwest. Ethanol already amounts to about 3% of the nation's gas supply in the form of a blended component that serves as an octane enhancer, a clean-air additive and a renewable fuel resource."
2006-03-31 04:00PST (07:00EST) (12:00GMT)
Anne Broache & Declan McCullagh _Ziff Davis_
H-1B visas hit road-block in Congress
"During Thursday's hearing before a House panel that oversees immigration topics, the idea of increasing the number of H-1B slots failed to win a commitment from politicians... Maxine Waters, a Democrat from southern California, said she was "not supportive of in any way expanding or increasing these visas" and suggested that companies look to neighboring states, not foreign countries, for new hires. Waters co-sponsored a House bill last fall aimed at limiting the H-1B visas and imposing new obligations on U.S. companies hoping to make hires. Perhaps Congress should require employers interested in making H-1B hires to make certain promises, such as certifying that they've posted the job for American workers first and that they're not replacing American workers with foreign ones, suggested representative Steve King, an Iowa Republican. 'We must not betray American students by encouraging them to enter into a tough major for the good of their country (such as science and engineering) and then offering their job to foreign students.', King said. The debate [continues] amid tense congressional negotiations over a controversial 478-page proposal designed to beef up U.S. border enforcement and settle disputes over how to handle an estimated [8M to 24M] immigrants residing illegally on American soil... Launched in 1990, the H-1B visa program permits foreigners with at least a bachelor's degree in their area of specialty to be employed in the United States for up to 6 years. In addition to boosting the annual total, the Senate Judiciary Committee's bill approved this week includes the possibility for additional 20% increases in subsequent years if the limit is reached... Groups such as the IEEE-USA, which represents American electrical and electronics engineers, have argued that the system is used not to bring in the best and the brightest foreign talent, but to pay them lower wages than their U.S. counterparts. David Huber, a computer network-management specialist based in Chicago, told politicians at Thursday's hearing that he had firsthand experience with such displacement. Describing himself as a senior-level employee 'whose life has been devastated by the H-1B program'... Representative Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, said he was concerned that certifications along the lines of what his colleague suggested would be unenforceable and ineffective. He suggested it might make most sense to keep the H-1B program as an option for employers but institute a 'sliding cap that will decrease over time so we will not shut out homegrown American workers'."
2006-03-31 08:27PST (11:27EST) (16:27GMT)
Ken Stanford _Access North Georgia_
Nathan Deal & others attack Senate Judiciary committee immigration proposal
"Led by Congressionan Tom Tancredo of Colorado, a number of them held a news conference Thursday to address the issue and a provision which would give roughly [8M to 24M] illegal immigrants an opportunity for U.S. citizenship. They criticized President Bush, accused the Senate of fouling the air, said prisoners rather than illegal farm workers should pick America's crops and denounced the use of Mexican flags by protesters Thursday in a vehement attack on legislation to liberalize U.S. immigration laws. 'I say let the prisoners pick the fruits.', said representative Dana Rohrabacher of California, one of more than a dozen Republicans who took turns condemning a Senate bill that offers an estimated [8M to 24M] illegal immigrants an opportunity for citizenship... The House has passed legislation to tighten border security, while the Senate approach also includes provisions to [greatly increase] the flow of temporary workers into the country and [legalize] millions of illegal immigrants already here... Referring to a wave of demonstrations in recent weeks, representative Virgil Goode of Virginia said, 'I say if you are here illegally and want to fly the Mexican flag, go to Mexico and wave the American flag.' King analyzed the issue in class terms. 'The elite class in America is becoming a ruling class and they've made enough money by hiring cheap illegal labor that they think they also have some kind of a right to cheap servants to manicure their nails and their lawn, for example. So this ruling class, this new ruling class of America, is expanding a servant class in America at the expense of the middle class of America, the blue collar of America that used to be able to punch a time clock, buy a modest house and raise their families... Those young people are cut out of this process.' Representative J.D. Hayworth of Arizona and others said Republicans would pay a price in the midterm elections if they vote for anything like the Senate legislation. 'Many of those who have stood for the Republican Party for the last decade are not only angry. They will be absent in November.', he said. Rohrabacher said Americans should be able to 'smell the foul odor that's coming out of the U.S. Senate'... The only vote of the day came on a proposal by Frist for a study of the number and causes of deaths at the U.S.-Mexico border. It passed 94-0."
_TMC Net_/_Thomson Dialog News_
Most See Visa Program As Severely Flawed
"Somewhere in the debate over immigration and the future of illegal workers, another, less-publicized fight is being waged over those who toil in air-conditioned offices, earn up to six-figure salaries and spend their days [and nights designing and] programming and punching [and debugging] code. They are [US citizens] and foreign workers who arrive on H-1B visas, mostly young men from India and [Red China], tapped for skilled jobs such as software engineers and systems analysts. Unlike seasonal guest-workers who stay for about 10 months, H-1B workers stay as long as 6 years. By then, they must obtain a green card or go back home. Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee heard testimony for and against expanding the H-1B program. This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation that would increase the [base] H-1B cap to 115K from 65K [taking the total cap from at least 85K to 135K] and allow some foreign students to bypass the program altogether and immediately get sponsored for green cards, which allow immigrants to be permanent residents, free to live and work in the United States. But underlying the arguments is a belief, even among the workers themselves, that the current H-1B program is severely flawed. Opponents say the highly skilled foreign workers compete with and depress the wages of native-born Americans... the cumbersome process: Immigrants often spend 6 years as guest workers and then wait for green card sponsorship and approval... the study by Madeline Zavodny, now an economics professor at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA, concluded 'that unemployment was higher as a result of these H-1B workers'. In a working paper released this week, Harvard University economist George J. Borjas studied the wages of foreigners and native-born Americans with doctorates, concluding that the foreigners lowered the wages of competing workers by 3% to 4%. He said he suspected that his conclusion also measured the effects of H-1B visas... The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers-USA says H-1B salaries are lower. 'Those who are here on H-1B visas are being worked as indentured servants. They are being paid $13K less in the engineering and science worlds.', said Ralph W. Wyndrum jr, president of the advocacy group for technical professionals, which favors green-card-based immigration, but only for exceptional candidates. Wyndrum said the current system allows foreign skilled workers to 'take jobs away from equally good American engineers and scientists'. He based his statements about salary disparities on a December report by John Miano, a software engineer, who favors tighter immigration controls. Miano spoke at the House hearing and cited figures from the Occupational Employment Statistics program that show U.S. computer programmers earn an average $65K a year, compared with $52K for H-1B programmers. 'Is it really a guest-worker program since most people want to stay here? &nbnsp; Miano said in an interview. 'There is direct displacement of American workers.'... once a company sponsors their green cards, workers say they [can't get] promoted or given a raise. [If they leave that employer, they have to start the green card application process over, from the beginning with their new employer.]"
Norm Matloff _H-1B/ L-1/ Off-Shoring e-News-Letter_
Master's degree starting salaries showing erosion, too
"Yesterday I posted an article by the chief economist of BusinessWeek, showing that (inflation-adjusted) starting salaries for those with Bachelor's degrees in tech fields were substantially lower in 2005 than in 2001. For instance, starting salaries for new Bachelor's graduates in Computer Engineering were 12.0% lower in 2005 than in 2001... I decided to do the corresponding analysis for Master's degrees. This is important, because the industry has been insisting that it has a dire shortage of engineers with post-graduate degrees. As a result of the industry's claim, the Senate bill (actually, 2 bills, by Specter and Frist, which are very similar in this aspect) would create a new F-4 visa for foreign students who get Master's degrees and PhDs in tech fields at U.S. universities, leading to essentially automatic green cards for the students. Here is what I found for average starting salaries for new Master's graduates in 2005 Fall, compared to 2001 Fall:
|field||change, 2001 to 2005|
2006-03-31 05:46PST (08:46EST) (13;45GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
US consumer spending rose 0.1% in February
Joe Bell _Opinion Editorials_
Immigration Issue Is about Security & the Law
"When government fails to address a problem at the time it arises, generally because it is uncomfortable for elected officials to deal with, it is only a matter of time before what was a controllable concern becomes a volcanic eruption. That is the status of America's illegal immigration situation... The best way to bring a sense of compassion and humanity to this issue is for America to gain control over who enters. Sadly, many engaged in the discussion have personal motives. American business is interested in cheap labor, not border control. Members of both parties are guardedly trying to juggle this issue instead of trying to solve this difficult problem... immigration is not about ethnicity or religion. America does not have different immigration laws aimed at different groups of people. The laws apply to everyone equally. All are expected to play by the same rules and that is fair. America's immigration conversation must be about whether America will take control of its borders and whether individuals, regardless of what nation they come from, will be offered a reward despite entering illegally. An individual cannot be permitted to be exempt from the laws of a nation he entered unlawfully..."
2006-03-31 07:08PST (10:08EST) (15:08GMT)
Rex Nutting _MarketWatch_
Factory orders rose 0.2% in February: Up 2.7% for durables
2006-03-31 07:57PST (10:57EST) (15:57GMT)
Greg Robb _MarketWatch_
UMich consumer sentiment index rose from 86.7 in early March to 88.9 in late March
Stephen Sabludowsky _Bayou Buzz_
Tech Workers Displaced, Construction Workers Trained
"A tuition-free job training program in the construction trades will soon be available for 125 people at the Louisiana Technical Colleges in Abbeville and New Iberia. The federally funded job-training program is being offered through a partnership of the Louisiana Department of Labor (LDoL) and the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS). Participants will receive specialized classroom instruction and practical shop experience for a variety of construction-related trades, including electrical, carpentry, and air conditioning/refrigeration. Framing, material estimating and blueprint reading will also be taught. 'The need for well trained workers has never been more critical.', said LCTCS President Dr. Walter G. Bumphus. 'The LCTCS and our member institutions take great pride in delivering industry recognized, high quality training that lays the foundation for life long career path progression.' Secretary of Labor John Warner Smith said, 'Building a skilled work-force for high demand jobs, especially in the construction trades, is crucial to the state's economic recovery. The displacement of so much of our workforce after hurricanes Katrina and Rita has made the need for killed workers is almost dire in some parts of the state.' Persons interested in enrolling in the construction trades training program at LTC-Teche, call (337) 824-4811. To enroll at LTC – Gulf Area, call (800)370-8499, or go to www.lctcs.net. The program is funded in part by an H1B grant awarded under the President's High Growth Job Training initiative, as implemented by the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration."
2006-03-31 12:50PST (15:50EST) (20:50GMT)
Jim Kouri _Conservative Voice_
Ohio Law-Man Stands Up To G.W. Bush Over Illegal Immigration
Mens News Daily
"Butler County, Ohio Sheriff Richard Jones appeared this morning on Fox News Channel to take his message to the nation: He is asking President George W. Bush to by-pass immigration policy in order to give local law enforcement the authority to arrest illegal immigrants. A growing number of police chiefs and sheriffs are calling on the President 'to do the right thing about illegal immigration and border protection'. In a letter to Bush, Jones told the president the problem of illegal immigration had significantly impacted Butler County because of the numbers that commit crimes and end up in the county jail, according to the Hamiliton Journal News. 'I believe that I speak on behalf of the majority of constituents in my county when I ask you to lead and encourage legislation to be passed that will give local law enforcement the right to arrest persons that are in our country illegally.', Jones wrote. 'The process of deportation is crippling my county, my state and my country and needs to be accelerated. The people of my county are disheartened with the federal government's lack of security in the border states, and the resultant influx of illegal immigrants into the heartland.', Jones' letter continues. 'Mr. President, please secure our borders and assist in the speedy deportation of those already in our country illegally.' Jones told Fox News' Alisyn Camerota that he's requested that Bush abandon his proposed [additional] guest-worker program and rather require new immigrants to apply for citizenship via established procedures... 'We have an aging white America... They are dying... We have got to eliminate the gringo, and what I mean by that is if the worst comes to the worst, we have got to kill him.', said professor Jose Angel Gutierrez of the University of Texas, and the founder of the La Raza Unida."
Immigration laws must favor the "legals"
"Neither political party has successfully represented the great majority of American citizens on the vital question of dealing with illegal immigration. As a result, maybe the nation's borders really are broken. In an era where security concerns are paramount, that's not just a problem facing a few citizens, but all of us who are potential victims of terrorists slipping into the country almost at will. Unnfortunately, political considerations seem to be paramount over practical ones in this controversy. In as much as 2006 is a pivotal year for elections, neither Republican nor Democratic strategists want to alienate voters of Hispanic origin, who might see attempts to crack down on illegal immigrants as some sort of racist attack on their brethren. Yet is that really the attitude of the millions of Hispanic Americans, who have earned that designation by virtue of having conformed to the laws of our land, entered this country legally, and earned their citizenship by following the rules? We suspect the 'silent majority' of those of Hispanic origin probably resent the short-cuts to citizenship now being offered through various congressional and presidential initiatives -- notably President George W. Bush's long-standing attempts at legitimizing [yet another] guest-worker program that would in effect reward illegal aliens by allowing them to remain in the country. Sorry, but condoning law-breaking is public policy at its most putrid."
Danielle Knight _US News & World Report_
"Frist hopes to pass immigration reform by April 7, before the 2-week Easter recess begins. If the Senate does eventually pass a bill by then, it will hardly have the last word. Expect the real fireworks at the conference committee in late April, when the House and Senate would attempt to reconcile differences between the Senate proposal and the House bill passed in December. The Judiciary Committee measure is a sharp departure from the House bill, which includes no mention of a temporary worker plan or eventual citizenship for illegal immigrants. The House voted to put up 700 miles of fencing along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border and make it a felony -- instead of a civil penalty -- to be caught on American soil without an up-to-date visa."
Senator Mel Martinez Favors Additional Guest-Worker Programs
"'There are those in the country who feel the country is full.', said Martinez, who came to the United States in the 1960s. 'Had that been the prevailing view in the 1960s, I would not be here.' [Well, that might have marginally improved my odds of being represented in the Senate.] Martinez has teamed up with senator Barack Obama, D-IL, to push for stricter border enforcement coupled with a guest-worker program that reaches out to the estimated [8M to 24M] illegal immigrants already in the U.S.A., the Miami Herald reports."
Jim Boulet _CBS_
High Costs of Amnesty for Illegal Aliens
"Given that Democratic Leader Harry Reid has threatened to filibuster any immigration bill that does not include amnesty for illegal aliens, someone should ask him a basic question: What happens to state budgets when [8M to 24M] illegal aliens become eligible for Medicaid and food stamps?... To put those numbers in perspective, a family of four earning $19,350 would be considered to be on the poverty line in 2005, according to Medicaid At-a-Glance 2005... More than 46.0M persons received health care services through the Medicaid program in FY2001 (the last year for which beneficiary data are available). In FY2003, total outlays for the Medicaid program (Federal and State) were $278.3G... [E]xpenditures under Medicaid... are projected to reach $445G... by FY2009... This projected 21% increase in Medicaid costs is likely to be a low estimate, given that current medical-care utilization rates among illegal aliens are virtually nonexistent. A 2000 Health Affairs study, 'Health Care Use Among Undocumented Illegal Immigrants', sought to prove that illegal aliens were not coming to the United States for medical care. According to their report, a mere 2.5% of El Paso's illegal aliens had participated in Medicaid in 1996-1997. In Los Angeles, only 1 out of 10 (9.8%) did so, while Fresno led the pack with a Medicaid-participation rate by 'undocumented Latinos' of 25.5%."
Bill Oram _Orange County Register_
Immigration issues unleash emotional debate
"Below the front-page picture on Tuesday it says the protesters are worried that Congress wants to make it a crime to be in this country illegally. What do they think illegal means? The Senate bill talks about 400K new guest workers. Who is it that is going to do the counting? When they reach this number, how are they going to keep the next 100K from coming in? One other thing that is very upsetting is that the protesters are carrying Mexican flags, not U.S. flags. If they are so happy to be here, why aren't they carrying the flag of their new country?"
Dan Abbett _Opinion Editorials_
Job One Is Order on the Border
"There are 3 distinct components to the issue of illegal immigration and border security. First is the development of get-tough policies to halt illegal entry into this country across our borders. Second, is a realistic proposal to address the huge number of those who now live and work here illegally. Lastly, and most importantly, is to remove political interference from degrading the ability to enforce the first two... The first order of business regarding border security is to establish a real, enforceable, program that halts the flow of illegal immigrants."
Canned Talking Points
"Thank you for contacting me with your support for homeland security enhancement and comprehensive immigration reform. I appreciate hearing from you and would like to respond to your concerns. Like you, I strongly believe that one way to safeguard our homeland and halt the flow of illegal immigrants is to work tirelessly to secure our borders. On 2005 October 28, President George W. Bush signed into law the Homeland Security Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2006 (Public Law 109-90), which includes more than $30G to protect our homeland. It specifically sets aside $2.3G for the Border Patrol to improve and expand its stations, to install and improve fencing, lighting, and vehicle barriers along the border, and to acquire technologies, such as portable imaging machines, sensors and automated targeting systems that focus on high-risk travelers and goods. However, this is just a start, as Congress begins to review the President's recently submitted fiscal year 2007 budget request. Please know, I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure substantial additional resources are made available to the Department of Homeland Security and the Border Patrol. There were approximately 4M illegal immigrants living in the United States, when Congress last addressed the issue of comprehensive immigration reform in 1986. Today, it is estimated there are more than 11 million. Those immigrants who enter our country illegally, and those who employ them, disrespect the rule of law. We live in a time where terrorists are challenging our borders, and we simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, and unchecked. Americans are right to demand better border security and better enforcement of immigration law. Further, American employers need to take responsibility when determining the immigration status of individuals they hire. Too often illegal immigrants attempt to enter the United States chasing the promise of a job, only to risk survival and face even death crossing the desert or never find a job at all. In the interest of cheap labor, unscrupulous employers look the other way when employees provide fraudulent citizenship documents. This hurts both American workers and immigrants whose sole aim is to work hard and get ahead. It is imperative that we implement a simple, fool-proof and mandatory mechanism for all employers to check the legal status of new hires. However, I believe to further protect our nation, we must contend with scores of illegal immigrants living and working within our borders without our knowing their identity or background. That is why we need to develop a guest-worker program that will replace the flow of illegals with a regulated stream of legal immigrants who enter the United States after a series of checks. This would enhance our nation's security by protecting our citizens from terrorists that may exploit the openness of our society. If we hope to bring the 11 million undocumented immigrants out into the open, we must give them a reason. This means granting those with jobs interim legal status to work with the opportunity, after paying penalties and without amnesty to eventually earn citizenship. We can do this by imposing a hefty fine for having illegally entered out country, and by forcing the undocumented to go to the back of the line in their pursuit of citizenship. The interim status should only apply to those already here, so as to not open the door for others. We cannot claim to have dealt with the problems of illegal immigration if we ignore the illegal resident population or pretend that they will leave voluntarily. Some of the proposed ideas in Congress provide a temporary legal status and call for deportation, but fail to answer how the government would successfully deport this large amount of people. If temporary legal status is granted, but the policy says these immigrants are never good enough to become Americans, then the policy makes little sense. However, without solving the porous border or incentive problem the population of illegals will only grow. Successful, comprehensive immigration reform can be achieved by combining strong border control legislation with a realistic work-place and an earned citizenship program. These 3 pillars of immigration reform are found in three separate pieces of legislation I have cosponsored -- the Strengthening America's Security Act (S1916), the Employment Verification Act (S1917), and the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act (S1033). Please know that, I will work with my Senate colleagues to ensure that the ideas included in these important pieces of legislation are incorporated into the immigration reform process."
more senate proposals
Mel Martinez web site
This week's top news
2006-03-31 13:31PST (16:31EST) (21:31GMT)
Leslie Wines _MarketWatch_
S&P 500 scored strongest Q1 gain in 7 years with 3.7% gain, NASDAQ had best Q1 since 2000 with 6.1% rise, and Dow best since 2002 with 3.7% increase
2006-03-31 04:56PST (07:56EST) (12:56GMT)
Enquirer 80 stock index fell 0.07%
"The Enquirer 80 Index of local interest stocks fell 0.21 points, or 0.07%, to 300.65. 35 issues were up, 42 were down and three were unchanged. Leading gainers were LCA Vision, up $1.67 to $50.70; Meridian Diagnostics Inc., up 73 cents to $26.80; Humana Inc., up 62 cents to $53.08; Procter & Gamble, up 59 cents to $58.22; and PNC Financial Services Group, up 52 cents to $67.51. Biggest losers were NS Group Inc., down $1.25 to $45.80; Toyota Motor Co., down $1.18 to $108.97; Pinnacle Entertainment, down 97 cents to $28.26; Gannett Co. Inc., down 44 cents to $59.50; and General Motors, down 51 cents to $20.65."
|10-year US T-Bond||4.85%|
Dice Report: 86,331 job ads
Gillian Andres _American Institute of Biological Sciences_
Should the USA stop producing disincentives for STEM workers?
Steven A. Camarota _Center for Immigration Studies_
Dropping Out: Immigrant Entry and Native Exit From the Labor Market, 2000-2005
"Looking first at all workers shows that between 2000 March and 2005 March only 9% of the net increase in jobs for adults (18 to 64) went to natives. This is striking because natives accounted for 61% of the net increase in the overall size of the 18 to 64 year old population... While most natives are more educated, and don't face competition from less-educated immigrants, detailed analysis of 473 separate occupations shows that 17M less-educated adult natives work in occupations with a high concentrations of immigrants. Some of the occupations most impacted by immigration include maids, construction laborers, dishwashers, janitors, painters, cabbies, grounds keepers, and meat/poultry workers. The overwhelming majority of workers in these occupations are native-born."
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