Brat and Cantor: Two Unsavory Choices

BratCantorWebBy Peter Galuszka

The hottest political race coming up is the Republican primary this Tuesday involving the 7th Congressional District now represented by Eric Cantor, a powerful conservative who is House Majority Leader and could possibly one day be Speaker of the House.

His opponent, college professor David Brat, has gotten much national attention because Brat is trying to out-Tea Party Cantor who tried to shed his Main Street background and led the insurgent Tea Party parade during their days of glory back in 2010.

But if you want to see just how intellectually barren both men are, read what they wrote in opposing columns in the Richmond newspaper this morning. They show just how out of touch they are and how they are dominated by a tiny group of hard-right fanatics who have split the state GOP.

Brat is an economics professor at Randolph-Macon College in the quaint railroad town of Ashland that might be a set for a Jimmy Stewart movie.

He spends a lot of time debunking Cantor’s ridiculous claim that he is a “liberal” college professor but the very fact that he is doing this is a throwback to the Old Virginny days of yore. First, off, what is wrong with being a “liberal professor?” Are we supposed to have academics that pass a litmus test? Maybe Brat would have House UnAmerican Activities Committees on colleges to make sure that “liberal” professors don’t poison young minds.

Secondly, the use of the term is an exercise in euphemism that smacks of the Massive Resistance days when a candidate was accused of being a “social engineer” if he or she backed integration and civil rights.

And while Brat makes some fair points about Cantor masquerading as a budget hawk, his ideas on finally dealing with undocumented foreign-born residents are downright scary and are obviously intended as a populist ploy to the lower elements of voters.

Indeed, Brat’s column raises serious questions about just how well he understands economic reality, especially when it comes to immigration. Forces are aligning for some kind of long-overdue resolution of immigration. He claims Cantor backs amnesty for undocumented workers. (If so, what’s wrong with that?)

Brat paints a weird picture in which “illegals,” working in collusion with giant corporations, are stealing jobs from “real” Virginians. I won’t go into the borderline racist and nativist aspects of his statements. They smack of the older days of the No Nothings and the Ku Klux Klan that wanted to keep non-Protestants, such as Catholic Irish, Poles, Germans and Italians, or Chinese or Japanese, out of the country.

Strangely and even more troubling, Brat simply doesn’t understand the American labor market. One of the reason so many immigrants are in some sectors of the economy, such as construction and poultry processing, are because the jobs are dirty, messy and there aren’t enough native-American workers willing or able to do them. That is why turkey processing plants in the Shenandoah Valley have so many hard-working Hispanic immigrants. Ditto construction jobs.

At the other end of the spectrum, Professor Brat ignores the dilemma at the high-end of the economy. American universities are not producing enough software and other engineers so we have to import them through visa programs. Some companies are so hungry for foreign intellectual talent that immigrants end up working just across the border in Canada where it is easier to get visas although their efforts support American firms.

This may come as news to Brat in his little college town, but the world is becoming more global and, like it or not, there will be more foreign-born people working here and elsewhere. His complaint that illegals are getting soldier jobs that Americans might want is strange. The military needs to wind down after 13 years of war. One wonders if Brat even has a passport and has traveled overseas.

Cantor’s column is the usual Eddie Haskell boilerplate. He spends a lot of time tearing down the Affordable Care Act. Republicans have launched at least six unsuccessful assaults on it and still refuse to accept the Supreme Court’s decision of a couple of years ago.

Generously funded by the managed care industry, Cantor raises no alternatives to the current health care system that is plagued with overbilling, a lack of transparency and has cruelly prevented millions from getting coverage because of “pre-existing conditions.” Granted the roll out of exchanges was a mess last year, but health care sign ups have exceeded expectations in Virginia. The expected number was 134,800 in enrollment plans under the ACA. At the beginning of May it was 216,300.

Neither candidate talks about crucial issues such as income inequality, climate change or America’s changing role in world diplomacy. Neither talks about about poverty or smart growth or student debt.

Cantor is likely to win Tuesday but neither man seems worthy of leadership. They are just more evidence about how the right-wing fringe has been allowed to highjack the agenda. As this continues to happen, Virginia will be stuck in its ugly past.

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54 responses to “Brat and Cantor: Two Unsavory Choices

  1. Can we please put to bed the myth of the unwilling American worker? Americans are as willing to hang drywall or gut chickens as anyone else, they’re just not willing to do so under the conditions many undocumented workers are. Having a captive workforce you can under pay, offer unsafe working conditions and constantly threaten with deportation is really appealing for certain business owners and they can’t get those conditions with American citizens.

  2. LifeOnTheFallLine makes an excellent point I think. Obviously not everyone watches “Dirty Jobs” on Cable these days, eh? The thing about that show is that it has some of the nastiest jobs you can imagine – but a hell of a lot of non-hispanic faces doing those jobs.

    I keep saying – if you want to fix the immigration “problem” just go after the employers who are employing illegals are running operations that are on the margins of labor laws to start with.

    Of course, we also have this dichotomy of 20% unemployment for younger folks – and jobs that are going crying for workers?

    how can that be?

    Peter G does good work.

    He paints a verbal montage better than most anyone else I have read.

    but here’s the thing with Brat and Cantor – two of the more odious folks ever – when the dust settles in Nov.. one of them will likely win 60% of the vote in the 7th district …. now THAT’s sad.

  3. Peter, the issues with shortages of software engineers are not simply a matter of “not graduating enough.” There are legitimate concerns about the H1B program, particularly its impacts on new graduates and on older workers, from people who are not nativist or racist.

    H1B is supposed to be used to alleviate temporary shortages. There are other visas that allow graduates with advanced degrees to stay, and that allow extraordinary talent and entrepreneurs to stay. Long term, if there are shortages, salaries should adjust up and US graduates move into those jobs.

    In practice, most H1B’s are used by staffing firms – not Silicon Valley corporations – whose business model is to replace US tech workers and outsource corporate and government IT jobs. Alan Greenspan recently gave a speech specifically advocating for the H1B expansion as a way to reduce tech worker salaries – I believe it was at a recent meeting of the professional group for US business economists.

    Despite claims of nationwide shortages, the overall salaries for US tech workers have been largely stagnant for the past decade or more. There are specific areas of shortage – for example, Silicon Valley – where salaries have gone up, but not to market levels, which would be very high. The US Justice department recently fined several top tech companies for colluding to hold down salaries.

    SV companies do not want to compete on salary, but do want to hire brilliant people to live in a very expensive area, and then have them work on salary on the company’s product and not potentially make millions with their own startup. Thus, shortages. Funny how the market is great until it means paying workers a whole lot.

    The head of the IEEE recently expressed concerns about the level of proposed H1B expansion and the impact on new CS and EE graduates, as most of the people coming in are entry level. That’s an engineering professional group, not a nativist or anti-immigrant group.

    The idea of the program is good. It is sometimes misused. Despite popular belief, there is no requirement to try to hire a US worker first, the salary comparisons are not audited and so are not necessarily comparable, and it is too often used to hire less expensive workers, including having workers train their replacements.

    Most H1B’s are entry level and do compete with new graduates – the head of the IEEE indicated his concern was that with the H1B level being discussed, there would be little room for new graduates to find jobs.

    Proposals to close the loopholes – to look for US workers first, to do more validation of salary levels, etc – were fought vigorously by outsourcing companies – the biggest users of the visa – and there were accusations from Indian companies that enforcing the rules vigorously would essentially be a trade violation.

    There are real issues with age and gender discrimination in tech, and artificially creating an oversupply exacerbates these issues. When asked about programmers over 40 looking for jobs, and why they can’t be retrained to alleviate shortages, some H1B, advocates have essentially claimed that they need young workers, because older tech workers are not capable of learning new technology. That is pretty blatantly untrue and it’s not okay to set an economic policy of “throw older tech workers under the bus.”

    Realize, companies like Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google use stack ranking to essentially force out about 10% of their staff annually. That doesn’t exactly indicate they see a huge shortage, particularly when you consider how competitive it is to get hired there in the first place.

    When H1B is used for actual shortages and for exceptional talent, it is good for the economy. Non-US tech workers make huge contributions and they are important to our economy. I want them here. I know many tech workers born outside the US and I’m glad they are here and I think they make this country a better place. I don’t want them to go home and I don’t want to shut the doors to new immigrants.

    But sometimes the program gets abused, and there is not an infinite demand for tech workers. The caps they’re talking about appear to force supply past demand.

    It does seem unfair to expect technology to drive the economy, have the tech companies make huge profits, and do everything possible to make sure that tech workers salaries don’t increase.

    I’m not anti-H1B, and I’m not anti-immigrant, but this is a program that needs to be done right, and I’m not convinced the latest iteration of it has hit the right balance.

    • well…. if American kids were high-performing superb competitors in the job market – maybe the H1B issue would not be such a threat…

      basically, the quality of our graduates is not clearly better than their h1B competitors.. in part because our schools suck – mostly because we don’t
      like tough, robust science and engineering curricula – starting in high school.

      Our AP and BA programs in many schools is a joke.

      those kids get to college and they are unable to master the material the supposedly learned in High School.

      we fret about “high stakes” testing.. yes.. and then everything is about passing the SAT or ACT and having a high school transcript that has 3.0 and better – by evading the tougher science and math courses.

      when we get serious about competing for world jobs – we will no longer fear the HB1s.

      sorry…. Americans are always looking for the cheap and easy way forward.

      • Larry, our CS and EE graduates are as good as anyone in the world. I have seen absolutely no sign whatsoever that our STEM graduates can’t compete on quality. Very much the opposite. Now, in fairness, this is about people who majored in math, science, and engineering – so they have not taken the cheap and easy way forward, and they have pretty obviously not avoided math and science courses.

        The major impact – and the area of greatest concern – is flooding the market for entry level positions. We are currently awarding more bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields than we are creating jobs that require bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields. We’re increasing the number of STEM graduates every year. We’re also talking about raising the cap on H1B to somewhere between 150,000 and 180,000.

        This isn’t a matter of not being qualified enough to be competitive. US workers are very competitive in quality, although like anyone anywhere, they are vulnerable to being replaced by cheaper workers. The main concern is that tech wages have been pretty stagnant since 2000 – and, if Greenspan gets his way, wages would actually drop as supply increases past demand.

        No one is arguing for less competent US workers to get jobs over better qualified immigrants, and no one is trying to keep out more competent immigrants. That is not the issue in play here. In fact, most H1B’s go to entry level workers.

        There’s a pretty good discussion of the issues, from IEEE, over at http://spectrum.ieee.org/at-work/education/the-stem-crisis-is-a-myth

        • I agree that the ones that are on a STEM track do well. But do we have enough? We rank 25th in the world primarily in the area of language, math and science.

          Most HS grads from other countries are well equipped to go after EE and other equivalent degrees.. if they can get here.

          when you look at the major CEOs and leaders of many tech company’s in the US today – what do you see? foreign surnames!

          thanks for the link! I’ve seen it…

          it’s not just STEM. it’s any allied field that requires STEM skillsets. Doctors – need to be able to store/retrieve info on electronic medical records.

          if you look at the medical specialties these days they also have a largess of foreign surnames..

          My gastroenterologist name is WONG.
          My endocrinologist name is BHAT.

          also.. thanks to the NSA – other countries no longer want our servers and cisco comms, other hardware units because they believe the NSA has put backdoors in them.

          way to go NSA!

          • virginiagal2

            Doctors are included in the STEM list.

            Most countries have a higher ed track and a vo-ed track. I’m not sure we are always comparing apples to apples in these international comparisons. What I’ve seen of our honors track college bound students is pretty impressive.

            However, I don’t think that the majority of graduates, from any country, are prepared to do a BS in EE, here or anywhere else (there are EE programs all over the world.)

            I’m not convinced we have a shortage as much as we have companies that don’t want to train and don’t want to pay more, that don’t want to hire older people, that don’t want to consider people changing careers. They want exact matches for complex combinations of skill sets, rather than training someone who has 90% of the various skills on their wish list, and they want to be able to fire 10% of their employees every year and have tons of new potential employees waiting.

            In the 90’s, people were using their own money to study tech and were seeing a quick payback, because the skills were in high demand. Now I see people leaving IT to go into business or go on to graduate school, because they don’t see much chance of increases in salaries, ever, and they want more money. The dynamic is different. Look at the graphic at the link, showing 11.4 million STEM graduates working in non-STEM fields.

            I know Greenspan thinks worker insecurity is a good thing, because it holds down inflation, but it also prevents workers from being entrepreneurial with their skill sets – because if you pay for an advanced degree or more training, too much risk that you won’t ever see the payback. To me, I think we have swung too far in the insecurity direction.

            Hiking up H1B to 180,000 per year – and it’s for six years, so you’d have over a million people on H1B at any given time – seems to be more supply than we actually have demand.

            Realize, the estimate for new STEM jobs that require a bachelor’s, per year, is also around 180,000. So what are the US STEM graduates supposed to do? Go get an MBA or go into commercial real estate development?

          • the non-college technical track in Europe and Japan is much more robust than the non-college track in the US where many who graduate are basically unqualified for technical occupations and others are close to functionally illiterate and will grow up needing entitlements.

            there is no question that Doctors and other technology folks in this country today have foreign surnames.. just look at a local doctor directory.

            not sure what the “Greenspan” thing is .. I thought he was out of any current policy positions… no?

          • virginiagal2

            Germany and some other countries have better non-college technical tracks than we do. There are initiatives to train people in skilled trades here in the US, just not so much through the public schools.

            Of course there are plenty of doctors and other technology folks with non-English (which is what I’m guessing you mean by foreign) surnames. Not getting your point?

            Alan Greenspan is actively advocating for increasing H1B because he feels techies are overpaid, and more supply would reduce wages. He believes the problem with income inequality would be reduced if techies didn’t make so much. Not joking.

            He made a speech to that effect at the National Association of Business Economics a month or so ago, and I believe the link I shared earlier included a similar quote from him from 2007.

          • but is Greenspan involved in formulating policy these days?

            who actually decides things like HB1?

            re: schooling –

            the international tests and NAEP in the US are pretty clear about the state of US education – compared to the other OECD countries.

            we’re behind.

            we never got better.

            http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/18/opinion/why-students-do-better-overseas.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

          • this is what you need when you use equations to represent real world things:

            http://mathworld.wolfram.com/LeastSquaresFittingPolynomial.html

          • virginiagal2

            Greenspan is actively advocating for this policy, and he carries weight.

            When the advocates for a policy are stating that the purpose of it is to drive down wages, that’s noteworthy. Particularly an advocate that’s a former Fed chair.

          • geeze.. I thought the guy has been pretty thoroughly discredited since the housing bust.. who knew?

            😉

          • virginiagal2

            We’re talking about two different things, both important. I’m talking about the achievement and ability of the highest performing students.

            You’re talking about overall performance. An average or even low overall performance does not mean that you have an inadequate number of high performers.

            Here is the Bureau of Labor Statistics outlook for mathematicians. 2012 number of jobs for the entire country, 3500. Expected increase in number of jobs from 2012 to 2022, 800 jobs, or an average of 80 new jobs per year. For the whole country.

            http://www.bls.gov/ooh/math/mathematicians.htm

          • can’t argue with the stats… 80 a year.. wow.

          • virginiagal2

            🙂

            I don’t disagree with your take on that, but apparently some still do.

  4. Have you seen :

    The 10 Best Jobs of 2014

    1. Mathematician / $101,360
    2. Tenured University Professor / $68,970
    3. Statistician /$75,560
    4. Actuary / $93,680
    5. Audiologist / $69,720
    6. Dental Hygienist / $70,210
    7. Software Engineer / $93,350
    8. Computer Systems Analyst / $79,680
    9. Occupational Therapist /$75,400
    10.Speech Pathologist / $69,870

    these are not “pure” STEM.. but each one has strong requirements for good language skills, ability to read about and understand technology, and the ability to keep up and adapt to rapidly changing trends.

    you have to have a strong core academic capability and the sad truth is that more than 1/2 of our high school grades – even ones on their way to college – do not.

    • Most of these jobs are just a small sliver of the jobs market. Realize, all of STEM put together, excluding medical, is only 5.5% of the job market. If only half of kids are able to learn at that level, that’s nearly 10 times more than you actually need to meet the demand for STEM.

      When you talk about percentage growth from jobs with a very small base, you’re not talking about a lot of jobs. Having a small category go from .001% to .003% is tripling the number of employees in that field, but it’s still not a high percentage of the workforce. The articles on “highest growth jobs” tend to be really misleading. The percentage growth is high, but in many cases the actual number of jobs is not large.

      STEM is not going to be the majority of jobs in any near future. I think everyone would benefit from having STEM skills, but you are not talking about a high percentage of the workforce working in STEM any time soon.

      • I guess I’m looking at the jobs that are not being filled which are driving the HB1 issue…

        but have you looked recently at a cop car?

        it’s a technological tour-de-force.. from radar front and back to the laptop to the license plate scanners.. etc…

        now.. I’m not talking about the police guy/gal – (who do have to have enough education to learn how to operate these gizmos) but I’m also talking about the people who build and maintain these things.

        those are jobs.

        an auto mechanic has to know how to use an OBCDII code reader.. but also.. someone has to build it and write the software for both the code reader and the computer on the car…

        drones for civilian use? yes.. everything from crop dusting to looking for lost elderly… etc…

        self driving cars.. yes…

        The navy is in the process of automating ships – drawing them down from 300 needed to operate them to 30… someone has to design and build those systems..

        on and on… there are jobs.. but they require significant core academic skillsets… because you not only have to “read” – you have to be able to read about concepts.. and understand those concepts.

        I’m basically an optimist on this in terms of potential but I think this country and it’s education system is behind.. and we’re giving jobs away to those who have better educations.

        • I guess the difference is, I don’t think that there are technical jobs that are not being filled because there are not people to fill them, as much as I think there are jobs not being filled because employers are not willing to pay the market rate or are not willing to train workers.

          What’s driving much of the H1B issue is cost – employers interested in keeping salaries low and training expenses low – not lack of availability of suitable workers.

          As far as the people who build and maintain these things – most of these are modular – you don’t fix a broken module, you swap it out. Kind of high tech version of Legos. The people who build the modules are typically not in the US – most high-tech manufacturing is overseas – and it tends to have lots and lots of automation.

          The software for the code reader is written centrally, and needs the same number of programmers no matter how many code readers the manufacturer sells, and ditto the software for the computers (more than one) on the car.

          Creating drones and self driving cars will involve jobs, but again, software is written and updated centrally, no matter how many are sold. Using drones isn’t necessarily going to require skills beyond that of a technician – high school or community college. Manufacturing is largely done overseas, or if done in the US, is done with highly automated factories with relatively few employees.

          The point is, all of those jobs together – all of STEM, every part of it – not including health care – is about 1 job in 20.

          Hewlett Packard, that largely makes hardware, has about 317,500 employees and is valued at about 27 billion.

          Google, that does self-driving cars, Android, robotics, drones, satellites, and all kinds of software, has about 49, 829 and is valued at about 87 billion. Much more money, more software centered, and many many fewer jobs.

          Marc Andreesen said, software is eating the world. It is. It’s disrupting old industries and creating new one. One of the characteristics of software driven companies, and software driven industries, is that they’re very scalable. Once you’ve written the software, a billion people can use it as easily as two can. More users does not imply more employees. One of the characteristics of many software companies, including those with high valuations, is that they have relatively few employees.

          There are about a million software developers of all sorts – including the ones that develop for battleships, cars, drones, and so on – in the US. There’s about a 22% increase expected in the next decade, so around another 220,000 jobs over the next ten years, or an average of about 22,000 new software developer jobs per year.

          That’s not a lot.

          You don’t have to train every high school student in STEM to have more than enough software engineers. It would be good for society as a whole to train every high school student to the best of their ability, but that’s a different argument, although one I would agree with.

      • I thought you might appreciate this:

        Terrible State Of Financial Software Code Plagues Investors

        The terrible state of software code in elements of the financial industry, including at locations linked to major trading venues, is a plague to investors and remains a ticking time bomb ready to badly damage the wider economy.

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/leoking/2014/06/07/terrible-state-of-financial-software-code-plagues-investors/2/

        these are jobs…

        “Can This Little Orange Box Beat the NSA? ”

        Germans are so weary and irate over allegations of US surveillance of their Chancellor, that they’re ready to back anything that protects them from the all-seeing NSA.

        So perhaps it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that it took only three hours and 33 minutes for Protonet, a Hamburg-based startup which has built a “fixed, personal server,” to break a € 1 million funding limit on Seedmatch, a German crowdfunding site. It raised the money so fast that many potential Seedmatch investors didn’t have a chance to throw money at it.

        “Madness,” is how founder and CEO Ali Jelveh described the 213 minutes it took to raise the cool million.

        So what’s all the fuss about?

        Protonet manufactures small, ready-to-use servers fitted with strong encryption technology. The devices come in brightly colored orange boxs, smaller in comparison to commercial servers.”

        jobs…

        • Yes, agreed, there are jobs.

          The thing is, they’re not a large number of jobs.

          The ones in Hamburg are not US jobs. And when you are setting up standard servers, once you do the standard build, you are basically replicating the same server over and over. You need employees, for patching and new releases – but probably not a lot. Is a startup with ten, or even fifty, employees a significant mover in the international job marketplace?

          Doing the finance software development differently will probably not involve new jobs, but either retraining or replacing existing workers. Technical jobs change constantly – new tasks do not necessarily mean new jobs.

          Note that part of the problem was that these finance companies were eliminating technical QA workers – in other words, fewer jobs.

          Look up the BLS numbers, showing the baseline (current number of jobs), the percent increase over the next 10 years, and then divide that number by ten to see how many new jobs are projected in these fields per year. It really isn’t as many as you appear to think.

          • I think software IS eating jobs but it is also inevitable – and it’s in play around the world.

            but it’s what’s goes into the software that cannot be easily replicated and that’s why you see that mathematicians are the number one job this year.

            virtually everything in this world can be represented in an algorithm – with the right guy doing it and you have to do that before you code or replicate.

            cars, jets, drones, smart grids, cellular networks, financial networks, all have billions of lines of code – but it’s what the code is representing that is unique and requires higher skillsets.

            I’m an optimist on this but I also believe that one has to have a significant education and skillset these days – way beyond what it used to be if you’re going to be competitive in the world job market and American schools are not doing it except for the kids with the most advantages and who get pushed into taking the most robust courses.

            the average person, for instance, does not even know – conceptually – how the cellular network knows where you are when it rings you.

            it’s not even on their minds.. even if their job totally depends on the ability for others to get in touch with them no matter where they are. People are so oblivious to this that they don’t even think what happens when they get out of cell tower range.. the idea is almost inconceivable to them.

            you can’t design the next generation of cellular technology if you’re totally oblivious to it to start with… and really don’t want to know…

          • virginiagal2

            But Larry, mathematician is NOT the #1 job in number of job openings this year – it’s what one job website picked as their idea of the best job for 2014.

            It didn’t even come from a definitive source – it came from a jobs website giving their list of 200 jobs and ordering them by best to worst, and was picked up by the WSJ as a filler item.

            Per the article, mathematician was apparently picked because of salary and work conditions, not on number of job openings. It’s probably not even #5000 in terms of how many job openings there are for 2014.

            Most algorithms – including very math-y algorithms – are written by programmers, not by mathematicians. That design is part of the software development process. A good percentage of programmers have very strong math backgrounds – not all, but a lot.

            The algorithms for cars, jets, drones, smart grids, and cellular networks are typically done by engineers and by software engineers, depending on what the algorithm is for. Algorithms by financial networks are done by programmers and by actuaries and by finance experts. It’s still not a large number of jobs.

            I’ve done my share of of programming and worked with a lot of programmers, including on very math-y applications that did fairly complicated things with actuarial and finance data, so I’ve seen how it goes from design to finished product. None of the people involved had a title of mathematician – actuaries, financial analyst, investment analyst, programmer, software engineer, yes – mathematician, no.

            I totally agree with how important STEM is, the point I’m making is – it’s not a high percentage of jobs. It’s a relatively small number of people doing vitally important work that affects everyone.

            Because it’s so important and because it’s talked about so much, and because it’s growing, people think it’s a higher percentage of the workforce than it is. But one thing you learn when working with math a lot – you need to look at the actual numbers, not SWAG it.

          • well it’s career cast:

            CareerCast is out with their annual ranking of the 10 best and 10 worst jobs for 2014, and let’s just say that math and science guys everywhere are about to high-five. (from USA Today)

            here’s career casts methodology:

            http://www.careercast.com/jobs-rated/2014-jobs-rated-methodology

            3. OUTLOOK

            The ranking system used to evaluate Outlook awards higher scores to jobs with promising futures. Lower scores indicate a poorer outlook. Our ranking system considers three factors for each occupation. These factors and the weights assigned to them in the ranking system are:

            1. Employment Growth:

            The “mega factor” for outlook as defined here is expected employment growth through the year 2020, as forecasted by the Department of Labor. It is expressed as a percentage increase in jobs in a particular career field during the period, 2010-2020, which is the Department’s latest available estimate. The Jobs Rated ranking system simply uses this figure as a whole number rather than a percent, and adds and subtracts several numbers to it that are derived from other pieces of data; one is a score for the degree of unemployment and the other is the multiple tied to one’s ability to increase one’s salary. Below is more information on these additional factors.

            2. Income Growth Potential:

            This refers to how much a worker can increase his or her income. See the preceding section about income scores and refer to the subsection “Growth Potential” for an explanation as to what this is. This score for Growth potential is then added to the employment growth score.

            3. Unemployment:

            Unemployment data reflects estimates, mainly from the Department of Labor, for the the latest available measurement period. Below are five ranges of unemployment that were used in the scoring. Because unemployment is obviously a negative attribute, a derivative of the unemployment rate of a particular job is subtracted from the sum of Employment Growth and Income Growth Potential. Below are the unemployment rankings. Listed after each range in parenthesis is the range of numbers that is subtracted from the sum of the Employment Growth and Income Growth Potential, depending on the degree of unemployment within each designation, which is shown at the far left of the table.

            sounds reasonable.. to me…

            re: ” The algorithms for cars, jets, drones, smart grids, and cellular networks are typically done by engineers and by software engineers”

            totally wrong guy. I’ve worked in the field. Engineers and software weeies don’t do the kind of math that mathematicians do.

            when you want to describe how a 3-d vehicle moves through a 3-D space -you need calculus, derivatives, ….spherical geometry, etc… it’s a mathematical realm.

            engineers get their “standard” equations out of a book – for a specific case – but when you have to model them for a wide variety of inputs – you need polynomial least square curve fits… and that involves knowing enough about mathematics to know WHICH techniques to use .. for instance – in real time scenarios…

            In other words you need folks who know how to build those equations.

            and these are those dreaded “word” problems you see in high school Calculus that scares the crap out of most folks except those who know their stuff.

            same deal with acutarials and really just about any kind of modeling…

          • virginiagal2

            See previous link. The criteria they gave did not mean there were lots of jobs for any given job. For mathematician, BLS estimates around 80 jobs created per year from 2012 to 2022, nationwide.

            With the caveat that I haven’t worked in hardware programming, I’m pretty certain that at least some – and I actually thought a lot – of software engineers specialize in this, at least based on what I see from various ACM articles and email updates. The articles I see come from computer and engineering schools and professors, not mathematicians. I have most of my ACM mags at work, but a quick Google showed things like http://www.techtimes.com/articles/8090/20140606/how-do-you-test-self-driving-cars-university-of-michigan-builds-a-fake-city.htm

            If you major in CS, you’re going to have calculus, presumably through multivariate calculus, probably linear algebra, probably statistics possibly including non-parametric stats, possibly differential equations, possibly operations research, and so on.

            I have forgotten most of that, although I still have the books. However, fresh out of school when I was looking for jobs, one thing I was considering was specifically looking at jobs that applied heavy math to programming.

            I do have some experience with programming using actuarial data for real world applications – the actuary works up the formula, and the programmer programs it. It’s not coming from someone with the title of mathematician.

          • I worked with Mathematicians, Engineers and software developers and the algorithms came from the Math guys.. and few others really understood how they actually worked.

            they’re entirely different disciplines. Engineers typically worry about hardware performance and software guys – did they get the algorithms programmed correctly so they generate the expected results.

            A mathematician can mathematically depict an object in 3D and have it move in 3D space through modelling.. an engineer would take the actual object and instrument it – like a car into a wall whereas the mathematician would model it then make changes in the model to see how altering parameters would result in different out comes..

            an engineer would have a difficult time trying to create a mathematical model of what he was doing.

            they’re totally different disciplines.

            R&D goes to system engineering to production

            Math starts at the beginning then transitions to engineering then to development…

            there are overlaps – but back at the beginning – it’s a mathematical realm.

            A mathematician would run hundreds, thousands of scenarios changing parameters but the engineer is usually working off of a real test bed model.

          • virginiagal2

            I looked it up. Sebastian Thrun was the main person who wrote the algorithms for Google’s self driving car – he left to found Udacity – and he is a Research Professor of Computer Science at Stanford, with a PhD in computer science.

            http://www.businessinsider.com/amazing-learn-how-to-build-a-self-driving-car-in-7-weeks-2012-2

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sebastian_Thrun

            BTW, he is giving a course on Programming a Robotic Car – through the MS in Computer Science program online at Georgia Tech.

            https://www.udacity.com/course/cs373

            So while where you worked broke things out that way, Google doesn’t, and I’m pretty sure many other tech companies don’t.

            I’ll see if I can find anything on programming drones.

          • where did Sebastian Thrun get his K-12 education?

            software folks .. have math – yes.. but they don’t typically have the level of math that is needed to model real world things – which basically start out on paper and math equations – and only go to software once the math and equations are validated as being able to correctly model the real world.

            once the math gets embedded in software.. if problems are discovered with the math – it’s usually not something that most software developers will know how to analyze and fix – unless it’s related to the coding … itself.

            these are the folks that I suspect are coming in on H1B visas… the folks who can do the software but also understand the math well enough to do both.

            Software development is a huge field… it ranges from people who write code for embedded real time systems – all the way down to someone who is coding a simple addition function for an on-screen calculator for a smartphone.

            Again – I do not denigrate the field – especially the folks who do embedded real-time systems that do things like sense an impact and deploy air bags or focuses a radiation beam at a cancer tumor … or operates a traffic signal where a wrong green light can kill someone… etc, etc…

            but when you get into modelling the movements of vehicles in real world 3d space – it’s heavily laden with math… and I do not rule out PHDs in EE or Aerospace (or equivalent) who ALSO have some programming skills…

            but the reverse is just not the case… most software developers know software – and some math – but not the kind of heavy duty math used to model vehicles.

          • virginiagal2

            looked it up. Sebastian Thrun was the main person who wrote the algorithms for Google’s self driving car – he left to found Udacity – and he is a Research Professor of Computer Science at Stanford, with a PhD in computer science.

            BTW, he is giving a course on Programming a Robotic Car – through the MS in Computer Science program online at Georgia Tech.

            So while where you worked broke things out that way, Google doesn’t, and I’m pretty sure many other tech companies don’t.

            I’ll see if I can find anything on programming drones.

          • having worked with ballistic weapon systems for 3 decades.. I think I probably know the difference between mathematicians, engineers and software developers.

            The mathematicians called the shots on the algorithms… and answered the questions when things went sideways.

          • virginiagal2

            Okay, I found multiple links with CS projects for programming drones, including this one – I’ll only include one as the last time I included multiple links I got flagged for moderation –

            http://www.cs.rochester.edu/u/qqiu/Attachment/Reconnaissance_Drone.pdf

            Some are high school projects in CS using Python to program drones and other robots

            Just Google algorithms programming drones

          • you’re not understanding WHERE the algorithms that are coded – come from.

            programmers without degrees in higher math do not know how to create the equation that gets converted to an algorithm that then gets coded (in a variety of different kinds of languages).

            I’m not denigrating Engineering nor Software development – they’re both sophisticated and important discipline but they do not determine the equations… they come from mathematicians – people who know how to describe the physical world in mathematics ….

            The limit of F(x) , as x approaches zero… the area under the curve..

            what do you need that for?

            why do you need polynomial least squares?

            why do you need to fit a curve to a polynomial equation?

            these are what you need to know to be able to model an object …on paper before you ever get to programming it or constructing it physically.

            you are demonstrating why we are behind in math…

            🙂

          • virginiagal2

            Larry, I am sure you are correct for ballistic weapons systems.

            However, Sebastian Thrun did write the algorithms for Google’s self driving car – you can verify that easily – and he does teach a class on it for Georgia Tech’s MOOC. He is not a mathematician – he is a computer scientist.

            I also do know that I interviewed for jobs where I would have both programmed and developed math-heavy algorithms.

            I think that it may break out differently for other types of systems, particularly for non-defense systems. From what I can see, research computer scientists and engineers typically do develop algorithms. I’d guess that’s very different from defense systems.

          • he likely got the equations from DARPA. Don’t confuse equations with algorithms that are programmed.

            you have to go back to WHERE the equations came from originally.

            it’s not just weapon systems – it’s ANY vehicle that moves in any 3d world.

            it can be anything from a bike to a ballistic missile .. you have to be able to describe their movements in equations … before you can ever develop an algorithm then code it.

            think about the great mathematicians who theorized how planets moved in orbit… no programming or algorithms what-so-ever at the beginning.

            pure unadulterated math.. you develop an equation that you think describes the motion.. you plug in numbers then you compare the results with the real world results.. you get the errors – and you go back and add more correcting equations… and you keep doing this until you have a blackboard full of it or even an entire paper full of those equations…

            only after the equations are believed to be able to replicate a real world activity – do they then get distilled into algorithms.. then coded.

            whether you’re talking about a missile or a drone or an submarine or a bike or a ball dropping from an airplane or a porpoise jumping through the sea you have to be able to describe the object and motion of the object purely in mathematical form – first.

            http://www.iiisci.org/journal/CV$/sci/pdfs/NK752JN.pdf

          • virginiagal2

            Larry, I actually do understand where the algorithms that are coded come from.

            Depending on background, programmers often have quite a lot of higher math – in fact, when I was in school, CS was in the math department, and you had to complete the requirements for a straight BS or MS in mathematics to get a BS or MS in CS.

            I haven’t used upper level math in over 20 years, so I’m not going to try to overstate my current capabilities, but when I first finished studying CS, yes, I could have developed the sort of algorithms you’re talking about, because I had to take that much math in order to study computer science. For that matter, if I’d wanted to sign up and commit to take the tests, I could have qualified for an entry level actuarial job.

            Many – not all, but many – software engineers have pretty extensive backgrounds in math, including in some cases advanced degrees in math. They are not mathematicians, but they have the training, knowledge, and skills you’re talking about. That includes multiple people I’m currently working with, so I’m not speculating.

          • do you understand the math that is in this paper:

            http://www.iiisci.org/journal/CV$/sci/pdfs/NK752JN.pdf

            I think it is always helpful for a programmer to understand the math that he is coding.. because it can be coded wrong.

            for instance, a good programmer knows that you would not allow an equation to divide by zero.

            you’d also need to determine how many digits of accuracy you needed … and whether or not you were going to represent it in scientific notation..

            One of the reasons that Computer Science initially started out in Math was because the earlier computers were crude the bits were binary – zeros and ones and people had to read dumps – in octal.. and had to be able to convert a binary or octal segment into a base 10 number…

            many if not most vehicle modelling systems needed 64 bits of accuracy when computers were hard-pressed to deliver 32 bits.

            it was a mess… but now software development tools have made that job much easier.

            to say that a software developer is also a Mathematician is akin to saying a primary care physician can also do brain surgery .. or for that matter vice versa.

            they’re both specialized disciplines.. with specific areas of expertise.

            I worked with about 300 folks with about 50 mathematicians and 100 software developers. None of the software developers could work at the mathematician level even though some of them had BS in Computer Science.

            In fact, early on, the Mathematicians could not program at all.. they came out of college without one course in programming or if they were lucky a 101 course in Fortran.

            they were developing equations that represented what the missile would do for given targeting inputs and from that the equations would generate presettings that would be manually coded into the fire control.

            virtually any kind of weapon… whether it be a missile or an aircraft or a shipboard gun … satellites, etc.. started out with a purely mathematical exercise – no computer – to attempt to be able to describe the motions with equations.. after these equations were created . you’d run a test and get real-world results and compare to validate the equations.

            once you felt the equations were good – then you converted them to algorithms that could be encoded in a computer where you could then run hundreds, thousands of scenarios – modelling – instead of having to run a an actual physical test for each different scenario.

            when you see a car running into a wall with wires and instrumentation on it -that’s one test… but you need to run hundreds of variations to really understand how that vehicle behaves in a crash and you just cannot afford to do each and every one – so you do it in a model -using math to describe the vehicle and the 3d space it is travelling through.

            http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00423119308969027#.U5PIn_mwIuQ

          • virginiagal2

            Larry, did you realize that the link you gave, as an example of mathematicians developing equations, is actually a link showing that the equations you reference were developed by research engineers in the department of aerospace, mechanical, and manufacturing engineering at RMIT, not mathematicians?

            You kind of proved my point for me.

          • virginiagal2

            Larry, one thought – I am wondering if the difference is, maybe you are talking about regular practicing engineers, and I’m talking about research engineers.

            The people that I’m thinking of are usually research engineers with PhD’s, or computer scientists, ditto, who are figuring out how something can be done – the people pushing the field forward. Thun, for example, or Jazar, to use the example from the paper you linked to.

          • well I’m skeptical that people who write code for embedded systems have the background of research PHDs… in academic institutions – which is WHERE many of the equations actually come from to start with.

            any Aerospace or EE PHD at an academic institution is also more than likely fully qualified as a Master Degree Mathematician.

            I just don’t think the vast majority software folks in the field have this level of background and are capable of determining what the equations are doing or how to modify them, etc.

            they’re just totally different disciplines.

            my experience is with weapon systems but if you think about it – ANY vehicle that is moving in a 3d space is the same thing.

            the deal with the weapon systems is that it’s exacting because they are worthless if they are not accurate – and that’s the whole deal with the equations.

            there are “system errors”.. things that don’t have perfect tolerances, are not entirely predictable, vary in sensor sensitivity, etc, etc, etc.. you have mountains of equations just to describe each potential variance ..

            you can take two cars exactly the same and run them at 70 mph into a wall – and they will not look the same afterwards and the collected data will not be exactly the same.

            these kinds of things have to be accounted for – in the equations.. not the software.. you can’t say If tolerance exceed variance – do this instead…
            because the software doesn’t’ even know…

            there are hundreds of thousands of variables in any system – like a vehicle moving through 3d space.. you don’t have enough time in real time to go through that many lines of code .. before you’re past the window to act.

            In every organization that writes software for vehicles – there is a small group of little-known math guys.. believe me… if you asked those guys if two trains were headed towards each other 2 miles away, one at 50mph and one at 100 mph where would the meet .. they’d know the answer without writing one line of code.

          • did you see the surnames on these researchers?

            Anna Bourmistrova
            Milan Simic
            Reza Hoseinnezhad
            Reza N. Jazar

            and … Sebastian Thrun

            kinda proves my point, eh?

            where are the American guys?

            😉

          • virginiagal2

            If we’re talking about the people doing the ground work in self driving cars and drones, I’m pretty sure that a substantial number of them are research PhD’s in academic institutions – realize that a number of them also work for SV firms – Thun being a good example, as he was originally with Google as a research fellow, then founded Udacity, and is currently also teaching online at Georgia Tech.

            I am pretty certain Thun did the self-driving car equations himself. There may be a CS PhD somewhere that doesn’t have an extremely good grounding in mathematics, but I haven’t met one.

            I got much the same result (multiple research teams at engineering schools) for drone research work. I’m pretty sure that’s where the basic work is happening.

            I don’t think the majority of software folks are at that level either, but I don’t think they need to be. For one thing, most people working in systems engineering or software development aren’t working on drones or self driving cars. Most are not working on other things moving in 3d space, either.

            CS training is actually pretty math-intensive. Math, CS, software engineering, and regular engineering are different, but there’s more overlap – primarily in math classes – in training than I think you’re giving credit for, and there are many more math, physics, and engineering majors working in software development than I think you are acknowledging.

            Keep in mind, per the BLS, there are only 3500 working mathematicians in the entire US as of 2012, with a growth rate estimated at about 80 positions per year for the whole country, through 2022.

            Re the surnames – Thun is a PhD computer scientist originally from Germany who was a research fellow at Google and teaches at Stanford. The university paper you quoted is not from an American university, so you wouldn’t expect to see American guys. That said, it looks like they are from Tehran, Serbia, and Russia.

            As I’ve mentioned before, I’m totally in agreement with allowing very free immigration of the best minds. My concern is the ability of the market to absorb a very high number of average entry level temporary workers. Those are pretty different employment markets.

            I would like to see the emphasis, on high skill immigration, shift to focus more on allowing permanent residency and a path to citizenship to exceptional talent, rather than expanding temporary visas for entry level workers in IT staffing agencies.

          • Didn’t DARPA kick off the autonomous vehicle effort?

            http://www.darpa.mil/NewsEvents/Releases/2014/03/13.aspx

            Virtually any PHD in any “hard” science at an Academic institution – doing research will have the requite math skills.

            what I was talking about was the folks out in the field basically implemented the fruits of the research and the research is rooted in mathematics – as the papers provided demonstrate. Most software types don’t have that LEVEL of expertise so that they are capable of working on the same level as those guy doing the math at the research institutions.

            but where this started was the H1B visas and how and why the folks with them were taking jobs away from our own citizens.

            and I still maintain that American industry – many CEOs like Bill Gates and others say that the US is not graduating kids with sufficient education for their needs… and they have to be – further educated, re-mediated whereas the H1B folks are ready to go … they have to be to get the job usually.

            we will compete better for world jobs, get our share, not need as many H1B if we produce more better educated candidates for those jobs.

            I just think when we focus on immigration and ignore our own demonstrably inferior education system that we’re making excuses and not addressing the real issues and in the process making us even more vulnerable to H1B visas (which I assume is way more than 80 a year…. 😉 )

            we, as a country, as a people, need to stop looking for blame on the issues and face up to the reality that we have gotten lazy and expect the world to fall in our laps and they’re not only not going to do that – they’re going to kick our butts – if we don’t get off of them and get back to the things that made the country the best in the world.

            and we cannot do that when our education system ranks 25th in the world -no matter how one wants to ignore it. We have a certain core of kids and parents now that seek excellence in their education.. Many others, college-bound are essentially try to squeak through with minimum skill “safe” generic degrees and then we leave behind about 1/3 that ought to be on a legitimate Germany-style technical track.

            the reason we are not getting our share of world jobs – is us.

            we need to face that and stop trying to blame others.

            it’s bad enough that we have 40, 50, 60 years olds with decades-old educations that no longer work in the current technology-laden world but it’s worse when all but a handful of the kids coming out of HS are not ready for the tougher hard-science disciplines that will much more likely land them a job – a job that will go to an H1B if we do not have enough candidates.

            yes..people are going to have to work harder – for less pay..that’s a reality because there are so many more folks with good educations worldwide and automation is eating jobs but that is inevitable – everywhere – globally.

            low-skill people the world over – are being replaced with machines… but there are still many jobs for the well-educated and that should be our goal with respect to the H1B issue – because – if we deny the ability for US companies to get the expertise they need – they will take those companies to places where they can get that expertise – and price.

            we just cannot hide from it.. we have to compete – and Mr. Brat – of all people, claiming to be an economist – should know this.

            Mr. Cantor, on the other hand is your basic political weasel who really does not give a hoot about something unless it enhances his chances at advancing in the Congressional GOP.

            People like Mr. Cantor exist – because the Dems are basically incompetent at incubating strong candidates who are fiscally conservative but not fiscally irresponsible…to challenge and more importantly – because he is to the left of Brat.. so he’s appealing to Brat’s narrow base – as well as the rest of the traditional GOP base and in Va – in ROVA that will get you about 60% of the vote…usually.

          • just caught this:

            re: ” As I’ve mentioned before, I’m totally in agreement with allowing very free immigration of the best minds. My concern is the ability of the market to absorb a very high number of average entry level temporary workers. Those are pretty different employment markets.”

            Oh I agree but I thought H1B had to be a shortage of that kind of skill…

            “I would like to see the emphasis, on high skill immigration, shift to focus more on allowing permanent residency and a path to citizenship to exceptional talent, rather than expanding temporary visas for entry level workers in IT staffing agencies.”

            if these jobs are temporary – the whole narrative seems contradictory.

            I thought H1B was for jobs of which there is a govt-agreed – US shortage of …. that companies cannot fill these jobs from domestic US workers.

            are you saying that this is not really true – that we already have a surplus of qualified workers and the visa folks are actually taking jobs away?

            but the bottom line is this. If US companies want certain kinds of workers at wages that are competitive on an international basis – we have three choices:

            1. – fill those positions with US workers at competitive world wages

            2. – allow the companies to import labor if there are no folks in this country with those skills willing to work for those wages.

            3.-deny the visas and risk these companies sending that kind of work overseas.

            we can’t go backwards. blaming … won’t change or undo the realities..

            we have to go forward and we have to compete on a global basis if we want to stay a leading economic player in the world and get our share of business and jobs.

            I am sympathetic to the plight of US workers – getting squeezed by automation and lower wages – but we cannot go back… it is what it is… and we have to confront it by finding and exploiting opportunities that give us an edge.

            but we’re not going to be up to that challenge – if we continue to believe that we are not 25th in the world on core academics and the ability to use those skill to problem solve – to be able to use language, math and science to solve real-world problems – those nasty “word” problems in the back of the Algebra book….

            things like robots, drones, self-driving cars, etc require broad multi-discipline teams and skill-sets…and an ability to remain aware of where technology is headed .. at the quickened pace these days.

            A ‘good’ idea one day is literally so “yesterday” sometimes…

            I think there are millions of new jobs in everything from drones that can be programmed to dust crops or inspect power lines or monitor traffic for congestion, incidents, etc, etc, etc… new drugs.. new gene therapies, cancer cures, smartphones that find and reserve parking places, as many opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship as one can imagine… in a country that has all the pieces and parts needed to support such efforts – as opposed to the lack of those things we take for granted .. in developing and 3rd world countries.

            we need to continue to lead – and stop the blame game and excuses for why we can’t …

            it’s not like we don’t know what is wrong… when people from other countries are taking jobs that our own folks either won’t take or don’t want…or lack the education and skills to compete for those jobs.

          • virginiagal2

            I don’t doubt DARPA had a huge hand in driving the work forward, because of defense applications, but I think the actual work has been done all over and not just in the US.

            I wouldn’t disagree about the PhD in hard sciences having the skill level. I was thinking last night about where I work, and about 20% have training in math that is probably equivalent to a MS in math – and that’s in a non-hardware,non-defense software department. Even I have enough courses in upper level math to fall somewhere between the requirements for a BS and an MS in math, with the caveat I haven’t used most of it in over twenty years.

            I think many programmers have a lot more math background than you realize.

          • virginiagal2

            I agree American industry claims that the US is not graduating enough STEM graduates for their needs. Two problems. First, the shortages are being overstated, and second, and most important, the way H1B is actually being used doesn’t address the problem they’re publicly claiming to have.

            They cite the number of CS graduates only, but compare that to jobs that can be filled by a variety of related majors – systems engineering, mathematics, information technology – without adding graduates of those majors in their statistics. Some of the advocates will come right out and state that their goal is to drive down wages, not to meet an actual need. H1B visa holders are tied to their host company, the visa can be revoked at any time, and pay isn’t checked carefully. That gives the company a lot of power to pay below-market wages.

            Here are the top 10 H1B users by company. Most are outsourcing companies. Microsoft is number eight, with less than a quarter of the number of visas used as the top company, which is an outsourcer. The very large majority of these visas to to companies that are outsourcers, not innovators.

            http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9223745/The_top_10_H_1B_visa_users_in_the_U.S

            These visas are being primarily used by outsourcers, not by Silicon Valley companies with a shortage of talent.

          • virginiagal2

            So let me get this straight. We have a situation where companies are making more money than ever. They are hugely profitable, and the profitability of tech companies per employee is a multiple of their salaries.

            In many technical categories, we have enough US workers to do the job, and do the job really well, and in a decent number of we now have enough that entry level workers are already having a hard time finding jobs in their technical field.

            Absolutely no one I know of objects to allowing exceptional talent in, and there are special visas for exceptional talent. There are also special visas for graduates with advanced tech degrees from US universities. There’s a general agreement in favor of addressing actual shortages and allowing companies to hire very highly qualified people. There’s a general agreement to letting US graduates with advanced tech degrees stay.

            Further, every professional organization I know of has suggested moving to green cards so immigrants have the same bargaining power as citizens, which helps – not hurts – immigrant workers.

            The concern is very specific – it’s an objection to the use of H1B temporary visas for staffing agencies that primarily do outsourcing, replacing US tech workers with temporary workers.

            That is, by the way, the main use of the H1B visa. Not for people developing new technologies or doing cutting edge work – the large majority of H1B visas are for outsourcing companies at entry level skill levels.

            You’re essentially arguing that, even in cases where there is no actual shortage or lack of qualified candidates, if companies want to hire people for less than the going rate, we should change our immigration laws to push wage levels down.

            So essentially, tech workers, after a decade of essentially flat salaries when adjusted for inflation, should be content to look forward to steadily decreasing salaries, less and less job security, and being declared obsolete at age 40 or so, even if they’ve continued their education throughout their career, usually at their own expense.

            I can’t imagine why tech workers would object to that.

            When actual wage levels decrease, what do you think happens to the consumer part of the economy? What do you think happens to housing prices? Car sales? Sales of consumer goods and appliances?

          • ” So let me get this straight. We have a situation where companies are making more money than ever. They are hugely profitable, and the profitability of tech companies per employee is a multiple of their salaries.”

            yes

            “In many technical categories, we have enough US workers to do the job, and do the job really well, and in a decent number of we now have enough that entry level workers are already having a hard time finding jobs in their technical field.”

            is “their” technical field the SAME one that CEOs like Bill Gates decry a shortage of?

            “Absolutely no one I know of objects to allowing exceptional talent in, and there are special visas for exceptional talent. There are also special visas for graduates with advanced tech degrees from US universities. There’s a general agreement in favor of addressing actual shortages and allowing companies to hire very highly qualified people. There’s a general agreement to letting US graduates with advanced tech degrees stay.”

            well.. I’m hearing contradictory things here..

            “Further, every professional organization I know of has suggested moving to green cards so immigrants have the same bargaining power as citizens, which helps – not hurts – immigrant workers.”

            well.. now, we’re veering off to a political thing about immigration…here..right?

            “The concern is very specific – it’s an objection to the use of H1B temporary visas for staffing agencies that primarily do outsourcing, replacing US tech workers with temporary workers.”

            if they are outsourcing (overseas?) then why do they need H1B? and if the jobs are temporary – what good are those anyhow to US workers?

            “That is, by the way, the main use of the H1B visa. Not for people developing new technologies or doing cutting edge work – the large majority of H1B visas are for outsourcing companies at entry level skill levels.”

            but that doesn’t make any sense.. it’s seems 100% the opposite of why H1B exists.

            “You’re essentially arguing that, even in cases where there is no actual shortage or lack of qualified candidates, if companies want to hire people for less than the going rate, we should change our immigration laws to push wage levels down.”

            no…not advocating.. recognizing a reality.. that you cannot really stop in a 21st century global economy… it’s unfair I agree.. but we cannot become isolationists.

            “So essentially, tech workers, after a decade of essentially flat salaries when adjusted for inflation, should be content to look forward to steadily decreasing salaries, less and less job security, and being declared obsolete at age 40 or so, even if they’ve continued their education throughout their career, usually at their own expense.”

            there are jobs the CEOs are saying go lacking… at the same time.

            The POTUS and CEOs have made the point that needed skillsets are changing from what people now have.. and in the 21st century- you have to essentially be in a semi-permanent training program to keep up with the changing trends.

            “I can’t imagine why tech workers would object to that.”

            I can.. but it’s sorta like other things in life that are not so wonderful but are realities…

            “When actual wage levels decrease, what do you think happens to the consumer part of the economy? What do you think happens to housing prices? Car sales? Sales of consumer goods and appliances?”

            We will evolve to a standard of living that the economy supports and I admit it will not be the same as it was – but it’s already that way in most other OECD countries.. who live on far less in smaller homes.. using less fuel, etc.

            I think it would be awesome if we could continue to be like we were before – but we’re really not going to change the global economy.. and if we try – it will ultimately harm us… even worse…

            If the H1B is being scammed.. it needs to be fixed but it cannot become a blocking strategy to protect US jobs.. and ultimately be sustained…

            don’t get me wrong. I believe in collective bargaining and the fundamental rights of workers and I support laws that punish wrong-doing of employers and that includes going after employers who knowingly are hiring illegals….whether from Mexico or Germany….

            I support guest worker programs like Canada has for migrant workers…

            but I also am a pragmatist when it comes to the 21st century global economy.. it’s here.. we are challenged to maintain our economic status but we’re inevitably going to be subjected to more competitive pressures – not from 3rd world countries but from countries like Germany and Finland.. etc.

          • virginiagal2

            To answer your questions –

            H1B does not require a shortage of available workers. Writers, editors, historians, musicians – all are H1B eligible professions, although they’re not the majority of applicants.

            Yes, there are concerns from IEEE that increases in H1B will crowd out new graduates, because the proposed new numbers are set so high. That is why they are pushing for green cards rather than H1Bs. See
            http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9244106/Professors_warn_that_grads_could_face_competition_from_H_1B_workers

            H1B is for up to six years. The visas are temporary – the jobs are not.

            H1B does not require that you try to hire a US resident.

            H1B does not require that there be no folks in this country with those skills or even that there is a shortage of people with those skills.

            H1B is supposed to require that you pay the going US rate – not what you want to pay – but that is not enforced and is easily gamed.

            Technically it is not legal to use H1B to suppress wages.

            Realize, you cannot count on competitive world wages to pay mortgage and food in the US. It’s all well and good to say, pay the international rate, but most people don’t want to live in a box on the median of Plank Road.

            H1B is primarily used by outsourcing companies for US-based employees. They can’t send that kind of work overseas.

            The problem is, these visas are now largely being used in a way that was not intended. That’s what people are objecting to, not high tech immigration in general.

          • re: H1B – I’ve heard a variety of opinions .. not all agree. for sure..

            re: ” Realize, you cannot count on competitive world wages to pay mortgage and food in the US. It’s all well and good to say, pay the international rate, but most people don’t want to live in a box on the median of Plank Road.”

            see Bacons’ most recent post of mobile homes!

            seriously – nothing entitles you to a 300K house or a mortgage and we should not have policies that try to do that …. for some occupations.

            I’m not unsympathetic but we have lost a crap load of jobs in textiles and shoes, and a wide variety of manufacturing.. and the unions over the last few years have actually had to agree to LOWER wages.

            Now it’s making it’s way through these occupations…

            “H1B is primarily used by outsourcing companies for US-based employees. They can’t send that kind of work overseas.”

            why?

            “The problem is, these visas are now largely being used in a way that was not intended. That’s what people are objecting to, not high tech immigration in general.”

            I’m not surprised and if they are being used similar to how the steel industry was harmed by “dumping”.. I’d want to see something done.

            By the way – it’s the Dems who are not so high on these “trade” pacts – it’s the GOP… it’s folks like Cantor and Brat who beat the immigration drums then support policies that allow back-door end-runs around the laws to exploit workers…

            we probably agree on that, eh?

            😉

          • virginiagal2

            To answer your other questions, in general, the areas I know of that entry level workers are having trouble finding jobs are things like electrical engineering (slow job growth and some recent actual job loss), and entry level corporate information technology positions that are being replaced by outsourcing companies. Note the latter are more IT and less CS and many aren’t really Silicon Valley-style jobs.

            So you’re correct, the areas Gates is claiming shortages are often different, but it’s all the same bucket of visas and the claims are for general shortages, not narrowly tailored ones. The increased visas are being too often used for things that don’t have shortages – only a small percentage is being used for the claimed shortage.

            The concern is that H1B is being misued.

            H1B is now primarily being used by staffing agencies that are replacing US tech workers with US-based temporary H1B workers. Basically corporate IT jobs are outsourced to staffing agencies, who are using H1B workers they base in the US, and of course offshoring things suitable for that. Offshoring doesn’t require visas, obviously.

            The jobs are permanent jobs. The workers are temporary workers and cycle in and out. Six years isn’t that short for an IT worker job tenure.

            It is 100% the opposite of why H1B exists. That’s why people are fussing. That’s why they’re cool with permanent immigration and special skills immigration, but are screaming about companies gaming the system.

            I do agree with you that we are going to adjust to a level of income and lifestyle more comparable with, say, Europe, but that isn’t that far off of what we have. My European friends have really nice lifestyles, actually.

            Adjustment and some equilibrium IMHO is inevitable, although I don’t think salaries can drop as low here as elsewhere, because of cost of living – there are still going to be national variations, just less.

            I don’t agree with letting people game the system to push wage levels down further than free market equilibrium. See Plank Road cardboard box comment.

            BTW, I still think MS creates much of its own problem – stack ranking is pretty idiotic and potentially wastes a significant percentage of very good employees every year.

          • virginiagal2

            Larry, it is really fun to debate you!!

            My concern is that some of these policies appear to deliberately try to avoid letting the market work with wages, instead deliberately forcing wages down by artificially inflating supply and by setting up situations where the employee has little bargaining power.

            The latter applies both to people who are not here legally – they can’t object to how they are being treated – and to some degree to legal immigrants on H1B, who because of the type of visa, cannot freely leave to find another employer. The visas are tied to a specific employer.

            H1B is generally used for work that can’t be sent overseas. IT work that can be outsourced overseas, anymore, is already is outsourced overseas. What was left was the work that requires lots of user or management input, often from companies that use agile development, or work where they want the user to interact with business partners or help with marketing.

            BTW, I wanted to point out – you keep referencing the high school rankings as a reason – but many of the main sources of H1B tech labor are ranked below us on the international tests, not above us.

            I do think the Democrats tend to be more cautious of trade pacts in general – but Obama is pretty corporation-oriented in some ways. The administration is pushing for the trans-Pacific agreement to go for a straight up or down vote, without amendments – and leaks have suggested that corporations are getting significant input, without Congress getting a look at it. The concerns I heard were intellectual property agreements that might not be consumer-friendly and might affect Fair Use.

          • “Larry, it is really fun to debate you!!”

            I learn and benefit from polite debates. I learn things I did not know and I learn why others hold the views they do.. and I test my own views and change them if I see they do not deal with reality. But I am at heart a pragmatist.

            “My concern is that some of these policies appear to deliberately try to avoid letting the market work with wages, instead deliberately forcing wages down by artificially inflating supply and by setting up situations where the employee has little bargaining power.”

            there are certainly many examples of this beyond this particular programs and in general I believe workers should have the right to band together and collectively bargain … for not only wages but fair treatment.

            “The latter applies both to people who are not here legally – they can’t object to how they are being treated – and to some degree to legal immigrants on H1B, who because of the type of visa, cannot freely leave to find another employer. The visas are tied to a specific employer.”

            and I agree.. I’d go after the employers who are hiring illegals..

            “H1B is generally used for work that can’t be sent overseas. IT work that can be outsourced overseas, anymore, is already is outsourced overseas. What was left was the work that requires lots of user or management input, often from companies that use agile development, or work where they want the user to interact with business partners or help with marketing.”

            okay… I followed until the work that requires direct contact. not sure it makes any sense , since foreign folks are going to have language and culture challenges.

            “BTW, I wanted to point out – you keep referencing the high school rankings as a reason – but many of the main sources of H1B tech labor are ranked below us on the international tests, not above us.”

            I’d have to see something that backs that up. I’m skeptical.

            “I do think the Democrats tend to be more cautious of trade pacts in general – but Obama is pretty corporation-oriented in some ways. The administration is pushing for the trans-Pacific agreement to go for a straight up or down vote, without amendments – and leaks have suggested that corporations are getting significant input, without Congress getting a look at it. The concerns I heard were intellectual property agreements that might not be consumer-friendly and might affect Fair Use.”

            I’m think we need to protect workers rights and environmental standards but I think trying to do things to avoid world competition – even if you succeed with have consequences – and other adverse impacts to the economy.

            the best jobs on the planet are probably going to go to the best educated – regardless of boundaries and trade pacts.

  5. If there was ever a ad for “none of the above “as a ballot choice the primary in the 7th on Tuesday is it.
    Eric Cantor is one of the worst politicians in the slum that is the House of Representatives.He prides himself on being the only Jewish Republican in the House but,as I wrote on this blog a while back he refused to reply to the outlandish Anti-semetic speech give by a preacher at an “Christian” political event a year or to ago. He,along with his Religious Right side kicks, have been silent as Christians have been slaughtered in various African countries.Perhaps he is bothered by the location of the crimes.
    He claims to be worried about the deficit,but supported tax cuts to fight a war based on a lie. Where are those weapons of mass destruction?
    His plan to replace the ACA. is totally unrealistic. In fact, it would get the government more involved as he would have the feds fund pools for pre-existing conditions.
    Mr. Brat claims to be an economist,but basis his whole campaign on fighting immigration. He should look at the economic performance of Japan over the past decade. With an aging population,and virtually no immigration their economy is stagnant. He is against the Tarp but what would have been his alternative. Of course,we bailed out the banks and the sleazy types who ran them but not to have done it would have collapsed the whole economy. He seems to live in some dream like state away from the workings of the current would situation.

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