Arnold Kling  

Protesting Globalization

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Given her credentials as a conservative icon, Phyllis Schlafly is one of the stranger bedfellows of the anti-globo movement. Here is her protectionist proposal:


Congress should reject all attempts to extend the current number of H-1B visas and allow the limit to revert to 65,000; require employers to show a good-faith effort to hire U.S. citizens before applying for visas; require employers to lay off non-citizens before laying off U.S. citizens; restrict L-1 visas to jobs paying $100,000 a year and prohibit transfers between companies; and forbid U.S. government agencies from hiring non-citizens or from contracting with outside firms that hire non-citizens.

For Discussion. Given that labor, capital, goods, and information would otherwise be mobile, can sweeping protectionism be implemented in a free society?


Comments and Sharing


CATEGORIES: Trade Barriers



COMMENTS (38 to date)
Eric Krieg writes:

Isn't Ms. Schlafly properly labeled as a cultural conservative? I don't believe that she is an economic conservative, and she's no libertarian.

She isn't making her arguments based on economics.

The H1B visas are for a specific purpose: labor shortages. That isn't what corporations are using them for. They're using them to lower salaries. Now, maybe if they don't have the visas, they'll just send the work overseas anyway, and we'll lose secondary wages and tax revenue. But I'd like to see more evidence of this before we just open the H1B floodgates.

Bernard Yomtov writes:

If I were a conservative, which I'm plainly not, I would regard the statement that Phyllis Schlafly is a conservative icon as a deadly insult. The woman is a raving idiot, as this column makes clear.

And, incidentally, where is the conflict between conservative policies - as practiced, not preached - and protectionism?

(Yes, I'm aware that Democrats are hardly free trade champions. That doesn't answer the question.)

Eric Krieg writes:

I don't give Bill Clinton much, but he did sign NAFTA. And Dubya protected the steel industry.

That's the biggest problem with free trade these days. It has no real defenders on either side of the aisle.

Brad Hutchings writes:

I agree with Eric's first assessment of how H1B's etc. have been used by many companies. I've seen it in a couple small companies and seen friends and acquaintences in bigger companies affected by it. If the knee-jerk reaction is to criticize those who see problems with the H1B (etc.) system as enemies of free trade, that reaction is wrong.

The problem is one of displacement. We don't have open borders, and for good reason. 9/11 is one. So when we have programs that bring in hoards of foreign born workers who will work for less pay and put up with more BS, and those workers displace higher paid US born workers, causing systemic problems like high unemployment in the tech sector, decreased satisfaction with necessary customer service, etc. all in the name of corporations being efficient, reasonable people can say the system is not good. We're not talking about capital flow or where goods are produced. Ultimately, we are talking about people coming to live here and all that comes with that. The corporations that bring them in do not currently bear all the costs of doing so, yet reap tremendous benefits. Even Disneyland limits the number of guests in the park on any given day ;-).

A bigger problem is that the likes of Pat Buchanan, Phyllis Schlafly, Arianna Huffington, etc. are not reasonable people and their association with these issues hurts the credibility of all those who disagree with the execution of the current policy, if not the policy itself. Not surprising that they approach it from a quota perspective rather than a cost perspective. I'd say, evaluate the costs of the policy as currently implemented that are offloaded to the rest of us, drag the H1B user community to the table and ask them how they plan to split the tab.

achilles writes:

As far as I understand the system, H1-B hires have to first be cleared with the Department of Labor, which basically requires showing that market wages are being paid and that no better qualified U.S. candidate was found for the job.

If the system is broken (which I don't believe) that it strikes me that limiting the number of H1Bs is a poor solution; much better to tighten up the approval gudelines at the Labor Department. H1Bs have in the past allowed U.S. companies to fill shortages of skilled labor efficiently, limiting the ability of companies to fill their genuine needs is an invitation to economic inefficiency.

Much of Brad Hutching's post reads as pure protectionism to me. That is not a knee-jerk response, just a response. Statements like "hoards of foreign born workers who will work for less pay and put up with more BS, and those workers displace higher paid US born workers, causing systemic problems like high unemployment in the tech sector, decreased satisfaction with necessary customer service, etc. all in the name of corporations being efficient, reasonable people can say the system is not good." make it hard to take Brad seriously: so the influx of tech workers from India with their bad English and terrible phone manners brought down Silicon Valley? Yeah right.

There is a burgeoning movement that seeks to blame rising unemployment in the United States on the "export" of jobs to chepaer lands overseas. That is version 2.0 of the old mindset that led people to blame unemployment on the purchases of cheaper foreign goods by consumers.

Imposing tariffs to protect domestic industry by forcing consumers to buy more expensive domestic goods was short-sighted (and counterproductive) economic policy then, imposing limits on the ability of domestic firms to hire or relocate thus forcing them to pay higher labor costs is just as short-sighted now.

We should encourage manufacturing to be done in China, just as much as we should encourage basic data processing to be done in India. Having two billion more prosperous people will do a world of good to the U.S. in the long run.

BfloGuy writes:

I certainly wouldn't term her remarks as "protectionism". It seems reasonable to me that we would allow foreigners here to work at our pleasure.

Companies might well increase their outsourcing were these visa programs to be curtailed. I couldn't imagine preventing them.

But if citizenship in a nation is to have any meaning at all, then I think that our government's policy of issuing visas to non-citizens to work here during an economic downturn is just foolish.

There will still be enough downward pressure on salaries to bring some sense back to the employment market absent these visas whose time has clearly passed.

achilles writes:

The total number of H1-Bs in the United States is somewhere between 250k (according to a recent Business Week) and 400k (quick Google). There are 130 million employed people in the United States and 9 million unemployed workers. Getting rid of all H1B jobs will decrease the U.S. unemployment rate from 6% to 5.9%. Wow, that should really take care of the problem.

>our government's policy of issuing visas to non->citizens to work here during an economic >downturn is just foolish.
>There will still be enough downward pressure on >salaries to bring some sense back to the >employment market absent these visas whose time >has clearly passed.

I'm puzzled by the logic here. Should companies hire inferior quality domestic labor at higher costs during economic downturns? How exactly will this help the recovery process?

The bottom line is that if you have a policy of issuing work visas that is based on requiring companies to search for qualified replacements, a downturn should not matter. Those who are trying to blame current unemployment on the H1-B process clearly are ignoring the fact that the number of work visas is way too small for the responsibility to be laid at the door of that program.

Instead, they will move on to the "outsourcing our jobs" argument, which is just protectionism in (not very good) disguise.

MarkT writes:

The last 2 years in the semiconductor industry notwithstanding, in the 90's I was a manager for a multinational Semi company trying desparately to fill req's in the SouthEastern US, and we eventually resorted to hiring in Bangalore to find the applicants we needed. We paid market rates in order to convince them to relocate half-way around the world - they were not paid cheaply. So my (admittedly limited) experience makes me feel the H1B concerns raised above are unfounded.

Also, the industry has been rumouring that they will be outsourcing more and more engineering into SE Asia and India. The H1B situation won't change that, and outsourcing's probably the only way to get real cost savings. This seems to me to be a bigger threat to the US engineering sector if the US engineers can't provide some tangible benefit or skill that the SE Asia engineers can't.

Note that this isn't making me anti-globo; it's making me brush up on my skills to keep myself competitive in my industry.

Eric Krieg writes:

There are so many aspects to the H1B issue that It is hard to even think of them all.

No doubt, there are not enough US born engineers being produced by our educational system. However, one reason for this is that engineers are not as well paid as other professions. If that is the case, then don't H1B visas actually make the problem worse, by restraining the wages of engineers? It is causing a market failure.

One pet peeve of mine is that, globally speaking, the US is expected to be the horse of the global economy. American consumers are the customers of first and last resort, and nationalities such as the Europeans, Japanese, and others are content to export their way to economic growth, or are just content with subpar growth, never developing their own domestic markets by re-engineering their tax and regulatory systems.

In a way, with the US absorbing so many economic immigrants, we enable this behavior. We take the "excess" workers produced by these economies, taking the political pressure off of those resisting broad economic restructuring. And without that restructuring, these economies can never be reciprocal and drive economic growth within the US.

I'm really thinking of India as I write these words. Perhaps instead of importing workers, by outsourcing to India, we create a class of people that will demand change and push along economic growth there. Maybe then India will develop faster as a market for US firms, and the wage differential will cease to exist.

I don't know if we have a shortage of highly skilled workers, but we certainly have a low wage problem. With so many illegals trapped in dead end jobs because of their immigration status, shouldn't the emphasis be on the low end rather than the high end? We really need a guest worker program with Mexico more than anything else.

Those are just a few of the ideas that H1B visas generate in my head.

achilles writes:

Eric,

A few thoughts that came to mind from your post:

1) Why do you think engineers are underpaid, i.e. what comparison group are you using to make this claim?

2) Why do you think the shortage of engineers is a reflection of low wages rather than a reflection of the U.S. educational system, or even more likely, a result of rapid technological advancement that outgrew the stock of domestically available engineers?

3) The U.S. imports goods worth about 12-15% of its GDP. This makes it very important in world markets but it is by no means alone in its importance to the rest of the world as a market for their exports. In the past and today (though less so today) it has been the case that the U.S. has been more open than the Europeans and the Japanese; the solution seems not to close the U.S. economy off but keep expanding trade and forcing the other OECD countries to libearlize trade as well.

4) I believe that remittances and direct investment are enormous catalysts of prosperity in many developing countries: from Mexico to India to El Salvador. I find it hard to believe that prosperity will advance more in these countries if the U.S. freezes the hiring of eligible workers and stops the importing of goods.

5) I think you are underestimating somewhat how much the U.S. benefits from trade and migration, which in turn is what I think is fueling the mild peevishness you feel. People (not referring to you personally, Eric) love to rail against the presence of Mexican immigrants in this country but a staggering number of industries will have their cost structure thrown into complete turmoil if we cut off that flow. So even though it may seem like the U.S. is carrying the burden of Mexican growth on its shoulders, maybe just maybe, it is those Mexican workers who are carrying at least a portion of U.S. growth on their shoulders.

Eric Krieg writes:

Achilles, I freely admit that my feeling that engineers are underpaid is just that, a feeling. I put forth no structural reason causing engineers to be underpaid (other than the fact that, maybe, an engineering job is globally competitive, where other professions like doctors and lawyers are not).

But the number of engineers graduated by US colleges has been on a downward slope for over a decade. In part, I believe that the reason for this trend is that engineering salaries have not grown at the rate of other professions. Engineering starting salaries are decent, but they just don't keep up longer term.

There are many reasons for the trend, not just salaries. I realize that. But if you talk to actual engineers (and you are talking to one) the salary issue is a sore point across the board. We're like teachers that way, always looking at the other professions with jealousy.

"In the past and today (though less so today) it has been the case that the U.S. has been more open than the Europeans and the Japanese; the solution seems not to close the U.S. economy off but keep expanding trade and forcing the other OECD countries to libearlize trade as well."

That's the direction I think we need to move, too. But the question is, how do you force the Japanese, Europeans, and Indians to open their markets?

If the Indians in particular kept more of their own highly educated citizens and were forced to provide jobs for them domstically, perhaps a constituency for trade liberalization could develop there. India being a democracy, such a constituency would certainly be a catalyst for modernization, more than having them immigrate to Silicon Valley has been.

As for the Mexicans, I'm no Mexican basher. I have nothing but respect for the Mexicans here. All I'm saying is that perhaps we should have an H1B type system for these low end workers, and that a guest worker program would have a much greater positive impact than the H1B system does.

"I find it hard to believe that prosperity will advance more in these countries if the U.S. freezes the hiring of eligible workers and stops the importing of goods."

Explain Mexico. How have they deregulated and re-engineered since NAFTA was signed? How have they made structural changes to their economy?

They haven't. Even Vincente Fox says that the Mexicans have squandered the chance that NAFTA gave them to change, that in fact NAFTA made them complacent. Only now that the Chinese have become such tough competitors do the Mexicans realize that they need serious, structural changes to their entire society. Maybe it is too late to change.

I'm not saying that protectionism is the answer. But don't think that free trade fixes all ills. Sometimes it just reinforces bad behavior. The Mexicans prove that.

David Thomson writes:

“But the number of engineers graduated by US colleges has been on a downward slope for over a decade. In part, I believe that the reason for this trend is that engineering salaries have not grown at the rate of other professions. Engineering starting salaries are decent, but they just don't keep up longer term.”

This is most disturbing. Are we unintentionally destroying our schools of engineering? My initial opinion is that the United states should perhaps enact some prohibitions regarding scientific work that can be done at a distance. Many jobs simply demand that the practitioner be present to carry out their duties. A football quarterback, for instance, cannot e-mail a pass to his wide receiver! One cannot receive a massage from a therapist who is not in the same room. Am I right to suspect that engineers often don’t have to be at the job site to be effective?

It is only logical to conclude that the exporting of such labor will inevitably deter our own students from seeking such precarious employment. In the long run, we will therefore ultimately become a weaker nation. I believe that I’ve just presented a strong argument. Can anybody spot any weaknesses?

achilles writes:

>If the Indians in particular kept more of their >own highly educated citizens and were forced to >provide jobs for them domstically, perhaps a >constituency for trade liberalization could >develop there.

This is a good point, and I think the outsourcing of jobs and the accounts of the software campuses in Bangalore as outlined in the NY Times and the WSJ all seem to indicate that this is exactly what is happening. For the first time in a long time, educated Indians (and I am talking about the averagely well-educated not the brilliant scientists and engineers) are able to get good jobs at good wages. Yet this weeks Business Week (and a few of the posts in this and other blogs) seem to indicate the beginnings of a movement here in the U.S. that seeks to squash this opportunity for the people of India (although ironically not opportunities for the more unskilled workers in China). So it seems like more trade and more job outsourcing is the way to go. My big fear is that if we put limits on job otsourcing, we will be sending to the Indians precisely the signal that confirms the anti-globo folks claim about us: namely that we are for free trade only when it benefits us.

>As for the Mexicans, I'm no Mexican basher. I >have nothing but respect for the Mexicans here. >All I'm saying is that perhaps we should have >an H1B type system for these low end workers, >and that a guest worker program would have a >much greater positive impact than the H1B >system does.

I completely agree with you there. And I want to reiterate that I was not alluding my remarks about anti-Mexican bias to you. I may not agree with you politically based on some of your other posts but I am in complete agreement on you on this issue. A guest worker program will do much to empower these workers, show the bigots that this labor is in fact needed by companies and also ease the nasty border situation.

>Explain Mexico. How have they deregulated and >re-engineered since NAFTA was signed? How have >they made structural changes to their economy?

You may be right that Mexico has not drastically changed its rules (I am no Mexico expert) but that does not prove the counter-factual, that Mexico would have reformed if NAFTA was not around. In my opinion NAFTA has been good for Mexico, they certainly would not want to go back on the deal (which to my mind speaks more strongly than anything else). It just has not been the magic bullet that everyone thought it was going to be.

Once markets are open and trade is free, its tough to go back: just like when people are free after tyranny and opression. That alone in my mind makes NAFTA good for Mexico: any politician who wants to move Mexico back to a large protected closed economy will find it that much harder. Could they do more? Sure they can, although I think the main obstacle is poverty and not over-regulation.

Just because freedom and openness don't prove to be a magic bullet does in no way discredit the move to freedom. This I firmly believe in. I think Russia, Cuba, the countries of Eastern Europe will all be better off than they were under socialism. (BTW, yes, there are a lot of people on the left who firmly belief in free trade and markets.)

The fear I have is something that Brad De Long has voiced on his webpage: the things that made moderate leftists secretly wish for the occasional Republican administration: free trade, fiscal discipline are missing from this administration. I probably blame the Bush administration more than I should but on these globalization issues I really do wish someone in power would come out and make bold statements about free trade and immigration instead of allowing murmurs from various fringe voices on immigration (Tancredo), H-1 workers (Schlafly), steel tariffs (Rove and Leo Gerard), softwood, farm subsidies, linking trade and investment to support for the war on Iraq to build into a uncoordinated voice that somehow seems to articulate official position in the absence of a more authoritarian voice.

In short, I wish Bush would do more to take the bully-pulpit on trade and immigration issues: I feel he could do more, but you may disagree.

achilles writes:

> I believe that I’ve just presented a strong >argument. Can anybody spot any weaknesses?

Yes.

In terms of your football analogy, your claim is that a team with a weak quarterback should not draft a better one because that will deprive the current quarterback of the opportunity to improve. Sure the mediocre quarterback maybe better off, but the team as a whole may have been better off drafting the guy with more talent.

David Thomson writes:

“In terms of your football analogy, your claim is that a team with a weak quarterback should not draft a better one because that will deprive the current quarterback of the opportunity to improve. Sure the mediocre quarterback maybe better off, but the team as a whole may have been better off drafting the guy with more talent.”

You have entirely missed my point. My argument has nothing to do with the quality of the quarterback, but the fact that this athlete must actually be on the playing field. He cannot compete by e-mailing in his passes. I used engineering as an example. However, a better example might be software development.

achilles writes:

Well if you can't email software code then I think the whole darn internet revolution was a bloody big waste of time!

If the job can be done just as well, for lower cost, from a distance it will be outsourced. Data processing, simple modules of software programming, processing 1040 tax forms, simple architectural and engineering designs are all fair game. If the job can't be done well from a distance it won't be outsourced. Even if outsourcing represents a 'threat' to the existing worker, a true believer in markets would never force a company to do the work for a higher cost.

Some argue there is a national interest in getting the job done domestically but I give this as much credence as the idea that I should pay more of my meagre earnings to buy expensive yet inferior goods produced domestically.

David Thomson writes:

“Even if outsourcing represents a 'threat' to the existing worker, a true believer in markets would never force a company to do the work for a higher cost.“

I really want to be on your side. Actually, I hope that you can completely make mincemeat of my central argument. I’m concerned whether we may be subtly, but most assuredly, destroying our schools. Why should our citizens study engineering if they are doomed to live a substandard existence! In the long run, might not this prove disastrous?

achilles writes:

Of all the things destorying our schools, Indian engineers must rank somewhere around #4217th. The answer is better educated engineers. If we can't produce them at $30,000/person GDP, we should be ashamed that India can at $600/person GDP.

David Thomson writes:

“Of all the things destorying our schools, Indian engineers must rank somewhere around #4217th. The answer is better educated engineers. If we can't produce them at $30,000/person GDP, we should be ashamed that India can at $600/person GDP.”

I must concede that your argument seems stronger than mine. Although I retain some fear and trepidation, I have been converted. Perhaps Eric can add a few more salient points for our consideration.


“The fear I have is something that Brad De Long has voiced on his webpage: the things that made moderate leftists secretly wish for the occasional Republican administration: free trade, fiscal discipline are missing from this administration.”

Oh wow, I guess this means that Brad DeLong will strongly support President Bush when the latter gentleman decides to bite the bullet. The Democrats will almost certainly describe the President as a Scrooge and low life hater of the poor when he attempts to curtail our out of control entitlement programs. Isn’t it wonderful that President Bush will be able to count on Professor DeLong?

Eric Krieg writes:

"The fear I have is something that Brad De Long has voiced on his webpage: the things that made moderate leftists secretly wish for the occasional Republican administration: free trade, fiscal discipline are missing from this administration.”

Umm, didn't we just sign a free trade agreement with Chile like last week or something?

Dubya knows free trade. Make no mistake. He might make political expediant deals from time to time, as he did with steel, but overall, he's a free trade guy and his administration is expanding trade.

Granted, he's not out there rah rahing free trade. But I think that he has a FEW other more pressing issues to worry about, like, I don't know, Al Qaida and Iraq!

Eric Krieg writes:

"Of all the things destorying our schools, Indian engineers must rank somewhere around #4217th. The answer is better educated engineers. If we can't produce them at $30,000/person GDP, we should be ashamed that India can at $600/person GDP."

The decline in engineering school graduates has been over the last 10 years or so. I don't know that you can blame the education system for this decline.

It is my impression that our education system has been improving over the last ten years, especially when it comes to teaching math, which is the bedrock of engineering. If students are better educated in math, they are more prepared for engineering school, and I would think that that would cause graduation rates to rise. But that hasn't happened.

Eric Krieg writes:

"In my opinion NAFTA has been good for Mexico, they certainly would not want to go back on the deal (which to my mind speaks more strongly than anything else). "

Objectively, I don't think that you can say that NAFTA was good for Mexico. I don't think you can say that the Mexican people are better off today than they were in 1994.

Now, I'm not saying that NAFTA is responsible for their decline in living standards, or that they would be better off without NAFTA. What I am saying is that NAFTA allowed the Mexicans to get by without addressing the structural problems of their society (one example: Mexico has a national oil monopoly, PEMEX, that squanders its vast oil wealth and needs to be privatized).

If NAFTA had never been implemented, perhaps the Mexicans would have been forced to restructure their society in order to be economically competitive.

For the contrary example, look at China. They have no free trade agreement with the US. Yet they are eating the Mexicans lunch, trade wise. The Chinese have built their economy on cheap labor, but they are making structural changes to their society in order to ensure continued competitiveness.

One example, the Chinese are building an interstate highway system and financing it using TOLLS!!! Can you believe a formerly Communist country building a tollway road system?

Not that China doesn't have its own set of structural problems, mostly related to the corrupt Communist Party. Nonetheless, I am very optimistic about China's future because of their willingness to make tough changes.

achilles writes:

Well I don't want to turn sidetrack this into a Bush economic policy post so I'll keep my response brief.

Let me just say that I hope the administration does not sign any more politically expedient anti-trade policies, especially with regard to job outsourcing. Let me stop there because given that my side will probably nominate Dick Gephardt for the presidency, I should not be throwing too many free trade stones

Eric Krieg writes:

What we've been talking about:

http://www.nationalreview.com/interrogatory/interrogatory061103.asp

David Thomson writes:

“Let me stop there because given that my side will probably nominate Dick Gephardt for the presidency, I should not be throwing too many free trade stones.”

I fail to understand your loyalty to the Democrat Party. How will you hold your nose while voting for Dick Gephardt? What other issues are deemed so important that you are willing to cause enormous economic damage to this country? I was brought up in a Democrat household and did not turn Republican until reaching my early twenties. Aren’t we suppose to think for ourselves when we become adults?

achilles writes:

Uh David, trust me this is not the place to get into this discussion. Let me quickly say that there are a couple of economic reasons which would lead me to vote against Dick Gephardt in a Democratic primary. Unfortunately, GWB's economic policy is just as disappointing to me, and on non-economic issues I am much closer to the Democrats than to the Republicans.

In other words, to me Bush v. Gephardt is just Bush v. Dukakis II, a choice between uninspiring and less uninspiring. This is tangential to the thread at hand so we'll just let it go at that.

Brad Hutchings writes:

Well, considering that a response to my post just made comment of the week here... Let me quote:

"There is a burgeoning movement that seeks to blame rising unemployment in the United States on the "export" of jobs to cheaper lands overseas. That is version 2.0 of the old mindset that led people to blame unemployment on the purchases of cheaper foreign goods by consumers."

Now what does this have to do with H1B (and similar) visas? My argument was simply that there was evidence that either the programs themselves or abuses of them have adverse effects on our economy because the costs are not born by those who benefit. Did I mention the exporting of jobs to overseas? I missed that.

-Brad

P.S. Why can't I put quotes in italics? If I'm going to inspire quotes of the week that have nothing to do with what I was talking about, I'd like to be able to quote them nicely in my response! [haha]

Bernard Yomtov writes:

Eric,

Your posts seem inconsistent to me. On the one hand you praise free trade, and even, preposterously, defend Bush as a free trade president.

But when it's your ox that is gored by the competition you want restrictions and regulations, you want to "force" India and OECD countries to adopt policies to protect your pay scale. You talk of market failures.

So which is it? Sounds like you want free trade in markets you buy in, and protection in markets you sell in. That's the way most people feel about it.

Eric Krieg writes:

Bernard,

Dubya is as free trade a President as Reagan was. Remember some of the things Reagan did, like getting the Japanese to volutarily impose quotas on their auto exports to the US?

Yet Reagan was a free trade guy. So is Dubya.

As for myself, I'm the same as you. I want the most open and free markets possible, and I want other countries to be as dynamic and growth oriented as we are. My only diagreement is on how to get there. Do we take an agressive stance, or a passive one.

On the H1B issue personally, I'm pretty agnostic, although I know a lot about the issue from professional organizations that I belong to, and I know the arguments against the H1B visas.

I really love the irony of BMW driving computer programmers getting laws passed so that New Jersey municipalities can't get Indian programmers to do work for them.

When it comes to issues of immigration, which the H1B issue is a part, free traders can disagree on policy. There are issues other than economic when it comes to immigration, things like culture, societal change, etc. There are also issues of law enforcement. We shouldn't have laws if we're not going to enforce them, which is how I feel about illegal immigrants. Either you are going to enforce the laws on illegal immigrants or you are not, and if you're not, then get rid of the laws and have open borders, like we had before the 1920s.

Bernard Yomtov writes:

Eric,

On what do you base your claim that W is pro free trade.

What has he done, as opposed to said, that leads you to this conclusion? In particular, what has he done that was unpopular with some interest group, but nonetheless sound trade policy?

Eric Krieg writes:

Like I said, Bernard, Dubya just signed a free trade agreement with Chile. Next on the list are Argentina and Brazil. That's serious progress.

And the steel tarrifs have turned out to be toothless, not nearly as bad as the naysayers said it would be. And, surprise, surprise, Dubya made the steel companies do what they promised when he offered them the quotas, consolodate.

Dubya is a great guy. You libs need to stop hatin' and give the man a chance.

BfloGuy writes:

"Should companies hire inferior quality domestic labor at higher costs during economic downturns?"

H-1B visa holders must be paid at regional prevailing rates, so saving wage dollars is not the issue here. As for Americans' supposed inferior quality, I'm not prepared to believe that's true across the board. Neither do I think our work ethic is as bad as some might claim.

Comparing the number of visa-holders to the total number of the unemployed is a bit of an apples vs. oranges comparison. Several hundred thousand technical jobs is consequential.

Eric Krieg writes:

"Comparing the number of visa-holders to the total number of the unemployed is a bit of an apples vs. oranges comparison. Several hundred thousand technical jobs is consequential"

Good point. There are about 2 million engineers in the US. 100,000 H1B visaholders is easily enough to skew the market for engineers.

Bernard Yomtov writes:

Eric,

The Administration has just imposed huge tariffs on Vietnamese catfish and Korean computer chips.

And how exactly did W "force" the steel companies to consolidate? I thought Republicans opposed govt intervention in business.

As far as giving him a chance, I did give him a chance. I was greatly disappointed when he won, but was willing to hope that he would be "a uniter, not a divider." I hoped he would recognize the narrowness of his win, and realize that he had an obligation to be somewhat centrist. Instead, he has become a fierce, pro-corporate, right-winger. His economic policies, his judicial appointments, his foreign policy, are all marked by a strong rightwing stance. On top of that he has been dishonest in his advocacy, and his attacks on his opponents for lack of patriotism are sickening.

Exactly how much of a chance should I give him?

Eric Krieg writes:

Bernard, on those two trade issues, you know it has more to do with playing hardball than out and out protectionism. You ban our auto parts, we ban your computer chips. Those examples are much different than throwing a tarrif on all steel imports.

And, yes, Dubya got the steel companies to consolodate. The deal was that he would put a tarrif on steel for three years if they would consolidate. And they have, and are in the process of further consolidating.

And next year, the tarrif is coming down, as promised.

Is getting steel companies to consolodate un-Republican. Who cares! The man solved a long standing problem in a way that is going to help American competitiveness in the long term. The fractured nature of the American steel industry was causing them to be uncompetitive. He fixed that. Bully.

As for the rest of your rant, I was never a huge Dubya fan in the past. He was a nice enough guy, and I naturally like anyone from Texas, but he didn't get me excited like Newt did.

But I must say that, three years into his Presidency, I love the guy PRECISELY because of how he gets libs like you crazy. The letters to the editor in the Chicago Tribune from Dubya haters like you, irrational as can be, is enough to make me vote for the guy again, even if we fight another war and go into an out an out depression!

You can tell a lot about a man by his enemies.

Bernard Yomtov writes:

Eric,

I think it is you, and not I who is basing his political views on irrational attitudes. You claim Bush is a free trader,and then manufacture excuses for his every protectionist measure.

You like him because he makes me angry. Do you think you might consider whether there's any basis for my anger?

You complain of the irrationality of Bush's critics, yet you are prepared to vote for him even if the country is in a disastrous condition next year. Do you consider that a rational position?

Historically protectionism was about blocking out trade and trade was based on trading products. Today, anyone who talks against Free Trade is considered to be for protectionism. If things getting any worst in the USA there may be many who will want protectionism but for now no one is really against trade, they are against Free Trade for it is not really trade but it is the outsourcing of jobs and the moving of factories and production to the cheapest labor markets in the world. In essence, the USA still uses all these products and the industrial revolution that is supposed to be over is not. The only difference is that the products are now made somewhere else. A service and retail economy that is left is now a working poor one. All the value added levels are gone that supported the pillars of our society and all its social justice programs.
It was Clinton, a Democratic President and a Democrat controlled Congress joining hands with the Republicans that passed NAFTA, GATT and the WTO. President Bush followed in this bombing of American Workers.
Now the jobs are being directly outsourced to the cheaper labor markets knocking out the last pillars to our society that we once called the American Dream. High tech and engineering services can be had at a fraction of the cost of similar services in the USA.

In the end, the USA has an economy that is like swiss cheese but with more holes in it than cheese. There is fewer and fewer ways to relate to our society as the American Dream.

At the same time a new slave trade has been established with worldwide wage slave labor. Economic Colonialism follows this. Then Globalism breeds wars and terrorism with the need for real jobs being the core problem.

View the Cross 9-11 Tangle of Terror artwork by Ray Tapajna asking who will now untangle the terror Globalism and Free Trade have bred. Read House of Cards economy by Paul Donovan and America in Terror by Chuck Harder. View too The Clinton Years, the American Dream Reversed, The American Dream is Burning and Locked out workers bearing their cross at http://yestapart.bizland.com/tapartnews/ or
http://tapsnewstory.filetap.com
http://www.absolutearts.com/portfolios/a/arklineart

Randy Wently writes:

It makes good business sense to outsource and save that dollar. Many companies just cannot compete in the tech sector without it. Who logically would pay more for the same product.
Perhaps you should look further than big business. China, Pakistan and India are all nuclear powers. Immediately after 911 the Hindus were in the streets in India raping and burning the daughters of its Muslim citizens. Pakistan and India used to be one in the same, but some muslims in India decided to make their own country and call it Pakistan. They are not good neighbors. China had an incident with the United States just prior to 911 with one of our AWACS planes and one of their MIG-25 Foxbats. One of China's hotshot pilots clipped the wing of our AWACS plane and We like to never got it back after it crash landed on some small chinese island. Nuclear powers are being feed buy the mighty US Dollar. The United States is losing it's edge in Engineering and Science. Remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki, payback is always hell.

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