Business Bites Back – the suits spin on the EPI study on STEM workers…

It didn’t take long did it?  About a month ago the EPI (Economic Policy Institute) put out a report on guest workers and their impact on STEM fields.  The results were alarming.  Rather than repeating them again, I will refer you to my post on this subject.  The bottom line was that there was no STEM shortage and most of this was a canard to get cheap labor from abroad (my interpretation – although it was implied in the results of the report.

Business felt the  need to respond….and they did in an article that claims that the “real reason” is that American STEM graduates aren’t as good as foreign STEM graduates.  Apparently, Americans aren’t “special enough”.   Amazingly, big business and Silicon Valley are not saying this in so many words because they are afraid they might “offend” America by doing so.  Please!  You have GOT to be kidding me!  You mean to tell me that big business was afraid to tell Americans they are too stupid for the jobs they are going to India and  China for?  Then why were so many of these jobs just at the undergraduate level and so low paying?

My best response to this was the comment I placed in the publications comments section – so I include it here:

Sorry, but this is horse hockey.  If you had rising salaries, if engineers over the age of 50 were not a virtually extinct species,  if companies weren’t laying off people the minute they actually started reaping the rewards for their years of hard work getting to the top, I would agree with you, but that is not the case.

This is about M-O-N-E-Y and exploitation. Guest workers are vulnerable.  They can’t switch jobs and they don’t understand LABOR LAWS or basic fairness.  They put up with a ridiculous amount of abuse.  A lot of labs in the US are nothing more than high-tech sweatshops.  They way post-docs are treated should be a national disgrace. An American  working 70 hours a week in a post -doc for under $40k a year is engaging in a race to the bottom.   I put up with that in graduate school, but the indenture needed to end at some point and I saw no end in sight.  So I looked at my future squarely in the eye and saw myself living my golden years in cardboard box.  No one was going to thank me for my years of “service” providing vital innovation for my God and country and “take care of me” once I was laid off because my my health insurance was costing too much.  So I gave my field exactly what it deserved…the finger…and I walked away.

It has nothing to do with ability and everything to do with being unwilling to put up with rank exploitation.  Stop exploiting.  Stop importing compliant and vulnerable foreign labor who are often used and abused by industry and academia alike,  and the ranks of top-drawer American talent will flow  back into these fields. Its that simple.  The talent LEFT because no one was willing to pay for it.  If we send the guest workers home, then companies will have to pay for it – which is exactly what we should do.  No they won’t make the gazillions they were making.. They will make a few gazillion less and American workers would actually have some money in their pockets and this recession would finally end.  This is a war between the 1% and the 99% using the lazy American stereotype as a cudgel.  If it weren’t so pathetic and despicable it would be funny.


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