Obviously you can keep increasing the salary until you'll find an American able or willing to do the job. But then that means your risk capital expenditure increases. Just about everything you put money into comes with a risk. If you own a business, there is only so much money you are able to gamble. The more risky something is, the reward potential must go up exponentially for someone to invest in it. What am I getting at, if the cost of entry to making a startup or company is high, less such companies will exist -- why would VC's dump money into it. Overall result ---> less products and innovation in the market, higher prices to consumer. So if the prices of everything goes up, how does it help the engineers with their higher salaries?
Fact is that the more engineers in the world we have, the cheaper goods we will get. I mean, what if Apple was the only company able to afford engineers? What if Samsung and non-American companies were barred from selling cell phones? Smartphones would cost an insane amount -- few people would be able to afford it.
If less people have smartphones other areas of the economy would be affected too.
And btw, why aren't there americans willing to work for $60K? I mean really, if you have an CS degree + student loan why would you choose to work at McDonald's for $20K? Now I agree that $20K is not a living wage, but $60K .. come on .. even with student loan burden of $800 a month, it's still better than $20K at McDonalds or living on welfare. The monthly payment on a $30,000 student loan (which is slightly above the average 2014 graduate's debt) is approximately $300 (assuming 6.8% interest and a 10-year repayment plan).
So basically I am supposed to believe that computer science graduates rather sit at home or work an unlivable wage at McDonalds than take a job for $60K, which more than easily covers their student debt cost?
Now for engineers, $80K is an unlivable wage? What's the livable wage for a particular degree, that you would agree there is a shortage at?
I guarantee that whatever you force wages to rise to, it will not be enough --- because the price of everything will rise correspondingly plus extra.