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Submission + - How to Keep America Competitive

pkbarbiedoll writes: In a Washington Times column from this weekend, Bill Gates writes,

This issue has reached a crisis point. Computer science employment is growing by nearly 100,000 jobs annually. But at the same time studies show that there is a dramatic decline in the number of students graduating with computer science degrees. The United States provides 65,000 temporary H-1B visas each year to make up this shortfall — not nearly enough to fill open technical positions. Permanent residency regulations compound this problem. Temporary employees wait five years or longer for a green card. During that time they can't change jobs, which limits their opportunities to contribute to their employer's success and overall economic growth.

Interesting read, but this argument is not new and is based on a distortion of truth. If US companies simply offered fair pay, good benefits, and a general sense of job security to US citizens there would be no reason to insource labor from other countries. Mr. Gates implies that US workers are not willing to work IT anymore. He fails to mention why. Most college students do not wish to throw away 4 years of their lives (and thousands of dollars) on a career in an industry rife with outsourcing. Mr. Gates acknowledges that most US companies are not interested in offering competitive wages, so the only solution in his eyes is to import coders willing to work for a lot less (or, outsource). This has nothing to do with innovation and everything to do with creating downward pressure on IT costs.

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito