(Last) Weekly Roundup: Obviously No Americans Want A $156,000/Year Job Edition

Well, folks, the hits from HITLER DRUMPF just keep coming. His latest attack on American democracy is a sick and racist weaponizing of the DOJ against noted social benefactor Mark Zuckberg & Co., seeking penalties and damages for the totally normal business practice of deliberately concealing the existence of over 2,600 (two thousand, six hundred) jobs on American soil from American citizens so that said jobs could be used to sponsor new green card permanent residents from India.

Facebook’s completely reasonable defense was that no American citizen wanted these jobs. And why would they? The average salary for these 2,600 jobs was a pathetic $156,000 a year. So naturally Zuck had to give them to immigrants, who are always willing to get the job done.

Can you believe that DRUMPF is objecting to this?

The Washington Post provides some fair-and-balanced coverage, but even they have trouble making Trump’s DOJ sound like the bad guys:

The lawsuit reflects the long-running war between the Trump administration and the tech industry over immigration. In his four years in office, Trump has instituted a range of policies that crack down on foreign travelers, immigrants and workers, often drawing sharp rebukes from Facebook and its digital peers in Silicon Valley, which have challenged the U.S. government repeatedly in court.
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Facebook, in particular, long has sought to expand the ranks of high-skilled foreign laborers in the United States, including programs such as the H-1B visa, as they aim to recruit the critical talent necessary to power their highly technical operations. Trump, however, has sought to restrict such programs in recent months — announcing in October, for example, new limits on the visas that later drew broad corporate blowback.
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“Facebook knowingly and intentionally deterred U.S. workers from applying to and failed to meaningfully recruit U.S. workers for its PERM-related positions, when it subjected such applicants to more burdensome recruitment procedures because it preferred to employ temporary visa holders in those positions, because of their citizenship or immigration status,” the government said.
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H-1B visas are, officially, temporary benefits for highly skilled workers. That includes doctors, I.T. professionals, engineers and others, and American companies say the visas are critical to attracting the best and the brightest from abroad to job sectors that don’t have nearly enough Americans to fill openings.
In practice, however, a disproportionate number of H-1B visas go to workers in the tech sector, including companies like Facebook; the visa holders are disproportionately Indian nationals. The expectations of both the employers and, especially, the visa-holding employees are that the visas are anything but temporary.

Let me break this down for you in Homer Simpson terms: Facebook went through the immense effort of sponsoring Indian workers for 2,600 jobs paying six fuckin’ times the median wage in this country. To ensure these jobs went to Indian workers, and Indian workers only, the company refused to advertise them anywhere Americans could see them. The existence of the jobs was concealed from Americans. If an American accidentally found about the job and did apply, he or she was put through a more rigorous screening process to ensure the hiring did not take place. In the end, all 2,600 jobs were filled by Indians who were then able to obtain permanent residence as a consequence of having the jobs.

Make no mistake, if you replaced “Indian” with “white” and “American” with “Black” in the above paragraph, Facebook’s headquarters would literally be burning to the ground as we speak. CNN would be demanding something like a bill of attainder on Facebook 24/7. If you could demonstrate that any company in this country knowingly preferred 26, let alone 2,600, white applicants over equally qualified Black applicants, it would be national news.

This? This systematic plunder of the country by Facebook, handing… let me do the math… four hundred and five million dollars per year to foreigners through deceptive and manipulative practices? This is Page 19 shit right here, folks. Nobody cares. More along. Nothing to see. Business as usual. Should the media deign to notice it, the news will always be coupled with some weasel-word paragraph about “the critical talent necessary to power their highly technical operations”, as in the WaPo article above.

I worked in tech from 1996 to 2018, earning (just a few) millions of dollars in the process and seeing the business from corporate, academic, and small business angles. I’ve been employed by JP Morgan Chase, Nationwide Insurance, Honda, IBM, a defense contractor I’m not even supposed to put on my resume, and plenty of other places. I understand the tech game and I can prove it. Therefore, believe me when I tell you that “the critical talent necessary to power their highly technical operations” is a joke, a myth, a cynical fabrication meant to pull the wool over the eyes of the 110-IQ morons who work in media and elsewhere.

I guarantee you — and I’d bet real money on it — that I could walk into any California prison, pick a Crip, Blood, or MS-13 member at random, and within six months I could have them trained to be a top-rated performer at Facebook or anywhere else. I don’t care if they finished high school or spent their teen years on a corner. The vast majority of jobs in modern tech can be easily performed by anyone who can cook a dinner from a recipe off the Internet. Last week, my eleven-year-old son decided on a whim to write a Javascript function for creating a random animation of raindrops on a windowpane. It took him under an hour. That was a more difficult programming task than ninety percent of what happens at Facebook. In other words, my eleven-year-old son is overqualified to be a senior tech lead at any corporation in North America, and I can prove it.

Are you of the opinion that Black Lives Matter? Well then — let’s pass a bill that mandates, say, 75% of all new tech jobs hired in this country in 2021 be filled by African-Americans. Let’s give these $156,000 jobs to people in at-risk communities. “Oh, but how will they get to work? Where will they live?” The same way the green card crowd does — you give them a single mandatory housing choice and you have a bus to carry them around. What do you think it would do for the worst parts of, say, Oakland to have 75% of 2,600 new six-figure earners with family in the neighborhood? Do you think it would help? I’ll tell you what it wouldn’t hurt — the companies doing the hiring.

Okay, I pulled a little trick on you above. I made you think my prison-to-middle-class thing was hypothetical. In fact, back in 2001 I took a 25-year-old Black kid who had just come out of an Ohio jail and I trained him to work for me on tech gigs, starting off at $25/hour. Six months after we met, he was representing me solo at client sites, earning $50/hour. He is now a senior admin at Amazon, earning perhaps $250k a year running their AWS platforms in Seattle. And before you think it was some Pursuit of Happyness secret-genius deal, he’d be the first one to admit that he’d just been locked up in the first place for FALLING ASLEEP IN A STOLEN CAR. Not a genius by any means. But a good dude, and willing to work hard. So yes — I wasn’t just speaking hypothetically.

Why does Facebook hate Americans so much? It’s not hate of America — it’s love of India, on the part of Indians, who now utterly monopolize the stuff-with-computers game within the company that invented it. Nobody could blame them (in some cases, I mean you, since many of my readers are Indian tech workers) for taking advantage of the situation. Twenty years ago, the completely soulless ghouls who run American tech companies started using Indian outsourcing firms to save money on entry-level tech work. They could have done what I did — grab kids out of jail — but it was slightly easier to grab them from India, so that’s what they did. Well, after twenty years a lot of those discount hires have risen into positions of power. Naturally they want to extend a helping hand to their own countrymen. It would be insane for them to feel any other way. If I went to India to work, I’d want to bring more Americans over to work with me. To call it “racist” is to ignore, or to be ignorant of, the fact that every culture in the world operates this way except Blue Tribe America.

(I can’t stress enough that I completely understand, and sympathize with, the H1-B workers who engineered this transition of American infotech to an outsourced Indian operation. Were a Swiss company to offer six times the average Swiss wage to both me and my wife, we’d pack our bags for Zurich tomorrow and never think about America again. For reference, that would be $370k/year each. We could get a decent place in Zurich for $1.5m. Hell, I’d move to Switzerland tomorrow at my current wage. There’s just one problem: the Swiss take their borders, and their immigration control, seriously. )

Remember when all the manufacturing jobs went away, and the media glibly told us that “high-tech work” would make up for it? They were right — it did make up for it. But the jobs were all given to foreign workers. Indian-Americans have the highest average wage of any American subgroup. There are 4.1 million of them here now, with an astounding average household income over $116,000. Second place, by the way, would be Taiwanese-Americans at $93k, with Japanese-Americans in a distant third at $82k. It’s a disparity so shocking you expect to hear Alec Baldwin telling you about it during a sales meeting. If you eliminate mixed marriages and focus on families that are exclusively Indian, the compensation goes up to $135k.

Remember that bit about my kid writing JavaScript as a hobby? I assure you that I’m going to cure him of that habit the way I’d cure him of torturing animals or cutting letters into his skin. You’d be a fool to let your American-born child train as a comp-sci student in this country. Not when the “tech giants” will literally break federal law to keep him from even finding out about new jobs. This is even true if you’re an Indian-American who came here on a green card, because the tech firms would rather bring new “talent” over than hire your kid at prevailing wages!

You get the idea. There is no such thing as a STEM talent shortage. Rather, there was a desire to save money around the turn of the century that wound up handing over an massive portion of the economy to foreign workers. Pity the fellow who got a CompSci degree in 2010. He’s a Starbucks barista now. Incidentally, that’s how you get violent revolution in a country. Maybe the people who created the situation see it as a feature, and not a bug.

Donald J. Hitler-Trump’s mild effort to slap Facebook’s hand on what is only the most blatant and demonstrable of many such repugnant actions won’t go anywhere. Facebook knows a Biden administration will squash like it a bug. Already, the exceedingly modest Trump-era immigration measures — best described as “a decrease in the rate of increase of immigration” — are being squashed by the usual judicial suspects. The GOP Senate, in a remarkably humiliating act of genuflection before the tech companies that just took their majority away from them and called them Hitler Racist Hitlers, just passed HR 1044, which will increase the rate of increase of tech-worker immigration from India.

The spice, as they say, must flow. The insane people who actually run this country are already laying the (pseudo-)intellectual groundwork for an America with one billion Americans. Why stop there? It seems like a lack of imagination. Why not two billion? Or three? Why not just have everyone in the whole world move to the magic dirt of America? Any other solution would be profoundly racist. Maybe your opinion on this is different nevertheless… but why would anyone listen to you? Facebook knows you better than you know yourself — and according to Facebook, you’re too lazy to take a $156,000-a-year job!

* * *

For Hagerty, I wrote about a lot of lost money and a very fast Durango.

94 Replies to “(Last) Weekly Roundup: Obviously No Americans Want A $156,000/Year Job Edition”

  1. AvatarCJinSD

    American workers aren’t as willing to wage war on the bill of rights as Zuckerberg’s Indians are. Just look at the Project Veritas tapes of what these upstanding immigrants were saying about Americans during the 2016 election cycle.

    Reply
  2. AvatarJohn C.

    I would be interested if the black kid to whom Jack gave a chance went on to marry his girl and raise a family in an intact home. I am frankly dubious. I think we can be positive that the Indian folks making the upper middle bucks are being shamed into sending the bulk of their salary back to India for their charming and oh so diserving relatives. That will feel like servitude and so they are paying a price.

    I am surprised that anyone is surprised that Zuckerberg et all do not feel any duty to the still majority Christian Americans. Why would he? It is not what he is. How we let so many of the people that control the country not be us shows how stupid we are. Should we be surprised to have been delivered the stab in the back. I am not, and neither should any America firster.

    Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Kinda sorta. The baby came first — a long time first. Then the marriage. As far as I know they are still together.

      Reply
    • AvatarFranco

      This is the end result of our hyper Capitalist system.

      Capital wants more for nothing, and an ever steady flow of consumers.

      Ergo the CONSTANT social engineering that we see.

      I’m surprised anyone can’t see what Big Tech and these major corporations are doing to this country. It’s despicable.

      And as the wise Tucker Carlson says, if your system is making it extremely difficult for the kid down the street to get married…

      Reply
  3. AvatarNewbie Jeff

    “Why stop there? It seems like a lack of imagination. Why not two billion? Or three? Why not just have everyone in the whole world move to the magic dirt of America?”

    Not to worry… the country won’t survive that long. The dirt will still be here, but America sure won’t.

    Reply
    • AvatarCJinSD

      And anyone who thinks the white Christians will still be here didn’t pay attention to what progressives did in every country where they seized power during the 20th century. This time it is actually in partnership with the Cultural Revolution perpetrators.

      Reply
  4. AvatarJohn Van Stry

    The H1B program needs to be abolished. It has ALWAYS been abused by the tech companies. I was a hiring manager and ALL we were allowed to hire were indians. Because ONE: They’re minorities, and TWO: Indians are racist as hell and once they’re in charge, if you don’t hire someone from their home village your head will roll.

    Reply
  5. AvatarJim

    Much like smoking restrictions created vaping, immigration restrictions created a remote offshore workforce serving corporate America,

    One half of my coworkers are working in an office building in Noida, and are paid 10% of the corresponding onshore wage. If they were here and were making the prevailing wage, they’d being buying American groceries, paying rent to an American landlord, funding our healthcare system, and eating our fast food. Instead we send our money to India never to be seen again.

    I do OK, because there are certain things that offshore talent just cannot learn and skills they cannot replace. If you want to survive, you outcompete.

    Reply
    • AvatarJMcG

      There’s nothing offshore talent can’t learn and no skill they can’t acquire. Indians will shop in Indian owned grocery stores and they’ll be the landlord. All the stand alone beer distributors near me, save one, are now owned by subcons. The only thing that’s safe is working on physical infrastructure. Get ready for some serious Union busting and articles about how whites in the skilled trades are absurdly overpaid.

      Reply
      • AvatarJim

        Interesting what you said about beer distributors. In my state the Indian niche is Holiday Inn franchise ownership, which they seem to have perfected.

        Reply
        • AvatarJMcG

          That market is saturated. Dunkin’ Donuts as well. Many acquired with funds from SBA loans that will never be repaid. A lot of the quick oil change places in my area are also Indian owned now.

          Reply
  6. Avatararbuckle

    “Donald J. Hitler-Trump’s mild effort to slap Facebook’s hand”
    Yea but his tweets made David French cry.

    Anyone under 18 that lacks a future nepotism-given role should be looking very closely at becoming a plumber, electrician, or HVAC tech.

    Reply
  7. Avatar-Nate

    Nice to see the Durango Hellcat being called a “wagon” ~ that’s what it is .

    I wish I’d ever get the chance to drive one as if .

    -Nate

    Reply
    • Avatarbenjohnson

      Indeed it’s a wagon – and we love the darn thing. They’ve been making them long enough that all the bugs have been worked out. The only problem we’ve had is a brittle windshield sprayer hose for $17.

      I do think they have a higher working clearance than a typical Subaru. Drive slow enough and the suspension doesn’t seem to bottom out. Just treat the front airdam as a wear item or remove it.

      They’ll make great used vehicles – UConnect is one of the few system that won’t look horribly dated after five years and works well.

      I will say, one thing about Dodge owners is that they like to show off. Ask the next one you see in a parking lot a ride – bring a small child and it you’ll get it. The HEMI is rather intoxicating even in the lower specs.

      Reply
  8. Avatarstingray65

    You know what else this case illustrates? Answer: that the gender and black-white wage gaps are a bunch of hooey. Here you have social media companies with all the money in the world trying to save a few bucks by hiring cheap Indian IT help, and yet those same companies are not willing to hire US women and blacks for 79 cents on the dollar and at the same time get accolades for increasing diversity and making black lives matter? Didn’t all those social media companies hide all the Biden dirt from their platforms, and give billions to the Democrats in 2020 so they could elect an non-racist non-sexist administration that would be more friendly towards blacks, women, transgenders, and other oppressed groups – which Indians averaging $135K a year are not? I’m starting to have doubts about the professed social justice sincerity of all those IT titans in blue California.

    Reply
  9. Avatarhank chinaski

    Will anyone actually deign to tow with or race one of those hen’s teeth? They will get shrink-wrapped for a trip to Mecum’s in a few decades.

    The fact that Facebook still has users at all in 2020 implies that we as a country deserve this.

    Reply
  10. AvatarJMcG

    I’m around forty miles from Philadelphia. Not far enough, but that’s another subject. A new development with 150+ units was recently completed near me. All but one of the houses was bought by Indians, in many cases sight unseen. They were all priced well north of 500k.

    There’s another even more expensive development not far away. The real estate signs there are entirely in Hindi. Or Urdu I suppose, I don’t know the difference. Neither do any non-Indians who might be looking for a house there.
    Once they are entrenched at the tops of our biggest companies it will be in to politics in a systematic way. We were looking south, we should have been looking East.
    Welcome to our dispossession.

    Reply
  11. AvatarDan

    Of course Indian managers have an affinity for Indian hires, they’d have to invent and then succumb to brown guilt for it to ever be otherwise, but the Zuckerbergs don’t give any more of a shit about what’s good for Indians than they do about what’s good for white people. They give a shit about what’s good for Zuckerbergs.

    And what’s good for Zuckerbergs is workers who know that they can be terminated on a whim whereupon they’ll be deported.

    Reply
    • AvatarOne Leg at a Time

      This is the part that really drives the “H1-B” in tech.

      I have several friends who are in these jobs. The workers put in up to 80 hours a week – and it is expected and understood. They live where they are told, show up for everything; and if they put a foot wrong, they are out of the country in about a month.

      Interestingly – family members who are in tech are telling a slightly different story – the “non-factory” programing jobs (games, medical DB), seem to be moving away from using H1-Bs. Facebook sells user data – they can be up/down, and their customers are getting what they want. If your business model requires the “users” to be happy, you need programmers who can troubleshoot and debug.

      Reply
  12. AvatarPaul M.

    The problem with outsourcing to India or in-sourcing applicants from India is no different than manufacturing moving to China. American capitalist system is based on finding any competitive advantages possible. That means lowest labor cost. That means in IT it comes from India. Unless people wants a different system, it is what it is.

    Don’t fool yourself. American kids are as a whole not studying math and sciences like their peers in India or China or Iran or Russia. Just watch any spelling bee competion to see how many kids from Indian parents or Chinese are there and how many white kids. Therefore pool of native tech talent is not as deep as you try to make it sound. While JavaScript and other computer languages running on interpreters may be relatively easy for someone with common sense to pickup, real programming languages like C++ or Java require proper schooling. Of-course I am not debating the fact that many of Indian labor getting jobs in America are not necessarily good, but again it is all about lowest cost to make goods in America. I am also not debating the fact that even if you are good in real computer languages, as you gain seniority and make more money, companies will try to get rid of you. It is just the way of corporate America.

    You should also understand, programming in general is a young man’s game, some exceptions notwithstanding. The brain usually is more flexible and can pick up newer concepts quicker when young and mostly unsoiled with many years of doing it a certain way. There is a reason why mainframe programmers had a difficult time transitioning to client server. There is a reason client server programmers had a problem transitioning to web architecture. Or windows or x-windows to mobile app development.

    American companies absolutely abuse the H1 system, yet it is the complete pursuit of profit in every field that makes the motivation so much greater, coupled with lack of American students applying themselves in math, sciences, English, you name it(blame disintegration of family unit for that). Unless it is a you tube video creation thing, American kids are not interested.

    Reply
    • AvatarDepressed Clutch

      “That means lowest labor cost. That means in IT it comes from India. Unless people wants a different system, it is what it is.”
      Except that there are decades of problems with offshore teams. This was about illegally hiring Indians in the United States.

      “American kids are as a whole not studying math and sciences like their peers in India or China or Iran or Russia”
      You are correct that India pretty much ONLY educates for medicine, engineering, or IT. But many CS departments have been seriously oversubscribed for a long time, and “STEM” enrollment has significantly increased at least at my alma mater. American parents are starting to basically force their kids to major in STEM, only to find hundreds of Indians in line ahead of them for jobs.

      “You should also understand, programming in general is a young man’s game”
      So we euthanize American programmers at 35 and replace them with 25 year old Indians in perpetuity? Could your flexible brain not imagine that in a world without an infinite supply of Indian / Chinese 25 year olds (with resumes boasting of 10 years experience) companies might find some way to retrain and utilize Americans in the second half of their careers? I have personally worked alongside Americans in their 60’s who are competent and productive.

      Are you totally unaware of what American engineers did from 1945-1979 without an infinite supply of foreign guest workers (aside from Operation Paperclip)? Like the near-simultaneous development of multiple major aircraft platforms (747, L-1011, DC-10) while simultaneously creating the electronics and computer industries? And yet now we somehow are incapable of making minor changes to existing Web apps without India?

      “American companies absolutely abuse the H1 system, yet it is the complete pursuit of profit in every field”
      Of course for-profit organizations seek to maximize profit. The point of having laws is to make sure they do so in a context that minimizes harm to society. The H1-B system is clearly extremely harmful to society and, like chattel slavery, should be abolished.

      Reply
      • Avatarstingray65

        DC – good comment. Look around at the skin color and gender diversity of the engineers and inventors in Edison’s labs, or Bell laboratories, or Manhattan project, or Wright Flyer, B-29, and ME-262 projects, or Mercury and Apollo programs (and their Soviet counterparts), or the world’s first skyscrapers and major bridges and dams. Is there any evidence that those programs, labs, and projects been more effective if all the colors of the rainbow and all 127 genders had been represented? Now compare that white male dominated output with the great businesses, inventions, engineering feats that have been done with little or no input from white males – it will quickly become clear that white males are behind nearly every significant technical/scientific innovation, engineering feat, and cultural achievement going back a few centuries.

        Reply
        • AvatarPaul M.

          stingray65 – we are not talking all colors of the rainbow doing engineering. Obviously there is no talent base in Africa to come over and do computer science. But there is in India, and China and Russia and Iran, more than there is in America today. Kids overseas study hard. They love to play chess. World chess champion was Indian. The last American world chess champion was Bobby Fisher. He is dead now. As for females, there are some very talented IT female programmers in America. I have worked with some. In general, women do not go into math and sciences as much as men. There is no doubt in the last few centuries Europeans have lead the world in innovation. Before that, China was a world power. Japan had its time. So did Egypt. So was old Persia. Every empire has its ups and downs. Face reality.

          Reply
          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            “Obviously there is no talent base in Africa to come over and do computer science.”

            This would come as a huge surprise to anyone who has been to a major tech company and met green-card Somali coders/sysadmins, of which there are many.

            “Kids overseas study hard. They love to play chess. World chess champion was Indian.”

            Two of the top 50 FIDE players in history are Indian.

          • Avatarstingray65

            My point is not that there are no talented engineers or IT people of color or with female body parts, but that the world made its most rapid advances technology, economic progress, and political/religious freedom in history when white men were running things. Thus the social justice mantra that diversity is a strength or that white men have held power for centuries by stealing all the wonderful ideas of females and people of color is pure cow manure. Furthermore, bringing over millions of people from countries where half the people don’t have toilets (India), never developed a written language (Africa), have never had a functioning Democracy (China), or who treat women as 3rd class citizens (most of the developing world) may not be positive additions to Western culture.

          • Avatarbenjohnson

            Stingray – I think it’s a mistake to equate the fruits of Wester Civilisation with the genetic material of the people that practice it. For example there’s plenty of white people who want to regress to might-makes-right.

            This is also a source of hope – in that it’s possible to delight in Indian, Japanese, South American and other peoples who are now participating in extending the good parts of Western Civilisation. They’re “our people” too.

      • AvatarPaul M.

        Depressed Clutch – Re-skilling in IT does not work. May be at 35 one can change. At 45 it becomes virtually impossible for 90% of population. There is a reason you don’t see old Indians working in IT here either. Otherwise you are dreaming.

        As for America leading 1945-1979 and engineers? Sure. There was a world war. Most of talented Germans came over as did many others in Europe. The rest of world was in shambles. America was the only country that had its industry not impacted. So we lead. Things are different now. Again the capitalist system wants most for nothing, so they outsource engineering and computer work to India for Boeing 737 Max. Rings a bell? Rest of the world has caught up. Sometimes with our help. Sometimes because they have backbone and smarts. It is a new world.

        The laws for H1 are appropriate. It is a difficult concept to enforce when companies have to advertise for people with those exact same skill-sets. Meaning it is the law to get Green Cards that is hard to enforce. They can advertise for someone with exact skills, but who can say for sure if the skills are met. There is a shortage of talent in America for good computer people. Don’t let old IT people like Jack the sys admin who doesn’t understand programming tell you otherwise.

        Reply
        • AvatarDepressed Clutch

          “they outsource engineering and computer work to India for Boeing 737 Max. Rings a bell? Rest of the world has caught up. Sometimes with our help. Sometimes because they have backbone and smarts. It is a new world.”
          I agree with you: the 737MAX as an excellent example of the “new world”. Before H-1B, several American companies could develop multiple new, safe, groundbreaking platforms simultaneously (even Boeing itself did 757/767 mostly in parallel). Now the entire industry focused only on updating a single, small 60 year old platform and failed: that doesn’t sound like “smarts”. Regarding “backbone”, are you seriously arguing that Indian H1-Bs are more likely to stand up to unreasonable or unsafe management demands than the Americans that they replaced?

          “The laws for H1 are appropriate”
          Bruce Morrison has disagreed since about 1992. Who is Bruce Morrison? He was the DEMOCRAT CONGRESSMAN WHO WROTE THE H1-B laws, at least according to the fascist white supremacist Trump supporters at CBS News:
          https://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-h-1b-visas-have-been-abused-since-the-beginning/

          Reply
        • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

          “There is a shortage of talent in America for good computer people. Don’t let old IT people like Jack the sys admin who doesn’t understand programming tell you otherwise.”

          Two years ago I was writing ML routines for Chase. You have little idea what I am away from this forum. I’m a polymath with a +3SD IQ and an ability to instantly understand complex systems at a glance. I can learn programming languages in a day or less. Just because I sit around this website, which is the equivalent of a neighborhood bar, and tell stories about doing Ecstasy with someone else’s middle-aged wife doesn’t mean I can’t duplicate your entire lifetime knowledge set at my leisure, in a few random hours of my spare time. My memory is so good I can, and have, brought a Superdome back to operational status from failure using a TI teletype with no fuckin’ paper in it. It’s not that you’re not as smart as I am. It’s that you don’t understand what it could mean to be as smart as I am, because statistically speaking you’ve probably never been in the same room with someone like me. And that’s after perhaps fifty concussions and multiple long periods of trauma-induced unconsciousness. As a nine-year-old child I could write assembler in my head, run it in my head, then sit down in front of a TRS-80 and enter it from memory, knowing it would be perfect, and it was.

          Now take that and cram it up your normie, neurotypical, wanna-be, non-eidetic, one-page-a-minute-reading tailpipe.

          And, as always, thank you for your readership, which I cherish, and your comments, which are valuable to us.

          Reply
          • AvatarPaul M.

            Jack – I must have touched a nerve. My labeling you as sys admin is based on your statements about your functions in IT (mostly web administrator and sys admin). No disrespect intended. I leave at that.

          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            No worries man, it’s part of the autism spectrum. That being said, the notion that old coders/admins can’t change is a myth. When I worked for Chemical Abstracts I supported a whole department of men who had gone from System/360 programming in their twenties to C in their thirties and C++ in their forties and then Java in their fifties. Admittedly they were all very high functioning minds but nobody got left behind and there was never any suggestion that they needed to bring in young people.

            Aging has its mental effects — I just wrote about them last week — but they don’t render one useless. That’s my opinion anyway.

          • AvatarNoID

            As I read this post I was insta-triggered because you didn’t work to become brilliant, you just…are, and are clearly very proud of core capabilities that you aren’t responsible for. Yes, you’ve clearly made the most of what God, genetics, and your primary nutritional sources gave you, despite your many attempts to sabotage those gifts with destructive and injurious endeavors. But to quote our bestest, presidentiest leader ever, “you didn’t build that!”

            Then I immediately considered all the folks who think I’m brilliant, and how proud I am of myself (not simply my meager accomplishments, but MYSELF, who I am, the things I didn’t build either) and it served to de-cock the emotional USP I had momentarily aimed at you. I’m not really all that and a bag of chips, but relative to many of my peers from high school (and those I used to share office space with before COVID turned us all into turtles) I could certainly boast. Especially if some internet troll insinuated that I was an automotive engineer who didn’t understand cars. So in that context rising to your defense makes perfect sense, even if it makes some of us jealous that we can’t remember if yesterday was a short shower or a long shower day while others among us can perform complex equations on a mental white board or have total recall of books they read decades ago.

            Anyways, I’m glad you appreciate the Durango SRT Hellcat, both for everything it is and everything it isn’t.

          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            I can’t blame Paul for writing what he did — I take a lot of pains to ensure that this blog, and my written work in general, doesn’t have too much of a Stallman/Hofstadter aftertaste to it. Very rarely is anything technical or scientific discussed here in detail; a while ago I did something on hashes/Bitcoin and that was probably as techy as it’s ever gotten. Every once in a while I’ll say something about GNU maybe. For a long time this side of my life was an escape from tech, not a reason to indulge further in its examination.

            Also, most of the time God appears to hand out his gifts in a manner that averages out to equal in the long run. Compared to the NT on the street I am easily distracted, lazy, unwilling to perform repetitive tasks, sensitive to loud noises or bright lights, quick-tempered to a fault, and so on. When I was younger it bothered me quite a bit that so many non-brilliant people had become authentically rich working in tech when I hadn’t, but rarely did I consider the many times I’d flatly refused to work 90-hour weeks on PowerPoint decks and whatnot. Even at my current employment I’m surrounded by people who outearn me by a factor of 2x or more with their only real work product being presentations of some type. I’m not willing to be that person, so I can’t complain when I’m not paid like that person.

            For the record, I frequently can’t remember anything “normal” about my day. For the past two weeks I’ve been making my wife miserable about throwing away a new battery I’d bought for my CB1100. I looked EVERYWHERE for it. Finally ordered another one. Today, she found the first battery I’d bought… next to my wallet and phone, like the fuggin’ Purloined Letter.

          • AvatarWill

            Shit, so when someone says “You’re just a jack of all trades” to me, I can say I’m a polymath. Fuckin A, wish I knew that term before.

          • AvatarEric L.

            @Will–Hahaha, an actual polymath knows the term. 😀 I wholeheartedly believe Baruth’s +3 standard deviations in IQ, but I reserve the term polymath for our long-gone ancestors such as Robert Hooke.

            My personal theory is, the farther we get from Adam and Eve’s original DNA, the less able we are. Read Neal Stephenson’s System of the World trilogy to get an idea of how the (mostly) white males of the 1600s seem to have operated on a completely different level from us mortals. It strains credulity to believe we have men or women that intelligent among us. Are they hidden in secret government labs? If they were eg lurking within HFT firms, surely their presence would be known.

            https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f0/HookeFlea01.jpg

            Hooke carved this wood engraving of a flea in his magnum opus. Because of course he’s a finer artist than can be imagined from someone who also discovers (and names) biological cells, and was an architect, engineer, philosopher, scientist, and mathematician.

            Baruth: I still owe you a lunch the next time you’re in the San Diego area, you jerk busy fellow.

          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            I used to feel the same way — then I read The Last Psychiatrist’s note that “look at how you spend your time and ask: what are you training yourself to be?”

            I spend a tremendous amount of time doing things that have nothing to do with the life of the mind, whether it’s playing Fortnite or watching movies or idly airsoft-shooting targets.

            Our forebears had very little in the way of distractions. To get a true sense of that, read any of the Victorian or before authors about card-playing, which occupied a good 6-8 hours of the day for most people above physical labor. The geniuses of the day simply didn’t play cards, they didn’t check OnlyFans, they didn’t have social media 🙂

          • AvatarDaniel J

            I completely agree with this. I’m not as old as Jack, but I spent years doing embedded C, C++, and assembler programming. That market dried up and I moved on to a job doing C#.

            Any engineer worth their salt should be able to program in several languages and learn new ideas and come up with new ones along the way. Engineering is about continuously learning.

            I do believe some of the Comp-Sci programs out there don’t spend enough time on the “engineering” part.

          • AvatarOne Leg at a Time

            I have been waiting for this a response like this for (has it been?) ten years. It was more glorious than I expected.

            Considering the lower-brow insults you have taken with grace and aplomb, I had to re-read the comment to try to figure out the trigger.

            Was it being called a SysAdmin?

          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            It was that the dude kept beating the drum for fresh genius talent from India to replace all the old white and black dudes who are too fossilized to learn, of all things, modern OO languages. At some point the size of the disconnection from reality drove me to genuine frustration.

          • AvatarDaniel J

            Jack,

            Slightly off topic, but how often did you run into older engineers who didn’t want to learn OO languages or methods? I personally have ran into this many times. It is probably a 50/50 ratio. The closer to retirement the more unwilling they are to learn new concepts. My work was mainly in embedded, where much of embedded programming at the time is still C (not C++). Most modern middleware on embedded platforms can now handle C++ without any problems, and if they are running Linux/Unix, can handle Java. Some of the older guys I’ve ran into after hacking out a driver in C won’t touch C++.

          • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

            Late response on this — I was one of those programmers, OO just strikes me as kiddy bullshit, but if you want to get paid you have to make the move.

            The days of Mel, The Real Programmer, are long gone 🙂

        • AvatarDan S

          The whole thing is about the fact that Facebook was hiding these job applications from Americans so they could give them to Indians.

          You keep ignoring that and instead going on about how there’s no tech talent in the US, or it’s too expensive, or that Americans should just lay down and accept that were no longer top dog in the world…but the fact is that there were SO FEW qualified American’s willing to take these jobs that an employer had to hide them from the public.

          It’s like how Easy Germany was such a good place to live that their government had to put a wall up to keep people from leaving.

          Reply
  13. AvatarPower6

    It was sad to see that get struck down, I might be left leaning but it was good to see Trump try to do something about the H1Bs. Not being a political tribesman either way I don’t need to subscribe to whatever social conspiracy theory is about why they do it. It doesn’t even seem to be a big savings in salary although that’s not clear. It seems like indentured servitude is the best way to describe it, if you would get deported if you lose your job you will do whatever the company asks, more than someone free to quit or find another job. This guy I found recently seems to explain the situation pretty well from being on the inside https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFYj8Sg3x_c

    Reply
    • AvatarDepressed Clutch

      This is separate from the new rules being “struck down”, and in that case, it was not the rules themselves that were struck down, but merely implementing them under emergency authority and bypassing the established process, which involves a public comment window.

      Reply
  14. AvatarThirdOwner

    Jack, my question to you is: what advise will you give John when he is close to graduating HS?

    I’ve been writing software for 30 years now, and told my son, who is in his last year of HS, to right away cross software engineering off his list.

    The problem is this though: for the new generations of intelligent, talented and ambitious young men the avenues for applying themselves are getting ever fewer. This is the stuff revolutions are made of.

    Reply
    • AvatarJMcG

      I’m in the same boat as you, my son is a high school senior. He wants to major in engineering, but doesn’t want to be an engineer. I’ve had success getting some young relations started in some of the well paid trades but I’m not pointing my son in that direction, at least not until he has a degree.
      For what it’s worth, I have an acquaintance who was an HR manager at a Fortune 100 company that continues to shed benefits while posting record profits. His advice was that pharmaceutical companies and government were some of the last good jobs in the US. I have no personal experience with either.

      Reply
      • AvatarThirdOwner

        I used to say, only half-sarcastically, that the dream jobs of the future are all in the government.

        But if you think about it, those who manage to rise up there get paid non-trivial money, which gives them high social status, which attracts better mates. Given how jobs and promotions are doled out in that organisational structure… there’s some real social engineering for you.

        Reply
      • AvatarNoID

        As someone who works regularly on a team with an engineer who doesn’t really want to be an engineer, please dissuade your son from pursuing engineering if he doesn’t actually want to work in those fields. Unless he has a goal like patent law, pre-med, or something where an engineering foundation would be useful but isn’t the end goal, he’ll just end up being unhappy and/or a burden.

        Reply
        • AvatarJMcG

          He wants to be a pilot. He just wants to learn how things work. He’s had two years of calc and a year of calc based physics. He doesn’t want to spend four years learning a subject that doesn’t interest him. Hence, engineering.

          Reply
          • AvatarGreg Hamilton

            As someone who is a trained physicist, physics isn’t a bad idea. He can always go into software development or hardware development. I did both and worked with scientists and engineers and pilots. I don’t think there is much demand for pilots, but he could always become one in his spare time. Many physicists love learning how things work and are curious, and as might Thermodynamics teacher reminded me, many people are simply not curious. So your son is one of the lucky ones.

    • Avatarbenjohnson

      Same boat as you as well.

      Where my young child is thriving is in the full economic stack of small business ownership from business license to customer satisfaction. He’s certainly not dedicated, learned, or disciplined like his immigrant peers. But he’s successfully I because I’ve given him a broad range of skills from hunting, mountain climbing, gardening, and using YACC to pump out C# code.

      Granted, he’s doing the software equivalent of plumbing. But you can’t outsource him or replace him because his company is like a stout little barnacle.

      Owning the full stack and being content with your own small business could be a potential refuge from the mega-corps treating us as sharecroppers. In my opinion It’s worth exploring with your children if they have the aptitude.

      Reply
        • Avatarbenjohnson

          This could be lowly things like making Excel macros work as advertised, to designing and making weird parts with a 3-D printer.

          It sounds amazing, but it’s not his brains that is propelling him. He’d be just as successful doing electrical work or plumbing or construction..

          My rabbling point is that he (and some of our children) well never win in a the world of “disciplined book knowledge combined with political scheming” but that there’s still a vast area of “plumping-like business” that are still open that will allow them to raise happy families.

          Frankly, all this is a surprise to me, so I’m not able to articulate well what I’m trying to convey – I was raised to be a brilliant agnostic playboy. Being a wisdom-seeking religious family man is still undiscovered territory for me.

          Reply
          • AvatarDepressed Clutch

            It seems to me that although the corporate world is increasingly demanding and out of reach small business seems to be contracting even more sharply (especially this year, when they are deemed “non-essential and closed).

            I agree that “plumbing-like businesses” are necessary for those of us whose intelligence and responsibility are greater than that of a street criminal yet less than that of the Perfect Corporate Slave. I just question whether they truly exist in sufficient numbers.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      I think I’m going to buy him a machine shop. A Haas, a Bridgeport, a water table.

      Or he could pursue another path… this is horrible to say, but at no point in my adult life have I not known some dissatisfied career gogrrl who didn’t want to buy me out of my marriage or relationships. I could have been a kept man for fifteen years now, pursuing writing as a hobby the way [REDACTED], [REDACTED], and several others do.

      My son is better-looking than I am, likely to be in tremendously better repair at the age of 45, and he will have grown up in a Girls Run The World, And By The World I Mean The HR Department World situation. Maybe he doesn’t need to work at all. Maybe he can just be a ski instructor at Vail.

      Reply
      • AvatarCharles Altemus IV

        Check out Stepcraft desktop CNC machines. Low initial cost (for your hobbies) with good American based support but a German designed machine. It’s a decent XYZ machine that can has swappable toolheads and do laser cutting, 3d printing, and machining with a dedicated spindle or a dremel or router installed. I work with a high school age robotics team and it’s been a boon for our Machining/CAM teaching. It’s actually in the basement of one of the teenage members, so he can keep learning during Covid distancing. Combined with free-for-home/education Fusion 360, you can get really close to commercial machine programming without investing a whole lot.

        Reply
  15. Avatardejal

    I rarely toot my own horn. I’m in my 60s and I’m competent and productive. Been programming for 40+ years. Work for a company that’s not super big, but too important to fail this year. The Feds would have helped us or forced someone to buy us. I’ve also been a major league PITA with the company and I probably would have fired me in the past. But, they know they can say “Go, Do” and it gets done with very little supervision.

    Some co-workers were H1-Bs a long time ago. They say the H1-B program is serfdom. For an added bonus outsource something to India. 12+ hour time difference. There’s a problem, fun ensues.

    Reply
  16. AvatarDirty Dingus McGee

    Every day, Costa Rica looks better and better. It doesn’t matter anymore, blue tribe or red tribe, the end for us regular folks is BOHICA.

    Reply
  17. AvatarDisinterested-Observer

    Reminds me of when the execrable but in this case correct Michael Moore asked a man who should literally be swinging from a lamp post, i.e. Phil Knight, why there were no shoe factories in Michigan. For those who never saw it, Knight said that Americans were not willing to make shoes. What he meant was that Americans are not willing allowed to make shoes for pennies.

    Reply
  18. Avataremjay66

    Let me tell you about the skilled trades. About 10 years ago the union I belong to got a call from India telling them they had 100k pipefitters and welders ready to come over at anytime need be. Some came as there was a manpower shortage at the time, dispatched by the union. Well when the work slowed down guess what a lot of these Indians worked non union undercutting the people that helped them and brought them over. Now you could say that a native born would do the same thing sure, but these were foreigners which to me is different. The moral of the story is that no job is safe and the only solution is to not let them in.

    Reply
  19. AvatarLynnG

    FYI – from the Pew Reseach Center
    Indian Americans largest populations
    NYC – 666,000
    Chicago – 214,000
    SF, CA – 174,000
    San Jose -165,000
    DC – 158,000
    LA, CA – 153,000
    DFW – 145,000
    Houston – 125,000
    Phily – 108,000
    ATL – 105,000
    In reality they are a relatively small minority group, however they do tend to occupy high income positions (medial services , engineering, computer science ) or are small business (7-11) owners. Which leads to having above median income levels.

    There is a big difference between the work that Indian Americans do in the USA and the work at call centers in India as well as the level of education. Just information for your consideration….

    Reply
    • AvatarDepressed Clutch

      They may be a small minority overall, but constitute a significant portion of the workforce hired in the last 20-30 years in almost all areas of STEM, e.g. regarding this engine company in the Midwest:
      “They have zero respect for loyalty and have incrementally replaced the domestic workforce with foreign engineers (my last department there was 102 employees, only 15 of which where not Indian or Chinese).”
      https://www.thelayoff.com/post/@6fekn+VTZrvct

      The effects might be smaller if they were more dispersed throughout the economy instead of laser-focused on certain occupations.

      Reply
      • AvatarDan S

        I know someone who left that particular engine company after being told he was #1 in the department list for layoffs because he was the only one who wouldn’t be deported if fired.

        Reply
    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      “There is a big difference between the work that Indian Americans do in the USA and the work at call centers in India as well as the level of education. Just information for your consideration….”

      Not according to my Indian co-workers, who laugh at the seriousness with which IBM treats their six-month “computer science doctorates”.

      Reply
      • AvatarLynnG

        Jack, you are much more knowledgable about IT workers then me. I was refering to the fact that most of the Indian professional I meet (medical/IT) have graduate degrees from Amerian colleges. Where as the call center employees while may have college degrees they are graduates of Indian colleges (think Marriott Reservations, did you know even if you call your favorite Marriott property’s local reservation line the call is routed to a call center in India, it is drive me nuts for years because I could no understand why I was not talking to someone at the actual hotel. I am sorry I miss the meaning of the “six moth doctorates” I do not know the field that well.
        Let me give you a example of how the system is being gamed by more then just IT. I am a member of a national medical services provider (HMO) that will remain nameless. At our local medical centers here in the MD/VA/DC area I noticed an increasing number of Philippino nurses. On one visit Helen was with me and she speaks Talago so while she was waiting she struck up a conversation with several of the Philippino nurses. The short story is that all the Philippino nurses working at the medical center were in fact doctors in the Phillippines but when they were recruited to come to the USA the AMA will not reconize their medical training and will not allow them to be license doctors in the USA but will allow them work as Registered Nurses…. I though it was interesting. This is not to say that the Philippines does not train a lot of nurses empoyed around the world but here in the USA there is a high likelyhood that at the major health care providers that the Philippino nurses are in fact doctors. Just something to think about…. Everyone is working the system, even our worlds best health care system.

        Reply
        • AvatarDepressed Clutch

          That sounds like the system is working in a way that is favorable to Americans (well, except when your daughter can’t pay her student loans because all the nursing jobs go to foreign doctors). It shows how much physicians benefit from their strong union (AMA), unlike engineers, programmers, and other IT people.

          Reply
  20. AvatarIce Age

    I’ve always thought that using the word “technology” to describe only computers is like using the word “drinking” to describe the consumption of only alcoholic beverages.

    Anything made by man, that doesn’t occur in nature, is technology.

    Refined metals, glass, paper, composite fabrics, pen ink, staples, shoes, tires, paint, Chap-Stick, plastics, etc.

    You get the idea.

    Reply
    • AvatarNoID

      I chuckle every time I hear about some two-bit local college promoting their programs in “Technology”. Like what kind of technology are we talking about here? Are you going to teach me how to code or create spear heads using a coal forge?

      Reply
        • Avatar-Nate

          Yep ;

          Like thermo – syphon .

          I know, it’s a joke but it did work and worked pretty well .

          I’m of the opinion that if America’s public schools were better, we’d be churning out engineers and doctors et al like we did 50 years ago .

          -Nate

          Reply
          • AvatarJMcG

            Nate, the entire point of this thread has been that there is no point in going into engineering or medicine because the powers that be have decided that those jobs are to be filled with foreigners, whether East Asian or south Asian.
            American schools are very good where the raw material is good.

          • Avatar-Nate

            Understood and agreed JMcG .

            I think that is a shame and shouldn’t be son in America, we’re so rich yet don’t use the $ wisely IMO .

            Just as Yossarian said : to get what you want, _WORK_HARD_ .

            Americans already have a huge leg up, they’re just to damn lazy (my self included) to do the hard work to succeed .

            -Nate

    • Avatarjc

      Yes!!!

      Like manning the help desk and spending 10 hours a day reading a script to not-help customers solve the problems they’re having with poorly written software is “technology” but managing the operating parameters of a vertical squeeze casting machine that can make a million cast aluminum parts a year, gas tight to 10^-7 atm-cc/sec of helium, with dimensional tolerances of +/- .008″, covering a couple hundred different part numbers ranging from a few ounces to a couple dozen pounds, isn’t “technology”.

      I’d like to see some of those call center “technology professionals” in a rolling mill. Tell me that isn’t technology.

      Reply
      • AvatarIce Age

        Exactly.

        When I think of technology, I think of skyscrapers, cars, ships, planes, carbon fiber, machine guns, razor blades, power drills, bridges, parachutes, hospitals, speedboats, helicopters, ATVs, motorcycles, lathes, etc.

        I really wonder how kind history will be to the electronic computer when historians write books about the Ancient Americans in a thousand years.

        Reply
  21. Avataryossarian

    my kid goes to stuyvesant high school. it’s one of the top high schools in the country. nyc public school that routinely out perfoms the best private schools. mayor deblasio hates it because admission is 100% dependent on the score on a special test. the population is roughly 50% east asian and 30% south asian. editorials rail against the lack of diversity which is bs because it’s extemely diverse. what they mean is it admits very few black and hispanic kids. they claim it’s because the kids who get in all have done extensive test prep. duh! what’s wrong with that? the city offers free test prep and believe me lots of people who don’t make much money sacrifice other things to pay for it. we did. oh, and the city provides free prep for kids in poor neighborhoods. the problem is your kid actually has to study. some people give me crap because i send my kid there but i know they’re just jealous. i’m glad that there are still some public institutions that rely on actual qualifications.

    Reply
  22. AvatarShortest Circuit

    “pick *somebody* at random, and within six months I could have them trained to be a top-rated performer at Facebook or anywhere else.” Maybe even less. About seven years ago the company I worked for opened a new center in a technologically not well developed part of the country. We put up flyers, went to the farmers’ trade schools, the lot. We had every sort of person, you name it; sous chef, baker, dog-catcher, beauty assistant (mmm-hhh). Within two months they were doing basic Linux administration in production. In a year some of them got the experience and the certificates to properly administer IBM and Oracle middleware.
    Meanwhile the Indian proliferation in the States is so widespread that there are now support groups for Indians who are from lower castes (like Dalits) and have been shamed or ‘outed’ by their Indian manager. I’ve read stories about people trying to conceal their roots just to avoid being identified, like eating white meat or not wearing their traditional threads. Can you imagine this going on in an American company, on continental soil? If it was shaming blacks for being from Detroit or South Central, the company HQ would be on fire the next day, locations picketed, etc. But Indians are a “safe hire” – they will lay low, not form unions, take a bit more beating. Even if one has zero relation to the tech sector, this should be enraging. Unless of course the media does their usual dehumanization and reduction tactics.

    Reply
    • Avatarjc

      Well, let’s face it, most jobs in computer sys admin are not really very intellectually challenging. I’d say 90%+ of IT and computer jobs contain less intellectual content than being a telephone operator circa 1955.

      That’s why the not-very-intelligent love them. Learn a set of trained-monkey keystrokes and you can be a “technology worker in computers”. The actual engineers in the industry are few. The actual talented people of high intelligence are even fewer.

      Reply
  23. AvatarFranco

    I’m still amazed that BuzzFeed News of all places wrote these two stories regarding immigrant workers. Granted, it’s closer to H2 visas, plus this was written in 2015, but I wish these “leftists” focused more on stories like this.

    https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/jessicagarrison/all-you-americans-are-fired

    https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/jessicagarrison/the-new-american-slavery-invited-to-the-us-foreign-workers-f#.gbow33exN

    Footnote: People forget the original Socialist Party in the US were anti immigration.

    It still continuously disgusts me that we as a country allow mass importation of foreigners as scab labor.

    Reply

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