Here we go again: the ol’ Pornstach has been talking to Senior Economic Policy Makers in America and Germany again, and in 800 words he has a solution for what ails us.
Betcha can’t guess!
Investment in technology and education. You know, because it’s really important for every kid to have $70,000-100,000 of debt getting out of engineering school to learn that there are no engineering jobs available in the US.
We’ve been down this road with Friedman before.
Here in Silicon Valley, where the unemployment rate is nearly 13% and you cannot enter a retail store without seeing former engineers in the cash wrap ringing up a sale — if they are lucky; some of these people are literally rocket scientists. One of my friends from long ago, a brilliant man with a Computer Science degree from an A-list engineering college now works for Best Buy selling flat panel teevee machines, instead of designing them.
It’s not a lack of education, it is a policy decision to free global capital to race to the bottom.
A decade or so ago, Engineers in Silicon Valley were up in arms over all the H1B visa holders who were pouring in from India and elsewhere. They were highly trained, highly motivated, and software companies could hire five of them for the same cost as hiring one American. Now, Silicon Valley corporations are not even doing that — by going to India (and other places) directly, they can hire local talent at local wages, which is to say dirt cheap. By the way, India is now afraid of China as US corporations are rapidly moving there and leaving Indians behind.
A quick look around the Valley today does not show signs of the next technological revolution; everywhere there are abandoned business parks. The quickly slapped together tilt-ups that optimistically defined the first wave of the technology revolution here now sit empty, or in some instances they have been converted to evangelical churches.
My friends in the start-up world have told me that as part of the agreement to get funding from the Venture Capitalists up on Sand Hill Road they have to have a plan in place to not hire their engineering talent in the United States. And why should they since the Clinton Administration foreward there have been tax incentives and other incentives to move operations offshore? That’s policy, Thomas, policy that you promoted.
And so in one swoop we are not only ensuring the rise of unemployment here in the Silicon Valley (and in the US), we are also enabling low-wage countries to exploit their workers. We’ve made the mistake of thinking of these low-wage countries as our partners, when in fact they are our competitors.
You decry that our kids are falling behind in math and science, and I agree, but I also see why. Here in the Valley, they’ve grown up watching both of their parents work 80 hour weeks, forgo family vacations because there is a new product release coming up, a tight schedule. They’ve watched their parents split up and get laid off, chewed up and spat out. So these kids who should be the most likely to go into engineering and science can see that it is a dead-end road. Kids are not stupid, Tommy. Why would they make the same mistakes as their parents?