Video: GOP leaps on Obama’s “interesting” disconnect on jobs and the economy

posted at 3:40 pm on January 31, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

I hit this today in my Obamateurism feature, but the GOP runs much farther with a new web ad hammering Barack Obama and his “interesting” response to a question on unemployment. To set this up once again, President Obama took a question from a woman during his Google+ “hangout” about why his administration hasn’t limited H1B visas in engineering, where her husband has been unemployed despite having 10 years of experience. Obama reacts with disbelief, because he says he’s been told by industry that they can’t fill jobs quickly enough in high-tech engineering slots.  As it turns out, Obama didn’t know anything at all about this industry and its status over the last few years:

I pointed out earlier that the sector in which Jennifer Wedel’s husband works has lost jobs over the last few months, not gained them.  The GOP follows up with harder and more specific data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which shows that semiconductor and electronic components manufacturers have lost 21,500 jobs over the last three years, or about 5% of the overall sector.  That doesn’t square at all with the rosy picture Obama painted, and needless to say, Mrs. Wedel was less than impressed:

Later, Wedel told POLITICO that she and the president had a “pretty crazy interaction” that she hadn’t expected when she asked about the federal government granting H-1B visas to skilled foreign workers while U.S. citizens such as her husband are out of work.

“I don’t think he was trying to be condescending or anything,” said Wedel, who never completed college and was a stay-at-home mom before her husband was laid off, but now has a full-time job at State Farm to help make ends meet. “I just think I stumped him a little and he wanted me to hush about it.”

“I think he knows pretty well that the H-1B is an issue because — it’s kind of like the Occupy movement — big corporations are putting up the money to get the visas” and choosing lower-paid foreign workers over domestic ones, Wedel said. “I don’t think what he was telling me was true, and I think he knew it, and that’s why he offered to take my husband’s resume,” she said, adding that her husband has kept it updated.

Not only did Obama not understand the employment situation, he doesn’t understand H1B visas in one key aspect, either.  Companies that hire through H1B visas don’t have to show that they can’t find an American worker to fill the position.  That’s a sore point among progressives in Obama’s own party, with Obama’s former colleague in the Senate Dick Durbin proposing to change the law to force employers to demonstrate the need for the visa in the first place.

It would be difficult to look more out of touch in such a short time than in this episode (although David Axelrod certainly gave it his best shot earlier), and the GOP should keep returning to this incident as an explanation of the incompetence behind Obamanomics.


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Wrong. You cannot sponsor family while on an H1B.

You can bring a spouse/kids with you. But once the visa expires, everyone goes back home.

angryed on January 31, 2012 at 4:34 PM

So, best case scenario, we get entire communities of “neighbors” who don’t really give a hoot about America. Don’t you see a problem in that?

Deafdog on January 31, 2012 at 4:37 PM

o, best case scenario, we get entire communities of “neighbors” who don’t really give a hoot about America. Don’t you see a problem in that?

The left hates America, so no.

joeindc44 on January 31, 2012 at 4:39 PM

and remember, it’s also the HR jerks who want diversity points in hiring, they prob love this stuff.

joeindc44 on January 31, 2012 at 4:40 PM

DFC: Speaking as someone intimately familiar with OSHA, EPA, and Labor relations through work…

We could do far worse than repealing all those laws.

What we certainly need to do is reduce the power of the federal government. Currently, the best way to do that is reduce the regulation that it produces.

Scott H on January 31, 2012 at 4:40 PM

Wrong. You cannot sponsor family while on an H1B.

You can bring a spouse/kids with you. But once the visa expires, everyone goes back home.

angryed on January 31, 2012 at 4:34 PM

How many do you know who have went home after their initial visa period? Most move into a more permanent visa status, and eventually they start working the reunification visas, but technically you’re right. Of course, they are also suppose to ensure that no American workers are available for the job.

DFCtomm on January 31, 2012 at 4:40 PM

Why does Mrs Wedel hate Indian people ?

burrata on January 31, 2012 at 4:40 PM

So you’re ready to go head to head with the third? You ready to repeal work place safety, environmental, and labor regulations so that we can compete? Come on man don’t be a socialist.

DFCtomm on January 31, 2012 at 4:34 PM

Well, environmental, anyway. And probably many if not all labor regulations, as their primary purpose is really just to support unions and make the labor market inflexible. Minimum wage is one of the worst ideas, favoring unemployment over productive employment. Many “workplace safety” regulations fall into the same category — they’re not about safety at all.

mr.blacksheep on January 31, 2012 at 4:41 PM

i bet the full version of that clip would be absolutely hilarious, just full of stuttering, stammering, and yeabuts……the man has no clue if it ain’t written on a teleprompter.

DiabloAzure on January 31, 2012 at 4:41 PM

It’s protectionism any way you spin it. No different than saying we must protect jobs at GM and Ford so we’ll ban imports of foreign cars.

Protectionism never works. Never has. Never will. Free trade works, always has always will.

Along the way there will be people displaced, but that’s the price we pay.

angryed on January 31, 2012 at 4:36 PM

If having the debate is “protectionist” then I suppose you are arguing for open borders. I disagree with that totally. You can’t have a nation with open borders.

Deafdog on January 31, 2012 at 4:42 PM

I don’t understand, if the industry is losing jobs, then why are companies using H1B visa’s to fill them? Companies go through a lot of paperwork and money to get these visa’s.

Kini on January 31, 2012 at 4:42 PM

hey move the factory if you want. That opens up other cans of worms. It’s not that easy or desireable (what, upper management doesn’t want to live in Bangladesh either?). At that point, you lose the made in america label, there may be tariffs, and you start dealing with not-America, the part of the world where people are crazy.

joeindc44 on January 31, 2012 at 4:36 PM

Well said and worth repeating.

Deafdog on January 31, 2012 at 4:43 PM

Well, that woman was no Diane Sawyer.

SlaveDog on January 31, 2012 at 4:00 PM

Of course not, she was sober…

Valkyriepundit on January 31, 2012 at 4:43 PM

indeed, at some point, alleged economic efficiency will meet the requirements of the community. Just because I love capitalism doesn’t mean I don’t love America. Sorry, you have to play by the people who are here already. If India is brimming with technical know how and keeping you back, go make your fortune over there, just watch out for you know, the plague.

joeindc44 on January 31, 2012 at 4:45 PM

. At that point, you lose the made in america label, there may be tariffs, and you start dealing with not-America, the part of the world where people are crazy.

joeindc44 on January 31, 2012 at 4:36 PM

If India is brimming with technical know how and keeping you back, go make your fortune over there, just watch out for you know, the plague.

joeindc44 on January 31, 2012 at 4:45 PM

I think these are worth repeating.

MelonCollie on January 31, 2012 at 4:47 PM

Deafdog: But this is excellent. Now we can have a discussion as to what the best policy for issuing H-1B visas should be.

Please note that we cannot have that discussion with illegal immigration, because these people are not using the system we have.

And that is the difference between these positions.

Scott H on January 31, 2012 at 4:37 PM

What you are pointing out is one difference between these positions.

However, the discussion should not be limited to H1B visas, but about immigration plocy in general.

In fact, I would say no H1B visas at all! Period! No Illegal immigration at all! Period! No, if you want to immigrate here and you are really smart, you get extra points. But I want you here to become a citizen, not as a hired gun to reduce labor costs.

Deafdog on January 31, 2012 at 4:48 PM

joeindc: You make a good point. My discipline (among other things) explicitly looks at such decisions over the long term.

Outsourcing is not as popular as it once was as a result, but it should still be an option, and I am very uncomfortable with conservatives saying that a socialist position on the labor market is a good one.

Scott H on January 31, 2012 at 4:49 PM

It’s protectionism any way you spin it. No different than saying we must protect jobs at GM and Ford so we’ll ban imports of foreign cars.

Protectionism never works. Never has. Never will. Free trade works, always has always will.

Along the way there will be people displaced, but that’s the price we pay.

angryed on January 31, 2012 at 4:36 PM

It’s true if free trade was allowed to exist, but the truth is nations like people cheat. Lets make an impromptu list of cheaters and how they cheat. I’ll get started.

Europe- VAT disparities
China- Currency peg
Japan- loose currency peg

See how that works. nobody is playing fairly. Free trade is the “communism” of the right. It sounds good on paper but it just doesn’t work in the real world.

DFCtomm on January 31, 2012 at 4:49 PM

What *is* inexcusable, however, is his complete avoidance of the question. The woman’s question was (in effect) “why aren’t you restricting the number of H1B visas?” and he completely ignored that question.

Mohonri on January 31, 2012 at 4:32 PM

I have to give credit to Dick Durbin for this, companies should prove that they couldn’t fill a position with domestic workers/workforce…as in prove that they advertised for, say, 3-4 months and no domestic applicants rushed in, then they can proceed with recruiting abroad….and I agree with you that it’s hard to know exactly the situation and status of each and every engineering field/branch, O’s probably right that in certain engineering fields there’s a serious demand and they can’t fill those positions domestically, due to lack of skills, qualifications of applicants, etc…But semiconductor engineering obviously is not one of them, and while it’s a bit disingenuous to expect him to know that, he should have just said that he’s not familiar with how this particular engineering field does employment-wise instead of blabbering about non-existent stats that show the opposite of what the woman was saying…he missed an opportunity to shut up, really…

jimver on January 31, 2012 at 4:51 PM

they advertised for, say, 3-4 months and no domestic applicants rushed in

Being unemployed with a high end degree is no fun, and like what I’ve seen with JD jobs, if a company put out an ad for an engineer, they’ll get about 1000 hits instantly.

There’s no excuse. And don’t forget, it’s also an HR diversity BS thing going on too.

joeindc44 on January 31, 2012 at 4:55 PM

See how that works. nobody is playing fairly. Free trade is the “communism” of the right. It sounds good on paper but it just doesn’t work in the real world.

DFCtomm on January 31, 2012 at 4:49 PM

protectionism doesn’t work in the real world either…if you do that, they will do the same to you…

jimver on January 31, 2012 at 4:55 PM

Wrong. You cannot sponsor family while on an H1B.

You can bring a spouse/kids with you. But once the visa expires, everyone goes back home.

angryed on January 31, 2012 at 4:34 PM

How many do you know who have went home after their initial visa period? Most move into a more permanent visa status, and eventually they start working the reunification visas, but technically you’re right. Of course, they are also suppose to ensure that no American workers are available for the job.

If they want to stay on permanently.. their employer needs to go through a rigorous and expensive process to prove that there is no American worker available for that job.

Their families cannot work while in the US.. the reunification visas that you speak: they cannot sponsor family, they can wait up to a decade to become permanent residents and more years to become citizens and then they can sponsor family – again the wait times are 8-10 years (btw the family visas for anybody else other then parents or juvenile children should be stopped imho)

jdivito on January 31, 2012 at 4:57 PM

jimver on January 31, 2012 at 4:51 PM

you realize your suggestion would create more regulation and bureaucracy? do you really want to grow the govt? not a very conservative position. it amazes me the commenters on this site who think they are conservative but still look for a govt solution first.

chasdal on January 31, 2012 at 4:58 PM

Does JugEars know anything about anything except how to golf?

KOOLAID2 on January 31, 2012 at 4:59 PM

A quick and effective way to stop any abuse by foreign companies of the H1B process is requiring that foreign companies have at least 75% of their workforce in the US as US citizens or permanent residents.

jdivito on January 31, 2012 at 4:59 PM

Free trade is the “communism” of the right

Don’t you dare compare free trade to communism. Communism being intellectual window dressing for power grabs and totalitarians.

People cheat, countries put up homefield advantages…well except for american liberals who are too cool and progressive to actually care about america. And things like tariffs are evasions of the market, not proof that free trade don’t work. People always want an easy path.

joeindc44 on January 31, 2012 at 5:00 PM

I am an engineer that has been working part time since November 2007. My unemployment ran out at the end of December 2011.

I’m also cranky about H1B visas that has been used by companies to keep wages down for engineerss in this country.

Joy

DarrelsJoy on January 31, 2012 at 5:01 PM

protectionism doesn’t work in the real world either…if you do that, they will do the same to you…

jimver on January 31, 2012 at 4:55 PM

Isn’t that the rub. Free trade doesn’t work and protectionism doesn’t work. It’s almost like the world of business is no place for doctrinal purity, but instead should be the home of what works.

DFCtomm on January 31, 2012 at 5:04 PM

Being unemployed with a high end degree is no fun, and like what I’ve seen with JD jobs, if a company put out an ad for an engineer, they’ll get about 1000 hits instantly.

There’s no excuse. And don’t forget, it’s also an HR diversity BS thing going on too.

joeindc44 on January 31, 2012 at 4:55 PM

it certainly isn’t…but if the company in question is a multinational, can you blame them? they can afford to get the best people from all over the world to work for them…I don’t think their allegiance is first and foremost to the American people, I don’t think they have that sort of allegiance to any sovereign govt for that matter…and that makes it fair….besides, the Americans qualified/highly skilled workers can go and look for jobs abroad too, a lot of companies are willing to pay for the relocation costs, it goes both ways, you know…some of these jobs might even pay more than what they would make here…I think it’s only fair…

jimver on January 31, 2012 at 5:06 PM

“Which union is your husband a member of? Maybe I can pull some strings.” – Barry O.

Stu Gotts on January 31, 2012 at 5:09 PM

you realize your suggestion would create more regulation and bureaucracy? do you really want to grow the govt? not a very conservative position. it amazes me the commenters on this site who think they are conservative but still look for a govt solution first.

chasdal on January 31, 2012 at 4:58 PM

I am not at all for that, I am all for free trade…as I posted lower on the thread, I agree that multinationals should be allowed to hire whoever they want, and if Americans lose their jobs domestically, they have a fair shot at jobs abroad…and it should be that way…the point I was making in that post you refer to was in response to the woman’s complain…I mean I don’t have a problem with hiring foreign workers if you can’t fill the respective positions domestically, but if there are people in the domestic labor market, willing to do the job, for the same amount of money, then what’s wrong with exhausting the possibilities domestically, before getting the visas for foreign workers…if, say, you offer an engineering job to an American qualified person and they think it pays too low and they refuse it, then you have every right as a company to recruit abroad…but am not sure that’s the situation that that woman was talking about in the video…

jimver on January 31, 2012 at 5:14 PM

A quick and effective way to stop any abuse by foreign companies of the H1B process is requiring that foreign companies have at least 75% of their workforce in the US as US citizens or permanent residents.

jdivito on January 31, 2012 at 4:59 PM

A real way to stop the games in H1-Bs is to make the companies pay 2X average of an American. It’s not the money right? They just can’t find one at any price right?

DFCtomm on January 31, 2012 at 5:15 PM

but if there are people in the domestic labor market, willing to do the job, for the same amount of money, then what’s wrong with exhausting the possibilities domestically, before getting the visas for foreign workers…if, say, you offer an engineering job to an American qualified person and they think it pays too low and they refuse it, then you have every right as a company to recruit abroad

But that’s the thing, what these companies are doing is letting people jump the line. This isn’t an immigrant showing up in Ellis island with a suitcase and a dream. This is a company puttin gsomeone to the front of the line to fill a need that could be filled by an American, regardless of cost or qualification. That’s right regardless of cost or qualification, what? They can’t train people here or pay people a few bucks extra? Too bad. They’re essentially saying that there’s no person in america that can do this job. That’s a lie. Instead of taking the expense of the visa process, train someone.

That’s stupid to say that there aren’t Americans with a college degree in the field. I bet these companies get 1000′s of resumes from BSME, BSEE, and BSCE’s that could do the work.

joeindc44 on January 31, 2012 at 5:20 PM

I’m surprised they actually let someone ask him something that he didn’t have a good answer for. Have to grudgingly give them credit for not making this a farce.

yhxqqsn on January 31, 2012 at 5:20 PM

I wonder if the MSM will attack her and dig up dirt on her like they did Joe The Plumber. You don’t challenge The One

Rollout on January 31, 2012 at 5:22 PM

it certainly isn’t…but if the company in question is a multinational, can you blame them? they can afford to get the best people from all over the world to work for them…I don’t think their allegiance is first and foremost to the American people, I don’t think they have that sort of allegiance to any sovereign govt for that matter…and that makes it fair….besides, the Americans qualified/highly skilled workers can go and look for jobs abroad too, a lot of companies are willing to pay for the relocation costs, it goes both ways, you know…some of these jobs might even pay more than what they would make here…I think it’s only fair…

jimver on January 31, 2012 at 5:06 PM

The companies do not have to have allegiance to our country, but our country should have an allegiance to its people. I am all for educated and skilled workers coming to this country as permanent residents/naturalized citizens, when there is a proven need.

But H-1Bs don’t do this. They’re a tool to keep wages down. They take advantage of American infrastructure and quality of life, and the benefits that come from being in the United States, while shutting out the costs. If these multinational companies really want the best people, why aren’t they opening branches in India?

Another thing: Good luck trying to find a comparatively-paid job in the engineering or software development world in a place that you would actually want to live – and has a government that will allow an American to work there. Hint: It’s not going to be Canada, Western Europe, Japan, China, India, or South Korea. They have much stricter rules on temporary work visas.

Quantus on January 31, 2012 at 5:23 PM

While I am not going to argue with an engineer of 10 years’ experience, I can completely understand corporations wanting to hire competent engineers for their positions.

And ‘educated in an American university’ would be, to me, a strike against any applicant.

(I say this as someone holding a Master’s degree in Engineering from an American university.)

Scott H on January 31, 2012 at 3:54 PM

You are aware, aren’t you, that foreigners send their children to our universities, especially at the graduate level, to study in the hard sciences, engineering, and medicine? They are considered the best worldwide.

onlineanalyst on January 31, 2012 at 5:31 PM

Good luck trying to find a comparatively-paid job in the engineering or software development world in a place that you would actually want to live – and has a government that will allow an American to work there.

Exactly. This is some sort of weird attempt by US companies to do something unnatural. There’s no parallel scenario in other countries. And if there is, it’s controversial (recall polish plumbers in France).

I am all for economic efficiency but not at the expense of americans. You can draw the line where you like as long as I can still buy a bmw or french wine.

joeindc44 on January 31, 2012 at 5:32 PM

People cheat, countries put up homefield advantages…well except for american liberals who are too cool and progressive to actually care about america. And things like tariffs are evasions of the market, not proof that free trade don’t work. People always want an easy path.

joeindc44 on January 31, 2012 at 5:00 PM

I will call free trade the “Communism” of the right. It is an ideal that has been proven to function only in theory. That failure may be due to our own human frailties, but isn’t that why communism also fails? Yet even though it has never been shown to work the conservatives tenaciously cling to it. Kind of like how the left clings to communism.

DFCtomm on January 31, 2012 at 5:37 PM

Obama sporting the usual deer-in-headlights look when confronted with reality. His inability to connect, his defensiveness, is on full display in this ad. This ad should be played 24/7 for the next 10 months.

Jurisprudence on January 31, 2012 at 5:46 PM

“The word we’re getting is…”

Maybe he should stop surrounding himself with sycophants and cultists and start taking heed to some non-Progressive ideologues for a change.

I’m reminded of Obama ignoring the recommendations of his own deficit reduction panel… It just didn’t mesh with his ideology. Too bad America….”I won.”

visions on January 31, 2012 at 6:05 PM

You can bring a spouse/kids with you. But once the visa expires, everyone goes back home.

angryed on January 31, 2012 at 4:34 PM

So, best case scenario, we get entire communities of “neighbors” who don’t really give a hoot about America. Don’t you see a problem in that?

Deafdog on January 31, 2012 at 4:37 PM

There are several such communities in Silicon Valley already. It is a problem and is a growing one.

vnohara on January 31, 2012 at 6:08 PM

I am sure he was getting his words near real time from some TOTUS off camera. Like Sheil Jackson Lee tried on a cell phone at a townhall in 2010.

jake49 on January 31, 2012 at 6:15 PM

Another thing: Good luck trying to find a comparatively-paid job in the engineering or software development world in a place that you would actually want to live – and has a government that will allow an American to work there. Hint: It’s not going to be Canada, Western Europe, Japan, China, India, or South Korea. They have much stricter rules on temporary work visas.

Quantus on January 31, 2012 at 5:23 PM

I know about Europe strict employment rules for foreign workers, I’m born and raised there…but then they got their fair share of gastarbeiters in the 50′ and 60′, they are only reaping the ‘benefits’ (noot) now :-)….oh, as for countries who might oay the same or better, yeah, I meant a lot of Middle East countries, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, UAE, etc, depends of the engineering field, of course…now, if you are unemployed, one would think that you can’t afford to pick and choose the ‘right’/perfect country to work in, right…

jimver on January 31, 2012 at 6:17 PM

Of late I must confess I delight in the President’s political misfortunes (that happens when you lie your a** off at me), but even I couldn’t make it all the way through that. Squirm-worthy.

DrSteve on January 31, 2012 at 6:26 PM

FAIL.

maineconservative on January 31, 2012 at 6:42 PM

Ahhh… It’s nice to finally have a thread where we can all agree.

Our “Precedent”. is. a. Dumba$$.

-Wasteland Man.

WastelandMan on January 31, 2012 at 7:03 PM

I work in the tech industry and I can tell everyone from first hand experience most of the H1-B’s coming in are doing mundane programming or networking tasks Americans can do, and better in most cases. Intel, Microsoft and others whine about a lack of higher end people that are PhD’s but there are thousands of people on the lower end who we really don’t need here.

echosyst on January 31, 2012 at 7:17 PM

Obama sporting the usual deer-in-headlights look when confronted with reality. His inability to connect, his defensiveness, is on full display in this ad. This ad should be played 24/7 for the next 10 months.

Jurisprudence on January 31, 2012 at 5:46 PM

He also doesn’t have a clue what a ‘semiconductor’ is. He probably thinks it’s something to do with trains.

slickwillie2001 on January 31, 2012 at 7:18 PM

basically, with 10% unemployment, there’s no excuse for this visa program. I don’t care if it’s for low end programmers or PhD’s.

joeindc44 on January 31, 2012 at 7:22 PM

It’s only “interesting” if you’re completely clueless – which our affirmative action President clearly is.

There is no “shortage” of qualified IT workers – this is a myth created during the Clinton years, and perpetuated going forward, by employers that don’t like to pay the going rate for technical labor. Bus in the Indians and fire whitey. It’s just that simple.

Mr Galt on January 31, 2012 at 9:02 PM

Long thought that Obama is basically lazy. His only real involvment is confirming or denying issues based on others work or research…often with little or no personal knowledge of the matter at hand and little desire to learn. He’s very good at hiding it under layers of rhetoric.

jeanie on January 31, 2012 at 9:05 PM

I work for a major US corporation with an IT org of about 3,000. A large number of the developers are Indians. There are good ones but on average they produce lower quality work and take longer to do so than their American counterparts. I found the same to be true when I worked for FedEx in Memphis. IT leadership only sees that H1B workers are cheaper on an annualized basis but can’t seem to get it that it often takes two of them to equal the productivity of an American or a high level of rework is required to correct their poor coding thus increasing the length and cost of the project. So in the end they wind up costing more than an American developer.

Charlemagne on January 31, 2012 at 4:03 PM

Absolutely! I worked as a software developer consultant for close to 13 years, and worked on a variety of projects alongside Indians.

Generally, the more “Americanized” the Indian, the higher quality of work. Most of the problems seemed to arise from their cultural upbringing. Many Indian software developers have been influenced within the caste system, and tend not to question requirements that are handed to them… whereas Americans question everything. This tends to create software that is accurate to requirements, but does not perform as envisioned. Now you can point fingers at the requirement gathering, but no matter how you slice development… the earlier errors are caught, the cheaper they are to fix.

In conclusion, most projects that started out working with off-shoring to India, usually ended the arrangement after a year or two. The amount of code that had to be rewritten was just too high.

dominigan on January 31, 2012 at 9:09 PM

However, the discussion should not be limited to H1B visas, but about immigration plocy in general.

In fact, I would say no H1B visas at all! Period! No Illegal immigration at all! Period! No, if you want to immigrate here and you are really smart, you get extra points. But I want you here to become a citizen, not as a hired gun to reduce labor costs.

Deafdog on January 31, 2012 at 4:48 PM

THIS NEEDS REPEATED!

I was just about to type the same thing when I came across your comment. This approach is the correct way to handle it. Why not have countries compete for talent through standard of living?

dominigan on January 31, 2012 at 9:15 PM

I work in a high-tech company. First we replaced many of our US workers with L1 visa (Indian) programmers onsite. Then the outsourcing firm pulled them all back to India so they don’t have to pay them a US differential. Now all our programmers are offshore with just a few lead folks (H1B SUB-contractors to the outsourcing firm) onsite. The outsource firm can’t bring any more of their staff onsite owing to restrictions in all visas. (They land at the international airports and are turned around and sent home.)

My company is selling the goods by training these offshore engineers with our key technologies. Pretty soon, they won’t need any of use SME (employee subject matter experts) and we’ll all be let go.

32 months and I’m out (retired).

Dandapani on January 31, 2012 at 9:27 PM

In fact, I would say no H1B visas at all! Period! No Illegal immigration at all! Period! No, if you want to immigrate here and you are really smart, you get extra points. But I want you here to become a citizen, not as a hired gun to reduce labor costs.

Deafdog on January 31, 2012 at 4:48 PM

You are ignorant of facts on the grounds. Work is being sent overseas. Any job that can be done with a computer, internet and a telephone can be sent to India and done at 1/4 the cost of a US based person.

I’d rather have some H1B here working side by side with me than having the work sent overseas. At least they are paying taxes, buying food, paying rent, etc., here in the USA.

Dandapani on January 31, 2012 at 9:30 PM

Does JugEars know anything about anything except how to golf?

KOOLAID2 on January 31, 2012 at 4:59 PM

He’s an expert on emerging languages, like Austrian. Duh.

Nutstuyu on January 31, 2012 at 9:46 PM

You are ignorant of facts on the grounds. Work is being sent overseas. Any job that can be done with a computer, internet and a telephone can be sent to India and done at 1/4 the cost of a US based person.

I’d rather have some H1B here working side by side with me than having the work sent overseas. At least they are paying taxes, buying food, paying rent, etc., here in the USA.

Hmm, well I am certainly not ignorant of the facts. I have worked in the semiconductor industry for 27 years. Here are the facts.

Typically employers use several methods to keep wages as low as possible. First they import workers through H1B visas. Often at the same time, or close to the same time, they will lay off a higher paid older worker. These are usually people in their 50′s. However they will mix in a few low level employees, usually non professionals to add to the mix. The H1B employee is very much bound. They work 24 hours a day too, since they almost always have no wife or kids.

Another favorite method is to bring workers in with an F-1 visa. These are really low paid but live here for a year or two. Companies then use experienced workers to train the F-1 who then goes back to the home country to work. Soon soon the American employee is laid off. Companies often hire in India, but fire in America. Seen it time and time again.

So go ahead and work side by side with the H1B…they will soon be sitting in your seat…bud. Who cares how you lose your job, you still lose your job, good luck finding another one at 55.

wsucoug on January 31, 2012 at 10:05 PM

Yeah, I’m about as conservative as they come, but this whole attitude that employers will hire “the most qualified” candidates is total garbage. We conservatives can’t hide behind that mantra with credibility.

I have several friends in HR. They tell me flat-out that companies actively push out more qualified employees due to age and bring in lower-cost less-talented workers. And they do it over time, using the most experienced workers to train the less experienced before pushing them out the door. The current economy gives perfect cover to say “Business is slow, so we are downsizing. Bye.”

I own my own business and often get consulted by laid-off workers in their mid-fifties who need to work for the income, but have no shot of getting a good-paying job anymore. They are desperate for work. I actually work with them to leverage their connections to teach them how to broker business between companies and earn a percentage. It’s hard to teach someone who has been an engineer all their life how the sales cycle works.

I don’t think passing more laws fixes the problem, but can’t we at least get serious that this economic environment creates hiring practices that certainly are questionable and quite un-American, and that experienced and qualified middle-age men and women are getting the shaft here?

goflyers on January 31, 2012 at 10:40 PM

She revealed that obama does not have a clue about another vital jobs issue. How “surprising” and “unexpected”.

dunce on February 1, 2012 at 12:13 AM

IncOmpetence is what this guy does best. What we need is a minute by minute description of it all since ’08 and run that as a mini-series campaign ad.

Calling Michael Moore, now is the time to redeem your slobby 1% self.

Lol, like that would ever happen.

Wolfmoon on February 1, 2012 at 1:00 AM

Kini on January 31, 2012 at 4:42 PM

Perceived cost savings of a captive worker. A US citizen doesn’t have the fetters of an H1-b.

goflyers on January 31, 2012 at 10:40 PM

How about removing the guest worker visas(and the associated laws/regulations), along with the immediate termination of them? That would cut the fraud and abuse out of the process – by removing a large distortion of the US-side job market.

I’m not surprised by Obama’s avoidance. He knows that they are political fair game for being ignored or attacked.

sethstorm on February 1, 2012 at 6:17 AM

This question would have stumped the GOP candidates, too. They’re all for wide open borders. Being pro immigrant is one thing but not when we have such high unemployment. DD

Darvin Dowdy on February 1, 2012 at 7:04 AM

“I don’t think he was trying to be condescending or anything,” said Wedel

Oh! I think Ms. Wedel is wrong on this point. It is clear the jug-eared coward doesn’t understand what it means to be unemployed in America in 2012. I guess that is to be expected from a worthless human being who has never actually held a job where he had to work.

The GOP needs to keep this ad running through November because the flippant way he dismissed Ms. Wedel’s concerns demonstrates just how unfit Obama is for the Presidency.

Happy Nomad on February 1, 2012 at 7:41 AM

I have several friends in HR. They tell me flat-out that companies actively push out more qualified employees due to age and bring in lower-cost less-talented workers.

goflyers on January 31, 2012 at 10:40 PM

Define “more qualified.”

I understand the point you are trying to make but an individual who is overqualified for a job is not the same thing as more qualified.

If the job can be done by a recent college grad instead of a fifty-something worker, why should the company pay more to keep the older worker??? Perhaps that “less-talented” worker fits the job better than the “more qualified” employee.

Happy Nomad on February 1, 2012 at 7:47 AM

Happy Nomad on February 1, 2012 at 7:47 AM

Qualified, as used here, is a weasel word. There is no defense for your use of it.

If anything, you are trying to justify an illegal action (age discrimination) as long as you have an imprimatur(your invocation of “qualified”) to make it appear acceptable.

Profitability would suffer as knowledge would be lost or badly transmitted.

sethstorm on February 1, 2012 at 8:19 AM

If anything, you are trying to justify an illegal action (age discrimination) as long as you have an imprimatur(your invocation of “qualified”) to make it appear acceptable.

Profitability would suffer as knowledge would be lost or badly transmitted.

sethstorm on February 1, 2012 at 8:19 AM

I’m not trying to justify anything. I was making the same point as you that qualified is a weasel word. Every older worker who loses their job is not necessarily a victim of age discrimination. And all that experience really only matters if the job can’t be done well without it. But most importantly, a company is in the best position to determine what will boost profitability and what qualifications are required for their employees.

Does age discrimination happen under cover of qualifications? Almost certainly. But to accuse me of justifying it is absurd. The only thing I am trying to communicate is that not every older worker is the gem that you suggest. Sometimes the job simply does not require anything but a warm body with a moderate amount of common sense. In these austere times, many companies simply can’t afford the more seasoned worker when all that additional experience simply isn’t required for the job!

Happy Nomad on February 1, 2012 at 8:42 AM

The only thing I am trying to communicate is that not every older worker is the gem that you suggest. Sometimes the job simply does not require anything but a warm body with a moderate amount of common sense.

You are then just creating a moving target here and stating the obvious. There is of course, levels of expertise and competence in the engineering field. But in the semiconductor industry where this is prevalent in a number of high profile companies, the trend is so clear you simply cannot dismiss it. Sure some older workers deserve to be let go. You can always find examples of the former but the method at this point is well known in the industry. Even mid level managers talk about it.

The “shortage” of engineers is pure BS. I as an indovidual however cannot do anything about it.

wsucoug on February 1, 2012 at 9:01 AM

H1B visas in engineering, where her husband has been unemployed despite having 10 years of experience. Obama reacts with disbelief, because he says he’s been told by industry that they can’t fill jobs quickly enough in high-tech engineering slots.

big corporations are putting up the money to get the visas” and choosing lower-paid foreign workers over domestic ones, Wedel said.

Industry LIES about this. We have what we call “H1 Shops” around here where you cannot get a job if you are a citizen. I know, because I have been lured into interviews in these places and saw first hand what is going on.

I first heard about this problem back in the 80′s when I worked as as an intern Vets councellor helping other vets get jobs for extra credit on my degree. The guys at the unemployment office where I worked (the other councellors) explained how the entire scam worked.

There should be no H1-B program or any other guest worker program as long as we have unemployed US Citizens.

dogsoldier on February 1, 2012 at 9:29 AM

it’s an HR racial preference thing, more so than any alleged difference in pay.

joeindc44 on January 31, 2012 at 4:06 PM

Um total horseshit. They work for about half of what I do. I see this up close every day.

dogsoldier on February 1, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Along the way there will be people displaced, but that’s the price we pay.

angryed on January 31, 2012 at 4:36 PM

They’re importing people to displace US Citizens. We have 30 million out of work and corporations are hiring foreigners to drive down our wages further.

We have no need for a guest worker program in the curent situation. One looks after their own FIRST.

dogsoldier on February 1, 2012 at 10:06 AM

It’s not just Democrats. Wall Street Journal/US Chamber of Commerce types also favor flooding the US labor market with foreign workers despite massive unemployment.

kd6rxl on February 1, 2012 at 10:08 AM

you realize your suggestion would create more regulation and bureaucracy? do you really want to grow the govt? not a very conservative position. it amazes me the commenters on this site who think they are conservative but still look for a govt solution first.

chasdal on January 31, 2012 at 4:58 PM

Actually, in this situation a govt solution is the only option. We’re talking about immigration policy. It is not within the scope of the states or private industry to set such policy.

That being said, immigration policy in this country has been abused politically just like every other policy area. Changing it requires the same solution as every other policy area, a smaller less powerful federal govt. Since this isn’t going to happen until there is no other choice (bankruptcy, collapse), sit back and enjoy the ride over the cliff!

runawayyyy on February 1, 2012 at 10:09 AM

runawayyyy on February 1, 2012 at 10:09 AM

What about making the case for less regulation by removing the entire set of laws that cover the guest worker visas (as I had suggested upthread).

Guest worker visas, which don’t usually have any path to citizenship, aren’t representing the temporary needs that were intended. They’re being used as a permanent way of distorting the US’s job market.

sethstorm on February 1, 2012 at 10:31 PM

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