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Thursday, March 8

Bill Gates seems to be tubing down that river in Egypt...

Did you hear about Bill Gates' "closed door" address in Washington yesterday -- he told Congress on Wednesday that overhauls of the nation's schools and immigration laws are urgently needed to keep jobs from going overseas. "The U.S. cannot maintain its economic leadership unless our work force consists of people who have the knowledge and skills needed to drive innovation," Gates told the Senate committee that oversees labor and education issues.

Here's the HuffPo story

Gates said the nation's economy depends on keeping the country's borders open to highly skilled workers, especially those with a science or engineering background. Federal law provides 65,000 H1-B visas for scientists, engineers, computer programmers and other professionals every budget year. High-tech and other employers say that's not enough.

"Even though it may not be realistic, I don't think there should be any limit," Gates said, adding that Microsoft hasn't been able to fill approximately 3,000 technical jobs in the United States because of a shortage of skilled workers.

Well, this little comment is getting quite a bit of commentary at the moment. OooooNoooooo! Mr. Bill is getting the beating of his Life...

Here is the link to the comments at huffpo

Around page 3 of the beating I came across a FANTASTIC blog called Losing the war on humor She has two great posts up on "Mr. Gates goes to Washington". The first post is Does Bill Gates Own Washington? and the second one is Bill Gates Can't Get Enough Burnt Fries: McKennedy Bill Will Destroy Our McJobs Both are great reads and explain a lot about what is going on.

Here are some samplings of the huffpo comments:

Even skilled workers from India know that Bill Gates is full of crap when he says that there is a shortage of high-tech workers in the US. Read this editorial from the India Daily newspaperIt is time for Bush, Democrats and Republicans to stop H1B visas, illegal immigration, outsourcing and exploitation of graduate foreign students in Universities

65,000 of the best, high paying, jobs are being handed out to foreigners EACH year with the approval and blessing of our government. Apparently, this is not enough for Gates. If corporations like Microsoft would pay their fair share of taxes, we certainly could have the best schools and teachers in the world. What Microsoft wants is skilled employees, on the cheap, without paying a fair salary or a fair corporate tax to develop the US citizens that can capably fill these jobs. Pa. Senator Arlen Specter was particularly ruthless in passing through committee the 65 ,000 H1-B visa quota that is now law.... Specter is not a representative of the people but merely a corporate tool!
By: keystone on March 08, 2007 at 12:02am

Gates is on one hand a philanthropist of historic proportions, yet remains a self serving gluttonous tycoon who craves profit above all. In my mind he needs to give much more away to even the score.

As you read this there are probably at least 3000 American workers in Seattle who cannot find work because they have homes and families and expenses based on living in the USA. Those needs mean they need a higher base salary than those foreign workers. They are likely older, with family, maybe a house and all the overhead that goes with that situation. Gates could hire them, but they are maybe 40% more expensive. How high are those Microsoft profits again? Could they withstand maybe three million in additional salary (a high estimate) for the 3000 workers? Of course they could.

The foreign workers who come in are young, mostly single and often live together in two and three bedroom apartments. They make about half of what their American competitors need t o make ends meet and better still, they don't get health care since they are temporary workers.

That technically skilled American worker is being punished for needing the very things needed to sustain the American dream that helped create Gates' fortune.

Bill Gates should be ashamed of himself for these comments.
By: jakeflip on March 08, 2007 at 12:12am

Any Americans going to college for engineering or other tech fields are being silly. Its a waste of time and money.

Of course, if technical study in college is a stepping stone for an MBA or something else later, then that is fine.

But if you or your kids can be an engineer for the rest of their life... You are nuts. Well.. There would always be a few who would manage that. But for the most part... they would be unemployed or underemployed. These are all very easily outsourceabe skill sets.

Thats the truth!

Look at medical field.. The AMA. This is actually a Union for doctors..they control supply. The AMA gets to decide how many medical schools in this country can be opened. They basically control Supply. They are the most powerful union in this country. Another reason why healthcare is expensive. But atleast they have a nice scam going. There is no such luck for the techies..I am afraid.
By: Manni on March 08, 2007 at 12:05am

The H-1B Visa program is simply being used by Corporate America to layoff American white collar profressionals and replace them with cheap foreign labor from India and China. This is why wages for the Middle Class in America are stagnant and not keeping up with the rate of inlfation.

The US should end the H-1B Visa program, repeal the 1965 Immigration Act, and make illegal immigrants return to their home countries and wait on line there to apply for US citizenship. If the US did those three things wages for the Poor, Working Class, and Middle Class families would start to outpace inflation. But, if Congress passes Comprehensive Immigration Reform and expands the H-1B Visa program the US will become a Balkanized low-wage nation. Corporate America has flooded Washington with lobbyists to make them pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform and expand the H-1B Visa program. I encourage anyone who is against these things to contact their Congressional representative a nd let them know.
By: BigMouthStrikesAgain on March 07, 2007 at 10:54pm

And Microsloth is not the only one doing this?

Globalization is anti-American and has NOTHING to do with U.S. employee skill sets. It has to do with greed and profit and keeping investors in the over-bloated stock markets happy.
By: getoffmedz on March 08, 2007 at 12:12am

Why? Because the education system isn't keeping up with those of other countries. Pathetic.

We have far more resources than any other country, yet we squander them on war and subsidies for companies like Exxon, who are making record profits in the tens of billions AND giving retirement packages in the hundreds of millions. Can't we find more than 40 billion for education? It's sad.
By: bamboozled on March 08, 2007 at 04:00am

I have sent this to,... you should all do the same:

Dear Committee Members,

As a founder of Symantec and Visicorp and a critical contributor to networking technology in personal computers, I can assure you that Bill Gates does not know the slightest thing about how to foster innovation. His motives are strictly self serving. He in fact, by pushing previous and the current administration to raise limits on H1B visas, has been instrumental in creating the problem he now bemoans.

According to the EEE, fewer than 35% of working engineers currently recommend engineering to their children as a profession. Many schools are closing technical specialty degree programs for lack of interest. Unemployment, in their credentialed profession, among engineers is on the order of 18%. Yet Bill Gates can't find anyone to fill 3,000 jobs. This is a lie, by omission of his expectations of salary to s kill ratio, but still a lie.

With all due respect, you should be talking to an engineer if you need to hear testimony on how America should proceed with the challenges of innovation in this century, you should be talking to me and not a man of such conflicted interests as Bill Gates.


Stephen Herrington
Everett, WA
I'm sure this will get many more comments and be covered well in the blogs. Let's hope the MSM will start a much needed discussion on this. I have not heard one talking head discussing the pathetic condition of our education system in the US. I hope this makes it over to Lou Dobbs. Can't wait to hear his reaction to this.

Here is a great post about No Child Left Behind from Liberal Politics -- Pros & Cons of the No Child Left Behind Act Did you know that:

"NCLB was partially based on education reform strategies instituted by President Bush during his tenure as Texas governor. Those Texas education reforms were reputed to result in improved standardized test scores. Subsequent inquiry revealed test-rigging by some educators and administrators."

AND --

Opponents of NCLB, which includes all major teachers' unions, allege that the Act hasn't been effective in improving education in elementary, middle and especially high schools as evidenced by mixed results in standardized tests since NCLB's 2002 inception.

AND --

Opponents also claim that standardized testing, which is the heart of NCLB accountability, is deeply flawed and biased for many reasons, and that stricter teacher qualifications have exacerbated the nationwide teacher shortage, not provided a stronger teaching force.

AND --

Teachers and parents charge that NCLB encourages, and rewards, teaching children to score well on the test, rather than teaching with a primary goal of learning. As a result, teachers are pressured to teach a narrow set of test-taking skills and a test-limited range of knowledge.

AND -- AND -------"One of the principal authors of NCLB was Margaret Spellings, who was nominated to Secretary of Education in late 2004.

Spellings, who holds a B.A. in political science from University of Houston, was the political director for Bush's first gubernatorial campaign in 1994, and later served as a senior advisor to Texas Gov. Bush during his term as 1995 to 2000.

Before her association with George W. Bush, Spellings worked on an education reform commission under Texas Governor William P. Clements and as associate executive director for the Texas Association of School Boards. Prior to her nomination to be Education Secretary, Margaret Spellings worked for the Bush Administration as Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy.

Margaret Spellings has never worked in a school system, and has no formal training in education. She is married to Robert Spellings, former Chief of Staff to the Speaker of the Texas House, now a prominent attorney in Austin, Texas and Washington D.C., who has actively lobbied for the adoption of school vouchers."


Where it Stands
There's little doubt that the No Child Left Behind Act will be reauthorized by Congress in 2007. The open question is: How will Congress change the Act?

Mr. Gates - YES we need your efforts and concerns about education to be directed to Congress. BUT --Let's start at the very beginning. A very good place to start. When you read you begin with ABC............

Why don't you start by asking congress how they will change this NCLB act.

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