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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Food For Thought

We conservatives are routinely accused of being anti-immigration when, in fact, many of us are pro-immigration but simply anti-illegal immigration. Huge difference. At least to anyone with half a brain.

I, for example, think it necessary to boost the nation's immigration quotas. Of really smart foreign students and accomplished professionals.

And Steve Jobs - one-time Obama supporter - agreed:
Steve Jobs's Advice for Obama
By L. Gordon Crovitz, Wall Street Journal

'You're headed for a one-term presidency," Steve Jobs told President Obama at the beginning of a one-on-one session the president requested early last year. As described in the authorized biography by Walter Isaacson, Apple's founder said regulations had created too many burdens on the economy.

Jobs was an Obama supporter, but his just-disclosed comments are typical of a new frustration with Washington among Silicon Valley executives. Their high-tech companies are supposed to be the country's engine for growth, but the federal government is gumming up the works.

Mr. Isaacson reports that Jobs offered to Mr. Obama to "put together a group of six or seven CEOs who could really explain the innovation challenges facing America." But after White House aides got involved with planning the dinner, it became unwieldy and Jobs pulled out.

When a smaller dinner was arranged last February, the result was more estrangement of Silicon Valley from Washington. Mr. Obama was seated between Jobs and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The dinner also included top executives from companies such as Google, Cisco and Oracle.

According to Mr. Isaacson, Jobs "stressed the need for more trained engineers and suggested that any foreign students who earned an engineering degree in the U.S. should be given a visa to stay in the country." The president reportedly replied that this would have to await broader immigration reform, which he said he was unable to accomplish.

"Jobs found this an annoying example of how politics can lead to paralysis," Mr. Isaacson writes. "The president is very smart, but he kept explaining to us reasons why things can't get done," Jobs said. "It infuriates me."

Jobs told Mr. Obama that Apple employs 700,000 factory workers in China because it can't find the 30,000 engineers in the U.S. that it needs on site at its plants. "If you could educate these engineers," he said at the dinner, "we could move more manufacturing jobs here."

One of the benefits of free trade, including in the movement of labor, is that skills would go where they are most valued. Jobs made the point that Silicon Valley is mystified by a policy that instead educates foreigner engineers at top U.S. universities, then sends them home immediately.

The U.S. issues 140,000 green cards a year, which is not enough to meet demand even in this soft economy. Worse yet, the work-permit laws say that the residents of no country can get more than 7% of the permits. This is fine for Andorra and Liechtenstein but not for India and China, which have 18% and 19% of the world's population, respectively. The National Foundation for American Policy calculates the 7% limit means a backlog of 70 years of applications from prospective Indian workers and 20 years from Chinese ones. [link]
It makes no sense. Which means it's run by the government.

To take this a step further, it's not just a matter of our not getting enough bright, trained foreign students to stay here, other countries are now recruiting actively - and successfully - those American students who are accomplished in their fields of endeavor.

So we're losing the battle for the best minds on the planet at both ends.

We need to open the gates before it's too late. There is great opportunity here in the USA. At least today.

But not tomorrow if we don't get back in the game.