Obama and Romney Should Read Wall Street Journal to Learn About American Job Loss

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

July 18, 2012

According to an analysis made by Challenger, Grey and Christmas, layoffs in the tech sector reached their highest level in three years during 2012’s first six months. CGC is the nation’s first, largest and oldest executive placement organization.

From January through June, 51,529 planned job cuts were announced. In the aggregate, they represented a 260 percent increase over the 14,308 estimated layoffs during the first half of 2011. The employment picture to date this year is so grim that projected job reduction exceeds by 39 percent all total cuts in the tech sector recorded last year.

Among the most prominent corporate names slashing staff is Hewlett Packard. By the end of 2014, HP will eliminate 27,000 jobs (8 percent of its work force). Under the direction of failed California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, HP will reinvest the payroll savings into research and development.

The 2012 gutting comes on top of a miserable 2011 when Bank of America announced 30,000 cuts.  Large-scale layoffs also came from pharmaceutical firm Merck (13,000), Sam's Club (11,000), and Borders Group Inc. (11,000).

The worst may be yet to come. John Challenger, CEO of CGC, said:

"We may see more job cuts from the computer sector in the months ahead. While consumers and businesses are spending more on technology, the spending appears to favor a handful of companies. Those that are struggling to keep up with the rapidly changing trends and consumer tastes are shuffling workers to new projects or laying them off altogether."

Apparently, neither President Barack Obama nor presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney read the Wall Street Journal.

Both have made liberalizing non-immigrant worker visas, specifically the H-1B, a campaign priority. One preposterous proposal both support is stapling a green card to any university diploma earned by foreign-born students in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) field. With nearly 60,000 Chinese nationals alone currently enrolled in related study areas, the destructive impact automatic work authorization would have on unemployed Americans is incalculable.

A good example of how the H-1B visa system works in the real world was described in a 2011 lawsuit filed against Molina Healthcare Inc., which handles Medicaid and Medicare paperwork for the federal government, and Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp., which recruits H-1B workers in India. On January 14, 2010, one day after the Department of Labor approved Molina's application for 40 H-1B workers, Molina fired approximately 40 competent U.S. programmers, managers and analysts and hired 40 H-1B replacements imported by Cognizant from India.

James Otto, a lawyer representing the fired workers said:

"They [Molina executives] just wanted to fire the Americans and that's what happened. It wasn't a downsizing, it wasn't an outsourcing, it was bringing in foreigners onto American soil to replace American workers. That [was] the scheme and it's going on around the country." [Fired IT Workers File Lawsuit Claiming H-1B Workers Replaced Them, by Patrick Thibodeau, Computer World, July 11, 2011]

Despite all the campaign lip service Obama and Romney give to job creation, they willfully continue to overlook the obvious: there’s a surplus of American workers and each visa issued that includes a work permit is a threat to American employment.

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