The WSJ, Like Congress, Has a Short Memory

There are two reports, requested by Congress, that do a fairly good job in explaining the problems with the H-1B work visa:  One by the NRC in 2001, and another by the GAO in 2003. Yet I believe one could knock on doors all day on Capitol Hill and not find a single staffer who is aware of those highly-relevant studies. Congress, it seems, has no memory.

The Wall Street Journal seems to suffer from amnesia too, as evidenced by an editorial it ran recently, blasting Wisconsin governor Scott Walker for changing his mind on the immigration issue (basically from pro- to con-).  Now remember, folks, I’m a lifelong Democrat, and thus am not out to promote Walker here, but fair is fair — and the WSJ is not being fair at all.  Or consistent, which is my topic here.

The editorial uses as its main source the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP), “a pro-immigration think tank.” That latter description is right, but the grandiose title of the organization masks the fact that it is little more than a one-man operation consisting of Stuart Anderson.  Much more important, though, is that this same WSJ has roundly criticized Anderson’s past research.

And this was not ordinary research. It was of the “each H-1B creates x new jobs” genre, so popular in the current debate.  To my knowledge, Anderson was the pioneer in this type of research.  And the WSJ gave an excellent analysis of why Anderson was wrong. There were also some major flaws in Anderson’s study that the WSJ missed, but it certainly showed well why vested-interest funded research like that should not be taken at face value.  And yet the recent WSJ editorial does exactly that.

The rest of the editorial cites “the usual suspects,” studies done by researchers who either funded by vested interests or have an ideological motivation to support H-1B. And it yet again gets into the childish debate over which fields do or do not consistute STEM; I’ve repeatedly urged both sides of the H-1B debate to stick to the computer fields, which form the plurality of H-1B jobs.

As to Walker and his dramatic policy shift, I know almost nothing about the man, other than his prominent battle with state workers (on which I don’t know enough to take sides). But a friend of mine mentioned to me the other day that Walker had helped him get smoking banned at the Milwaukee Brewers stadium, Miller Park, in spite of pressure by Phillip Morris, then owner of Miller. Apparently Walker is not afraid to go up against Big Business. Should be interesting to watch.


7 thoughts on “The WSJ, Like Congress, Has a Short Memory

  1. It isn’t short memory nor is it “stupidity” like so many people who comment will say. It is simply playing dumb so you can vote like the big donors want you to. I constantly read columns where people use Pelosi’s “we have to vote for it to see what is in it” or accept their guys “regret” over voting for something only the corporations wanted.

    This is all a smokescreen. Congress and the President have enormous resources to fully understand what is in every bill – including the clauses nullifying things the public want and creating the loopholes the corporations want. Those against the bill have direct access to other Congressmen and the President’s office when they find the stink-bomb in the legislation. Nobody there is fooled, even if they play the part of the fool. Somebody in even the dumbest Congressman’s staff has gotten a call about the negative consequences of the bill.


  2. WSJ for fifty years and more was (*was*, past tense) known for being cold-bloodedly factual and informative in their articles. But somewhere around ten years ago, they got this H-1B issue stuck in their teeth, and they have always been unfair, inaccurate, rabid running dogs echoing every bizarre and obviously wrong argument they can find, and simply omitting any and all responses. Unfortunately that was a harbinger of things to come, and now their reputation is mostly shot on other topics as well, as their objectivity has not entirely vanished but is absent from much more of their content, not to mention their editorial page.

    There’s a mildly good response here:

    And as this response almost points out, Walker has so far *only* made a comment about favoring Americans. If WSJ’s position was valid, that immigration is a bonus because there *are* no Americans, they would not be so fevered in their arguments. Obviously they are LYING and know it. Until and unless Walker specifically calls for *ending* the H-1B program entirely – as that is the ONLY valid political position on it – nothing even resembling these attacks is rationally justified. I mean seriously, he barely *hints* at it, and look at the lies and vitriol sprayed in his direction.

    And thank goodness for Senator Sessions!

    WSJ’s Texas/”lump of labor” argument is unbelievably fatuous, but typical of how they treat the topic, they find some goofy theory and talk about that instead of basic market economics – if you increase the supply of a commodity for a given demand, the price goes down. Then there’s Gresham’s Law, if you want fancier arguments, which can apply to any commodity as well. And why would Texas recruit tech labor, because their total market is expanding, because they are importing not just workers BUT THE BUSINESSES THEY WORK IN whole and entire. I am NOT aware that the state of Texas has a policy *seeking* H-1Bs as H-1Bs nor can I see why they would, that I assume is yet another WSJ distortion.


  3. I am a Computer Science graduate from University of Texas and have over 20 years of experience in the IT industry. I’d like to thank you for your dedication and honest work about this issue that has been chronic problem in my opinion for past 15 years plus. I’d like to bring up a couple of points that I don’t see much attention given to in what great work I have seen from you.

    1. What happened to diversity? Why isn’t more attention given to uphold the law and make the workplace more diverse? I have had a hard time finding steady work in IT for the past three years and seriously considering drastic measures to get the hell out of Dodge. I have worked in many IT shops every place I have worked in are dominated by South Asians (Indians). Hindi is the official language of IT. Do we have measures in place in our immigration law to at least allow diverse group of H1b workers into our nation? Are we giving America people transfusion?

    2. I have also noticed this issue has grown outside of IT and has broaden its scope to all educated fields of study. I cannot think of a single field that is immune from flood of South Asian from Hindustan (India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan). What is this all of sudden infatuation with that particular region of the world? I am not making these remarks out of any type of dislike toward any particular race. I have many friends from Hindustan. But I honestly have experienced discrimination. This is another serious side effect of our sleazy H1/L1 laws. It has changed the workplace culture, values, performance metrics, even the communication parameters and language.

    3. Last but not least education has lost its value in our society. This is evident by ton of articles in many financial media that confirms that it does not pay to get an education anymore. In my opinion this more of a cost of education arbitrage than anything else. The cost of becoming Physician is less than 10k including preparation to pass the U.S board exam in India. The same education will cost an American well into several hundreds of thousands of dollars. That is why over 60% of U.S doctors are from Hindustan.

    I believe Hindustan lobbyist are as much to blame for this fiasco as our own corporate lobbyist. I wish I could find some hard facts on the flow of money from India to our politicians. I thank everyone for your thoughts and comments in advance. I am a naturalized American. I love America. It hurts me to see the middle class is being decimated by lies, deception that our media does a great job of brain washing average American to dig their own grave.


  4. In 2007 the Obama campaign produced a memo attacking Hillary Clinton as ‘the Senator from Punjab’, a joke she had made about herself, because she is tight with the Indian American community. Here’s the memo and Obama’s apology.

    Click to access memo1.pdf

    There’s a new book ‘Clinton Cash’ by Peter Schweizer examining the foreign entities who have made donations to the Clinton Foundation, or paid for speeches by her and Bill. It will be released on May 5. I don’t know if it has any relevant material.


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