Many of you who have read today’s New York Times editorial must be puzzled at my term outrageous in the title of my post here. “Isn’t the Times finally stepping up to the plate and calling out the tech industry on the H-1B sham?”, you might ask me.
Well, no. There are two big problems. Some of you will have already guessed what the first problem is — the Times again gives the mainstream tech industry, the “Intels,” a pass, claiming the abuse is only among the IT services firms (ITSFs), the “Infosyses.” (And yes, I am including the American ITSFs as Infosyses.) That is incorrect, as I’ve shown before.
But what is the second problem with this editorial? It says the abuses of H-1B stem from loopholes in the law, which is true, but says the loophole enabling use of H-1Bs as cheap labor is that U.S. firms can legally replace American workers by H-1Bs supplied by ITSFs. Yes, the law allows such replacement, but that does NOT explain why this supplies cheap labor. The key question is, Why is it legal for the ITSFs to underpay their H-1Bs?
I fear that even the sharpest among you readers will not be able to answer that question. This is unfortunate, as I have harped on it so often: AGE. The H-1Bs supplied to Disney, SCE etc. are cheaper primarily because they are much younger than the Americans they replaced. And that enables the mainstream firms to hire cheap foreign labor too.
The issue of Disney et al hiring “rented” H-1Bs is secondary. As the Times concedes, the ITSFs are complying with the law, and exploiting loopholes, which must be plugged. WHICH loopholes? WHY are the H-1Bs so much cheaper? The Times does not answer this central question, and apparently doesn’t realize they’ve missed the boat.
Why can’t the nation’s foremost newspaper see this basic flaw in their analysis? One reason is that all that publicity about Disney has obscured the real issues.