What if I told you that not only should American workers be worried about a proliferation of government incentives and subsidies that encourage employers to relocate factories and jobs overseas in order to widen their profit margins but that they must also worry about government programs designed to bring foreign workers here to displace American workers from their current jobs? Outrageous you might say! Foul you might assert! Preposterous you might decry! But true?
And what if I told you that not only are foreign workers being recruited to come here to take American jobs at lower pay and hence reaping higher profits for the corporate titans and their companies but the very workers displaced by these programs are being forced to actually train their replacements before they are summarily dumped onto the waste pile of unemployed, underemployed, angry and frustrated left-outs in an ever shrinking work force? Fantasy you might utter! Orwellian you might intone! Treasonous you might allege!
Well I recently had a long conversation with an individual who has collected significant and copious amounts of labor data that validates both of the allegations made above. His name is James Otto and he is an attorney who has spent considerable time researching these developments under a government program known as H1B, a "Guest Worker" visa program run by the U.S. government. And if you think this sounds a tad conspiratorial you would be correct and for good reasons. This is not about illegal immigrants but reflects government programs designed to encourage foreign workers in the American economy and the extent to which either corruption of the concept or unintended consequences in its application may be distorting the original policy goals of the program.
The rather sordid history of the program has involved at various times the likes of former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao (who served under two George W. Bush administrations) and just happens to also be the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. None of these individuals have distinguished themselves as friends of workers and in fact all have profited handsomely from advancing the agendas of corporate America.
It is no secret among a broad cross-section of the American populace that the yawning chasm between rich and poor, a diminishing middle class, workers suffocating under stagnating wages, and the wildly disproportionate amount of wealth concentrated in the hands of the nation's wealthiest one percent is clear evidence of a dysfunctional democracy. Last year scholars from Princeton and Northwestern Universities released exhaustive research documenting the oligarchic imprint that now defines what used to be an exemplary representative democratic experiment.
Unionism is at historically diminished levels, wages and working conditions for American workers are under attack, we barely avoided a catastrophic economic depression engineered by the nation's largest financial institutions just seven years ago, the economic recovery masks the high levels of underemployment and discouraged workers who have given up hope altogether, and yet corporate profits continue to grow.
Special interests control our governmental, policy, and political systems. Billionaires brazenly move pieces around the political/economic chessboard as they position profits at the expense of people. Amidst the anger, frustration, and despair that is characterizing a mini-revolution as the 2016 Presidential election unfolds Democrats and Republicans seem to be able to agree on one thing: namely, that economic globalization through international trade agreements such as NAFTA and the Trans Pacific Partnership that shower enormous subsidies and incentives on multi-national corporate titans whose goal is to monopolize markets and consolidate greed is a preferred business model.
Policy and politics are struggling to comport with the wrath of the American people, hence we see an outpouring of emotion and support directed at candidates who decry politics as usual and flaunt their outsider bona fides. Whether this sentiment has staying power is uncertain but at this stage it is a powerful reality.
There has been considerable attention paid to what Ross Perot described in 1992 as the "giant sucking sound" of jobs fleeing the United States in the contemporary electoral cycle. Unfortunately protections for American workers too often are wrapped around xenophobia. Outsourcing of American jobs is under attack from both the right and left fringes of the two major political parties in an uneasy and uncomfortable alliance that is held together by the glue of distrust and cynicism that casts serious lack of confidence in our representative democracy.
Over the next several months I will be presenting a series of articles written and researched by Mr. Otto and myself as an attempt to exert pressure on Congress to thoroughly investigate the veracity and integrity of the H1B and foreign student worker programs. It is our intention that sufficient attention is brought to bear and the issue is introduced onto the Presidential issues agenda.
Scandalous is an adjective that is too easily cast about as we muddle around in a dysfunctional fog, flailing aimlessly at phantom goblins disguised as serious issues and sidetracked by a deliberate agenda meant to mask the emergence of two Americas, one designed to boost the already good fortunes of the 1 percent and the other relegating the masses to indentured servitude status. We must not allow the deliberately incremental processes so carefully designed in the construction of our government to be buried underneath the excesses of those who place profits above people. So buckle up and prepare for battle. The time for action to restore American exceptionalism by virtue of a strong and vibrant middle class is long overdue.