Saturday, March 14, 2009

Protectionism and America do not go together

Recently there has lot of news on policy makers talking about keeping foreigners out and provide job to local citizens. How unfortunate that politicians make such narrow statements without really understanding what made USA the country it is today. I wanted to discuss this topic in depth as I am also considered so called Foreigner who came to this country on an H1 Visa worked hard in a foreign country and then became a Permanent Resident. In fact after 10 years I can say I feel more American than the local citizen.

I feel terribly pained when people talk about these issues without really understanding that this actually aids the country in many way, let's look at some of things I can think of, I am sure there are many more reasons.

1) The first and most important is US retaining and attracting global talent, I am sure everyone agrees that the next century is going to be decided by brain power rather than muscle power, If US does not attract the best people from all over the world, someone else will do it and that is definitely a loss for US. For example recently UK has started a program for making it easy for professional to work, same is the case with Canada.

2) One survey I was reading was mentioning that almost 50% of the students in various top colleges are from outside the country, and I know for sure many of these people get the scholarship from the schools, well then what is happening is that US is training it's competitors, how will it sound if we say that Ford gets people, train then on the best technology and then these guys go and work for Toyota. Well that is exactly what is happening and we call it reverse brain drain.

3) People who come here to work on visa actually contribute to all the social network which is there in US like the Tax system, Social Security, Medicare. You name it and they contribute to everything out here, but many people go back after the stipulated time say 6 years and they do not take any benefits out of the system, so in a way they are contributing to our country.

4) Out of the top 5 companies getting people on H1b, 4 are Indian companies. SO this means that the restriction on the cap will affect only foreign companies anyway so these companies will stop sending people out, anyway these H1s never really displaced American workers.

Supporters say this law will help US born workers and stimulate the economy, but this is just plain wrong. The economy is not of fixed size in which more foreign-born workers necessarily mean fewer US workers. Productive foreign born workers can help create more jobs here. Keeping them out damages us.

Protectionist measures such as the ‘Buy America’ clause and the H-1B legislation suggested by the US government will not have any impact on other countries, but in fact, the measures will hurt the US economy.

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