Thursday, November 27, 2014

Noah Smith is a shill for corporate America

Noah Smith is supposed to be an economist. But judging by everything I've read by him, just like Stephen Moore, he is only a shill for corporate America.

This article What Tech-Worker Shortage? (at Bloomberg by Noah Smith -- November 26, 2014) makes a futile attempt to debunk this article The Tech Worker Shortage Doesn't Really Exist (at BusinessWeek by Josh Eidelson -- November 24, 2014).

Noah Smith's first absurdity: "Low-skilled workers will benefit if we let in skilled immigrants. The skilled immigrants will shop at the grocery stores, take cab rides and get their lawns landscaped, thus putting money into the pockets of the low-skilled American workers."

My response: Low-skilled workers would benefit much more if we don't let in skilled immigrants (tech skilled workers on H-1B visas) and pay them less than domestic skilled workers because domestic skilled workers would be earning more than skilled immigrants and put much more money into the economy.

Noah Smith's second absurdity: "Meanwhile, some native-born tech workers will be put out of a job, but since the number of jobs in the world isn’t fixed, they will find new jobs at new companies -- possibly for a bit less money than they earned before, but they will be OK. And with the creation of those new companies, the economy will grow."

My response: Native-born tech workers have not been OK. A great many went from middle-class to poor just to make the CEOs of tech companies much richer than they already were — and then some renounced their U.S. citizenship and moved to a foreign country (such as Singapore) to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

Further reading: The STEM Crisis Is a Myth (at IEEE Spectrum by Robert N. Charette -- August 30, 2013) and H-1B Guest Worker Fraud and the "Lacking Skills" Scam (at Daily Kos by Bud Meyers -- April 1, 2013*)

* I posted this on April Fool's Day. No pun was intended.


  1. George Lopez (Season 6 Episode 1)

    George Lopez's friend and co-worker, Ernie, was worried that their company was moving production to Mexico. But Ernie looked in to it and later told George not to worry because all the skilled workers in Mexico were already here in the U.S.

  2. Comments from Mark Thoma's blog:

    Darryl FKA Ron said in reply:

    I had high hopes for Noah Smith when he started blogging not long after the financial crisis. The timing appeared perfect for an open-minded heterodox economist to come onto the stage and tear down the old myths. Well perhaps it was the perfect time, but Noah was not nearly the man for the job. He is a newbie PhD and has no legs. He can be funny at times, but should never be taken seriously. Nonetheless, I would imagine he still has to do what he can to earn a living. I cannot imagine how he will ever pay off his student loans. Absurdity is the cornerstone of Noah's economic analysis. It is a geeks without borders kind of thing about worldly wonder. If you continue to attack Noah then people will think the worse of you, like a man that steals candy from small children or bullies cripples. "A man's greatness can be measured by his enemies” ~ Donn Piatt


    Fred C. Dobbs said in reply:

    (Let visa issuance continue unabated!)

    Satya Nadella, new head of Microsoft, attributes rise to cricket - Economic Times

    NEW YORK: India-born Satya Nadella was today named as the new CEO of 78 billion $tech giant Microsoft and he attributed his leadership capabilities to playing cricket. 46-year-old Nadella, who takes over as the third CEO of the Redmond-based firm, is the first Indian to head the world's largest software firm in its 38-year history, ending months of speculation as to who would succeed the retiring Steve Balmer. Nadella, along with Google's Sundar Pichai, were the contenders for the top job.

  3. never forget the US is a country run by the 1% for the 1%. ANYTHING that increases stock price is fair game. If that means outsourcing the entire middle class to China or India or Vietnam (oh btw, 50,000 some americans sacrificed their lives) all is well and good.

    As Warren Buffett said, there is a class war and his class won.

  4. Noah Smith -- Nov 28, 2014 -- You Want a Bigger Paycheck? Convince Me.

    "It’s wrong to think that Americans used to get paid a fair wage for what we produced, and are now getting cheated of our just desserts. In a globalized capitalist economy, you don’t get paid what you produce – in fact, you don’t produce anything without others to help. What you get paid is what you can convince other people to give you."

    My note: In the 1950s, 60s, and 70s we used to have strong labor unions to "convince" the job creators to pay us living wages -- but then they started busting the unions.

  5. This just kills me! in the 50's, 60's and 70's and extending thru part of the 80's, the american worker had no competition amongst the global labor work force ... it didn't exist... the only pool of workers US corporations could hire from were Americans. Why? because we were fighting communism ... why were we fighting communism? if you get right down to it, to protect the 1%... I would imagine the russian revolution struck the fear of god into many 1%'s living in the US at the time it happened ... the gilded age was still fresh in their minds

    At the time that Ronny Raygun was calling the Soviet Union the "Evil Empire" and it was clear the capitalists had won the cold war, US corporations were already striking deals in China to eviscerate their US workforce

    they have created their ultimate goal, a world in which labor has "NO BARGAINING POWER" period. That is why the US middle class is toast.

    thank you!

  6. Glassdoor Report: The Gender Pay Gap Revealed in Tech

  7. Timothy Taylor writes:

    "When the working-age population is growing, it stirs up the economy in a way that is often conducive to growth. With growth of the working-age population slowing, alternative ways of stirring up the economy and encouraging growth become even more important."

    My note: I'm not sure but, after reading his post, I think he's saying that adding to the population with increased birth rates and more immigration (and by raising the retirement age) will help increase the working-age population, thereby growing the economy and creating more jobs. We have really high unemployment (especially using the discontinued U-7 rate) and 92 million "not in the labor force" --- why? --- because we don't have enough working-age people within the population?

    Mike Thornton: It doesn’t matter how quickly your working age population is growing. What matters is, do they have decent jobs and the money needed to create more jobs? In the US, the current working age population is saddled with high student loan debt, which isn’t a job creator. And with soaring income injustice, there is less for the little guy and more for those who already have too much. If the many have less and the few have more, that won’t create jobs in the amount necessary.

    And this sentence is nonsense: "A number of steps could be taken to encourage a larger share of these workers to remain in the workforce, at least part time."

    Just because grandpa has a couple extra dollars in his pocket, it doesn’t mean he’s going to run out and buy a new Corvette. He’s more likely to save it for a rainy day. And if the wealthy paid more in taxes, or at least in SS taxes, then grandpa could earn more on SS and not have to take a job from a younger person.

    I don’t like reading people like that since it’s the same old (at least over the past 35 years) that all economic issues are caused by the little guy not giving enough, and yet there is no talk of the mega bucks doing anything different. His article is BS, I say Smile.