Category Archives: Economics (Fair Trade)

Why Tax Breaks Won’t Stop High-Tech, H-1B Human Trafficking


By ilana mercer

“If the tax reform bill goes through, do you plan to increase your company’s capital investment?”

The question was posed to a sizeable group of CEOs at The Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council, in the presence of White House economic adviser Gary Cohn.

A pitiful show of hands failed to wipe the smirk off Mr. Cohn’s face. But at least the knaves were candid. Tax cuts for American big businesses are unlikely to move corporations to deploy that capital to raise the wages of the little guy, the worker.

The repatriation deal planned for fat-cat multinationals is particularly sweet. But don’t expect the “one-time tax rate of 12 percent on cash returns and five percent on non-cash for corporate money repatriated from overseas” to spur investment in the U.S.

Ideally, policymakers would prefer, as Business Insider quips, for companies to “reinvest in their core businesses, as this holds the most direct bearing on economic expansion.” All the president’s men certainly preach it.

But President Trump’s plan to grant the multinationals, tech titans included, a tax holiday, is more likely to see capital used to tinker with share prices. Repurchasing shares, a share buyback, will boost stock prices and benefit large shareholders.

Where a multinational also traffics in human labor, globally—as do the likes of Apple, Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, Qualcomm, etc.—a lower tax rate on their repatriated earnings is unlikely to redound to American computer programmers and engineers.

In the event these tax holidays encourage American high-tech to “reinvest in their core businesses”—it will not be an investment in employing American talent, which will continue to be replaced apace with foreign workers.

For accretion in employment among Americans to occur, the president would have to turn off the H-1B (and other visa) spigots. He has not.

Multinationals consider the world their labor market. High-tech traitors will continue to replace the worker bees of American STEM—science, technology, engineering and mathematics—with reliably mediocre, culturally aggressive, foreign workers.

And not necessarily because foreign workers are cheaper. Importing workers from India calls for enormous in-house bureaucracies to handle immigration applications and renewals, attendant litigation, and family importation and resettlement packages for tribes of new arrivals (also known as chain migrants). This isn’t necessarily cheaper than employing your local lass or lad.

The H-1B visa racket is, however, a taxpayer-subsidized, grant of government privilege. Duly, profits remain private property.  The costs of accommodating an annual human influx are socialized, borne by the bewildered community.

Moreover, with the exception of Indian companies, such as notorious H-1B hogs Infosys and Tata, visa holders in “marquee high-tech firms like Google and Microsoft” are not paid inferior wages. That’s against American labor and anti-discrimination law.

From the fact that an oversupply of high-tech workers has lowered wages for all techies, it does not follow that the (average) men and women imported are being exploited. Rather, it is the glut of average worker bees—their abundance—that has depressed wages for this particular, high-tech cohort.

So, please conservatives, quit crying croc over alleged exploitation, in the high-tech industry, of poor, foreign-born, “indentured slave-labor.” Misplacing compassion does not add force to the argument, for these are the facts:

Again, H-1B visa holders are not paid inferior wages; they’re getting a fabulous deal. Remember: Voluntary exchanges are by definition advantageous to their participants. They involve giving up something one values less (life in Calcutta) for something one values more (life in Seattle), and finding someone else with “opposite valuations”: An Amazon or Microsoft CEO who values people from Calculate more than kids from Kent.

Humor aside, ceteris paribus (all other things being equal), the H-1B visa holder forfeits his (unexceptional) labor for a salary many times the salary he’d get in India or China or Pakistan. If he were not incalculably better off than he was in his previous life, he would not have taken a calculated risk … in a plush American office or a well-capitalized US laboratory.

No, it’s the American STEM worker who is stiffed.

Perversely, companies such as Qualcomm, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft pair aggressive demands for more H-1B visas (those shortages, you know) with a ruthless downsizing of domestic workers—this worker deserves your tears, not his imported replacement.

The price of labor in the high-tech labor market is a function of a political, artificially created, ceaseless supply of immigrants. Prattle about the price at which American workers will do certain work is meaningless without a reference to borders and to the thing they bound—communities. Render asunder the quaint idea of borders—and the world is your labor market; communities be damned.

Realize that this ceaseless supply of labor is maintained not through peaceful market forces, but through the use of political power, wielded by wealthy men and women with access. At work here is their Brave New Borderless World, not the invisible hand we love.

Look deeper before maligning the Profit Motive, as the Left wants you to do. Power, more than profits, is what animates high-tech. Just imagine the thrill of seeing your idea of virtue turned into policy that affects the greatest economy in the world.

For tech superstars are true believers in the borderless multicultural state. These arrogant CEOs and their minions are social-justice warriors, first; giants of industry, second.

Already billionaires, tech execs derive greater pleasure from signaling their virtue (via immigration) than from turning a profit. They aim for stardom in Davos, Switzerland, not Des Moines, Iowa.

 

Ilana Mercer has been writing a paleolibertarian column since 1999, and is the author of The Trump Revolution: The Donald’s Creative Destruction Deconstructed (June, 2016) & Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa (2011). Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Gab & YouTube.

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State Censorship, Corporate Censorship: A Libertarian View


State Censorship, Corporate Censorship:
A Libertarian View
Sean Gabb
6th September 2017

Every age we have so far known has been one of censorship. This is not to say that opinion has been equally constrained in all times and places. Sometimes, as in the Soviet Union, it has been oppressive and omnipresent – even extending to an imposition of orthodoxy on the natural sciences. More often, it has been focussed on perceived criticisms of the established political and religious order. Sometimes, dissent has been permitted among the intellectual classes – especially when expressed in a language unknown to the people at large, and only punished when communicated to the people at large. Sometimes, a diversity of political orders has limited any particular censorship to an area of just a few square hundreds of miles. Sometimes it has been limited by a general belief in the right of free expression. But I can think of no time or place where publication has been absolutely unconstrained. Read more

Robert Henderson: A Case for Protection


Robert Henderson

As Sean has referred to my position on judicious protectionism here it is.

Economic history tell this story: a strong domestic economy is necessary for sustained economic growth and stability. The freer the trade with foreign states, the less stable and secure the domestic economy. It also tells us that the most effective general strategy to promote economic development in a country is to allow competition within the domestic market (where it does not create serious social discord) whilst regulating international trade through protectionist measures sufficient to maintain the general capacity of a country to point where it can maintain itself in an emergency such as war or blockade and be sovereign in most circumstances.This would require the judicious use of embargoes, tariffs and quotas to ensure that all the vital industries remain as a presence in Britain. Read more

‘Tariffs’, the ‘Lib Dems’ and (yes you’ve guessed it) the EU (Ronald Olden)


Ronald Olden

The subject of ‘Tariffs’ like many others, seems to have become something beyond which debate is no longer permissible. But we know from experience, that when any dogma arrives at that status of unchallengeable, the conventional wisdom is nearly always wrong. Usually because no discussion of the subject is permissible in ‘liberal’ company.

Until the early 1980s the ‘Left’ in Britain were not merely in favour of high selective tariffs, but demanded PHYSICAL import controls (but only, of course for unionised and nationalised industries). Anyone who said otherwise was a ‘Thatcherite’ bent on ‘destroying’ British Industry, or, unfashionably ‘Old’ Labour. Read more

The Curious Case Of America’s Waning Whites (Likely Britain’s, Too)


By ilana mercer

An “aging white population [is] speeding [up] diversity,” blared a headline on The Hill.

Once again, a Fake News outlet has confused cause and effect, giving readers the impression that the two trends—whites dying-out and minorities thriving—are spontaneous and strictly parallel.

The reverse is likely true. Corrected, The Hill headline should read:

Could speeding up diversity contribute to a decline in the white population? Read more

Globalism, a tired philosophy


By D. J. Webb

Something interesting is afoot. We appear to be witnessing the re-emergence of the nation-state. Although it is true that the Western powers have for decades followed anti-national policies, ones that have unpicked much of the cultural fabric of a historic nation-state, geopolitical realities are gradually forcing change.

An example of this can be seen in Angela Merkel’s policies. She may personally be the product of earlier decades that laid stress on geopolitical co-operation, the co-ordination of policy internationally, multi-culturalism and similar globalizing causes. This suggests that she would prefer the uncomplicated spirit of international co-operation of earlier decades. However, she operates against a background of US relative decline and the failure of the euro project. Germany has been pushed to the fore, willy-nilly, to manage the Greek debt crisis, the Syrian migrant problem and relations with Russia and the Ukraine. Read more

A Theoretically Incoherent Critique of the Free Market


Kevin Carson
A Theoretically Incoherent Critique of the Free Market

As a libertarian masochist who keeps up with the regular by-the-numbers attacks on libertarianism at Alternet and Salon, I almost dared to hope for something at least marginally better from Robert Kuttner at The American Prospect (“The Libertarian Delusion,” Winter 2015). I was disappointed.

“The stubborn appeal of the libertarian idea persists,” Kuttner writes, “despite mountains of evidence that the free market is neither efficient, nor fair, nor free from periodic catastrophe.”

But before you can evaluate what the “free market” can or cannot do, or how well it performs, you have to have a coherent idea of what the free market is. Kuttner never attempts an explicit definition; he just implicitly judges the free market by the performance of the capitalist system we actually live under. That’s an understandable approach, given that apologists for corporate capitalism universally couch their defense of the present system of power as a defense of “our free market system.” Read more

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