Washington D.C. - Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates told U.S. Senators today that the country is facing an "acute crisis" in its shortage of engineering professionals and those professionals with the right skills will be guaranteed a good paying job.
Gates declared, "The demand worldwide will guarantee them all jobs. Anyone in the United States, not only will they have a high paying job; they will create many around them. We are increasing our employment."
Gates' rare appearance before the Senate Health Education Labor and Pension Committee today urged passage of a bill titled "Strengthening American Competitiveness for the 21st Century." The committee only heard testimony from the Microsoft Chairman.
On a number of occasions during the hearing Gates cited the salary figure of $100,000 as what his company is paying engineering professionals.
Now, you can just look at the records of Microsoft's visa applications and it is pretty easy to see that Microsoft isn't paying $100,000 per year for most of its foreign employees. To put this into perspective, registered nurses in the Seattle area earn around $40/hour.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) came the closest to a clash with the Microsoft chairman. The senator expressed concern about the extent to which the information technology sector has engaged in outsourcing over the past few years, citing Bureau of Labor Statistics figures reporting that the U.S. tech sector lost 644,000 jobs between January 2001 and 2006.
"I think you would probably agree that many major corporations, including your own, if they can hire qualified labor, engineers, scientists in India or China for a fraction of the wages being paid in the U.S., they are going to go there," Sanders said.
Gates got adulation from folks like Teddy Kennedy and Orrin Hatch suitably reflecting the level of campaign contributions coming from Microsoft.
Now, the scam here of course, Gates makes his money in large part by diluting the value of other American's citizenship rights. The current value of each H-1b visa is around $100,000—and Gates pays a fraction of that for each one he uses. Adjusting the prices of these visas would be a step in the right direction, but strong measures are needed to address the existence of the predatory wealthy in the United States. Measures should include enactment of direct taxes on large estates like those of Mr. Gates.