Hmm. Companies hire H1Bs to pay them less.

And in other news, George W. Bush listens to country music.H1Bs are the worst thing that has happened to the computer industry, aside from all of the massive outsourcing. When you can’t outsource, you drag an indentured servant over here from someplace else and pay him 60% of what you paid his predecessor.

H1B sysadmins make for $17K a year less than U.S.-born sysadmins (such as me). This could explain the dearth of sysadmin-type jobs out there. I had a recruiter contact me this week about a job for an experienced Unix sysadmin. At best I’m a marginal candidate for the job. When he told me the pay, I couldn’t believe it. It was easily $13K a year less than I would have expected, given the qualifications. It’s a step up for me–a small one–but I doubted that someone who was really a good fit for the job would actually take that little.

We’ll see if that job ends up going to an H1B. I suspect it will.

I’ve been contacted for a number of jobs this past week that pay $30,000 a year. No benefits. I told the last guy–obviously an H1B himself–that you can’t live in St. Louis on what he was offering. Well, if you can find an apartment next door to a crackhouse and you drive a 1991 Honda Civic I suppose you can… But I did the math. Adjusted for inflation, that’s less than I made at my first job coming out of college at age 22.

So CEOs slash salary costs and pocket huge bonuses while they take a wrecking ball to the local economy. But they also destroy productivity. I have to deal with a lot of people in my day-to-day job whose first language obviously isn’t English, and it can be hard sometimes. There are an awful lot of problems that come across my desk that literally take 30 seconds to fix. I know this, my boss knows this, and my two coworkers know this. But there are times when I have to read the description of the problem about 12 times before I finally figure out what the problem is and what the writer wanted me to do about it. And I might have to bug one of the other guys to read it to confirm my interpretation. So that 30-second problem can easily balloon into a monster that consumed half a man-hour.

Of course, some genius will take that out of context and use it to argue that U.S.-born workers are lazy, unproductive, and overpaid.

Normally, politicians have no control over the economy. But I think this next crash, when it comes, will be made in Washington.

What economic crash? Let’s think about it. We’ve encouraged a negative savings rate to artificially fuel a sputtering economy, so people are strung out to the point that when gas prices jump 50 cents it’s an economic hardship. Add a 15% cut in salary (whether it happens through a true salary cut or if it happens over the course of several years of raises not keeping pace with inflation) and let’s see what happens. People can’t afford their lifestyles now. Make ’em absorb a 15% cut in salary and see what happens. Oh, and make the bankruptcy laws more difficult while you’re at it.

Yeah, they got smart fellas in Washington. Yee haw.

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