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The Yin and Yang of Hour of Code & Immigration Reform 220

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-this-job dept.
theodp writes "The weeklong Hour of Code kicks off tomorrow, with Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates doing their part to address a declared nationwide CS crisis by ostensibly teaching the nation's schoolchildren how to code. But a recent NY Times Op-Ed by economist Paul Collier criticizing Zuckerberg's FWD.us PAC as self-serving advocacy (echoing earlier criticism) serves as a reminder that Zuckerberg and Gates' Code.org and Hour of Code involvement is the Yin to their H-1B visa lobbying Yang. The two efforts have been inextricably linked together for Congress, if not for the public. And while Zuckerberg argues it's 'the right thing to do', Collier argues that there are also downsides to the tech giants' plans to shift more bright, young, enterprising people from the poorest countries to the richest. 'An open door for the talented would help Facebook's bottom line,' Collier concludes, 'but not the bottom billion.'"
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The Yin and Yang of Hour of Code & Immigration Reform

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  • Parasites (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 08, 2013 @11:10PM (#45636745)

    Uses complex offshore shell companies in order to not pay taxes to fund roads, schools, community, civilization.
    Wont train Americans (or anyone else) in IT, actively seeking to import labor again that someone else paid for their education

    how is this company even got a voice in America? in the old days they would be run out of town or worse

    today ? fuck you you i got mine and there is nothing you can do to stop me

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ShanghaiBill (739463)

      Uses complex offshore shell companies in order to not pay taxes to fund roads, schools, community, civilization.

      They pay plenty of taxes, including payroll taxes, sales taxes, and taxes on dividends and capital gains paid by their shareholders. They only avoid income tax. But corporate income tax comes out of the pockets of some combination of their employees, customers, and shareholders. If you think employees should pay more, then raise payroll taxes. If you think customers should pay more, then raise sales taxes. If you think shareholders should pay more then raise taxes on dividends and capital gains. Any o

      • They pay plenty of taxes ...

        How did you determine it's "plenty", by noting that they pay more in the way of taxes than you do? "Plenty" should be in proportion to income.

        But corporate income tax comes out of the pockets of some combination of their employees, customers, and shareholders.

        "Some combination" leaves a lot of latitude and the biggest question of all unanswered. You did however make the observation that there's no such thing as a free lunch. Let me add that the sun rises in the east and that water is wet. They're all truisms, but so obviously true as to make the mention of them trite.

        If you think customers should pay more, then raise sales taxes. If you think shareholders should pay more then raise taxes on dividends and capital gains.

        I'll vote for the last. Taxing "long term" (greater than

        • by DarkOx (621550)

          I'll vote for the last. Taxing "long term" (greater than 1 year is long term?) capital gains at a a max marginal rate of 15%, even if you're a billionaire, while middle class schnooks pay a higher marginal rate on their earned income (IRS term), is obscene. Have you noticed the vast political movement to change that? Or that the average person in the street, fed "information" by the sycophantic media, are even aware of such an absurd disparity?

          The problem here is there are people who are middle class and people who think they are middle class. You are middle class if you have a professional job or are a tradesmen with some savings and the ability to make choices. You quit and move to a different city because you want to for example. If you nothing but debts and your credit is maxed out and would be looking at foreclosure after a few months if you lose a job, you are not middle class. I don't care how big your McMansion is or have many SUVs yo

          • The actual middle class has savings in investments and that 15% tax rates helps them lots.

            The vast majority of middle class investments are in IRA's and 401k's, where they should be, and where you don't pay taxes on them until you retire anyway. Very few retirees pay above a 15% tax rate, so the limit on capitals gains rates doesn't help them at all.

            Maybe it should be 15% on the first 100K and go up from there but just blanket raising the capital gains would be bad for middle class America.

            That's the same idea as the progressive rates on other forms of income. Ergo, there is no need to do anything other than eliminate the 15% ceiling on capital gains rates. Even Reagan thought that was a good idea, and signed into law a bill that did t

        • All Taxes are regressive. ALWAYS. Liberals always talk about "equity" of taxes, but they never realize that taxes themselves are regressive. The rich can always avoid taxes via their wealth. The poor can never avoid taxes. Targeting the rich at their wealth, does nothing but hurt those that it is designed to help.

          If you want to punish the successful, reward failure, you're going to have a really backwards country. And since you are a liberal, I doubt you'll ever understand this simple little truth.

          You want

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by DigiShaman (671371)

      The new America: Crushing the middle class, consolidating wealth to the 0.25% of the wealthy, and importing cheap labor and/or outsourcing work. America is starting to become the new Mexico where we have a new have and have-not society. The middle-class is a threat to those in power and wanting to stay in power. This nation is fucked. And we haven't even talked about soon-to-be hyper inflation spurned by insolvency. But that's ok right? Hyper inflation will just create an even larger disparity in wealthy. B

    • Wont train Americans (or anyone else) in IT

      What mindless babble is this? It's posted in the VERY STORY about the "hour of code" designed to train young people everywhere (which includes Amercia!) how to code!

      As for not paying anything - the U.S. has the highest corporate tax rate on earth. Lots of companies (and people for that matter) don't mind paying taxes but hate being robbed. Can you blame them? Well I know YOU can, but could anyone reasonable?

      • It's posted in the VERY STORY about the "hour of code" designed to train young people everywhere (which includes Amercia!) how to code!

        A week long "hour of code" just puts a positive spin on their overall program, which focuses mostly on things like the H-1B program. If you're fooled by that propaganda effort, then I've got a bridge to sell you.

        • We need to give MORE MONEY to really, really, really rich people, so they can do a few charities for AIDS and have after school programs for kids to play with code.

          Then we bend over and let them import labor from people who were college educated where it was subsidized getting paid less than an American to do a job. Did they mention how we pay for our own educations now?

      • As for not paying anything - the U.S. has the highest corporate tax rate on earth.
        Except for being completely wrong in the real world where most of the Fortune 500 are paying around 5% -- good points there.

        Lots of companies (and people for that matter) don't mind paying taxes but hate being robbed. Can you blame them? Well I know YOU can, but could anyone reasonable?

        I'm sorry, I'm too busy sending out resumes and keeping the lights on for my kids while my wife and I both work full time temp jobs without be

    • by Trepidity (597)

      how is this company even got a voice in America? in the old days they would be run out of town or worse

      Nah, in the old days people would've tried to run them out of town, but they would've hired some private thugs (Pinkertons, etc.) to run the other people out of town instead.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      " in the old days they would be run out of town or worse"

      In which alternate universe were those "old days"?

      In the real old days, companies hired Pinkertons etc to kill laborers who resisted them, and had little problem importing coolie labor.

      • In which alternate universe were those "old days"?

        But, as the AC immediately above you pointed out, at least people would have tried to run them out of town. Or, at the very least, people would have wanted to run them out of town, and thought they deserved it.

        Compare that to today where most people don't think they should be run out of town. Talk about effective brainwashing! At least most people back then understood economic reality, despite supposedly being less educated. Maybe the absence of TV, not to mention the existence of an actual opposition press

    • by Xest (935314)

      Why is it the job of corporations to train people?

      I've always been willing to forge my own path to learning, I learn what I want to learn and I'm willing to dedicate my time and money to doing so.

      All the greatest developers I've known are those who have a passion for learning, and they keep doing so, they never stop. If someone has this entitlement attitude where industry owns them training then they don't have that trait, sure you could send them on a training course for this, that, and the other, but if t

  • by cervesaebraciator (2352888) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @11:11PM (#45636753)
    Consider the interests of the would-be reformer.
    • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @11:37PM (#45636849) Journal

      Consider the interests of the would-be reformer

      Apparently that economist, Mr. Paul Collier, doesn't even have any braincell to think.

      From the TFA:

      Collier argues that there are also downsides to the tech giants' plans to shift more bright, young, enterprising people from the poorest countries to the richest

      MOST of those young, bright and enterprising people from the POOREST COUNTRIES won't get ANY chance to tap on their potential in their own country, and I am speaking as someone who had been through exactly that scenario.

      When I came out of China, back in the early 1970's, China was in a VERY TERRIBLE STATE.

      Millions of ordinary citizens had died of hunger.

      Social upheaval were everywhere - goons waving that little red book were ransacking/looting people's houses they accused of "anti-revolutionary".

      If I WERE to stay in China, I had only two choices: Either joined those goons in doing all the WRONG THINGS they had been doing, or to stay absolutely low key, go into a remote village somewhere, and work as a farm hand.

      But I got out of China and ended up in America.

      In America, I got to further my education (I already had high school education back in China), I got to learn many things from many very brainy people who came to America from all over the world, I got the chance to participate in the American dream, I got to start my own companies, I got to sell my companies for huge profit and re-invest the monies into even more startups.

      I could NEVER do any of that had I stuck in China.

      Nowadays I am helping many young, bright and very enterprising people in poor countries in Asia, Africa and South America, by either inviting them to become my co-workers in the companies that I own (full or part), or I invest in their startups.

      That Mr. Paul Collier is nothing but a talking head.

      Most of the poor countries in the world simply do not have the infrastructure to allow those young, bright and enterprising people to do what they can do.

      Most of the governments in those poor countries are mired in unbelievably mountains of bureaucratic red tapes, red tapes that do nothing but making the lives of their own citizens even that much more miserable.

      I came from one of those poor countries, I know what was/is happening.

      I am not saying that Bill Gates and/or Mark Zuckerberg are right to do whatever they do, but at least they are offering many young, bright and enterprising people from poor countries A CHANCE TO PROVE THEIR WORTH TO THE WORLD, and also to themselves.

      As for Mr. Paul Collier, other than being a talking head, what did/does he do to help out those young, bright and enterprising people in the poorest countries in the world ?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 08, 2013 @11:57PM (#45636927)

        Nowadays I am helping many young, bright and very enterprising people in poor countries in Asia, Africa and South America, by either inviting them to become my co-workers in the companies that I own (full or part), or I invest in their startups.

        Are you helping them IN the poor countries in Asia, Africa, and South America -- or are you bringing them to America and "helping" them here?

        If all you ever do is bring people here, how the hell are the poor countries ever going to become anything other than poor? Build things THERE. Don't bring them here, to take opportunities from American citizens. Yeah, yeah, you have your little pity stories to tell about poverty and oppression, and I'm sure it's all true. But I care about that, and your "young, bright, and very enterprising people" from all over the world, to the exact same extent you care about anyone in America -- not at all.

        The American Dream was supposed to be FOR Americans. Make your own damn dreams. No, seriously -- make all those other countries WORTH staying in, and living in, and being in. Or can you only have your dreams here in America, with the infrastructure paid for by Americans, with the legal systems built and maintained and paid for by Americans, with the society and ideals fought and paid and died for by Americans?

        • by king neckbeard (1801738) on Monday December 09, 2013 @12:36AM (#45637063)
          Immigrants are an integral part of the American Dream and much of the success America has seen. Also, having success in the US doesn't mean that they can't come back at some point and also try to help their native country.
          • Great.

            I'm a native of America and I'd like this opportunity too!

            All I have to do is pretend I won't complain that they pay me a third the standard, and that they can deport me at any time based on a whim.

            Anyone in India willing to sell their identity to me?

        • by artor3 (1344997) on Monday December 09, 2013 @01:51AM (#45637319)

          Oh for fuck's safe, "The American Dream was supposed to be FOR Americans"?? Which Americans were those? Are the Irish and Italians and Jews allowed to prosper, or is success only for the WASPs? Anyone who's willing to follow our laws and pay their taxes should be welcome. They certainly contribute more than the tax-dodging, money-laundering elite.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 09, 2013 @12:55AM (#45637145)

        The issue isn't whether the best and the brightest from overseas should be able to fill the gaps in the demand for skilled workers. The issue is whether they should be doing it through the flawed H1-B program. If Zuckerberg and Gates were arguing for a streamlined path to citizenship or even green cards for workers with skills that are at a shortage in the US, that would be a different matter. But the H1-B allows companies to pay 60%-70% of what they would pay a citizen for 3-6 years before they get sent home.

        If the workers could become US citizens, they could build their lives here and be active members of the community invested in our collective future. But the tech giants want disposable talent to use and send home. It's short-sighted and will ensure that we have a lot more foreign competition as skilled talent leaves at the end of their H1-Bs and build competing technology in their home countries.

    • by andy1307 (656570)
      Zuckerberg is worth 19 billion [forbes.com]. Assuming facebook saves 50k$ per year with every H1B hire...assuming zero costs for the hire...and assuming all of this is going straight into Zuckerberg's pocket, that's still chump change...
      • You're confusing the supposed market value of Zuck's stock with FB's income. FB has a P/E of 123. If they don't reduce that, somebody may eventually wake up and issue a lot of sell orders for FB. Besides, there's the principle of the thing. Even if Zuck didn't personally like the idea (admittedly a very big "if"), the Wall Street buys will derate your stock if you're not doing everything possible to screw your American employees.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 08, 2013 @11:15PM (#45636771)

    They just don't want to play American wages.

  • by GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) on Sunday December 08, 2013 @11:27PM (#45636811)
    I'm just getting off about ten years of unemployment as a software engineer. I'm competent, I graduated from Carnegie Mellon University, and my major pass time at home is programming. For whatever reason I couldn't seem to find a job. I put out thousands of resumes on monster and Dice, but had less than ten interviews in ten years. Thankfully I just recently got a job doing hardware. It is just weird what this world can do to you. No matter how much talent you have, or how hard you work, if no one wants to give you a chance, the world is a rough place. I think lots of people are seeing this today with the lack of jobs for even talented individuals.

    Anyway, that is my point. There are plenty of talented and educated people in this country. The tech companies just don't want to pay a fair wage in a regular display of union busting. I know my story might be on the edge of a bellcurve, but I'm just saying I understand personally what it is like to never get a chance at a job. If you don't watch, it can grind into your very self worth.
    • That is weird. Maybe you were asking for too much or your specific area of expertise is obsolete. I say that because I don't see many people having that much trouble finding a programmer job. The programmer market is still very on the side of offer. Outsourcing and H-1B are surely pushing into the other direction but we are not quite there yet.
    • by whoever57 (658626)
      Perhaps you should pay for a background check on yourself -- perhaps there is someone with a dubious history with the same name as you?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm just getting off about ten years of unemployment as a software engineer.

      How closely were your loss of your job and subsequent inability to get another one correlated with your claims of God talking to you? http://www.goodnewsjim.com/ [goodnewsjim.com]

      • How closely were your loss of your job and subsequent inability to get another one correlated with your claims of God talking to you?

        The irony is very amusing, all the more for how so many are oblivious to it. Many of those who join Zuck and Bill in being pro-H1-B visa program, liken those who are opposed to the Know-Nothings. Uh, folks, read your history - the Know-Nothings were primarily anti-Catholic. Meanwhile this sort of bigotry, where someone is made fun of for having religious beliefs, passes almost entirely without comment.

        • by Xest (935314) on Monday December 09, 2013 @10:41AM (#45639797)

          He's not making fun of him for having religious beliefs, he's making fun of him for being completely oblivious to the fact that maybe he's unemployable because he's suffering delusions.

          It's one thing to believe in some god, I think most people have no problem with that. It's not my cup of tea, but each to there own. However, it's a whole other thing to believe he speaks to you. That requires you to hear voices in your head. That requires you to be actually clinically insane.

          People who are clinically insane tend not to be the best workers.

          You'd have had a point if you'd instead talked about the fact we shouldn't joke about people who have mental health issues, then you'd be right.

    • by csumpi (2258986) on Monday December 09, 2013 @02:04AM (#45637353)
      OK, I'll bite No way you go 10 years unemployed as a software engineer in the US. Unless:

      a. you are lazy
      b. you are incompetent
      c. you printed the website you have in your sig on your resume

      But most likely, it's just all BS.
      • by Tablizer (95088)

        You have to remember, companies would rather have an H1B with marginal qualifications rather than a citizen with marginal qualifications. I've seen programmers struggle because they have poor people skills even though they take "people classes". Should they just change careers?

      • Would you care to make an argument instead of a series of assertions? Otherwise your post is most likely BS.

        • by Xest (935314)

          I'll make an argument, software development is a profession with logic at it's core. It's inherent in just about everything you do as a developer.

          You hence need to be capable of logical thinking that is to be able to make logical deductions.

          When you get a job as a developer you'll hence most likely be working with very logical people, people who can deduce when your arguments and ideas don't make sense, and will expect you to back down if you can't logically defend your claim.

          GoodNewsJim.com is probably one

  • CS degrees come with skill gaps and BS / BA is to much class room time.

    also IT jobs do not need CS much less 4 years pure class room

    • Credential inflation coupled with supply and demand in the market place. If you have more people looking for a job with CS degrees than positions available as an IT administrator, then a CS is a *requirement* as part of the criteria of not having your resume filtered out. HR has to cut the stack somewhere, or so that's their rational. And yes, a CS degree isn't needed to be an excellent IT administrator. Again, just required to get an interview.

    • CS degrees come with skill gaps and BS / BA is to much class room time.

      You mean the type of CS degrees that are a primary justification for H-1B's?

  • by Required Snark (1702878) on Monday December 09, 2013 @12:04AM (#45636949)
    The goal is to make every job in the US blue collar with no benefits. This is not hyperbole or metaphor.

    I have friend with decades of film production experience and he is de facto unemployable. The jobs are outsourced, or filled by 1H-B holders. He can't find work outside the film industry because he is "overqualified". When he applies for retail like Target or Starbucks, they don't want him because younger workers are easier to push around and abuse.

    If you think that you are immune because you are "a professional", just wait. Get 10 or 15 years of experience and watch that become the reason that you won't be hired.

    Meanwhile, Wall Street hits new highs on a regular basis. There is a direct causal relationship going on here. The wealth going to the rich is being siphoned from the rest of society. If things don't change the US will have a economic/social structure like the Spanish speaking part of the Americas. Don't be surprised when this happens, you had plenty of warning.

    • by swillden (191260)

      If you think that you are immune because you are "a professional", just wait. Get 10 or 15 years of experience and watch that become the reason that you won't be hired.

      Hmm. I have 26 years of experience. How much longer do I need to wait? I work with a couple of guys who've been professional programmers for nearly 40 years. The industry had better hurry up and ruin them pretty quickly, or they'll retire first.

    • Those guys apparently offer better ROI than your friend. If your friend worked for H1B money then he might have a job. Also, I call B.S. on not being able to get a job at Starbucks or Target. I regularly see older folks working in those positions. Maybe he should parlay his film experience and get a job at a specialty camera store? Or hell, somewhere like Fry's or Best Buy?
  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Monday December 09, 2013 @12:11AM (#45636969)

    The need four-year degree is the issue as well.

    Most community colleges don't offer them

    Lot's of IT / tech classes are offed non degree and some should be able to take classes and get some for doing that with out having to commit to the full degree time table.

    Also the college Tenure system leads to people with little to no real IT skills teaching the classes VS community / tech schools with real pros teaching.

  • basic health care plan for all you must pay an added H1B tax.

  • remove health benefits from jobs and that will help with hiring older people.

    • Or allow employers to offer insurance that only pays out what Medicare doesn't cover first, for employes who are covered by Medicare. If Medicare is on the hook first then the expected health expenditures of an older employee (from the insurer's point of view) shouldn't be that out-of-whack compared to younger employees.
  • Agreed both Billgates and Zuckererg are great businessmen, but it is pushing it a bit too hard and too far to make them "exemplified coders", because on both of these characters resides charges (or rumors) of "having built an empire by taking other's codes". So I wonder what kind of good example that would be, "yeah son, steal or buy your friend's code, market it and be rich" :p, sure thing if you want to make your kid into a business man, bad if you want to have a bright kid just for the sake of brag rig
    • by x0ra (1249540)
      Do you realize that some people might want to get a piece of the cake ? USA used to be a land of opportunities, it has merely became a land of privileges for those rightly born. I will not say that US workers are lazy, but if there is someone equally competent want it hard, there is barely anything you can do but toughen and get better. I know, this is pretty damn difficult. Asking question about oneself, accepting that you are not the best for a task is hard, but this is what make you stronger. If you want
      • by x0ra (1249540)

        Btw, yes, I am an immigrant in North America, coming from the old' Europe, currently in Canada, but YES, I *am* lurking hard to move south within the next 5 years. And YES, if that mean being a whore to a big tech company, I WILL be, without any remorse.

        Looking back, I should probably have moved to the US first, but well... life...

        • by nbauman (624611)

          I don't think you're as smart as you think you are. And I don't think you understand the U.S.

          It's a lot easier to get an undergraduate degree in most of Europe.

          In the U.S., paying for a degree costs as much as the mortgage on a house. There are a lot of smart kids working at McDonald's, and it's pretty hard to earn college tuition at McDonald's.

          I usually hear that "toughen up and get better" line from rich conservative hypocrites whose parents handed it all to them.

  • The stupidest fucking public service ad I ever saw was the Hour of Code video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FC5FbmsH4fw [youtube.com] on YouTube that Google linked to today on its home page.

    It's full of women, minorities, older people, and every affirmative action group that has a lobby or a voting block behind it (with a few prominent product placements).

    But it doesn't tell you anything about what code is. (Nor does http://csedweek.org/ [csedweek.org])

    There's nothing in here that would actually appeal to some kid who would be intere

  • Attracting the best talent is good for an organization. The U.S. is an organization. If we suppose "increasing GDP per capita" is a worthwhile goal, then bringing in a bunch of highly productive people isn't a bad way to go about it. Now, "guy who does phone tech support" may not qualify, but "guy who earned a STEM Ph.D. or M.D. at a U.S. university" almost surely does. Those folks should be automatically fast-tracked for citizenship if it's something they're interested in.
    • by nbauman (624611)

      Maybe you should make it easy for the "guy who does phone tech support" to go to college for an undergraduate and even a STEM Ph.D or M.D. degree, rather than having to pay $20,000 a year for 4 years.

      He might turn out to be smarter than you think.

      Many of the European countries where these geniuses are coming from have free university education (with expenses).

      And before you tell me that the guy who does phone tech support could go to a community college part time, name a couple of Ph.Ds or M.D.s who graduat

      • I mentioned "guy who does phone tech support" as an example of someone we might not want to fast-track for citizenship. That is to say, if all the tech companies want to do is import "grunts" then those folks might not do much to increase the average productivity of "people living and working in the United States". The case for allowing unlimited immigration of less-than-superlatively-productive folks isn't quite as strong as the case for allowing unlimited immigration of superlatively-productive folks, s
    • guy who earned a STEM Ph.D. or M.D. at a U.S. university

      Very few H-1B's have Ph.D.'s, and the program has nothing to do with M.D.'s.

  • Yes! Let's teach all the kids to be programmers! Who needs butchers, bakers, and candlestick makers? With a whole nation of programmers, Obamacare is just a sampling of the good things to come.

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