By Joe Guzzardi
July 23, 2014
Were it not for the downed Malaysian plane, Russia’s probable involvement in the crisis, the war in Israel, ISIS terrorists conquering Iraq, and the Central American invasion at the southern border, Microsoft’s laying off 18,000 employees would have dominated the national news. As it is, the story is barely a footnote.
The firings come when, despite the deceptive Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly reports, the employment market is awful. The June BLS data, hailed by Wall Street as strong because it added 288,000 jobs and pegged unemployment at 6.1 percent, misleads in every crucial classification. In June, U-6 unemployment stood at 12.4 percent; for the third consecutive month, the civilian labor force participation rate was 62.8 percent. During 2014, the employment-population ratio, at 59.0 percent, has risen steadily.
Once officially given their pink slips, the lucky among the 18,000 will enter the ranks of involuntary part time workers whose numbers increased by 275,000 in June to 7.5 million. The unlucky will eventually join the 3.5 million long term unemployed, a snake pit from which there’s no easy exit.
Microsoft’s 18,000 firings is only a fraction of sad story. Thousands more contract workers or what Microsoft refers to as “external staff” will also lose their jobs. Analysts calculate that Microsoft has about 75,000 external staffers.
What may be the story’s most remarkable sub-plot is that Microsoft’s 14 percent cut of its full time work force comes directly on the heels of Silicon Valley’s 18-months of intensive lobbying for more foreign-born, cheap labor. Mark Zuckerberg led the comprehensive immigration reform charge on Congress.
Just a few days before the mass firings, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his fellow billionaires Shelton Adelson and Warren Buffet co-authored a New York Times editorial titled “Break the Immigration Impasse.” The three globalists pleaded with Congress to pass last year’s bloated Senate bill which would more than double within a decade the numbers of overseas workers coming to the U.S.
The frequently echoed labor shortage lie dates back to at least 2007 when Gates implored the Senate to eliminate the H-1B visa cap, then set at 65,000, and allow for “an infinite number” of overseas workers. In 2008, Gates reiterated his demand for more visas when, testifying to the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Gates claimed Microsoft had jobs “going begging.”
Microsoft isn’t the only corporate villain. Earlier this year, Hewlett-Packard announced plans to fire 50,000 people; Google will let 4,000 go from its Motorola Mobility subsidiary. Yet more than 100,000 American programmers are unemployed. The total grows to about 500,000 when American programmers who are underemployed or working in other jobs because they cannot find a position in their profession are included.
American workers’ displacement isn’t about job shortages of which there are obviously none, but about wages. No less an authority than Alan Greenspan, former Federal Reserve Bank confirmed in 2007 that he advocated boosting the number of so called skilled immigrants entering the United States to “suppress” their U.S. counterparts’ wages which he considered “too high.”
Despite the huge aggregate lay off total and the confirmed glut of qualified American workers, don’t count on Silicon Valley’s lobbying for more cheap labor to end. Big corporations still have plenty of influence money. With it, comes Congress’s rapt attention.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1987. Contact him at [email protected]