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BRAINPOWER – FOREIGN & DOMESTIC

August 8, 2019

Professor Kennedy in a recent blog pointed out that visa and immigration snafus provided by our politicians are having an adverse effect on our GDP, citing one authority to the effect that such loss of brainpower from afar and the innovation foreign PhDs provide to our Silicon Valleys where innovation may account for as much as half of our gross domestic product. If such an estimated drag on our economic growth or anything near it can be substantiated, then we do indeed have a new emergency to add to our current list of emergencies for solution by a brainless president and do nothing policymakers, who seem to be more interested in playing political games than governing.  I responded to her blog, slightly edited, as follows.

We are beginning to pay a price for our racism and failure to fund education. We have this international search for brainpower turned around. Student debt is also beginning to negatively affect GDP, new housing starts, population growth, middle aged stay-at-homes etc. etc. etc. We should be paying and otherwise subsidizing students to go to school, especially those with interests and abilities related to STEM disciplines, but humanities at well. We can grow our own brainpower for the Silicon Valleys in our country, and they won’t need visas, though we should keep robust visa programs intact, as will be suggested later herein.

On the negative side, what if we educate these PHDs and other such students with taxpayer dollars and some of them go to overseas Silicons due to our racism and Bronze Age (and now institutional) policies of wage and wealth inequality? We will still need enlightened visa rules and regulations to ensure that foreign PhDs who have perhaps been educated at their country’s expense or at their own can immigrate to our country to fill the void, if any.

Pipedream? Can’t be done? Can’t afford it etc. etc. etc.? That’s funny. We had a trillion and a half dollars of our and our grandchildren’s tax money to hand over to the already filthy rich and corporate class courtesy of Trump and Ryan recently and (per CBO) a first ever trillion dollar current budget deficit coming up and stretching out as far as the eye can see, a deficit to be added to our current long term deficit of some 23 trillion dollars, all at interest.

This giveaway by Trump and Ryan gives a big bump to our already wage and wealth inequality crisis – and what did We the People get for our money? Debt. What did the filthy rich and corporate class get? Big time dividends and capital gains opportunities for their executives and shareholders. Query > How many PhDs would a trillion and a half (and interest) have funded if such Trump-Ryan trove had not wound up in the Hamptons and/or Zurich and have instead been applied to a problem which may be responsible for a drag on as much as half of our economic growth as measured by our GDP? 500,000? Problem solved. Trouble is, politicians decide funding priorities, and tend to fund priorities that fund them.

Our policymakers have decided to reward the rich with a giveaway of our and our grandchildren’s tax money with no discernible advantage accruing to the rest of us. None. Apparently the plan is to let foreign countries pay for PhDs and import them into this country for our Silicons while poor-mouthing education and other important initiatives in favor of tax cuts for those who don’t need it. I object. Strenuously.      GERALD           E

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