Tech CEOs: Hiring offshore workers helps U.S.

IDG News Service |  Business

"As the U.S. encounters new global realities policy makers face a choice: we can compete in the international arena or we can retreat," said Craig Barrett, CEO of Intel Corp. and chairman of CSPP, in a press release. "America can only grow jobs and improve its competitiveness by choosing to compete globally, and that will require renewed focus on innovation, education and investment."

The report, available online at http://www.cspp.org/reports/ChooseToCompete.pdf, includes proposals for Congress to:

-- Create a permanent, improved research and development tax credit.

-- Substantially increase federal spending for university-based research in science and engineering.

-- Shorten tax depreciation schedules for IT equipment.

-- Pass a permanent moratorium on Internet-only taxes.

-- Set goals and fund a program to improve math and science skills among U.S. students.

The report warns of attempts to put up trade barriers and limit hiring of foreign workers. "These measures often backfire," the report says. "Countries that resort to protectionism end up hampering innovation and cripple their industries, which leads to lower economic growth and, ultimately, higher unemployment. Furthermore, any trade barriers created by the United States ... could lead to retaliation from our trading partners and even an all-out trade war."

But organizations representing IT workers, including the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers-USA (IEEE-USA) have questioned how moving jobs offshore helps unemployed IT workers in the U.S. In late 2003, U.S. the unemployment rate for electrical and computer hardware engineers was near 7 percent, according to the IEEE-USA.

"Their interest is in profits," Ron Hira, chairman of the IEEE-USA's research and development committee, said of offshoring defenders during an interview last month. "They don't feel a responsibility to their workforce."

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