On the forefront of political discourse, again – is immigration reform … or should I say what’s the best way to keep out or kick out the Mexicans. And intertwined into this dialogue is jobs. The two seem to be forever at odds with each other. “Them damn foreigners are taking away our jobs!” can be heard far and wide.
Nothing could be further from the truth. But then again I don’t live in Arizona or watch Fox News, so maybe I don’t know what the real truth is.
Regardless, one thing I do know – jobs are created primarily by small business and small business requires creativity. Yet all our “standards-based” public education system has done is to stifle creativity and new business development. It seems the most creative Americans ended up that way only by resisting the conformity of conventional American schooling and its “lock-step” rote memorization curriculum.. Even our large corporations, hardly a haven for entrepreneurial thought, say they often have to look overseas to find creative thinkers.
In addition, information tech positions, the employment drivers of the economy and the exact type of jobs our schools are supposedly training our students for – remain unfilled. And it’s not just high-tech jobs. Crops rot in the fields, because migrant workers are afraid to go to work for fear of being deported, rightfully or wrongly … because of the Draconian racist immigration laws passed in numerous states.
And we continually complain about balance of trade issues. “China is beating us at our game,” beats the drum! Yet when we invite the best and brightest of other countries to go to college here, we kick them out when they’re ready to be productive members of our communities. And then we’re surprised when they go home and start the businesses they wanted to start here, only to “kick our butts” further exasperating our balance of trade problem. And on top of it, the “insane clown posse” wandering aimlessly throughout the halls of Capitol Hill, refuses to acknowledge that immigrants are co-founders of 40% of Silicon Valley firms, a prime sector of the American future. I guess that’s what happens when your vision carries you only as far as K Street. At least Sarah Palin could see to Russia.
Our jobs problem is not about unemployment … it’s about the unemployable. There are jobs out there, they’re just not the jobs the American unemployed can perform (at least currently). At present, there’s a gap between education and the available positions. Unfortunately this problem isn’t going fix itself overnight. But in the interim, poaching the best talent from abroad seems to be a pretty good solution. Any coach will tell you the best offense is a good defense. And whoever has the best players is going to have the best team. Goes for sports, and goes business!
What is a small business supposed to do if it needs talent … engineering and programming and even farm workers – and can’t find it state-side? Nothing … that’s right, they’ll do nothing. They can’t hire anyone and they can’t grow. Give one for the racists and paranoid over small business and the economy!
What if we ran our country like the NBA or MLB? 18% of the NBA is foreign-born and 28% of Major League Baseball comes from abroad. Imagine if professional baseball spent the time and money, often years, to season a prospect – only when they’re ready for the big leagues … kick them out of the country. Yet that is exactly what we do in the business world.
The hypocrisy of the clowns in government is bewildering. You don’t see a New York Senator complain when Mariano Rivera (Panamanian) takes the mound in the 9th for yet another record-breaking save. You don’t see Phoenix Suns fans, elected officials included, complain when Steve Nash (Canadian) shreds the defense with another game winning assist. And you sure didn’t see U.S. Representative John Culberson of Texas’s 7th District yell “commie” when Yao Ming (Chinese) of the Houston Rockets slammed down another dunk.
In the beginning of the international integration of professional sports you heard, “those foreigners are taking away jobs from good Americans.” But quickly the jingoistic “hoots and howls” wained as people realized the quality of the games was better with these “foreigners” … a lot better.
And not only did they not take away jobs, they made the leagues much more profitable – creating more jobs for all types of American born workers. For example, the NBA juggernaut extends well past the court into corporate boardrooms and into the closets of males and females ages 8 to 78. This produces jobs, lots of them. And this is just one of many examples. The list is endless.
I believe the one main obstacle to this country’s economic prosperity is our immigration policy … not trying to keep them out, but just the opposite – not finding ways to bring them in. Contrary to what the government believes, there’s really very little they can do to alter the fate of the economy. All I ask is they abandon their paranoid self-defeating immigration policy – and allow business, especially small business to hire the talent they to make our country competitive.
If our businesses don’t hire them … someone else, somewhere else will. And we may not like the result.
I can be found on Twitter at @clayforsberg