After saying shortly after the inauguration that he expected Donald Trump to do “evil things,” Alphabet (parent company of Google) executive chairman Eric Schmidt was back with another rant earlier this month about the president.
This time the adjective addressed intellect rather than malevolence. Schmidt seized an opportunity to vent at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, bemoaning limits on special visas for foreign workers in “special occupations,” mainly high-tech fields. But the target of his frustration wasn’t just the president.
“I spent the last 20 years announcing that the single stupidest policy in the entire American political system was the limit on H-1B visas,” Schmidt said. “I have recently been trumped (pun apparently intended) by an America where you take the highly legal and highly technical people of seven countries … and you keep them trapped at JFK so our lawyers can spring them out.”
The well-heeled executive was so miffed at his commoner countrymen for standing in the way of his hiring the “best and the brightest,” all in the name of diversity.
“A properly-run company is really about having the best people in the world,” he continued. “We want the best people in the world, regardless of any form of sex, race, country, what-have-you. We want them to work for us and not our competitors. We want 100 percent market share of all those people.”
“We should organize our country to be the most attractive place for those people. Stupid government policies that restrict us from giving us a fair chance of getting those people are antithetical to our mission [and] the things we serve.”
Rather than look within the nation that hosts his company, extends millions of dollars in tax breaks and corporate welfare, and delivers billions of dollars to his bottom line, Schmidt would rather whine and complain about what America doesn’t have – and blame its voters for it.
“We have a crisis in our particular industry: the number of people who can do the Artificial Intelligence machine learning work […] is so small that we have to manufacture more,” Schmidt said at MIT. “So what we’ve been doing is taking physicists, who are super super analytical, and educated them.” And he said a goal may be to train non-computer scientists to write code.
“What I hope to be true in the next 5 to 10 years is that people with good organizational and analytical skills will be able to program,” Schmidt said.
What a novel idea. There are undoubtedly thousands, if not hundreds of thousands or millions, of Americans with natural gifts and skill sets who could provide the work needed for Alphabet/Google, if the companies sprang for a little training. The company loves to brag about its constant innovation in online technology, mobile devices, renewable energy, and many other areas – but they can’t train an American to write computer code?
But instead they’d rather abdicate the responsibility to teach and train the employees for their industries to taxpayer-funded community colleges and universities, then complain when they don’t do a good-enough job or produce enough qualified workers.
In the progressive Schmidt’s case, it’s also another opportunity to bash Trump. He’s your standard-issue limousine liberal, enjoying the lavish lifestyle buttressed by his billions, moralizing while running around with one mistress after another. In the case of immigration and having a wide-open H1-B policy, which we’ve almost already had under Barack Obama, it’s yet another rationale to fulfill Schmidt’s further self-enrichment.
“The only stupid thing would be if Americans believed these lies and propaganda,” said immigration lawyer Sara Blackwell to Breitbart.com earlier this month. “The person who benefits from this awful use of H-1B is Eric Schmidt.” Blackwell represents the Disney workers who were forced to train their foreign replacements before being fired.
Already hundreds of thousands of foreign workers come to the U.S. under the visa designation each year. Breitbart also reported that Alphabet showed the largest increase in pro-immigration lobbying in the first quarter of 2017 – more than ever before, since 2008. Blackwell called the choice between the current system of H1-B excess that has led to large layoffs of American workers, or a system where “the best and brightest” cannot come to the U.S., a “false dichotomy.”
“If you’re worth $10.1 billion, you can’t talk for American workers who are being hurt by the H-1B system,” she said.
Instead you can only complain about them voting for a president to help them get their jobs back.
Paul Chesser is an associate fellow for the National Legal and Policy Center.