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|06-27-2008, 08:59 AM||#1|
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George Will Strikes Again!
Witless wall barring entry to smart people
By George Will
Washington Post Writers Group
Published on Friday, Jun 27, 2008
PALO ALTO, Calif.: Fifty years ago, Jack Kilby, who grew up in Great Bend, Kan., took the electrical engineering knowledge he acquired as an undergraduate at the University of Illinois and a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin to Dallas, to Texas Instruments, where he helped invent the modern world as we routinely experience and manipulate it.
Working with improvised equipment, he created the first electronic circuit in which all the components fit on a single piece of semiconductor material half the size of a paper clip.
On Sept. 12, 1958, he demonstrated this microchip, which was enormous, not micro, by today's standards. Whereas one transistor was put in a silicon chip 50 years ago, today a billion transistors can occupy the same ''silicon real estate.'' In 1982, Kilby was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, where he is properly honored with the likes of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison.
If you seek his monument, come to Silicon Valley, an incubator of the semiconductor industry. If you seek (redundant) evidence of the federal government's refusal to do the creative minimum — to get out of the way of wealth creation — come here and hear the talk about the perverse national policy of expelling talented people.
Modernity means the multiplication of dependencies on things utterly mysterious to those who are dependent — things such as semiconductors, which control the functioning of almost everything, from cell phones to computers to cars. ''The semiconductor,'' says a wit who manufactures them, ''is the OPEC of functionality, except it has no cartel power.''
Semiconductors are, like oil, indispensable to the functioning of many things that are indispensable. Regarding oil imports, Americans agonize about a dependence they cannot immediately reduce. Yet their nation's policy is the compulsory expulsion or exclusion of talents crucial to the creativity of the semiconductor industry that powers the thriving portion of our bifurcated economy.
While much of the economy sputters, exports are surging, and the semiconductor industry is America's second-largest exporter, closely behind the auto industry in total exports and the civilian aircraft industry in net exports.
The semiconductor industry's problem is entangled with a subject about which the loquacious presidential candidates are reluctant to talk — immigration, specifically that of highly educated people. Concerning whom, U.S. policy should be: A nation cannot have too many such people, so send us your Ph.D.s yearning to be free.
Instead, U.S. policy is: As soon as U.S. institutions of higher education have awarded you a Ph.D., equipping you to add vast value to the economy, get out. Go home. Or to Europe, which is responding to America's folly with ''blue cards'' to expedite acceptance of the immigrants America is spurning.
Two-thirds of doctoral candidates in science and engineering in U.S. universities are foreign-born. But only 140,000 employment-based green cards are available annually, and 1 million educated professionals are waiting — often five or more years — for cards. Congress could quickly add a zero to the number available, thereby boosting the U.S. economy and complicating matters for America's competitors.
Suppose a foreign government had a policy of sending workers to America to be trained in a sophisticated and highly remunerative skill at American taxpayers' expense, and then forced these workers to go home and compete against American companies. That is what we are doing because we are too generic in defining the immigrant pool.
Barack Obama and other Democrats are theatrically indignant about U.S. companies that locate operations outside the country. But one reason Microsoft opened a software development center in Vancouver is that Canadian immigration laws allow Microsoft to recruit skilled persons it could not retain under U.S. immigration restrictions.
Mr. Change We Can Believe In is not advocating the simple change — that added zero — and neither is Mr. Straight Talk.
John McCain's campaign Web site has a spare statement on ''immigration reform'' that says nothing about increasing America's intake of highly qualified immigrants. Obama's site says only: ''Where we can bring in more foreign-born workers with the skills our economy needs, we should.'' ''Where we can''? We can now.
Solutions to some problems are complex; removing barriers to educated immigrants is not. It is, however, politically difficult, partly because this reform is being held hostage by factions — principally, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus — insisting on ''comprehensive'' immigration reform that satisfies their demands. Unfortunately, on this issue no one is advocating change we can believe in, so America continues to risk losing the value-added of foreign-born Jack Kilbys.
Will is a Washington Post columnist. He can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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|06-27-2008, 11:15 AM||#2|
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Re: George Will Strikes Again!
McCain's Day Of Repudiation
Two of yesterday's Supreme Court rulings -- both decided 5 to 4, and with the same alignment of justices -- concerned the Constitution's first two amendments. One ruling benefits Barack Obama by not reviving the dormant debate about gun control. The other embarrasses John McCain by underscoring discordance between his deeds and his promises....
The McCain-Feingold law abridging freedom of political speech -- it restricts the quantity, timing and content of such speech -- included a provision, the Millionaires' Amendment, that mocked the law's veneer of disinterested moralizing about "corruption." The provision unmasked the law's constitutional recklessness and its primary purpose, which is the protection of incumbents....
Declaring the Millionaires' Amendment unconstitutional, the court, in an opinion written by Alito, reaffirmed two propositions. First, because money is indispensable for the dissemination of political speech, regulating campaign contributions and expenditures is problematic and justified only by government's interest in combating "corruption" or the "appearance" thereof. Second, government may not regulate fundraising and spending in order to fine-tune electoral competition by equalizing candidates' financial resources.
The court said it has never upheld the constitutionality of a law that imposes different financing restraints on candidates competing against each other. And the Millionaires' Amendment impermissibly burdened a candidate's First Amendment right to spend his own money for campaign speech. ...
The more McCain talks -- about wicked "speculators," about how he reveres the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as much as the Grand Canyon, about adjusting the planet's thermostat, etc. -- the more conservatives cling to judicial nominees as a reason for supporting him. But now another portion of his signature legislation has been repudiated by the court as an affront to the First Amendment, and again Roberts and Alito have joined the repudiation. Yet McCain promises to nominate jurists like them. Is that believable?
|06-27-2008, 12:42 PM||#3|
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Re: George Will Strikes Again!
If I could be like that,
what would I do,
What would I do..."
~ 3 Doors Down
|06-27-2008, 09:18 PM||#4|
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Re: George Will Strikes Again!
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