Diary

Bailed out banks seek foreign labor

Once the media gets a hold of someone, they just won’t let go.  Now it’s more demonization of the banks.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) – Banks collecting billions of dollars in federal bailout money sought government permission to bring thousands of foreign workers to the U.S. for high-paying jobs, according to an Associated Press review of visa applications.

The dozen banks receiving the biggest rescue packages, totaling more than $150 billion, requested visas for more than 21,800 foreign workers over the past six years for positions that included senior vice presidents, corporate lawyers, junior investment analysts and human resources specialists. The average annual salary for those jobs was $90,721, nearly twice the median income for all American households.

The figures are significant because they show that the bailed-out banks, being kept afloat with U.S. taxpayer money, actively sought to hire foreign workers instead of American workers. As the economic collapse worsened last year – with huge numbers of bank employees laid off – the numbers of visas sought by the dozen banks in AP’s analysis increased by nearly one-third, from 3,258 in fiscal 2007 to 4,163 in fiscal 2008.

Who cares if the banks are seeking foreign workers?  Shouldn’t the American taxpayers, who are bailing out the banks, want banks to use that money in the most frugal manner and to generate the highest return?

The question to ask is why banks would seek foreign labor, and the answer is simple: it’s cheaper.  Now, we can respond to this in one of two ways:

  1. Scream, whine and yell about how awful it is that American companies are using American tax dollars to employ foreign workers.  The banks will most likely bow to substantial public pressure and give up this hiring practice employ American workers.  The net effect of this, however, is that the banks will be paying more money for that labor and realizing a lower return on investment, meaning they’ll make less money.  This is the opposite of the desired effect.
  2. We can take a look at why labor is so much cheaper overseas and actually try to do something about.  Lessening regulation, lowering the minimum wage, repealing prevailing wage laws in the states that still have them would all be a good start.  Oh, yeah, and we could fix our failing education system while we’re at it.

As a side note, I shouldn’t have to point out to anyone what a revealing case of media bias this paragraph is (emphasis mine):

The figures are significant because they show that the bailed-out banks, being kept afloat with U.S. taxpayer money, actively sought to hire foreign workers instead of American workers. As the economic collapse worsened last year – with huge numbers of bank employees laid off – the numbers of visas sought by the dozen banks in AP’s analysis increased by nearly one-third, from 3,258 in fiscal 2007 to 4,163 in fiscal 2008.

If you have to tell the readers of your news story why your news story is significant, you’re doing it wrong.