A nation-state’ s power has traditionally been measured by the size of its military and economy. As the attached article points out, the COVID-19 pandemic highlights a new and crucial source of national power – a nation’s resilience. Resilience is defined as the ability to sustain and adapt to a systemic shock, or, as the old Timex watch commercial put it, the ability to take a licking and keep on ticking. It is based on adequate infrastructure and governmental legitimacy more than material resources.
Resiliency, however, comes in many forms. China’s centralized communitarian culture allowed it to bounce back faster from the pandemic, but only by using the same totalitarian governmental repression that caused the crisis in the first place. In contrast, the individualistic culture of America hobbled our ability to control the spread after it arrived, but our decentralized federalist system gave state and local leaders the flexibility to create the necessary controls when the federal government failed to provide leadership. Our freedom to innovate also helped foster development of reliable treatments and vaccines faster than China.
At the same time, the weaknesses exposed by the pandemic must be addressed, especially those in our manufacturing capacity and health infrastructure. By prioritizing efficiency over resiliency in our economy, we ended up dangerously dependent on China and other governments for vital materials, and not just in the medical field. The article touts strong alliances as a solution, but they cannot replace onshore local capacity in a crisis. Building national vigor means identifying and protecting resources we need to survive a future shock, whether it be from a disease, cyberattack, or climate change.
Theodore Roosevelt advocated “the strenuous life” of exercise and outdoor activity as a way of achieving personal resilience. Both require short- term sacrifice and effort to build the stamina necessary to meet future challenges. Similarly, we Americans will need to be willing to pay higher prices for domestically-produced goods or higher taxes in order to create the national resilience to remain a great power and a shining example of freedom. The immediate pain will be well worth it in the long run.
The Justice Department just struck a blow for Americans by suing Facebook for abusing the H-1B visa and labor certification process to favor temporary immigrant tech workers. The action is part of a Trump Administration initiative called Protecting American Workers and addresses a problem with one of the biggest loopholes in the immigration law – the “adjustment of status” rules that allow employers to convert a temporary H-1B visa worker into a permanent resident. In order to do so, the employer must file a proceeding with the Department of Labor to obtain a permanent labor certification (called PERM for short) to prove that there are no minimally qualified and available American workers qualified for the job. The rules require the job to be posted at the employer’s workplace and publicly advertised before the filing of a PERM application.
The Justice Department’s complaint alleges that Facebook created a process designed to prevent American workers from discovering an open position it wished to fill with the temporary worker and applying for it. For example, it failed to post the position on its public website or accept applications on-line in violation of its own human resource procedures. It then used the contrived absence of applications to justify hiring the temporary worker instead. The scheme affected over 2,600 high-paid technical positions with an average salary of $156,000. The government is seeking not only an end to this gaming of the system, but also civil penalties and back pay for those Americans victimized by it.
As I mentioned in my previous post Immigration – The New Slavery, Big Tech has long been exploiting the H-1B visa system and immigration laws to keep their wages down with the acquiescence of the federal government. The system cruelly betrays the American Dream by allowing companies like Facebook to import foreign workers to undercut the wage level necessary for Americans to afford the education to win those jobs and support a family.
Democrats have long relied on big contributions from Big Tech. The fate of this suit and the Protecting American Workers program will be an important test of President-elect Biden’s pro-worker rhetoric. Will Biden continue to aggressively pursue these abuses or cave in to big business by ending the program to the detriment of American workers? The answer will indicate whether this will be the presidency of the American worker or just the globalist elites.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving with our families and count our blessings, let us remember to include the fact that we are Americans dedicated to and enjoying the fruits of freedom, democracy and the American Dream. I wish all of you a happy day with your families and friends!