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by Dan Chilton
In the guise of a bipartisan bill to keep startups and foreign graduates with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) graduate degrees, working innovating and creating start-ups and jobs here in America, the GOP has offered a tax haven for the rich; a zero-per-cent tax investment in foreign jobs -- to the detriment of Americans.
Businesses have now soured somewhat on high-tech offshore jobs, since remote workers, several time-zones away, tend to work doing what you put in writing for them to do, not what you actually meant for them to do or what you need them to do. This bill brings outsourced jobs to America -- but not for Americans themselves to benefit from. It will help US entrepreneurs hire foreign managers and then hide their profits from taxation.
As a STEM professional myself, I see not only robust competition from foreign workers now, but also a trend toward short-term modular contract positions for the duration of the business project, and avoidance of 'permanent' employees and of long-term integration of technical expertise into the company.
Touted as a high-tech startup and jobs bill, Startup Act 2.0 is primarily a tax haven with a ZERO percent tax on investments in 'high tech' companies, and a labor cost reducing measure. It authorizes 75,000 visas for foreign STEM graduates who will be motivated to accept relatively low wages to get their visa extended. This will DISCOURAGE Americans from getting advanced STEM degrees and it will also degrade the quality and quantity of job prospects for US STEM workers. It will lower wages and benefits, and will treat STEM workers as commodities rather than as integral parts of business industry and society.
The hypocrisy here is that the 'free market capitalist' supporters of this bill want want to kill the natural reaction of the market which would be to increase wages of STEM employees,due to their relative scarcity here at home.
The bill also siphons off a fraction of federal agencies' budgets to pay educational institutions to instruct STEM graduates to become entrepreneurs. But the bill lacks assurances that these new start-ups by STEM graduates are actually 'high tech' - or that there is any substantial requirement for the new start-ups, funded by taxpayer money, to hire Americans.
As written, this bill could easily create a quick way to 'import' cheap offshore workers to compete for American jobs, discourage Americans from going into STEM careers themselves, and finally, worst of all, create yet another tax loophole -- this one a "high tech" loophole -- for investors to pay zero tax -- yes, you read that right, zero tax -- on their American-generated profits.
S 3217: Startup Act 2.0
Full Text of S. 3217: Startup Act 2.0
Dan Chilton is a resident of NYC, a part-time 'Business & Data Analyst' and part-time activist.