State of the Union Will Focus On Economy
President Obama will lay out his agenda for his second term with a large focus on restarting the lackluster economy, reports The Wall Street Journal. Recent polls show that only 45 percent of Americans currently support the administration’s handling of the economy, which remains as the priority for most Americans.
In his speech, Obama will take direct aim at congressional Republicans over the issue of how to reach a balanced budget by outlining a case against spending cuts in favor of more revenues.
Despite agreement on both sides of the aisle that the looming budget cuts resulting from sequestration will have a dramatic impact on the economy, there does not appear to be substantial progress toward a resolution.
North Korea Conducts Third Nuclear Test
The New York Times and other outlets report that North Korea has confirmed it completed a third nuclear test, one which was larger than two previous tests.
North Korea employed a “miniaturized and lighter nuclear device” to conduct the test in the same location as the 2006 and 2009 tests. The rogue nation justified the test by claiming it was a “first response” to perceived U.S. threats.
With new leadership in China and South Korea, the action poses the first real challenge for those new regimes, as well as for the Obama administration.
High-Tech Workers: Too Many Or Too Few
An article in the New York Times contends that claims of a lack of skilled tech workers is merely a myth and legislation granting additional H-1B visas would “flood the job market with indentured foreign workers, people who could not switch employers to improve their wages or working conditions; damage the employment prospects of hundreds of thousands of skilled Americans; and narrow the educational pipeline that produces these skilled workers domestically.”
Ross Eisenbrey, vice president of the liberal Progressive Policy Institute, asserts that rather than suffering from a dearth of high-tech employees, the US has too many. In fact, he says, “we have too many high-tech workers: more than nine million people have degrees in a science, technology, engineering or math field, but only about three million have a job in one.”
James Pethokoukis of the conservative American Enterprise Institute disagrees taking on Eisenbrey’s arguments that the unemployment for high-tech workers may seem low.
“I am not sure where that number comes from. The unemployment rate for workers with a college degree or higher is 3.7%, according to the BLS. But the rate for workers with a doctoral degree is just 2.5%. And many tech occupations have bottom-barrel unemployment rates,” he counters, adding that there is further data showing that foreign-born entrepreneurs have declined from 52% to 43%.
“Anyway, given the huge positive impact of highly-educated, high-skill immigrants–particularly in the STEM fields–I am not sure a glut is even possible in 2013 America,” he states.