POTUS at DuPont: Resources, Energy and Human

By January 24, 2007Energy

Seeking the best setting for a speech to follow his State of the Union address, President Bush today headed to Delaware, a DuPont Co. facility in Wilmington that conducts research on biofuels. Where better to talk energy — a major theme of last night’s address — than at a great American manufacturer?

The President’s remarks — available here — reprised his case for energy security, aided by development of alternative fuels. In an apparent impromptu observation, he also mentioned the importance of human resources, the energy of the intellect:

At this company you’ve got 2,500 scientists; some of the smartest people in our country work here, all trying to develop new technologies — this isn’t anything new for DuPont, by the way, this is like what you’ve been doing for a long time — but trying to develop new technologies to help us solve this problem. And that’s why I’ve come here. You’re employing the best minds possible to address the problem of economic and national security and environmental issues, because we’re dependent on oil. And the American people have got to know that you’re making progress.

As an aside, when I talked about the immigration bill last night, I also want you to know I understand that we need to make sure that when a smart person from overseas wants to come and work in DuPont, it’s in our interests to allow him or her to do so. We’ve got to expand what’s called H1B visas. …It makes no sense, by the way — I know, I’m getting off topic here — (laughter) — but I feel strongly about what I’m telling you. It makes no sense to say to a young scientist from India, you can’t come to America to help this company develop technologies that help us deal with our problems. So we’ve got to change that, as well, change that mind set in Washington, D.C. I know we can work together on that.

We echo that sentiment, noting that a “High-Performance Workforce” is a key component of the NAM’s 2007 policy agenda. The particulars:

  • Reform the current visa system to attract and retain global talent in the United States.
  • Support a national emphasis on math, science and engineering in education, and improve
    coordination of our workforce training.
  • Support initiatives to ensure that every student earns an education or certified workforce skills.
  • We appreciate the President keeping these issues, so critical to the manufacturing economy, at the forefront of public debate. If we can achieve these goals, then thousands and thousands more engineers, scientists, researchers and manufacturers will be addressing — and solving — America’s problems.

    Join the discussion 11 Comments

    • Mike says:

      PAD –

      The “dictionary” format was a little overboard, and I apologize. Your use of the phrase “sense of entitlement”, even though you put it in quotes really set me off.

      Also, I may have been harsh in my definition of “smart people …”. However, H-1B is about dumping large numbers of bodies into the labor market some of whom will be smart, some not. Let’s not pretend it’s about getting the “creme da la creme”. That said, I don’t begrudge someone taking advantage of the opportunity H-1B creates for non-Americans, I just don’t think the opportunity should be there at the expense of Americans just trying to survive.

      There were a lot of people who jumped into IT in the late 90s during the dot-com boom thinking it was easy money, but most of us are just trying to trying to make a living in our chosen profession, same as anyone else. Rich would be nice, but the expectation is just to provide to provide food and shelter for our families, send our kids to college, maybe take a vacation once in a while.

      The comparative advantage sectors you list tell a story. Note the lack of fields in which anything substantive is produced (such as manufacturing, textiles, and even IT). The US is throwing away the sectors it needs to remain a first world power. I won’t go into each of the items listed, but – education ?? Really ? I don’t know any teachers who opted for the field to get the “big bucks”.

      Companies and corporate umbrella groups keep winging about a lack of scientists, engineers, and other technical personnel. Not financial analysts and tour bus drivers. But if you think these are the growth industries, let’s turn our visas
      towards those fields and let American IT personnel have a career.

      Good day Sir.

      – Mike.

    • weaer says:

      195,000 H1b visas did not count the spouses/kids and are counted for the 140,000 greencards…

      H1b visa holders pay everything SSN/Medicare! 500,000 h1b’s roughly pay 250,000,000 or more a year for SSN/Medicare taxes..

    • PAD says:


      Enjoyed the sarcasm. But it is time for you to wake and smell the coffee (or whatever else that wakes you up…)

      1. Don’t complain about people wanting to abandon their countries. It is not an easy thing to do to uproot onseself. Just read the history of pilgrims on Mayflower.

      2. Sense of entitlement means the belief that because I am born in America, I deserve to be rich and successfull in my career. I don’t care if the rest of the world works hard but remains poor. I am here in US – I should be immune from winds of change blowing through different parts of the world. This is the sense of entitlement.

      3. There are plenty of choices waiting to be made. Ever heard of something called ‘comparative advantage’? The US still leads the world in several sectors (finance, marketing, health, military, education, tourism etc….)and there are good opportunities waiting to be explored.

      And lastly, wait until you taste the delicious mangoes. It will convince you that the nuclear deal was worth it! Heck, it may even make you a fan of President Bush!


    • weaver says:

      To: Legal Struggle,

      180,000 E visas (employment based perm) are granted every year, you are competing against the old H1B visa cap of 195,000 per year, not everyone will be granted an employment-based perm visa.

      Even so, it would seem that the U.S. gov. is not interested in “fixing” the backlog because that would add too many Social Security benifactors.

      When you made your decision to become a nomadic worker, you might have considered that a “fresher” would eventually replace even you.

      It appears that you’re one of the brightest and best “Fear-Trade” victims we’ve had so far.

    • Legal Struggle says:

      PhD? doesn’t matter…my qualification is working against me.

      It would take me 5 years to apply for a green card this provide I work for the same employer in the same position and take no promotions and pay hikes.

      I am just waiting to move to UK/Australia and take my 4 US patents with me to start my own research instead of waiting here forever for my greencard.

      These backlogs have been around since 18 months and nothing has been done to fix this.

    • Mike says:

      PAD to English Dictionary.

      “smart people who are at the top of their class and driven by ambition to learn more and work hard”:
      1. People willing to abandon their home countries to work as indentured servants in the US.

      “sense of entitlement”:
      1. The belief that investing the time, effort and money in a 4 year technical degree in a field where businesses are always complaining of a “worker shortage” will give you a chance of maintaining a career which will pay your bills.
      2. The belief that a skilled professional will be able to maintain his or her career past the ripe old age of 40.
      3. The belief that hard work, good skills, and constant retraining will be sufficient to maintain a career – that it will be unnecessary to fight constant political battles with free trade idiots.
      4. The expectation that your career won’t be sabotaged by your own government as it continues to dump cheap foreign labor into the domestic job market.

      “global exchange of thoughts and knowledge”:
      1. US jobs are exchanged for foreign workers.
      2. Middle class jobs are exchanged for larger CEO bonuses and more fees for immigration attorneys.
      3. Nuclear technology is exchanged for mangoes.
      4. Jobs which involve any skill in making and exporting anything are exchanged for jobs where Americans sell goods and services to each other.

      “inherently unfair”:
      1. Any situation where Americans can compete on skills and quality rather than cost of living.

      “young scientists”:
      1. Foreign workers under the age of 40 with average or below skill sets willing to work as indentured servants.

      “the benefit of a global economy”:
      1. You can save $40/month by buying Chinese made goods from underpaid workers at the Wal-Mart.

      “plethora of choices”:
      1. Sales.
      2. Wal-Mart greeter.
      3. Any other service job which makes no use of technical training or analytical skills.
      4. Armed robbery.

      “maintaining a good living standard”:
      1. Not being homeless.

      – Mike.

    • PAD says:

      I support President Bush’s idea. Why should we stop a young and hard-working scientist from coming to US? These are smart people who are at the top of their class and driven by ambition to learn more and work hard. You may find similar people in America, but they will come with a ‘sense of entitlement’.

      Secondly, advances in science and technology today depend on global exchange of thoughts and knowledge. There is something inherently unfair if US closes the door on young scientists and at the same time continues to reap the benefit of a global economy. For many of these immigrants, coming to US may be their only chance to improve their living standards. On the other hand, for his counterpart in US, there is a plethora of choices when it comes to maintaining a good living standard.

    • kim says:

      DOL has broken the prevailing wage into four levels, with level one representing about the 17th percentile of wage average Americans earn – and about 80% of LCA are filed at this “prevailing wage” at the 17th percentile.

      Either 80% of H-1b are less qualified than average American workers, or H-1b are being used to displace U.S. workers because they are cheaper. Which one is it, Mr. Bush?

      This four level prevailing wage is available on the DOL website.


    • Babs says:

      No more H-1bs! If we were so hard up for talent in the 21st century, why did we fire hundreds of thousands of our own highly skilled, experienced, competent, productive professionals? And the H-1bs are by no means the ‘best and brightest’ – some few are, but the majority are ordinary workers with ordinary skillsets. So, we replace our rank and file workers with foreign rank and file workers? How does that help America? If we really need the ‘best and brightest’ that’s only a few thousand per year, not tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands. The guestworker visa programs are rife with fraud and negligence. The so-called protections built in for American workers are null and void. Nothing but the cap stands between American skilled workers and the breadlines.

    • Weaver says:

      There is no shortage of smart people in the U.S. there is a shortage of smart Americans that will directly compete with foriegn slaves however.

      The real reason that there is a shortage of H1B visas is the fact that a large percentage of guestworkers are wasted on body-shoppers.

      These folks are purchasing the visa and are employed part-time with dubious, sometimes forged credentials.

      If there were an employer bonding requirement of one-years salary required on each visa, the body-shop scheme would be too expensive and thousands of visas would become available.

      The employers are asking for an exemption to immigration law, why shouldn’t the employer be required to guarantee the guestworker relationship with a substantial bond?

    • jgo says:

      We’ve got to reduce what’s called H1B visas. They make no sense. It makes no sense for US executives to turn up their noses to hundreds of thousands of bright, well-educated and experienced scientitst and engineers and computer programmers of all ages who are US citizens, to refuse to relocate such people a few hundred miles, and instead flood the job markets with only half-competent people from thousands of miles over-seas. It makes no sense to cast aside all that effort and education and money and those skills. It makes no sense to leave US citizens unemployed and under-employed just so a few executives can pad their own personal pockets a little more by under-paying foreign workers and even breaching pension obligations.

      Last year some 6,100 H-1B sub-category 1 visas went unused and were rolled over into the allocation for fiscal 2007. The current total is over 85,000 per year, far far above the levels that would suffice if only the best and brightest foreign talent were being utilized.