Obama’s 19th century view of Science and Technology

Courtesy gnxp, this question-and-answer with Barack Obama on science. Particularly, Obama focuses on “STEM” – the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics fields that fuel so much of our growth. Those who actually follow news on STEM, a set which does not include Obama, are aware of the controversial STEM extension to post-degree ‘internship’ work, which allows foreigners who graduate from American universities to work for up to three years in the United States without even having an H1-B visa.

Unlike vague hand-waiving on issues such as global warming, STEM immigrant and non-immigrant labor actually affects the United States economy right away, and causes compounding benefits of damages (depending on your view) in the years to come.

Given this, it’s obvious that Obama does not say a single word how immigration impacts Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. I know that in college Obama hung-out with marxists and hippies, but if he would have actually visited the STEM programs he would have seen how they essentially run on indentured foreign labor. Such a state of affairs has real consequences. Should it be expanded? Should it be rolled-back?

Not a word from Obama. Instead, we get vague calls for pointless great power conferences. How 19th century:

Sciencedebate 2008
I will restore U.S. leadership in strategies for combating climate change and work closely with the international community. We will re-engage with the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, the main international forum dedicated to addressing the climate change problem. In addition I will create a Global Energy Forum—based on the G8 5, which includes all G-8 members plus Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa—comprising the largest energy consuming nations from both the developed and developing world. This forum would focus exclusively on global energy and environmental issues. I will also create a Technology Transfer Program dedicated to exporting climate-friendly technologies, including green buildings, clean coal and advanced automobiles, to developing countries to help them combat climate change.

Barack Obama is the candidate of the past. If you liked eight years of George Bush’s style and want more of the same, vote Obama. Otherwise, vote McCain.

7 thoughts on “Obama’s 19th century view of Science and Technology”

  1. Science-wise, McCain’s going to be problematic too — his recent VP choice has stated that she supports parents’ rights to opt their children out of certain curricula because of belief (see http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/09/from_the_horses_mouth.php) and that “parents should have the ultimate control over what their children are taught.” A new generation of Biblical literalists could mean a further decline in American scientific advancement and science education, which is already in trouble.

  2. I agree with the above commenter as well as adding the more problematic question of the GOP’s hostility in their new platform to even private stem-cell research in America.

    Less controversial, Obama proposes the USG have a CTO and redefine & expand broadband access as well as doubling USG investment in basic scientific and technology research. He also wants patent reform, an issue I heard about often when living in the Seattle/Redmond/Everett area in 2006-2007.


    To refute some of your post’s criticism here, @ that same link is his campaign’s position on H1-B visa reform and setting a pathway to a road to citizenship for these visa holders.

    That’s the same comprehensive immigration reform John McCain once supported and offered as a bill but now tells conservative audiences he is against.

    Your overall point about his 19th century view of a Great Powers conference misses the bigger picture, that through SWF’s and their own infrastructure & education programs, the rising nations in Asia and elsewhere have a government-centric view of R&D in the energy, computer and education sectors. Having a summit or three or creating an intra-national entity or contact group or whatever may be part of the solution rather than the problem.

    I’d hope and think that a President McCain will pursue most of the same policies, albeit with a greater nod to the market in most areas.

  3. Eddie,

    More on Obama’s backwards view of immigration. Note the ‘bundle of work’ fallacy — I bolded it for your convenience. The following paragraph from the page you listed is vague and tortured — like most of what Obama puts out — but appears to be suggesting that we can/should reduce the number of H1Bs we let into the country:

    While highly skilled immigrants have contributed in beneficial ways to our domestic technology industry, there are plenty of Americans who could be filling those positions given the proper training. Barack Obama is committed to investing in communities and people who have not had an opportunity to work and participate in the Internet economy as anything other than consumers. Most H-1B new arrivals, for example, have earned a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent abroad (42.5%). They are not all PhDs. We can and should produce more Americans with bachelor’s degrees that lead to jobs in technology

    I don’t know what your point is re: 19th century. Are you suggesting that China and India colonizing new lands with their immigrants? I doubt it. More likely, you are bringing up an unrelated issue (SWF) in an attempt to change the subject from Obama’s bad record on immigration.


    While I think we disagree on civil liberties when it comes to education anyway, I’ve previously considered McCain and Obama to be equally bad when it comes to science.

    I am rethinking this, as I did not think that STEM labor was part of that debate. If it is, Obama’s definitely the worse candidate.

    [1] http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2008/04/06/why-i-support-john-mccain.html

  4. I do find it interesting that you’ve decried Obamas science answers as the worse choice, despite the fact that McCain’s haven’t even been posted.
    I’ll bet you a dollar that McCain won’t talk about how immigration affects science either.
    How Victorian of him!

  5. biz,

    Good points.

    Not sure how McCain will answer the questions.

    Still, I know McCain’s policy on comprehensive skilled and unskilled immigration. No idea what Obama is, excepting for saying pleasing things to both sides without actually doing anything.

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