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PIMCO's Bill Gross Says US Being "Out-trained, Out-educated, Out-maneuvered"

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Businessweek reports:

"Bill Gross, manager of the world’s largest bond fund at Pacific Investment Management Co., said the Federal Reserve is unlikely to raise interest rates for several years with employment growing less than forecast.

“'The front part of the curve is the safe part of the curve' with policy makers forced to keep their target rate near zero to sustain growth, Gross, said today in a radio interview on 'Bloomberg Surveillance' with Tom Keene."

Unemployment is now at 9.8%, the highest rate since April. And, according to Gross, that won't be changing a great deal anytime soon.

“The U.S. is being out-trained, out-educated and out-maneuvered in the global competition for employment,” Gross said. “There are seven applicants for every one job that’s available and today’s report only reemphasizes that.”

But, not only is the US being out-trained, out-educated, and out-maneuvered, we're doing it to ourselves.

In 2007, Tom Friedman wrote a New York Times Op-Ed called "Laughing and Crying" which spelled out the how and why of the situation, as well as the what-to-do-about-it.

"First I had to laugh. Then I had to cry," he wrote.


"I took part in commencement this year at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, one of America’s great science and engineering schools, so I had a front-row seat as the first grads to receive their diplomas came on stage, all of them Ph.D. students. One by one the announcer read their names and each was handed their doctorate — in biotechnology, computing, physics and engineering — by the school’s president, Shirley Ann Jackson.

"The reason I had to laugh was because it seemed like every one of the newly minted Ph.D.’s at Rensselaer was foreign born. For a moment, as the foreign names kept coming — “Hong Lu, Xu Xie, Tao Yuan, Fu Tang” — I thought that the entire class of doctoral students in physics were going to be Chinese, until “Paul Shane Morrow” saved the day. It was such a caricature of what President Jackson herself calls “the quiet crisis” in high-end science education in this country that you could only laugh.

"Don’t get me wrong. I’m proud that our country continues to build universities and a culture of learning that attract the world’s best minds. My complaint — why I also wanted to cry — was that there wasn’t someone from the Immigration and Naturalization Service standing next to President Jackson stapling green cards to the diplomas of each of these foreign-born Ph.D.’s. I want them all to stay, become Americans and do their research and innovation here. If we can’t educate enough of our own kids to compete at this level, we’d better make sure we can import someone else’s, otherwise we will not maintain our standard of living."

Friedman went on to discuss the importance of attracting and keeping "the world’s first-round intellectual draft choices in an age when everyone increasingly has the same innovation tools and the key differentiator is human talent." "The idea that we actually make it difficult for them to stay is crazy," he wrote.

Nick Schulz of the American Enterprise Institute recently touched on the same issue.

"It is well-known that, for generations, America attracted Europeans, Asians, South Asians, and others to come here, learn, and in many cases start and build businesses," Schulz wrote on The American, AEI's blog. "Modern Silicon Valley wouldn’t have been possible without this dynamic. Less well-known today is that increasing numbers of Indians, Chinese, and other talented students studying in the United States don’t plan to grow roots here. They sense more opportunity outside the United States. And they don’t want to put up with the hassles of current U.S. immigration law."

The enemy is not immigration. Being an enemy of immigration, though, seems to be.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.