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crosspostd from unbossed

Way, way back before 2004, Congress appropriate money for a report on the situation of US technology. That report, by the the U.S. Department of Commerce Technology Administration (TA)  - An Overview of Workforce Globalization in the U.S. IT Services and Software, U.S. Semiconductor and the U.S. Pharmaceuticals Industries - was supposed to have been delivered to Congress in June 2004. That 200 page report was written but never released. Better the public not know just how bad the situation is. The tale of how that report has now been pried loose is a long one. And the report recommendations that could have been acted on over two years have been kept from us.

We now have the report only because in April, after years of effort, including FOIA requests, Science Committee Democrats negotiated a deal with the committee's Republicans to force the Department of Commerce to share the report with the committee. The committee Republicans took the position that the report is now outdated and irrelevant and that we should just wait for a new report due out soon from the National Academy of Public Administration.

According to subscription-only a BNA report,  

A long-sought, two-year old draft report prepared by the Commerce Department analyzing the movement of high-tech jobs overseas said the United States should act aggressively to bolster the country's engineering workforce in order to retain a foothold in the semiconductor industry.

The report, recently obtained by Democrats on the House Science Committee after more than a year of negotiations, predicted that China will become the leader in all aspects of semiconductor production over the next decade, attracting the same engineering talent sought by U.S. companies.

"These trends cannot be turned around, but the negative effects to the U.S. industry and workers could be ameliorated, perhaps stopping the slide in the U.S. market share above the 20 percent presently predicted," the report said. The United States at one point commanded 90 percent of the worldwide market share for semiconductors, but that share quickly slumped to 50 percent in 2003 when Japan and Korea entered the market, the report said.

And according to the Democratic Science Committee website:

Democrats' efforts have centered on obtaining data compiled in 2004 by analysts at the Technology Administration (TA) within the Department of Commerce. That report, entitled An Overview of Workforce Globalization in the U.S. IT Services and Software, U.S. Semiconductor and the U.S. Pharmaceuticals Industries, provided an in-depth analysis of the ongoing loss of U.S. high-tech jobs and represents the most complete analysis to date on offshoring of U.S. jobs.

Until today, the TA analysts' report has never been publicly released.  Today we are making available the executive summary and, for comparison purposes, the twelve-page "six-month assessment" the Department of Commerce released last September.
. . .
For the past two years, Science Committee Democrats tried to get specific details and information from Federal experts on this alarming trend.  Our efforts were met with resistance, stonewalled by Federal agencies, and a lack of the Committee's traditional bipartisan cooperation.  The Federal Government did the research, taxpayers paid for the report and the Technology Administration produced its analysis and findings, yet the Administration buried the truth in rhetoric.  Democrats wanted the data, and finally got it.

Scroll down for the timeline for prying this report loose.

You can go back in the past for more on the efforts to pry the report loose - here:

The report Democrats are seeking, titled Six-Month Assessment of Workforce Globalization in Certain Knowledge-Based Industries, was produced by TA analysts in 2004, but was never publicly released in full form.  Science Democrats have been requesting the full report, which represents the most thorough examination to date by the U.S. Government of the factors driving U.S. jobs "offshore" to foreign countries, since last fall.

Largely due to a FOIA request from an outside media entity, the Department released a 12-page summary of their analysis in September 2005.  The shortened document cost taxpayers roughly $335,000 and TA staff contend that the summary did not accurately reflect their lengthy analysis.

I haven't been able to do a good assessment of the report, now available on the Democratic Science Committee website, but wanted to get news of this report and the stonewall out quickly. Amidst my questing I found a page at Commerce that seemed ironic in context of selling off our jobs and selling our country out: How to sell to the Department of Commerce

Originally posted to shirah on Wed Jul 26, 2006 at 10:02 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wouldn't want y'all to get too summertime happy (7+ / 0-)

    When will we ever recover from these miscreants and the harm they have done us.

  •  Doubt It (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shirah

    I defy someone in India to record documents in courts all around Maryland. /snark

    Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. -8.75 / -6.10

    by Alegre on Wed Jul 26, 2006 at 10:02:22 AM PDT

  •  Those bastards overseas (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shirah

    Thinking they can raise their standard of living by taking our jobs!

    Reminds me of Southpark...."They're taking our jabs!"

    "Toilets are the seats of freedom, so clean them" LithCola
    NCO

    by OregonCoast on Wed Jul 26, 2006 at 10:10:55 AM PDT

  •  Have no fear! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    badger, smintheus

    We can all be employed cutting each other's hair and doing each other's laundry!  Happy days here they come!

  •  another excellent catch (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shirah

    this is the first discussion of the TA report I've seen on line.

    If I follow this dispute correctly, the Dems on the Committee kept asking for the report and were finally given the executive summary, alone, last year? And only this year was the actual report released?

    What possible justification can the Commerce Dept. have had for withholding this report? Don't say national security.

  •  What does this mean, exactly? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shirah

    A long-sought, two-year old draft report prepared by the Commerce Department analyzing the movement of high-tech jobs overseas said the United States should act aggressively to bolster the country's engineering workforce in order to retain a foothold in the semiconductor industry.

    What do they mean by "bolstering the workforce"?  Does it mean "make more engineers", in which case this isn't an issue of globalization as much as an issue of a dearth of skilled American labor?  Or does it mean "change our laws to make it harder for companies to contract with foreign skilled workers"?

    Read James Loewen's "Sundown Towns"!

    by ChicagoDem on Wed Jul 26, 2006 at 11:25:33 AM PDT

    •  I can't tell you want all it recommends, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ChicagoDem, Halcyon

      because I haven't been able to find the report. The concern is that these industries will collapse in the US and the Chinese and others are working aggressively to be the place you go to for these critical technologies.

      But links in the diary say that they want to lure more foreign engineers here, persuade more US students to study engineering rather than law or other professions that might pay better, investing in cutting edge research, and do all this while lowering pay for these jobs in the US.

      •  Yikes (0+ / 0-)

        That's bizarre.  We need to increase the supply while decreasing financial incentives!  Not exactly market-based strategy there huh? ;)

        I mean I dunno.  I can't blame corporations for moving jobs overseas if we're just not training enough skilled workers while other countries are.  But if it's an issue of sending existing engineers out of work, we have a problem.  I'd love to see the actual report.

        Read James Loewen's "Sundown Towns"!

        by ChicagoDem on Wed Jul 26, 2006 at 12:00:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  What the US still leads in is management (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shirah

    Top managers in the US will manage personell globally, and for awhile reap the benefits. But it's not going to take too long to develop advanced management skills elsewhere. Look at Japan after WWII. China is already way ahead of the curve on that.

    If not now, when? When they come for you, then it will be too late. Shout it from the rooftops, take it to the streets.

    by tjfxh on Wed Jul 26, 2006 at 12:50:34 PM PDT

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