American Economic Alert.org - Masthead Fighting For American Companies - Fighting for American Jobs United States Business and Industry Council
Current Trade Deficit:    
NASA's Chinese Tech Workers: The Real Outrage
Alan Tonelson
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Photo of Alan Tonelson
Honestly, we at GLOBALIZATION FOLLIES read news like NASA’s decision to employ several hundred Chinese high tech workers in facilities that work on top secret space defense programs, and we just don’t know what U.S. policymakers and federal government managers are thinking.

After all, we’re living in a period of ever-tightening public sector budgets, spending reductions may soon start cutting muscle and bone, and obviously ever precious tax dollar needs to be stretched to the max.  

In other words, why on earth did the space agency stop at a few hundred?  Why doesn’t it replace most or all of its high tech workers with undoubtedly cheaper Chinese nationals?

Yes, we know that China is on NASA’s list of countries that support terrorism, foster advanced weapons proliferation to rogue states, and/or currently are under embargo or sanctions by Washington for such activity.  Yes, we know that President Obama personally has pressed Chinese leaders to halt the cyber-attacks on American targets he says emanates from their territory.  And yes, we know that the FBI just arrested a Chinese NASA contractor for allegedly violating American arms export regulations.  

But should one or even a few bad apples really spoil the whole bunch -- and ruin a potential savings bonanza?  Moreover, the Pentagon has already permitted literally millions of counterfeit Chinese-made electronics components to pervade U.S. weapons and military equipment, not to mention all the legitimate Chinese product procured by the military.  So it's not like there's no precedent.    

In fact, why stop with NASA?  Why not extend the practice of hiring Chinese IT workers to the Defense Department, Homeland Security, the intelligence community?  

Moreover, in these parlous times, doesn’t the American taxpayer deserve some genuinely outside-the-box thinking?  Why stop with China?  Think of how many North Korean or Iranian techies  would work for NASA and other U.S. agencies for even less.


(Source: “NASA chief failed to tell Congress of 118 Chinese nationals working in IT,” by Richard Pollock, The Examiner, March 25, 2013, http://washingtonexaminer.com/nasa-chief-failed-to-tell-congress-of-118-chinese-nationals-working-in-it/article/2525324)

Alan Tonelson is a Research Fellow at the U.S. Business & Industry Educational Foundation and the author of The Race to the Bottom: Why a Worldwide Worker Surplus and Uncontrolled Free Trade are Sinking American Living Standards (Westview Press).