Anita Jones is troubled by the growing number of postdocs in computer science, she uses "troubling" twice in the first paragraph of her CACM Viewpoint. But is it really a troubling trend or just a natural outgrowth of a maturing field?
Theoretical computer science leads computer science in having and even embracing a postdoc culture. Nearly every graduating PhD in theoretical computer science that remains in academia takes a postdoc position before taking an tenure-track job. If anything I hear theorists lamenting a drop in theory postdocs this year with the end of the Simons postdocs and CI fellows.
Postdocs give PhDs a chance to focus on research and strengthen them for the future job market. I initially started as a two-year assistant professor at Chicago, basically a teaching postdoc. If I didn't have that opportunity my research career would have died in its tracks.
What would happen if all postdoc funding was stopped. That would lead to more funding for graduate students most of whom would have to take a non-research career especially with no postdoc positions available. Hard to see how anyone wins.
Anita and I both agree that a successful postdoc experience requires strong mentorship and inclusiveness or otherwise the postdoc is just working in a vacuum. The CRA has put out a best practices memo, worth reading for both postdocs and the people who hire them.