Thursday, May 04, 2006

My Mind is on the Fritz

I don't like Cal Thomas very much. For one thing he's one of the biggest writers of "Muslim Menace" articles, and he quite clearly has a xenophobic streak. And his articles on the recent immigration issue have revealed that there's all kinds of brown people he's not a fan of (in his defense, I think he's ok with Latinos and Blacks who behave exactly like upper middle class white people). That said one section in his latest article is dead on.
One of the fictions masquerading as fact is that these illegals do work Americans don't want to do. There is not a shortage of American workers. But there is a shortage of American employers willing to pay competitive wages. The jobs many illegals take are jobs Americans used to do, but too many won't do them now because they pay less than they used to. Illegals have demonstrated they will work for less than American citizens. Many employers, seeking to improve their profit margins, are willing to let them.

This is one of the changes real immigration reform must address. Permanent low wages create a new underclass with no hope of advancement. Between the exporting of jobs to China and India and the importing of low-skilled workers at low wages, we are competing against our long-term interests.
This is more or less dead on. American employers don't want to play by the rules of our society, and they should be the ones paying the price for their bad behavior, not the people they victimize.

I do like how Cal Thomas gently lifts the invisible hand of capitalism out of the picture here. ". . . because they pay less than they used to?" How did the value of these jobs diminish? Was it just magic? No. Employers would like to pay all of us nothing, if they could get away with it. Your corporate headquarters don't want to pay you, and if they have to pay you, they want it to be as minimal as possible. That's just good business. And if they can pay an illegal to do a job at a fraction of what they would have to pay you, well, so much the better. That's capitalism (and, it should be noticed, I am pro-capitalism. But pro-managed capitalism).

So they are going to employ the cheapest labor they can, assuming they can get away with it. The key thing is to prevent them from getting away with it.

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