Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is.    The Honorable Governor of Texas, George W. Bush

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know.    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, December 20, 2004

I Had a Job Americans Won't Do

I watched the Presidential news conference last night, and I am now firmly in the camp of those who think W is suffering from presenile dementia. This is not a joke, I would not wish this on anyone!

I couldn't make heads or tails of most of Bush's ramblings, but there is one thing he says that drives me crazy every time I hear it, that Mexicans are here doing jobs we would not do. Here is one fallacy I haven't heard a single talking head address. I've heard the economy discussed in terms of big business, labor and even small business, but I've never heard addressed the plight of great numbers of the median class--small business employees.

Mexicans are not just mowing your lawn and cleaning your house. They are grading your site, pouring your foundation, framing, hanging drywall, taping, painting, and you get the picture. Millions of jobs. Even the traditionally strong union trades--such as plumbers and electricians--are beginning to feel the erosion of wages due to the influx of inexpensive labor and the suicidal anti-union mind set of Americans.

I was a fence builder. My income peaked in about 1989, about the time all of our competitors began to use minority subcontractors. This is the model now-- outsource everything, even digging post holes! Why is this model so much cheaper?

The typical subcontractor operation is a guy who can scrape up a good enough insurance cert to keep the contractor's insurance company happy. He then hires 2 or 3 relatives for cash. There is no workman's comp, social security, income tax or health insurance. Where once there were a dozen or so Americans not only working but paying their way in society there are now 2 or 3 honchos and 9 or 10 latecomers who send their dollars to Mexico while they collect food stamps here. Multiply this by how many?

In this market, which was and is non-union and on the fringe of Chicagoland, an extrapolation of wages from 1975 based on price increases would point to an experienced journeyman's wage of $23 to $24 per hour. Our last employed installer made $16 last year.

We won't do these jobs any more because we could once sweat our way to a reasonable slice of the American Dream and now we cannot. We were pretty happy then, we partied with each other's families, we had company picnics, a softball team and a decent level of security. Now those who are left are outsiders.

I walked into a new million dollar home constuction in Deerfield and everyone spoke Polish and Russian. Don't think this is about Mexicans per se, this is about the immorality of a business mind set that absolves itself of any loyalty to fellow Americans and a government that is increasingly bent on accommodation.

This is about those who put patriotic stickers on their Hummers while they've not hired an American in ten years. This is about real traitors and this is about George W. Bush.


At 5:50 PM, Blogger Bullock said...

The talking heads do evade the intertwined issue of illegal immigration, cheap labor, labor union demise, labor regulations, et al.Some are better at spinning this than others. Bush needs to be read, not heard to try to even understand where he's coming from.
Here in California practically everybody has talked about these issues to death but no one wants to commit political suicide to address them.
One of the problems is a starting point. Cheap imported labor has been coming across our borders for, well, centuries. Labor unions eventually sprang up to protect workers, second generation as well as the first.
Big labor started to decay thru corruption within, (Teamsters), power-grabbing (UAW) and policy-dictating (teachers'unions). While unions have been beneficial to millions of Americans thru the years, they are at a crossroads. Their usefulness and productivity are in question.
And no doubt pushed by a bigger question and what Bush was babbling on about--the 'legitimization' of illegal immigrants wanting to work in the U.S.This is and has been a political hot potato, tough to handle by either party but,gotta be addressed.
The problems caused by the continued outflow/outsourcing of traditional American jobs coupled with the inflow of illegals willing to work cheap while sucking the social systems and cultures dry is formitable. And, if we do legitimize these workers, who is going to enforce the regulations? Feds? States? Locals? Dunno.
What is right about America is everybody LEGAL (legal=playing within the rules) gets a shot, a chance to do the American dream dance.That tune still plays today.
What doen't play or work is the business labor model that cheaper is always better. Worry about today's costs, forget about tomorrow's consequences.Half of the nation's population are employed in small businesses, where all they want is a level playing field to compete with their goods and services.(Put aside trade protection, tariffs and subsidies for now)
Could these small businesses, if mandated to comply, self-regulate themselves when it came to hiring illegals? Would the multi-nationals comply , too? Everybody is in the same boat; you get fined/punished for non-compliance.Legit workers don't get automatic citizenship but neither should their kids. Imminent domain or whatever it is called is absurd in this case.Don't care if it is in the Constitution, it doesn't work.And, while we are at, let's limit the dependent tax deductions at four dependents.
Ooops, went too far, there.Got carried away as you can on these issues. The pendelum of social and civil rights need to correct itself; just a little... from the left to the the center to make this happen and work for everybody.

At 7:55 AM, Blogger sequoit said...

Certainly I'm no fan of what has become of the labor movement. What I really want to see in a rise of working class consciousness that evolves into a more general force, a labor party if you will, though certainly not in the English example of co-opting Clintonianism.
Look at the Social Security "crisis". Righties and lefties are telling us that we need to be adult and accept the reality of benefit cuts when we have been, through our "remarkable productivity", doing nothing for the last fifteen years but making historically high numbers of them and their heirs incredibly rich!
I am ashamed to be American at this point. I would rather be Norwegian, Swedish, Swiss, French or Canadian.
It's a short list, but it was once unthinkable. Is this my fault? Haven't I done my share, paid my taxes, followed the ethos?
And where are the millions of my cohorts? Polishing up their 9mm's and waiting for the Arabs to come beating down their door. Unbelievable!


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