Monday, March 27, 2006

The Illegal Dilemma

In light of the current immigration debates in Congress, the Washington Post runs a story that businesses are complaining that they must rely on undocumented workers because Americans won't do the same kind of backbreaking work (eg landscaping) for pitiful wages. Is this an expectations problem or an exploitation problem?

"Here lies the dilemma facing Congress as it attempts an immigration overhaul. Businesses say it is hard to persuade Americans to perform the unskilled jobs that immigrants easily fill. Significantly higher wages might work, but that increase would be passed on to unhappy consumers, forcing Americans to give up under-$10 manicures and $15-per-hour paint and lawn jobs."

Let's see, low prices on nonessential services vs. a just society. I'm thinking, I'm thinking...


Anonymous said...

Chris Mathews made an intersting point on his Sunday show. He said that most of these low wage jobs are created BECAUSE there are so many illegal immigrants in the U.S. If there weren't, he argued, we wouldn't see Burger Kings on every corner, or resorts and golf courses in the middle of the desert.

I think we have to set expectations for a lot of people. Why will American's not take these it easier to collect welfare when you are down on your luck and out of a job?

Maybe consumers need to expect to pay a little more, and everyone needs to expect to do their share for society--join the fray, and do it legally.

Anonymous said...

It's not that Americans won't take these jobs. It's that we refuse to work for less than minimum wage.

I'd like to see more pressure being put on the companies that employ illegal workers because they don't think they should be bothered to pay an honest salary to someone who performs a physical task.

Great job on C-Span too, by the way. I especially liked how you handled questions from people that were trying to corner you with Red vs. Blue questions.

unit7474 said...

I became aware of you on the C-Span segment. The debate was most informative. I am neither a Democrat, nor Republican. I am a Independent. I vote the person not the affiliation. Bill Clinton was good for our country in many ways. However, I believe what started all of this "Illegal Dilemma" was the signing of "NAFTA". Since the signing of this treaty it has caused the American worker's salary to fall below the poverty level since many entry level jobs are now out sourced to third world nations. Now with George Bush, his policy of not securing the borders are also adding to the Illegal Dilemma. Again, after reading some of your writings, I enjoy them and find the maniscript most informative. Also, I'm looking forward to reading your book. Continued success!

Anonymous said...

You want to hear from young people who feel they are getting screwed economically?

I suggest you include old farts as well. Keep your horizons open. You never know who's listening and who's interested.

Usually I post on the economic sites. But, believe it or not, I learned about you in the Guardian.

"Generation Debt" hmmmm has a ring to it. It might catch on.