Political News--April & May of 06

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Why the government is flooding the labor market

It Started under Reagen, the first openly anti-labor pro-big business president


            What ought a nation, and in particular the United States, be doing as far as allowing foreigners to live in their nation?  Illegal immigration, which of late we hear so much about, is part of an overall question of immigration.  Its answer requires first to resolve the issue of the obligation of a state to its citizens, because to expand the populace has effects upon population density, upon employment, and upon wages.   A nation is like a family in so far as it makes demands upon its members, and yields benefits.  There are degrees of evolution for nations.  The most highly evolved ones seek assiduously to establish social justice; viz., a just proportioning of the burdens and rewards.  The same applies to the good family.    Secondly we must understand the political roots if we are to find a lasting solution.   

In theory, the purpose of the nation is to provide for the common good of all its members.  It is to maximize the well being of all its people.  A nation will often permit a particular group to receive more benefits per unit of labor than another group.  However, an inordinate reward violates the mandate, for it is promoting the well being of a particular class at the expense of all others.   There is no free lunch.  Thus in the example of physicians, in order to attract the most qualified people and have them perform at a high level of service it is necessary for their income to average after expenses $200,000 per year, then a just society would permit this level of reward.[i]   Of course, depending on skill and workload some physicians would receive more and others less.  For them to earn on an average $400,000 per year would be to significantly deviate from the just proportioning.  

When a class, such as physicians, landlords, or bankers claim that they have a right to make what the market will bear, they are attempting to get the nation to neglect its obligation of social justice.   They argue that more is needed for them to perform at a high level, but the example of other nations shows this to be false.   Our nation is ranked first in cost of health care and 37th (according to a 2002 United Nations study) in quality for medical care, when factoring in the entire populace.   And they argue that government intervention will only worsen the situation.[ii]  Moreover, the Scandinavian countries have a higher standard of living and an extremely graduated tax system.   Arguments of self-interest are seldom sound.   

Each class and group therein strives to get special to receive rewards in excess of the ideal, as measured by the public weal.  The balancing between different interests has in our nations history always been significantly flawed.   In the last 50 years the power has shifted to big business more than at any time prior in our history.   This shift was accelerated when the requirement for balanced media programming was ended under the Reagan Administration.   This changes in the production of ideas permitted big business, among other things, to form a much closer alliance with government.  Though they have always contributed the lion’s share of share of the funds to those whom the people elect to govern, those elected could now serve more opening big business.  For example, in the 50’s neither party would have attempted to pass NAFTA, nor would they permit the wholesale outsourcing of jobs.   People on an average perceive today much differently NAFTA and outsourcing.  The payback per dollar of contribution is much greater now than ever in the past.   Finally, the report card for executives and the CEO is graded by board members and stockholders according to the moves they make for to increase profits.  Big business slanting of the media, the pro-business swing of the masses of voters in their perception of their best interests, the ever increasing more blatant promotion of the interests of big business by our elected officials are all part for not just the understanding of the immigration morass, but also for formulating what would be a just policy as measured by the public weal.       

Among the special considerations sought by big business and promoted by legislation has been the reduction of wages.  Gradually the membership of labor in unions has dropped from over 30 percent in 1950 to the current 11%.   This was achieved by priming the pump with anti-union slant in the media followed by legislative enactments.  And as union membership has dropped so too has dropped the percentage return on the products of their labor, and a similar drop in return has been experienced by white-collar workers.  Once most household were had only one worker.  Only those at the top have had an ever-increasing share of the rewards.  

Big business has wanted our government to allow a very large influx of aliens for to cheapen labor; and they have got it.   This is violating the mandate of government to promote the public weal.  It would be like a family of eight children increasing to 12 by adopting 4 more children and reducing the expenditure per child by 33%.  There is no need for the adoption of these children other than that the parents want it.  So too this has happened to the blue-collar of our nation.  Our government’s immigration position--legal and illegal--has permitted the flooding of the labor pool.   By so doing wages have dropped, which please big business.  Since such an decrease in the well-being of so many people for the benefit of a few violates the promotion of the public weal, liberal immigration policies ought to be opposed. 

The flood began with Reagan and his conservative cohort as a maneuver to cheapen labor.  He relaxed the enforcement of laws penalizing employers for hiring illegals.  By the time he left office there were an estimated 3 million illegals.   Now it is 11 million.  Mexico’s second greatest source of foreign revenue, after oil, is the dollars that illegals send back to their country.  Nearly 10% of the work force is both illegal and cheap.   The second part of the attack is through immigration, thus adding millions more into the cheap, unskilled labor pool.   We currently have the greatest flood of immigration since the beginning of the 20th century.  Low wages affect quality of life, and thus we need to both remove those here illegal and limit immigration. 

            As for the present, we have a large number of people in this country in violation of the immigration law.  As measured by promoting the well being of the enfranchised Americans, since that is the ideal goal of being a nation, these illegals ought to be permitted to stay if they demonstrate that they would cause significant harm to the enfranchised peoples.  Given the harm it has done to American labor, that barrier ought to be quite high.  I would support allowing no more than 2 million of the 11 million being permitted to stay.   Those with special expertise employed in an area in short supply or bringing substantial wealth to this country ought to be first among the 2 million.  Labor in an area where currently native-born citizens are in short supply, this is no reason for either immigration or work visa.  For if the employers were through lack of help forced to raise the wage, there would be no shortage.  In the 1950s, for example, the majority of restaurant, farming, hotel, and like labor were performed by those born in this country.  With better pay there would be no shortage of employees.   Each situation ought to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis based upon family ties, integration into the society, contribution to our society, property owned, and such. 

            In order to secure our borders from illegal immigration a system of stiff fines for employers hiring illegals ought to be enforced, and other supporting legislation.  All this reflects the assumption that illegal immigrants are not part of the American family, and thus ought to be treated as outsiders.   Moreover immigration ought to be quite limited so as to restore wages for workers so as to restore their former percentage of the gross national product. 

            What is particularly disconcerting is that the very lack of the discussion in the media of the effects upon wages the pool of cheap labor created by illegals and immigrants.     Quality of life is a life and death issue.  It affects our medical care, the food we eat, and the education we get.   Low wages harm.  Quality of life ought to be a major media topic along with how to get our government to promote it.   Second should be election reform.  Those who govern ought not be dependent upon big business for the funds to run their election campaigns.  Moreover the production of ideas should not be dominated by big business, for this undermines the foundation of democracy.  There are dozens of ways for the legislative process to improve quality of life.   For example other developed nations have managed to keep down the cost of health care by regulating big pharma.  Changes are need in the corporate structure so that profits are not the measure of performance.  Corporations are counted as a citizen before the law; they ought to be required to contribute more to our well being and not be permitted to influence, for example, legislators to roll back mercury emission.   We need protective tariffs to preserve the wage disparity between us and the underdeveloped nations.  We need to end outsourcing of jobs, and we need to place first Americans before the corporate dole.  This latter would including limiting our overseas presences, giving the military budget a crew cut, and  returning to a graduate tax similar to that in the 1950s.   We need politicians whose performance is openly and independently reviewed on how way the social programs are run.  The blame stops at the top.  Illegal immigration is just one more example of how they serve corporate interests ahead of the people. 



[i]  In Germany the physician averages under $200,000 per year, and their medical system far surpasses ours, as rated by the World Health Organization.  Too much pay creates its own distractions.  

[ii]  This is true when the government is rewarded by campaign contributions for compromising the programs they administer, as with the prescription drug coverage for the elderly, which was drawn up principally by the pharmaceutical industry.  Performance is determined by administrators and design.


Given that both parties feed from the corporate-donation swill, you can expect both parties to continue to let the garbage pile higher (while American-born workers pay continues to drop).  Remember the lax enforcement of work laws started with Reagan, and continued under to Democratic administrations.  Given these facts we can expect the no effective changes in policy.  How simple it would be to require of an employer the sending of a form to Social Security system with the appropriate documentation.  The same would be required of temp service.  Same-day response could be sent over the internet or via fax.