Skip to comments.Can We Please Stop Using This Argument?
Posted on 04/10/2006 6:45:04 PM PDT by B-Chan
Can We Please Stop Using This Argument?
People can rationally come to different conclusions on what should be done about the presence of millions of illegal aliens in the United States, but as that matter is debated, we should at least try to avoid some of the most obviously absurd arguments.
I therefore propose that we, as a nation, retire the "Illegal aliens take jobs Americans won't do/don't want" argument.
This is patent nonsense.
Anybody using this argument either has no grasp of economics or is being disingenuous due to the presence of an ulterior motive. (Them's yer two choices, so take yer pick, Mr. Bush.)
To see the absurdity of this argument, let's cast it in its starkest form: Food.
Before we do that, though, let me issue
THE BIG RED DISCLAIMER: The following treatment has nothing to do with ethnicity. It has to do with economics. In what follows I will talk about two groups of people--illegal aliens (whatever their ethnicity) and Americans (whatever their ethnicity). The fact that most (but by no means all) of the illegal aliens in this country are Latino in origin is irrelevant to the economic principles involved, as is the fact that many Americans are also of Latino origin. If you need to, swap the terms "America" and "Americans" for those of a random country somewhere else on the planet. The economic principles apply no matter where you are.
Now . . .
It is often noted that illegal aliens play a large role in the construction, landscaping, and domestic service industries, but nice buildings, nice landscapes, and nice domestic services are luxuries. Our most pressing survival-related need is for food, and so the "Jobs Americans won't do" argument can be cast most starkly if we look at the role of illegal aliens in the agricultural industry.
Suppose that all of the illegal aliens working in the agricultural industry decided to quit their jobs. What would happen to the U.S.?
Will we be seeing headlines in the New York Times like this one? . . .
Americans are not going to starve themselves to death because they "won't do" the job of harvesting the food.
Americans have been harvesting food ever since there have been Americans (otherwise they would have all starved long ago), so they are certainly capable of it.
Why, then, are so many illegal aliens taking the place of Americans in the agricultural industry?
Because they come from a different economic background and are willing to do the jobs for less.
The effect of illegal aliens in the agricultural industry is not that they do work that otherwise wouldn't get done. It's that they depress the wages in the agricultural industry to the point that such jobs are unattractive to Americans.
It's that whole supply-and-demand thing.
When you've got a greater supply of something than you have demand for it, the price will go down. If manufacturers make loads of DVD players and start to outstrip the demand for DVD players then the price of DVD players will go down as part of competition for customers.
Same thing happens in labor markets.
If the supply of agricultural workers outstrips the demand for agricultural workers then the wages attached to such jobs will go down as part of competition for employment. When the wages are depressed past a certain point, some of the workers will say, "Y'know, I could do better in a different industry" and they decide at that point that they "won't do" the agricultural jobs at the depressed wages being offered for those jobs.
But what happens if the labor pool shrinks? What happens if all the illegal aliens decide to quit?
When the supply of agricultural workers shrinks so that it no longer outstrips the demand for agricultural workers and employers start raising wages in order to attract the workers they need, and the work gets done.
Trust me, Americans are not going to starve themselves to death if they have no illegal aliens to harvest food.
What will happen instead is that the wages offered for such jobs will rise, Americans will start valuing such jobs more as a result (instead of looking down on them), and they will start doing them. The food will get harvested, and when it is sold to the public the added labor costs will be passed on to consumers in the form of a modest increase in food prices.
But there will be no massive wave of starvation in the U.S.
Something similar applies to the jobs in other industries that currently have high levels of involvement by illegal aliens. If the supply-and-demand situations of those industries were readjusted then Americans would be attracted to jobs in them as well, and the work would still get done. People might economize in some areas (e.g., taking care of the kids yourself instead of hiring an illegal alien to serve as a nanny), but we won't see headlines like:
That one's a non-starter, Mr. President.
P.S. BTW, Mr. President, do you realize how arrogant and insulting you are being when you use the "Jobs Americans won't do" argument?
This argument can be parsed one of two ways: (1) "Such jobs are beneath us as Americans, so we need to import foreigners to do these lowly tasks for us" or (2) "I preside over a nation of such hopelessly spoiled brats that we need to just cave in to their juvenile refusal to do such jobs."
The first is arrogant and insulting to people from other countries. The second is arrogant and insulting to Americans.
Since it can be parsed both ways, the argument is arrogant and insulting no matter what your nationality.
Ever heard of the ketchup industry? They were going to go out of business because the Bracero program was ended in 1964. It was too expensive to pick tomatos with anything but illegals. Oddly, tomatos are much cheaper than they were in the 60's and my how many new varieties we have.
With a few hours work by congress, we could enact laws that would allow us to bring in 11,000,000 replacement, registered workers in 11 weeks. Give them a registration card and tell them they have one month to report to a Post Office with an address.
One mill a week across and 30days to stay. After that, anyone employing an alien without the picture card will be fined 100,000 bux. Any alien not having a card would be transported to the border and sent back.
Did you visit the BLS website, MNJ? It explains in very clear terms who is, and is not, included in the numbers.
"And of course the Mother paid SS and Medicare taxes on the illegal's wages. /S"
Well, the illegal was an independant contractor and therefore responsible for her own taxes. the Mother had no liability!
I agree with you. I was just taking the position to it's natural conclusion. One person on these forums was saying if we enforce the laws against illegals, we would create a "proto-police state". He was for amnesty of course.
No, we can't deport all of the illegals..AT ONE TIME.
But we can put a big crimp in the illegal alien problem over time if, every time one is stopped by police or otherwise discovered, we deport them immediately.
I suppose the humane thing to do would be to give them one week to get their belongings and make immediate arraingments to vamoose back to their home country.
But I still haven't worked out in my head how we would keep them from running and hiding again if we simply used the 'honor system' for that one week grace period.
Still, like it's been said before, once those 12-20 million illegal aliens saw their amigo's getting detained in cuffs, they would realize that the USA is SERIOUS about deportation, and would do the right thing and head home on their own valition.
Only the gang-banger hoodsters or parents with young-uns would be holding on.
When all of you got out of college, was your first stop in the unemployment office?
During college when you wanted a job, did you go to the unemployment office? Or did you look in the classifieds for a job in the mall or restaurant (or walk to the mall and leave your resume)?
Only a select number of people register as unemployed.
You know, I would be curious to know the total numbers and percentages of people on welfare.
Ok, sorry I misunderstood your view.
I'm going to learn Spanish so that if I get really sick and my lousy insurance does not cover it, I will just speak in Spanish and say I'm illegal and demand my "rights".
McCain really stuck his two-faced foot in his mouth this time.
I already wrote McCain and offered to take him up on his offer. (I really dont expect a response)
At $50 an hour, he should be over run by applicants, even if it is hot hard work, for an entire season.
Besides, a lettuce season aint that long. I figure you could make about $36,000 in a few months time, and there's a ton of Americans who would jump at the chance.
Also, this would serve as a MAJOR deterrent for all the millions of people who plan on entering here illegally in the future. They'll see it pays, literally and figuratively, to enter the United States the legal way.
"It was too expensive to pick tomatos with anything but illegals."
So the "guest worker" program is just a modern day slave trade?
Farmers ARE automating
The florida citrus industry is using new shaker technology to harvest fruit.
The wine industry now has the ability to pick grapes via automation.
It is not a question of IF by when and how fast these can be implimented.
If you want to see the machinery just do a google search for harvester and grapes or citrus or any other crop.
TEXT OF THE PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS TO THE NATION
SATURDAY, APRIL XX, 20XX
My Fellow Americans:
In the past seventy-two hours, a remarkable political event has occurred. In your Congress, members of both parties have joined forces to pass new and bold legislation that will ensure the integrity of our borders and regularize the process by which Americans are identified. This new legislation -- the National Security Act of 20XX -- takes effect at midnight tonight.
What effect will the new Act have on you? Outwardly, very little. If you are an American citizen, or a legal resident of the United States, your daily routine will be largely unchanged. If you are a employer, your hiring procedures will be affected to a small degree. Schools, colleges, universities, and other public institutions will feel the effect somewhat more, but the changes the Act will require will not be unduly onerous. However, if you are a person who is currently within the borders of the United States without benefit of citizenship, visa, or other permission, your life is about to become difficult indeed.
Why? Simply put, the government of the United States is about to resume its primary function: protecting the people of the several states from foreign invasion, an invasion that has been going on for many years. Until now, the leaders elected to the government of the United States have for various reasons, chosen to ignore this invasion, tolerate its effects, and justify their ignorance and dereliction of duty by mischaracterizing this invasion as mere "illegal immigration". No more. With the passage of the National Security Act, the officials elected by you to govern our country will resume the duty of maintaining the territorial integrity of the United States, and of undoing the damage created by the dereliction of previous administrations.
Our goal is threefold: first, to define and identify those who have the right to be within our borders; second, to apprehend and remove from our country those who have no legal right to be here; and third, to re-establish and defend the borders of the United States.
With these goals in mind, as President of the United States I have issued a series Exeuctive Orders directing the various agencies of the federal government to put the provisions of the National Security Act into effect. The complete text of each of these orders, along with that of the National Security Act, will appear in your local newspaper tomorrow moring. These documents are also available to you via the internet, and will be transmitted over radio and television. By familiarizing yourself with these documents, you will be prepared for the changes which we as a nation will be experiencing over the weeks and months to come.
First comes Identification. Monday, May XX is Identification Day, or ID Day. This is the day for citizens and legal residents of the United States to stand up and be counted. Within the next sixty days, your Census Department will be establishing Citzen Centers in every county seat in the United States. The purpose of these facilities is to establish an accurate and legal census of the legal residents of each county. This census will be the basis from which your new United States Citizen Identification Card will be issued. On ID Day, all citizens and legal residents of the United States will have the opportunity to establish their status by appearing at the Citzen Center in their home county and presenting proof of status to a Court established for that purpose by your state government. In most cases, this Court will consist of your local county judge and his staff. The process of establishing your status will be simple: you simply register with the Court, stand before the judge, swear or affirm to your status, and submit certified copies of your birth certificate, passport, naturalization papers, or other documents as evidence. On your way out, you will be issued a temporary card -- similar to your current Driving license -- containing your identification data and photograph. That is all. A few weeks later, upon confirmation of your documents, you will receive a permanent Identification Card in the mail. This card contains your personal data stored on a digital memory module. The data on the module is your property and will be recorded only on the card itself and, in paper form, at your countty courthouse. Under the Act, this dats cannot be accessed -- even by another agency of the federal, state, or local government -- without a federal court order. Its purpose is to identify you as a citizen or legal resident of the United States in cases where such identification is necessary -- for example, when you collect your Social Security benefits, military pension, or when you go to vote. This card will also serve as an adjunct to your current paper passport and will be used to identify you as a citzen or legal resident when you apply for employment within the United States.
I want to stress that your new ID Card is in no way connected with your personal finances, credit, or ability to buy or sell. It is intended to identify you as a citizen or legal resident of the United States, and can legally be used for no other purpose. Any entity found guilty of abusing your Citizen Identification data, or of requiring you to provide it to them for any illegitimate purpose, will be subject to prosecution by federal law enforcement authorities.
Next comes Enforcement Day, or E-Day. Six months after ID Day, your employer will be required to establish the employment status of each person on its payroll. Your new ID card is all you need on E-Day. Just show it to your employer; they will electronically verify it with your county courthouse, confirm your right to work in the United States, and return the card to you. From E-Day on, each employer in the United States will be legally required to verify your status when you take a new job, but, again, it will be a simple process.
The effect of this procedure will be simple: beginning on E-Day, it will be impossible for anyone other than a citizen or legal resident of the United States to hold a legitimate job in our country. Likewise, it will be impossible for those without the legal right to be here to collect government benefits, operate a motor vehicle, or vote in an election; verified Citizen ID will be required for each. Employers who are caught employing illegal aliens "off the books", falsiying or evading the verification process, or otherwise violating the provisions of the Act, will become subject to federal criminal prosecution, including seizure of assets. Those persons attempting to vote, collect federal benefits, or otherwise enjoy the benefits of legal residents and citizens will be arrested, confined, and deported as soon as possible.
Finally comes Border Day. As commander in chief of the United States armed forces, I have directed the Joint Chiefs of Staff to seal the borders of the United States, effective immediately. To this end, I have tonight issued an executive order establishing a national invasion emergency and with it defense areas along our nation's coasts and borders: the Atlantic Sea Frontier, extending from Maine to the Tidewater area of Virginia; the Southeastern Sea Frontier, extending from Tidewater to Pensacola, Florida, and including the United States Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico; the Gulf Coast Sea Frontier, from Pensacola to the tip of Texas near Brownsville; the Southwestern Frontier, comprising our borders with Mexico; the Western Sea Frontier, extending from the Mexican border south of San Diego north to the Canadian Border and including Alaska, Hawaii, and our Pacific territories and possessions; and the Northern Frontier, encompassing the U.S.-Canadian border, the Great Lakes, and the Saint Lawrence Seaway, thence eastward to Maine. Each of these military areas will extend from the border inland for one hundred kilometers, and will be technically under martial law for the duration of the emergency. Within these areas the normal legal and judicial processes will continue, however, at the discretion of the military command authority in each area, military forces will have authority to detain, interrogate, and confine any person suspected of violating the National Security Act. I have also instructed the Chuefs to create a military command strictly tasked with border defense. This is our country's new Continental Defense Command, or CONDEFCOM. Headquartered at Fort Sam Houston in San Antionio, Texas CONDEFCOM will consist of your state's Guard forces, regular Armed Forces personnel, and federal and state law enforcement personnel. These brave men and women will establish and maintain our borders secure from those who would invade our country.
To assist them in this task I have furthermore directed the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to immediately begin contruction of a physical Border Integrity Perimeter slong our land frontiers with Canada and Mexico. This facility will be a physical and electronic "fence" extending along the complete length of our borders, employing both time-tested and new techniques to keep intruders out. Our border crossings will be fortified and garrisoned with CONDEFCOM units to prevent unauthorized entry into our country. Our ports and coastlines will be patrolled by our Coast Guard, assisted by our state's own civilian naval auxiliary and by unmanned air and sea vehicles. And the airspace and orbital pathwaus above our nation will fall under increased scrutiny from your Air Force, Air National Guard, and a new generation of surveillance satellites.
All this done well, and within a year your government will have begun to do what it should have been doing all along: protecting the people of the United States from invasion from abroad.
My fellow citizens, I realize that these changes may seem abrupt, and even -- to some -- frightening. I want to assure you tonight that there is nothing to fear. Yes, there will be changes to come in all of our lives, some of which may seem drastic and even unsettling. This is because we are working to clean up a mess of many years in a few short months. Yes, there will be inefficiencies, mistakes, and omissions. No government is perfect, and ours is no exception. As your President, I ask of all you who find yourselves inconvenienced, frustrated, or exasperated by such imperfections to bear with your government in a spirit of patience and patriotism. Our goal is not to hurt anyone, deny anyone their God-given rights, or to intrude into areas of anyone's life where government has no business. Our goal is to protect and defend the Constitution and people of the United States, and no more. To that end, your representatives and I have taken these actions, and we pledge to you our faithful service.
Finally, to our neighbors on the American continent: we extend to you the hand of fraternity and soildarity now as always, and ask in return only that you respect our nation in like manner. We will do everything in our power to treat hose of your country who are found to be in violation of our laws with justice, compassion, and humanity. Nevertheless, our friends to the north and south should be aware that, while we mean them no ill will, the United States is a nation with borders, and that those borders will be defended.
To this, I pledge my very best efforts on your behalf as President, and I ask you, my fellow citizens, for your forbearance, support, and prayers in the difficult weeks and months ahead. Good night, and God bless America.
Well, not everyone who is willing to work is counted in unemployment stats, for one reason or another. For instance, I have been unemployed for 2 years. I'm not forced to work, but I'm willing if the right job came up. I'm not lazy or insane or on drugs, handicapped or elderly and yet, I'm not part of the 4.7% you see.
I think, btw, those numbers are people who are getting unemployment. I'm not positive about that, but I think that's the case. If so, there are probably more than 4.7% out there who could fill jobs if the money was right and the job was open.
And in fact, I'm not sure what that number means, 4.7%. 4.7% of what? The total number of people who could work? How do they figure THAT?
Once the current illegals are made legal, then there will no longer be an incentive to hire them, they'll just keep hiring the next wave of illegals that enter the country. Lather, rinse, repeat.
What a dreamer!!!
It's insulting to others, it's vain, it's demeaning to our work ethic, it's arrogant, it's condescending, it's narcissistic,and it perpetuates the image of the 'ugly American'. Using that phrase makes the President look very, very unpresidential.
I wish that someone would give the President some sage advice--to stop using a phrase that terribly unpresidential and that totally inappropriate!!!
McCain is looking more like Arlen Specter every day!
"You know, I would be curious to know the total numbers and percentages of people on welfare." Ask, and you shall receive:
In 1994, when debate about federal welfare reform again intensified, the demographics of the national welfare population were as follows:
From 1960 to 1994, the number of people receiving AFDC had grown almost five-fold, from about 3 million to 14 million
In 1993, 87 percent of mothers receiving AFDC did not have a husband present (48 percent were single, 23 percent were widowed or divorced, and 17 percent were separated)
In 1993, 5 percent of mothers receiving AFDC were aged 1519
In 1993, 55 percent of mothers receiving AFDC were white and 39 percent black
From 1969 to 1994 the size of the average welfare household had fallen, from 4.0 members to 2.9
From 1970 to 1994, federal and state welfare spending combined and adjusted for inflation had climbed from $16 billion to more than $25 billion; the peak was $27 billion, in 1977
There was further reform after 1993:
"Between 1996 and 2000, expenditures for the Food Stamp Program fell 33 percent, as average monthly participation dropped from 25.5 million people per month to 17.2 million. Lower unemployment and lower poverty rates reduced the number of people eligible to participate in food assistance programs, and PRWORA restructured the cash welfare system in ways that may have reduced participation in food assistance programs. Disentangling the effects of economic conditions from program changes is important to understanding what lies ahead for food assistance programs. If economic conditions are mostly responsible for recent declines, participation is likely to rebound in an economic downturn. By contrast, if program changes are responsible for the decline, then participation will remain low so long as current policies are maintained."
How about my teen agers? Because of federal laws neither my 14 year old son or my 15 year old daughter can work more than 18 hours PER WEEK! That is ridiculous! I worked after school and full time on weekends from the time I was 13 and it did me good. My kids want to work, but they can't; the workers are here, we just need to repeal some of the silly labor laws.
Is that where the word Scofflaws comes from? I am always learning things here at FR! :)
ACtually, it should be fairly simple to cause them to self deport. If they cannot get a job, if they cannot get public services and if they are assured they will never get a green card if they are caught illegally in this country after a certain date, many will go home.
Yep. It's just a fantasy. The Powers That Be would never allow the kind of leader who could pull off a program like that to reach the Big Chair. He'd end up discredited or dead.
It's over. We're boned.
I'm just glad I know Spanish already.
LOL! That is excellent fuzzy logic.
I do have to hand it to you, your arguments are far better than those of the free traitors. And I am not joking.
And of course, what happens to all of the illegal fruit pickers when the industry automates?
Another excellent point. You are so very smart!
Tell your boss (GWB) that. ;)
I should have been more clear.
Thank you. Now I only wish I could remember why I wanted to know! ;)
I totally agree. I think ALL conservatives can agree on increased border security. And NO amnesty, meaning granting "line-jumper" benefits of any kind. Everything else is details and semantics.
I'll drop what I am doing right now and go... In a heart beat.
I suppose you're what they call a moderate? :)
Welfare and The Great Society was implemented by LBJ to stop a Civil War in the 1960's. Blacks were already burning down the cities in the US. The same would happen again without welfare.
I agree. Having real border security, no rewards for illegal aliens, and enforce employment laws is the solution.
All this talk of compromise makes it seem like compromise is an end in itself. When in fact, it is a means to an end.
the only problem, half the illegals don't work and only 2-3% of illegals work in agriculture... see Rush for info
McCain had the arrogance to proclaim that Americans won't work for $50/hr. I am an attorney and never made $50/hr in my life. I came close in 2002, my last year before retirement.
What an idiot.
The go into the streets demanding amnesty.
In FL about a decade back, there was freeze which made some legislators give them unemployment during the down time "for humnanitarian reasons". When the freeze passed the illegals did not go back to the fields. They were making more with unemployment.
When you don't hire illegals the crime rate will jump.
History lovers, what does that tell us about this amnesty debate.
It tells me this nation is scr*wed. If true, we have already raised the white flag.