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CA: Cost of illegal-immigrant labor exceeds benefits
LA Daily News ^ | 9/3/04 | Jon Coupal

Posted on 09/03/2004 8:39:45 AM PDT by NormsRevenge

The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles recently announced that they would hire 3,000 new dockworkers for temporary jobs. Despite the common knowledge that the work is hard, there were more than a quarter of a million applicants. Indeed, so many people applied that those being hired were selected by a lottery system.

So what is the attraction? Simple: the pay and benefits. Initially, these jobs pay from $20.66 to $28 per hour and, better yet, those who are employed will have the opportunity to move on to permanent work and a possible six-figure income.

Suppose, for a moment, that these jobs didn't lead to annual pay of over $100,000, but instead only $60,000. It is still a good bet that people would be lining up around the block to apply. Even at $40,000 or less, there are many who would gladly take this work, considering that the average entry-level wage in Los Angeles County is $8.38.

There are many hard jobs, we are told, that Americans will not accept. This is raised as a justification for the hiring of illegal immigrants or in support of a "guest worker" program. For jobs washing dishes, or cars, or gardening or picking produce, often the pay is minimum wage or less. It is hard to determine what the typical pay is for some jobs because they are part of the underground economy where workers are paid in cash.

We are told by the same apologists for a system that encourages the employment of undocumented workers that the low wages help to keep prices down for consumers. But there is a hidden cost to taxpayers that they are hesitant to discuss.

No matter how one feels about minimum-wage laws or the underground economy, there is little disagreement that illegal immigrants, who make much less than Wal-Mart employees, are overwhelming public services in places like Los Angeles County. Property owners in the county are now paying an additional tax specifically to prop up the trauma care system, nearly half of whose clients are undocumented aliens.

Public services throughout the state are under pressure because low-paid illegal immigrants rely on these services -- including education -- in numbers proportionally greater than the general population. In short, it is the taxpayers who end up paying to subsidize the low-wage jobs of the undocumented.

Some suggested that without illegal immigrants, the nation would face a recession. But would we?

No one is suggesting that government mandate a six-figure income for dishwashers. But if we stopped importing an underclass willing to take starvation wages for hard or unpleasant work, market forces would force the pay rate up to a level American workers would accept. These wages would be declared for tax purposes and these wages would be spent here in the U.S. instead of being sent home, as is often the case with undocumented workers. The result would be more jobs and income for Americans while this "above- the-table" economic activity would produce additional revenue for government. Pressure on social services would decline.

Yes, without an illegal-immigrant labor force the price of a hamburger might go up a dime, but it is just as likely that the reduction in the tax burden would more than compensate for any increase in consumer prices.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; Politics/Elections; US: California
KEYWORDS: aliens; benefits; calgov2002; california; cost; exceeds; illegalimmigrant; immigrantlist; labor
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To: NormsRevenge

Another early endorser of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Recall.

41 posted on 09/03/2004 5:26:30 PM PDT by SierraWasp (Success is still the best revenge... In the land of the free... Because of the brave!!!)
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To: NormsRevenge

Speaking of early endorsers, I saw more of Pete Wilson on the limited TV broadcasts of the convention than I've seen of him for years! He's really lookin older these days!!!

42 posted on 09/03/2004 5:31:12 PM PDT by SierraWasp (Success is still the best revenge... In the land of the free... Because of the brave!!!)
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To: SierraWasp

lol, Good old 'Squeaky' Pete ... didn't he sign the largest tax increase ever back in the most recent glory days of the GOP ? only to see it followed by the gory days of davi$.

How the heck did Deuk do it anyway?

43 posted on 09/03/2004 5:42:42 PM PDT by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi .... ..... 'The New Soldier' in pdf format)
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To: NormsRevenge
Just by bein a nice ol Armenian man. I still remember him promising that every single cent of the Prop 111 gas tax would always go to nothing but pavement and sunset in 10 years... Well, Pete made a liar out of him, for sure!!!

That five cents/gallon is still on the pump and it's goin right into the general fund which is now in debt to the tune of another Republican Governors promise that the credit card is torn up... WAIT! Didn't he just borrow five billion more to balance this latest budget???

Yawn... Voters and Taxpayers are so gullible!!!

44 posted on 09/03/2004 7:45:49 PM PDT by SierraWasp (Success is still the best revenge... In the land of the free... Because of the brave!!!)
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To: NormsRevenge; farmfriend; calcowgirl; Carry_Okie

Oh! And so are taxpayer organizations like Coupals and Pauli's CA Farm Bureau Federation!!! (snort!)

45 posted on 09/03/2004 7:49:12 PM PDT by SierraWasp (Success is still the best revenge... In the land of the free... Because of the brave!!!)
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To: Minuteman23
But part of the reason is that dishwashing is beneath most Americans these days.

Partly because in most restaurants, machines actually wash the dishes. You don't need some cheap laborer with 8 kids going to school at $10,000 each per year who makes $4 an hour and can't afford health insurance or to pay his own doctor bills for his family.

46 posted on 09/03/2004 9:34:44 PM PDT by FITZ
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To: Regulator
But apparently no one in the respective governments wants rebellion in Mexico, which is exactly what SHOULD happen.

Actually it would probably be nicer if it DIDN'T happen but the massive migration of people out of Mexico is actually leading to a lot of instability and making everything worse. If they stayed, they would be there to push for reforms but by leaving the reforms aren't going to happen and things are going into a downward spiral.

47 posted on 09/03/2004 9:41:36 PM PDT by FITZ
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To: janetgreen
Dishwashing and other service-related jobs weren't beneath Americans back in the days when welfare wasn't so readily available. People actually had to work for a living back in those days instead of sucking the government tit.

I wouldn't argue with that.

48 posted on 09/03/2004 10:44:56 PM PDT by Minuteman23
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To: Marine Inspector
That's only due to bad parenting.

And the emergence of the welfare state, as janetgreen said above.

49 posted on 09/03/2004 10:45:50 PM PDT by Minuteman23
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To: NormsRevenge
There is a popular bumper sticker that reads: There is a parallel to this, that I haven't seen anyone else notice: The essence of the Minimum Wage is that it outlaws lower wages. The outlaws who work for less are better known as illegal Mexican immigrants. As we raise the Minimum Wage, our need for illegal immigrants grows. It's not that there are jobs we Americans are too lazy to do. It's that there are jobs which don't justify the Minimum Wage, so legal citizens are not elligible for them. Only illegals are elligible.

Thus does the Minimum Wage contribute to flooding our society with immigrants in greater number than we can assimilate, who are discouraged from assimilation by their illegal status. That such a flood of illegal immigrants is forthcoming is a testament to the free, capitalist health of our nation.

To reduce illegal immigration, don't try to fight the natural, profit seeking response of a free capitalist economy with central immigration planning and enforcement. Instead just lower the Minimum Wage !!

It will have to be reduced substantially. The true cost of an illegal immigrant's labor is doubly reduced, first by not having to pay Minimum Wage, second by not have to pay benefits and withholding.

50 posted on 09/04/2004 12:08:02 AM PDT by ThePythonicCow (I was humble, before I was born. -- J Frondeur Kerry)
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To: 2banana


51 posted on 09/04/2004 12:08:57 AM PDT by AnimalLover ((Are there special rules and regulations for the big guys?))
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To: bayourod
I live in Pocatello, Idaho. The teenagers in this town are the ones who wash dishes, wait tables, wash cars, collect shopping baskets. The same types of jobs that teenage kids did when I was a teen in San Diego in the 70's. American kids are quite willing to do those jobs.

Southern California is full of illegal immigrants. They take jobs that teenage Americans would do...if they were not pre-empted by illegals. My son worked around the deficiency of being a white, male American citizen by becoming fluent in Spanish. The bilingual hiring preference that usually favors an illegal immigrant with limited English skills can be turned on its head. He's not flipping burgers anymore either. As a 21-year old licensed California real estate agent, he sells 15 to 20 houses a month to a predominantly Spanish speaking customer base.

52 posted on 09/04/2004 12:46:00 AM PDT by Myrddin
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Partly because in most restaurants, machines actually wash the dishes.

I washed dishes for Farrell's Ice Cream in high school. Someone still has to rinse and rack the dishes before putting them through the wash/sanitize machine. Once complete, someone has to put the clean dishes where they are accessible to the cook/wait/fountain staff. That someone is the dishwasher.

I got tired of washing dishes pretty fast. It took a whole two weeks to pass all the written tests and practicals to switch to the cook position. Another couple of weeks to learn all the fountain stuff. It was on Ok job for a high school senior to cover costs for the prom, class ring and annual.

53 posted on 09/04/2004 12:54:06 AM PDT by Myrddin
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To: Minuteman23
Beautiful! But part of the reason is that dishwashing is beneath most Americans these days.

A friend of mine's dad was a pilot laid off by TWA in the late 80s. His father found work at a deli in a local supermarket making minimum wage.

When you have a family to feed, nothing is beneath you.

54 posted on 09/04/2004 7:50:27 AM PDT by HennepinPrisoner
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To: NormsRevenge

We are in the midst of a great game of Monopoly and the middle class always draws the card "Pass go do not collect 200 dollars", but instead pay out.

55 posted on 09/04/2004 8:34:34 AM PDT by junta
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To: Regulator

Thanks for the article. I have it archived.

Bummer about shutting down UC Davis. They came up with some great stuff. We had an almond tree behind our house in Stockton. We had to take long bamboo poles and knock the ripe nuts off the limbs and were told that's how they did it on the farms. The next year UC Davis came up with a bulldozer that was modified with two padded gripper arms. The farmers would lay out a large circular canvas sheet around the base of the tree, run the dozer in close enough the grab the tree trunk, and then proceeded to shake hell out of the tree. Ergo, a canvas full of ripe nuts in minutes.

The following year they were giving cherry trees, and probably others, an electric shock to fool them into blooming again and getting a double crop,

The mind reels at what those types of boys could do today if turned loose.

56 posted on 09/04/2004 3:39:59 PM PDT by Oatka
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To: Oatka
Sorry for not getting back! I did a little more WebSearching and mostly got a bezillion tomato picking machine references, not a lot of lettuce ideas. But one that I did read referred to machines in common use that only require a little marching army ahead of it to cut the head and leave it in the field. Seems as if a simple thing like that could be easily automated with current day machine vision techniques or something simpler.

Undoubtedly, what's going on in the farm labor field is all about jobs for the desperate of Mexico, and not a lot about "efficient" farming.

57 posted on 09/04/2004 6:05:27 PM PDT by Regulator
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To: Oatka
Now here's an interesting link that I came up with looking for lettuce links: Antle Farm Workers Show Their colors
58 posted on 09/04/2004 6:08:23 PM PDT by Regulator
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To: Myrddin
I certainly can't disagree with anything you said. In the past I have owned pizza delivery stores. The best part was being able to interact with the teenage employees and customers. They are a good bunch of kids. I congratulate you on raising a fine son.

But having been an employer in a number of different businesses I have an appreciation of the value of labor. At times my definition of a good employee was anyone above room temperature. We currently have an extremely tight labor market. Friends tell me they can't find any qualified dependable employees.

Every successful business owner will tell you that it is very important to rtain good employees and get quickly rid of bad employees.

A bad employee can cost you business, can result in lawsuits, and can run off good employees. Successful businesses reward good employees with raises, bonuses, special benefits ect...

I saw a national chain body shop go out of business because they couldn't find skilled body men. They were even paying double time to employees of other shops who would come in after they got off from their first job and work a night shift. Printers, jobbers, light manufacturers, and service companies are hurting because they can't find employees. They are offering good pay but are not getting qualified applicants.

Employers do not like to have employees who are subject to arrest and deportation at any time. Given the choice between an employee who is current with INS and one that is out of status (for whatever reason) the employer will pick the legal one. I lost an employee upon whom I had expended considerable resources training after 9/11. His student visa renewal had been denied several years previous. He was afraid of the after 0/11 crackdown on out of status immigrants, so he returned to Greece. I didn't know when I hired him that he was illegal. I didn't even know he was an immigrant.

There are lots of reforms needed in both our labor laws and immigration laws. But the answer is not to shut down American businesses. When a business folds, has to outsource or moves over seas, ALL employees, not just the illegal ones lose.

59 posted on 09/04/2004 8:23:16 PM PDT by bayourod (You're either for President Bush or against him. There is no "but...")
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To: NormsRevenge
That's why I always laugh when I hear some genius say, "Sooooo, do you want to pay $6 for a head of lettuce?"
60 posted on 09/04/2004 8:27:22 PM PDT by Uncle Vlad
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