My "big fundamental" is that being _left_ means working for a more egalitarian, democratic society, but also for fairness, not ethnic or other kinds of favoritism. Because the left has turned away from fairness it is lost and unpopular. I'm a small voice hoping to push the left back toward its basics and its natural popularity.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Alan Greenspan _and_David Sirota, Immigration Assholes

David Sirota – in his Huffington Post Greenspan Says Solution to Inequality is to Lower U.S. Wages – highlights a statement by Alan Greenspan from a long interview recently on Democracy Now (no, I don't know why Democracy Now is providing a megaphone to America's No. 1 enemy of its working class):

Listen to the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve 39 minutes into this clip for his solution to America’s economic problems going forward [emphasis added by Sirota]:

"We ought to be opening up our borders to skilled labor from all parts of the world because if we were to do that we would increase the supply of skilled workers that our schools have been unable to create and as a consequence of that we would lower the average wage of skills and reduce the degree of income inequality in this country."

But Sirota is also an a$hole based on the following, his entire reaction to Greenspan (my emphasis):

Beyond his dishonest trumpeting of the Great Education Myth, notice that Greenspan's solution to economic inequality in America is to drive down the wages of the dwindling number of good-paying jobs that remain, by importing more foreign workers who have no basic rights to bargain for good wages, and who are thus paid much less than American workers in the same jobs.

Alan Greenspan: One of the truly great class warriors of his time.

(h/t Progressive Geek)

David, DAVID, DAVID!! No, wages don’t increase simply with a right to organize. Look at labor history 101, Dave, unionization rates for legal workers have been plummeting for decades. Unionization and union wages in the real world require more than the right to organize, you need labor shortages. You know the real solution, don't you Dave, but you just can't politically correctly say it . . .

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Bobby Kennedy and Cesar Chavez, a strong opponent of illegal immigrant labor.

Cesar Chavez knew how to get and defend unionization; his union succeeeded by the 1970s in organizing much of U.S. agribusiness. But that was a time when illegal immigration had slowed to a trickle. However, his union was eventually destroyed by a 1980s wave of immigrant workers willing to work for much less than union wages. Of course U.S. farmworkers maintained their right to join a union, but a lot of good it did them.

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Illegal immigrant percentages of U.S. job sectors

Across the country construction workers continue to have a right to join a union, but very few do anymore, because they immediately price themselves out of competition with a vast over-supply of non-union workers.

Or, hey, look at the only recent increase in union organizing: it happened in the late 90s during Clinton’s bubble economy when there were worker supply shortages.

So Dave, whose side are you on? The side of Cesar Chavez and the U.S. working class ... or is your side the corporations and their Latino elite buddies?

LAST QUESTION, Dave: would corporations support an easy track to legalization for the 11 to 20 million illegal immigrant workers in the U.S. if they thought those workers would quickly organize and get union-scale wages? OF course not, the corporations know that won’t happen. Instead, they know an over-supply of workers means the right to join a union will be meaningless because it won’t be used.

By the way, the CIS study linked to by Sirota (“paid much less”) focused on H-1B visa computer programmers. Some lowlights:

In spite of the requirement that H-1B workers be paid the prevailing wage, H-1B workers earn significantly less than their American counterparts. On average, applications for H-1B workers in computer occupations were for wages $13,000 less than Americans in the same occupation and state.

Wages for H-1B workers in computer programming occupations are overwhelmingly concentrated at the bottom of the U.S. pay scale. Wages on LCAs [approved Labor Condition Applications] for 85 percent of H-1B workers were for less than the median U.S. wage in the same occupations and state.

A recent CIS editorial – subtitled As immigration enforcement takes hold, jobs begin to open up to less-skilled Americans – notes (what obvious supply-demand economic theory would predict) that recent anti-immigration enforcement measures …

… are improving the economic bargaining power of less-skilled American workers. The Rocky Mountain News reported that in Greeley, Colo., "the line of applicants hoping to fill jobs vacated by undocumented workers taken away by immigration agents at the Swift & Co. meat-processing plant . . . was out the door.

New England Cable News reported that only after a raid on a plant making leather goods for the military in New Bedford, Mass., were Americans and legal immigrants able to get hired. As one new employee said of the raid: "In a way, you know, it's sad, and then in a way it's good because at least it gives people that were not employed for so many years . . . a break to be able to work and support their families."

When illegal aliens were removed from a Crider Poultry plant in Stillmore, Ga., the Atlanta Journal Constitution and the Wall Street Journal documented the benefits to local workers. The plant raised wages significantly, began offering free shuttles from nearby towns and provided free rooms in a company-owned dormitory. For the first time, Crider sought applicants from the state unemployment office and began hiring probationers and men from a local homeless mission. And, as the Journal noted, "for the first time since significant numbers of Latinos began arriving in Stillmore in the late 1990s, the plant's processing lines were made up predominantly of African Americans."

Good news, right Dave, the Jerry Springer rabbl – I mean the working class and working poor – are already benefiting from decreased immigration! DOES NOT COMPUTE DEM POWER SAYS OPEN BORDERS GOOD DOES NOT COMPUTE NO ALTERNATIVE TO GLOBALIZED HELL DOES NOT COMPUTE WORKER PROTECTION GOOD? NO, MUST BE B-A- DOES NOT COMPUTE

By the way, CIS provides an army of less anecdotal studies demonstrating that the anecdotes reflect the truth: if you greatly increase worker supply then wages go down, and if you do the opposite wages go up.

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State by state locations of illegal immigrants


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