History can often give us answers to today’s problems and the never ending illegal immigration situation is a perfect example.
While Congress is mired in politics, with the Democrats looking for 10 million new voters, and the Republicans just wanting to be loved, we’re continually told that we have to work out a deal for the immigrants wjo entered the country illegally in part because there’s so much manual labor that needs to be done that Americans just won’t do. True and not true.
Back in the day when labor unions were respected and respectable, and a large part of the blue collar workforce was unionized, work hours went down, wages and benefits went up, the U.S. became extremely wealthy, the middle class exploded, and the corporations prospered like never before. In true trickle-down fashion, non-unionized employers also had to raise their wages and benefits in order to attract desirable employees.
Fast forward to 2013; union membership is at an all time low, real wages and benefits are largely stagnant or declining, the work day/week has increased for many and declined for others because of Obamacare, and we have the fewest number of Americans working and the largest number not working at any time since the days of Jimmy Carter.
We have more people on welfare and the highest number not paying federal taxes at any time in history. But today you can be unemployed long term and still live a comfortable life, which is counterproductive to the nations economic health. Benjamin Franklin said that being poor should be uncomfortable, with the idea being that you’ll work to improve your life.
What’s this have to do with illegal immigration? The immigrants who entered the country illegally largely do low-wage unskilled manual labor. The unemployed Americans could do this work, but why should they? But if the immigrants would no longer be available to do this work, the employers will have to raise their pay to the point that Americans will do it if their unemployment benefits are reduced, and being poor becomes uncomfortable again, and then everybody wins.
So will you have to pay another nickel for a tomato in the supermarket? Maybe, maybe not, because another thing that always happens is that when pay for manual labor increases to a certain level, employers figure out a way to mechanize processes, which reduces the need for manual labor, which creates more good paying jobs making machines.
But then we’re told we need to bring the immigrants out of the shadows. Well why are they in the shadows in the first place? Who put them there? The answer is they put themselves there because they’re here illegally, so why is it my responsibility to make it easier for them?
The immigration problem is only a problem because the laws already on the books aren’t being followed. That’s the problem. How do you think we’ve come to have 10 million to 20 million immigrants entered the country illegally in the first place? A law was passed and funded seven years ago to build the fence, but it was just ignored. Now the Democrats say that this time we’ll build the fence, after the immigrants are legitimized.
First we need the political will to actually control illegal immigration, and then everybody wins.
KEN SELKING Decatur