Monday, April 24, 2006

Will the Senate get it right this time?

Bill Frist is going to give it a shot. This is a chance for Republicans to reject an abominable bill from the House of Representatives (Congressman Sensenbrenner should never have put the felony provision in the bill in the first place).

I've blogged about immigration before, discussing the broken system on at least two occasions, discussing my problems with the right on this issue several times. Even the "rule of law" argument does not fly with me, as the law has become unresponsive to the needs of immigrants and others.

What bothers me the most about this is the fact that I have seen conservatives willing to defend the system - demanding "enforcement first". But this is a nebulous concept, and one on which it is easy to move the goalposts, if you will. There will be some who will always insist on "more enforcement" rather than fixing the problems. One has to ask what the Border Patrol and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement have been doing all this time, playing tiddlywinks?

Yes, they are here and doing jobs - and proving that Americans are, quite frankly, asking too much for the jobs. If someone is willing to do the job cheaper, you can either lower your asking price, or do without the job. The fact is, it doesn't take much training or education to swing a hammer or to carry a lot of material. If you want $20 an hour (or other union-level wages), you're probably asking for too much. College students have little to complain about, too, if you ask me. There are paid internships out there - things that will provide more experience for one's career. Besides, businesses need people all year round, not just when your schoolwork is off. Business is not there to provide college or high school students with a job - they exist to make profits for their owners by providing goods or services to people at the price set by the market. A lot of these folks complaining about immigrants sound like they enjoy being generous with other people's money.

Short version, the economy in general is changing, and those who want to hold tight to the way things were in the 1950s are living in Wolkenkuckkucksheim (or cloud-coukoo-land) - to borrow from Erwin Rommel's description of the Atlantic Wall. That wall reminds us of one other thing - no wall can stand against people determined to break it. The same has been true of the Berlin Wall and the Maginot Line as well.

Will common-sense solutions prevail? Hard to say. On the right, it is acceptable to wage the sort of class warfare we see from Tom Tancredo, Pat Buchanan, and others. In essence, Buchanan and Tancredo want a restribution of wealth from sucessful businesses to those they deem worthy of largesse (namely, undereducated native-born workers in this country) - and they have no problem using "big government" to get it. Perhaps it is time for business to stand up and call these populists out. After all, business is a big part of any successful Republican electoral coalition. They should be heeded, too.

Or the Republicans may hear the sound of checkbooks snapping shut.

2 comments:

Cannoneer No. 4 said...

Yes, they are here and doing jobs - and proving that Americans are, quite frankly, asking too much for the jobs.

How much is too much? If the law of supply and demand wasn't being subverted by illegal Mexican indentured servants, US citizen manual laborers could demand and receive wages reflecting the true value and scarcity of what they offer.

If someone is willing to do the job cheaper, you can either lower your asking price, or do without the job.

Chinese prison labor is real cheap. Using your logic, everybody in a manufacturing job in America should do without their jobs.

The fact is, it doesn't take much training or education to swing a hammer or to carry a lot of material.

I get the impression that you have not done much manual labor, and don't have much respect for those that do. Nobody pays anybody to swing hammers. They pay guys with hammers to build things. Chimpanzees can swing hammers. They can't build houses. Llamas can carry material, but you can't tell a llama to go up to the 12th Floor and put this where Bob wants it. It doesn't take a lot of book learning to be a framer or a hod carrier, but it does take some character to be useful on a crew. Mexicans have the work ethic, and they have just about run the Anglos and the blacks out of the building trades in right to work states. That would be a lot easier to stomach if those Mexicans were here legally, and the suits weren't paying their coyote fees.

Buchanan and Tancredo want a restribution of wealth from sucessful businesses to those they deem worthy of largesse (namely, undereducated native-born workers in this country) - and they have no problem using "big government" to get it.

It's not a redistribution of wealth, it's a demand that the beneficiaries of untaxed, illegal, minimum-wage law-breaking labor start obeying the law. Enforcing the law is a legitimate function of government.

The Republicans benefit from the campaign contributions of the illegal employers and the Democrats pander for the Hispanic vote, so the government really doesn't have much will to enforce existing law, and any new law will be smoke and mirrors.

Harold C. Hutchison said...

The right-to-work states are arguably more of a free market than those states that force union membership on workers. I might blog a little more on that later...

The real question is being ignroed by people saying, "It's the law." That question is, "Does the law work and meet the needs of gthe people?" And right now, the current immigration system is not doing much better than the Volstead Act or the 55 mile-per-hour speed limit. Both were so widely ignored - and eventually defied - that it was decided to scrap them.