Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Mayday (3)

Political Ramifications

While there was an an event down here in Brunswick, the atmosphere was less confrontational, and the shindig went off after work. A wise decision for the landscaping and contractor capital of Georgia. All in all, I didn't hear a lot about it down thisaway. The Chamber of Commerce and many businesses love the economic boom that accompanies hard work and low pay, though I'm sure there are some serious contractors and laborers in the County who have lost jobs because they can't bid low enough or can't find legal work. Most folk, left and right down here, seem to think the whole thing might blow over awful soon. One great quote, "I'm illegal but I work hard."

I know the work is hard. I know we benefit from cheap labor. But I really wonder how much longer getting an inch, taking a mile and going after a marathon is really helping anyone. Schools & medical facilities still strain, wages get depressed, taxes don't get collected and the economy seems perched on the edge of a razor every time a Border Patrol squadcar makes its rounds.

A real deep look at the political ramifications can be seen in this article and associated comments in the Red and Black, the UGA independent student newspaper.

Especially the commentary under the name: Jessica. It gives an example of what I like to call "ideological inconsistency."

One of the organizers of the Athens march, she finds it "hard to believe that college-educated people can form such hateful opinions of people whom they know absolutely nothing about." She listed two reasons for illegal immigration.

1. "The economic oppression that these immigrants are fleeing in their home countries." This is the fault of "big business and government subsidizing in the United States." What? US business ruins other countries so folks come here to work for US businesses?

But that pales in comparison to the next logical leap:

2. American businesses keeping prices low. She said it, not me. "If these corporations hired legal workers, they would have to pay them more, provide benefits, and provide an 8-hour working day with overtime pay." This would drive prices up, and the American people would be sorry they got rid of illegals.


So I guess she's saying these illegal immigrants were protesting against legality, more pay, benefits, 8-hour workdays and overtime pay.

Yeah. We're bringing new meaning to the term 'counterintuitive.'

Perhaps I missed something, but I think this means 'Jessica' is not a 'liberal.' You see, liberals fought very hard for rule of law, higher pay, benefits, 8-hour workdays and overtime pay. That's kinda what makes us liberals, and lets folk like SAWB call me a communist. That's why May Day is International Workers Day in the First Place!! As a liberal, I still try to do my best to fight for all those things.

I think this illustrates the absolute incoherency of the defese of illegal immigration.

So, there's your political choice, America. You can have illegal immigration, 19th Century labor laws and $2/lb tomatoes on one hand. On the other hand, you can have legal immigration, health benefits, workers comp, higher pay, vacation time, holidays, stronger national security, retirement packages, less drain on schools and hospitals, and I'll just stop there for lack of space.

But tomatoes will cost $2.50/lb. Shaft.

I wonder who's gonna win this argument.


patsbrother said...

Supposedly economists and the powers that be hope and shoot for 5% unemployment, as that - someone somehow figured out - is the ideal unemployment rate. Thus, sad put putatively true, if we took the 5% of jobs within the United States that go to illegal workers (random number begotten from cnn.com or yahoo news), removed the illegals from them and put in their place legal Americans, we'd be stuck with the communist employment rate of 0%, and life would suck for us all, as it seems inflation would then explode. There would still be the same resources going around, but more people would have the overtime to pay for them. Sellers recognizing increased demand for a limited amount of steaks would jack up the price and our buying power would slowly diminish. Costs would run high. Trying to entice the better employees where few are available, companies would increase incentives to work for them, we'd all be making more money on average, and the sellers of hamburger meat would realize demand was yet again increasing and jack up the price. Our buying power would slowly (or not so slowly) diminish. Costs would run high. Rinse, rather, repeat. Glory, for those of you who have Internet and are reading this right now, in being on the high bright side of capitalism, in the peculiar morality of such a system: to enjoy the standard of living we enjoy today, someone, somewhere (and by someone I mean 1 in 20 employable individuals, who are looking for jobs) is taking one for the team.

(No, being realistic does not mean I'm some kind of socialist. Yes, capitalism has its disadvantages. However, unlike other systems, captialism allows self-determination and drive affect whether you yourself are one of the 19 or the 1 in 20. Yes, who your parents are does help out or put you at a disadvantage. But lets not let the Bingo game of birth get into the way.)

(And before you rev up the keyboards, I realize that a perfect counterargument to the scenario detailed above is a) it's implausible, as it assumes illegal immigrants just magically disappear, much as some people seem to expect; and b) mathematically, the unemployment among legal Americans + illegals and that of only legal Americans would likley render similar figures; and c) the extra jobs with the illegals supports an additional population of 11 million illegals, which would not need such support in the peculiar hypothetical fancy that does not involve them.)

Confused? I don't care. No one else is making any sense in all this hoo-ha, so why should I? For a politician without a constituency, Pat sure sounds stragely diplomatic all the time. Personally I'm wondering when he's going to quit his job, move to Savannah, and hang out with Uga, the Lady Chamblee, and the rest of the colorful characters from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. (He does like him some hoo-do.)(Don't know why I'm picking him like I am...consider it finals disenchantment.)

But, in closing, there likely is something to that whole 5% kills inflation thing. Take Athens for example. Lowest unemployment rate in the great state of Georgia. LOWEST. Fifth highest poverty rate among counties of 100,000+ in the nation. Yes, that includes the dirty Bohemian townies; but, contrary to local lore, townies do have to eat. Too many people working for whatever they can get. And no ones getting fat 'cept Momma Cass.

Patrick Armstrong said...

Just in case someone missed it...

"Pat sure sounds stragely diplomatic all the time."

Coming from you, Sprout (especially after that last comment), this is one of the greatest compliments I have ever recieved.

Dante said...

Inflation isn't neccessarily a bad thing. In fact, if you have a lot of fixed rate debt, inflation can be a good thing by marginalizing that debt. With the current rash of mortgages comprising 50% or more of a family's income and the newish advent of ATM/credit cards that draw money directly from your home's equity, it might be a good idea for inflation to ratchet things up a notch before America falls too far into debt.

patsbrother said...

Or perhaps it would be better for Americans to stop going into debt and pay as they go?

Dante said...

Hogwash. Borrowing at the rate America is currently borrowing at is not the best idea, but paying as you go is hardly the solution. Borrowing is an excellent idea. It's gambling on the future. The idea is that what you can borrow in buying power now is worth more than what you have to make in payments later. The problem lies in where people put their borrowed money. Far too many people are borrowing to pay for items that decrease sharply in value, like cars, clothing, etc.

Take housing for example. With mortgage rates where they are, it is an excellent idea for people to buy as much house as they can possibly afford if they are in a situation to buy at all. It'll be tough the first few years but eventually inflation will catch up and your once-high home payment will seem like a pittance 10 years from now.

And out of curiosity, are you paying as you go with law school, PB?

Patrick Armstrong said...

I don't know, 'inflation' kinda scares me the way 'national debt' and 'deficit' used to. 'Debt' still does sting my ears, however, but it is the way the American economy goes round.

Thinking about it, credit really is putting a monetary value on the future...proving that Americans are absolutely the world's best salespeople.

I'm not quite shure what all that has to do with the political ramifications of illegal immigration at the macro level, however. We can discuss the minute details of the economic variances of capitalism till we're blue in the face, that's not going to change the facts that:

1. There is no coherent argument (that I can find) to support modern illegal immigration;

2. There's no real realistic way to kick 11 million people out;

3. There's no political way to grant blanket amnesty.

4. The folks who should be in charge of this stuff dropped the ball years ago, leading us to our current problem.