If passed, the Bush-backed immigration bill, penned by the unholy McCain-Kennedy-Specter trinity, will simply turn a de facto immigration free-for-all into a de jure windfall.
The plan to abracadabra 11 million (going on 20, actually) aliens currently in the country illegally into “guest workers,” and then into citizens, won’t change matters much. They’ll continue to enjoy the kind of political clout the silent majority of middle-class Americans can only dream of. The ban on hiring them was never enforced, so nothing will alter on that front. Ditto the threat of deportation.
The American people’s elected representatives will persist in dreaming up wealth transfers to these instant Americans, as they’ve diligently done so far. As it stands, illegals are eligible for every benefit in the book—and more. (As examples, consider the free tuition DREAM Act, dreamed up by Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch. Or the taxpayer-subsidized home loans, courtesy of FHA-HUD.)
Because these are unskilled, low-wage workers, taxpayers will keep on supplementing and subsidizing every aspect of their existence (education and health care), making their cost far in excess of their contribution to the economy. The “Parrot Press,” led beak first by the Wall Street Journal editorialists, Left-wing La Raza identity activists, churches, crasser corporate interests, and the doyens of the Demopublican establishment—they’ll step up efforts to stigmatize anyone who questions the contribution of the minute-made Americans to economic and cultural life.
The president is unlikely to stop gushing about the vitality of unskilled, non-English-speaking illegal immigrants, who also happen to be well-represented in the prison population. Nor should you expect him to quit maligning Americans for those “Jobs they won’t do.” This is one slur he is fond of repeating.
Contra Bush, various commentators have pointed out correctly that Americans won’t do the jobs at the price illegals will. Their argument is still woefully incomplete. For one, the vicious slander of America’s poor by open-border devotees is rendered more disingenuous considering the minimum-wage laws. How can anyone say with certainty that Americans are not willing to work for lower wages if the law bars employers from hiring them at a market price?
By fixing the price of labor above the market rate or the employee’s productivity, minimum-wage laws always increase unemployment among the poor and the unskilled. The jobs exist, but, government won’t let employers hire American workers below an artificially set wage.
At the same time, lawmakers turn blind when the employer enters labor agreements with illegal aliens, who also happen to be heavily subsidized by the American worker. The “Camouflaged Amnesty” bill won’t change this double standard, but will celebrate it.
It’s just another day, so if business isn’t quite as brisk with American roofers, framers, drywallers, gardeners, truck drivers, burger flippers, table bussers, and dish washers, employers will bid them “adios.” Instead, they will petition the pimps in parliament to rig things by guaranteeing an uninterrupted influx of potential workers. The former will still be forced to abdicate one of their only real constitutional duties: the prevention of a foreign invasion. But whoever said it was not “Hard out there for a Pimp”?
Thus the supply of cheap labor is artificially inflated in perpetuity, resulting in a phony market price, lowered further by the generous subsidies taxpayers provide to illegals for the benefit of business. Illegal immigration, in effect, constitutes a wealth transfer from taxpayers to companies, by government fiat.
Incidentally, the free flow of people across borders is not to be confused with the free flow of goods across borders. Free trade is a positive-sum game. Contrary to illegal immigration, it is always invited, consensual and hence mutually beneficial to the parties involved.
Bush and his successors will carry on crying croc over the exploitation of illegals. That too is familiar bunk. By working illegally in the U.S. and reaping the attendant benefits of the American welfare state, illegals improve their lot immeasurably. If they weren’t infinitely better off than they were before, they wouldn’t take these jobs.
Such labor is cheap only to business and government, not to Americans who must absorb the impact of immigration on their hospitals and schools; on the environment and in the form of crime, rife in the illegal community.
Whether the economy is better off for their labor is a debate nobody will have. An interminable supply of such workers creates its own economic realities, chief of which is a shift to labor-intense, rather than innovation-oriented, forms of production. A never-ending supply of cheap and unskilled workers actually retards the productivity and progress of a modern economy by preventing mechanization and delaying important breakthroughs, thus reducing competitiveness.
More importantly, the purely economic argument about the price at which American workers will perform menial work is meaningless without a reference to borders and to the thing they bound—a nation. Render asunder the idea of a nation, make borders obsolete—and the world is your labor market.
Bush has zero understanding of things metaphysical—and has no appreciation for the bonds that unite members of a civil society in common purpose. He brazenly contends that Americans won’t do certain work. But he leaves out that they can’t afford to toil at a price that is a function of an artificially created, ceaseless supply of immigrants.
Bush’s Brave New Borderless World is at work here, not the invisible hand.
© 2006 By Ilana Mercer