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Exporting Jobs, Importing Cheaper Wages

Jon E. Dougherty,
Thursday, Feb. 26, 2004
Our political elite have consigned American workers to perpetual wage stagnation, thanks to their pursuance of self-destructive "free-trade" policies which essentially have forced employers to export good-paying jobs while importing cheaper wages.

Conspiracy theories aside, the much-heralded free-trade policies embraced by both major parties has resulted in an overall job loss for American workers in the decade since its passage.

These are jobs that have permanently been relocated to places like India, China, Mexico, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, even as more and more U.S. firms and businesses utilize cheap imported labor.

Worse, the Bush administration has just floated the idea of a new permanent wage depreciation policy for American workers, via an illegal alien-worker amnesty scheme purportedly to impress Hispanic voters.

This will be accomplished through a plan to essentially create a high-tech classifieds section on the Department of Labor Web site. According to administration officials, employers would post their jobs on this site, and any jobs not filled by Americans within a certain time frame would then be offered to immigrants legal or otherwise.

My first question is how poor illegals from south of the border will be able to gain Internet access, but I don't dare ask too loudly, lest that become the next illegal immigrant entitlement.

But more important, however as Pat Buchanan pointed out recently is the probability employers will post jobs at far below current pay scales, just to be able to attract lower-wage earning immigrants and save themselves the higher rates of pay needed by American workers.

But not to worry. After all, most of these are "old economy" manufacturing jobs that are beneath the 21st century American worker, aren't they? In a word, no.

Not all Americans are college material. Some simply have no choice but to find a low-skill or menial labor job in order to make a living. If all of those jobs are taken away, what will these American workers do?

There is also a trend now among employers to transfer an increasing number of white-collar jobs overseas as well. In many cases, employers are adding insult to injury by making American employees train their replacements.

The trend in American corporate circles is to export jobs while hiring cheaper "domestic" help to fill labor needs at home. In the end they have the best of both worlds in that no matter where they seek employees, they will be able to cut their most expensive line item: the cost of labor.

While the White House's latest "guest worker" scheme will certainly exacerbate this phenomenon, a plan being floated by Democrats is worse.

Under their proposal, they want to make it possible for illegals to be given full citizenship after a period of time spent working in the U.S. At least the Bush wouldn't convey this coveted prize.

Still, it may not matter. Border Patrol agents have reported a surge in illegal immigrants caught trying to sneak in who say they came to America to take advantage of "jobs offered by President Bush."

And of those who are already living and working in our country illegally, giving them legal status won't necessarily transform them into model citizens. Scores of illegals would choose to remain a citizen of their native lands, but milk the much better American job market and send the proceeds home. Mexican migrants are already doing that, to the tune of $15 billion and more a year.

The future of American employment and the road to prosperity is on the line. For the cheap and extremely short-term goal of currying political favor with "key" constituencies, our politicians have nearly destroyed the profit-generating, free-market business climate perfected over the centuries by American ingenuity.

Maybe U.S. companies feel they have to import cheap wage earners and export American jobs just to stay viable. After years of being the targets of retribution by liberal lawmakers; after suffering through tons of expensive, needless red tape; after decades of strangling over-regulation; perhaps CEO's feel they have no other choice but to take advantage of "free trading" American jobs for profits.

Whether or not that's true, any guest worker program that provides jobs for millions of illegal immigrants is a policy guaranteeing the continued atrophy of American labor coupled with the importation of cheap wages.

Indeed, it's already happening.


MEXICO ENCOURAGES ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION

Jon E. Dougherty, NewsMax.com
Friday, Feb. 27, 2004

In virtually every debate about illegal immigration, the other country primarily involved in this American problem Mexico is never held to account, despite its role in actually encouraging its citizens to break into the United States. What is equally less known about this problem is that Mexico does this despite its potential to care for its own citizens.

As I document in my new book, "Illegals: The Imminent Threat Posed by Our Unsecured U.S.-Mexico Border," Mexico is simply not taking responsibility for its primary role in the U.S. illegal immigrant problem. It's high time the United States forced Mexico to do so.

On the surface, Mexico is indeed laden with extreme poverty. A great many of its citizens live in squalor, and the infrastructure to provide for the population does not exist on the scale it exists in America.

"Anyone who has been to a Mexican border town is immediately overwhelmed by the Third World - the oppressive dirt, decay, too many underfed children," writes Brenda Walker for VDARE.com.

What is not widely know is, it doesn't have to be this way.

One of the most common misconceptions is that Mexico is a poor nation. Mexico has a lot of poverty, yes, but it's not "poor." In terms of the potential to obliterate much of that poverty, Mexico has one of the greatest capacities in all of the Americas to do just that. It is rich in natural resources and, should it decide to tap those resources, could eradicate much of its own destitution.

"Mexico is the richest nation in Latin America when measured by GDP, and by a wide margin: in 2001, Mexico's GDP was the highest in Latin America, a substantial 22.5 percent more than runner-up Brazil," writes Walker. "When GDP per capita is the gauge, Mexico is second only behind Argentina."

Why so much poverty? Why isn't Mexico City doing more to alleviate the suffering? Why are so many Mexican migrants risking life, limb and capture to sneak into the United States? Why aren't there more opportunities for them at home?

Simple. The country's oligarchic elite won't allow that to happen.

For one thing, Mexico's financial infrastructure is woefully inadequate. Mexico's tax collections only amount to about 14 percent of the country's gross domestic product. That compares to 25-28 percent of GDP in the U.S.

"Basically," writes economist Gary Hufbauer of the Institute for International Economics, "the wealthy classes do not want to tax themselves, period."

"Basic social services and infrastructure are awfully lean for a country that wants to move ahead," Hufbauer says. "While I'm not usually an advocate for larger government, Mexico is a country where public investment, done wisely, could pay huge dividends."

Others argue Mexico, by adequately tapping its own financial and physical resources, could do what other economic powerhouses have done invest its way to success, by building up its industrial infrastructure and educating its own workforce.

Such investment would require money, however. And it's much easier for Mexico to freeload off a willing wealthy neighbor. One like the United States.

And by doing so, Mexico actually reaps financial benefits.

"The immigration scam is very successful: the rulers export their unemployment to the United States and get back billions in remittance cash annually 2003 is on track to rack up a record $11 billion," writes Walker.

And, led by Mexican President Vincente Fox, Mexico takes some sort of perverse pride in exporting its poverty. The elites there know poor Mexican migrants will be provided for in our country.

They know Mexican children will be cared for and educated. They know medical needs will be met, and they know other basic amenities of life will be supplied.

More importantly, they know they won't have to pay for it.

U.S. politicians who have recently announced a new plan to allow more illegal aliens to find work here are essentially following similar policies embraced by their predecessors policies which allow Mexican leaders to escape the responsibility they have to provide for their own people.

It's past time for Mexico to grow up and stop mooching from its more successful neighbors. The longer we allow Mexico to freeload, the longer its people will suffer.

Jon E. Dougherty is a reporter for NewsMax.com and author of the book "Illegals: The Imminent Threat Posed by Our Unsecured U.S.-Mexico Border."

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