May 31, 2013

Common sense from lefties on the Cheap Labor bill

Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont, Independent), who often identifies as a "socialist," offers some old-fashioned supply and demand reasoning about The Eight Banditos' bill:
‘This is a massive effort to attract cheap labor.’ 
Why Sen. Bernie Sanders is skeptical of guest workers. 
By Dylan Matthews, Published: May 25, 2013  
Sen. Bernard “Bernie” Sanders (I-Vt.) is the junior U.S. senator from Vermont. We spoke on the phone Friday afternoon about his views on the comprehensive immigration reform legislation that is pending in the Senate. A lightly edited transcript follows. 
Dylan Matthews: In 2007, you had some concerns about the immigration bill being weighed by the Senate, and voted against it. Now that the new Gang of Eight bill is out of committee, what do you make of it? 
Sen. Bernie Sanders: Thanks for calling. Let me just say this. I’m a strong supporter of immigration reform, and of the need to provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants. I very strongly support the DREAM Act, and will continue to strongly support it. I very strongly believe, as someone who knows what’s going on in the dairy industry in Vermont, that there’s no question we need to create a status for immigrant workers in agriculture, and I think the committee is making good progress there.

In other words, even though Bernie knows the immigration bill is bad for the country, as he will explain at length, he's signaling that his vote can possibly be bought if enough goodies for Vermont dairy farmers are ladled onto the bill. This demonstrates a fundamental problem with the Gang of Eight's bill: compromises to attract marginal votes are likely not to make the bill better by reducing immigration, but to make the bill worse by giving away more visas to special interests.

But, after that ignominious beginning, Bernie does better:
My concerns are in regards to where we stand in terms of guest workers programs, made worse by amendments offered by Senator Hatch. What I do not support is, under the guise of immigrant reform, a process pushed by large corporations which results in more unemployment and lower wages for American workers. 
As you well know, we remain in the midst of a severe recession. Real unemployment, once you consider people who’ve given up looking for work, is close to 14 percent, and in some parts of the country is even higher. For minorities it’s very high, and we’ve got to address that. You have massively high unemployment for young people, yet we’re talking about expanding visas so that young people from abroad can serve as life guards, become ski instructors, become front desk people, when young people in this country desperately need jobs to pay for a college education.

The notion that being a life guard or a ski instructor or working at the front desk of a five star resort hotel is a job young Americans just won't do is indeed pretty weird.
I am aware that there may well be certain high-skilled jobs in specific areas in high skilled technical industries that American companies are finding it hard to fill. I find it hard to understand that, when nine million people in this country have degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields, only about three million have jobs in these areas. 
Furthermore, as someone who was led to believe that what economics was about was supply and demand,

Bingo!
if you need workers in a certain area, you need to raise wages. I have a hard time understanding the notion that there’s a severe need for more workers from abroad when wages for these jobs rose only 4.5 percent between 2000 and 2011. You see stagnant wages for high skilled workers, when these companies tell you that they desperately need high skilled workers. Why not raise wages to attract those workers? 
The bottom line is that I feel, very much, that a lot of the initiative behind these guest workers programs, a very large expansion of guest worker programs — H2B visas would go up to as many as 195,000, H1B to as many as 205,000 a year — is coming from large corporations who want cheap labor from abroad.
Q. What do you make of the W visa program for low-skilled workers that came out of a deal by the AFL-CIO and the Chamber of Commerce? 
A. I want to take a harder look at that. But again, look, when you have very high unemployment rates for low-skilled workers in this country, for kids who graduate high school, I’m very dubious about the need to bring foreign unskilled labor into this country. These are kids, young high school graduates, and the unemployment rate is just extremely high. I do not understand why they cannot hire those people and need foreign labor. 
... A couple of years ago, I believe it was Exxon Mobil that said they could not find American welders. I don’t believe it. ... Again, if there’s such a crisis, why haven’t wages gone up?

Q. One counterargument to that view which I’ve heard is that, while high-skilled wages haven’t risen that much in absolute terms, this is in a context where the average American worker, as you’re well aware, is seeing wages stagnate, if not fall. So in relative terms, wages for these workers are going up. 
A. Again, if there is this great crisis which I am hearing about, that the American economy absolutely depends on having more high-tech workers, then the law of supply and demand is that when you need something, you pay for it, right? Didn’t you learn that in elementary school? 

The concept of "supply and demand" is just so 19th and 20th Century. In the 21st Century, it's been replaced by the concept of "Who? Whom?" That's much simpler than having to draw intersecting supply and demand curves -- it's all just a question of who you feel are the Good Guys and who do you feel are the Bad Guys. If you feel that your fellow American citizens are good guys, then you are a Bad Guy, so shut up and feel lucky that you still have a job, unlike that Dr. Richwine, if you know what I mean?
What matters is that there’s a variety of reasons that the middle class in this country is disappearing. Real wages of millions of workers have gone down. For corporations to say, “Here’s what’s going on in other areas,” doesn’t answer the question. If you want high-skilled workers, you need to wage raises. But if you want cheap labor, you bring in workers from abroad. 

Cartoonist Ted Rall writes:
SYNDICATED COLUMN: Immigration Reform is Treason
May 30th, 2013
Unemployment is High. Why Are We Importing Foreign Workers?
Unemployment is sky-high. Sustained long-term unemployment is at record levels. So why the hell are we importing foreign workers? 
The immigration reform bill moving through Congress will throw open the door to millions of new foreigners — people who aren’t here yet — to enter the United States to work. And we’re not talking about crappy fruit-picking gigs Americans supposedly don’t want (more on that below). 
“American” (you have to wonder about their loyalties) lawmakers want foreigner nationals to fill America’s high-paying tech jobs. While Americans are out of work. 
At the risk of sounding like Pat Buchanan: WTF? 
For at least 20 years, the U.S. economy has been replacing good manufacturing jobs with bad service jobs. Salaries have fallen. Which has depressed demand. As things stand, there’s one bright spot: the potential for the IT sector to lift us out of the rut. To paraphrase George Orwell’s “1984″: If there is hope for America’s unemployed, it lies with tech. 
Make that: “lied.” Because America’s tech companies — which makes most of its money selling its crap to Americans — are hell-bent on hiring just about anyone who is not an American citizen. 

38 comments:

Anonymous said...

I find it hard to understand that, when nine million people in this country have degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields, only about three million have jobs in these areas


A rare flash of reality illuminates the pages of the Washington Post.

Matthew said...

Orrin Hatch sold out his vote for the amnesty in exchange for...even more immigration, in the form of more tech workers.

Running for the Republican nomination in 2012 against Dan Liljenquist, Hatch had to say:

"He's right, we won't be able to solve these problems until we secure the borders, and we have to do that. Every other large nation in the world knows how to secure their borders, why can't we secure ours? And second, we can no longer grant amnesty. I fought against the 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli bill because they granted amnesty to 3 million people. They should have to get in line like anybody else if they want to come into this country and do it legally."

That was during a radio debate on June 16, 2012. Less than a year later, Hatch proved he was a lying son-of-a-bitch.

Son of Brock Landers said...

Much of the southern Maine tourist industry has hooked into the foreign student visa slave labor racket. Where small amusement parks, beach front hotels and ice cream shops used to employ local kids, they now employ cute Eastern Euro girls while being housed by some old couple with a giant, empty house, receiving a nice stipend.

It's all a scam to shift more income to the elites while letting ordinary Americans exist on government income and not have to work. Kick back your heels and let the barbarians do the work. There are just enough dum dums to sign onto that deal.

Anonymous said...

"You have massively high unemployment for young people.. when young people... desperately need jobs to pay for a college education."

Yet when a friend of mine brought up this exact point to Senator Sanders' face 8 years ago, in reference to the business-crushing attitudes of Vermont's lefty politicians, Senator Sanders' response was basically to say "Not a real problem".

I should add that the official youth unemployment figures for Vermont probably don't reflect how bad the situation is, since so many young Vermonters leave the state for more business-friendly places like Taxachusetts. Sanders basically said that, sure there's a massive exodus, but when all you kids have made your money elsewhere, you'll come to Vermont to retire just like everyone else. (Elderly limousine liberals who move up to Vermont from Massachusetts and New York to retire are basically Bernie's core political base).

I'd like to interpret the Senator's words as evidence that he looks at things differently now that unemployment rates are so much higher, but given the man's long record of mendacity and flagrant hypocrisy, I'm skeptical.

Anonymous said...

Bernie and Ted are being short-sighted. Sure, the Amnesty will hurt American workers in the short term, but it will guarantee that the US will be a single party State with the Democrats permanently in charge like California which which is the long term benefit to Socialists like themselves. I'm not sure what Bernie is looking for here; a Bill that somehow allows immigrants to vote in our elections, but not work here? It is kind of a moot point anyway. Every living organism on this planet knows Bernie is going to vote for it so who is he kidding, the sponsors don't have to give him anything.

eah said...

cheap labor

And not so cheap, but anyway cheaper: for at least a couple of decades, H-1B has been doing serious harm to Americans who earn their living in jobs like engineering.

Anonymous said...

Cause nothing says elites like small ice cream shop owner. How poor was Brock Landers that has children grew up envying TCBY treats franchisees?


I love how Steve can post about that Simpsons lizards and pigeons gag and then turn around and pitch socialists as the solution to our immigration problem.

Anonymous said...

America’s tech companies .. are hell-bent on hiring just about anyone who is not an American citizen.


That's the reality of "tech" in the modern US. Being American actually puts you at a significant disadvantage in terms of getting and keeping a job.

Anonymous said...

The esteemed Roy Beck of Numbers USA calls for action against immigration bill.

Low volumes of callers against the bill may cause marginal senators to vote FOR it!

Please call your Senator today!

http://www.amren.com/news/2013/05/can-you-make-one-or-two-really-quick-calls-into-senate-offices-today/

MC said...

Some crimethink from Reihan Salam, of all people:

http://www.nationalreview.com/agenda/349468/lessons-argentina

countenance said...

Meanwhile, Rand Paul said on This Week with the Greek this past Sunday that his problem with the Gang Bangers of Eight bill is that it doesn't grant enough work visas, and that it would need to grant more in order to get his vote.

He's probably going to the bat for the Kentucky horse industry which wants EL CHEAPO Hispanic labor.

Eric said...

I agree with Bernie Sanders and Ted Rall both? I need to sit down.

viakorea said...

"Q. One counterargument to that view which I’ve heard is that, while high-skilled wages haven’t risen that much in absolute terms, this is in a context where the average American worker, as you’re well aware, is seeing wages stagnate, if not fall. So in relative terms, wages for these workers are going up."

Right. Because in our prosperous times, success is measured by how few steps you take back relative to the losers running in reverse all around you. But, of course, The Bill is going to fix this problem.

A Working Class American said...

YES! Sanders and Rall are TRUEleftists, not fakeLeftists. They are concerned primarily with populist economics.

At least 95% of all washington politicians should be tried for treason. Sanders is not one of them.

On a side tangent, however, I will ask Steve when the paleocon sites will address the issue of the Arizona federal who struck down the enforcement provision of the AZ anti-immigrant law. This judge was appointed by Bush, a Republican.

When will the paleocons really address the GOP sellout?

Anonymous said...

I sent this to a friend of mine at IBM. He wrote: "You know why Sanders said this, right? IBM is going to hit Burlington hard when the layoffs happen. This was posted on the IBM Alliance website today"

Eric said...

When will the paleocons really address the GOP sellout?

I dunno, Steve seems to address it on a regular basis.

Jack Hanson said...

Matthew,

Funny how Flake AND McCain did the exact same thing after facing a challenge from the Right. Flake especially is an idiot; he thinks that his cratering poll numbers are because of his resistance to gun registration, not amnesty.

I think McCain is done though - all of his Town Halls have resulted in him in a screaming match with someone asking him how the hell he can try and push an amnesty with the border in the state it is.

A Working Class American said...

mixing left and right is forbidden, steve. Especially with the brainwashed rightwingers around here. But I like what you have done with this place.

Whatever the media, academia, hollywood, and CorpGovMedia love, I hate, reflexively and automatically. There are different interests in society. And politics should acknowledge this fact as axiomatic.

Whatever CorpGovMedia ignore, I focus in on with the intensity of a laser.


And I like the way you are mixing leftism and rightism, which is forbidden in america, but which is the salvation of the white majority...

Rohan Swee said...

WCA: When will the paleocons really address the GOP sellout?

Paleocon...you keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means...

Harry Baldwin said...

I think McCain is done though

Well, he'll be 80 the next time he's up for election. I think the man has done about as much damage to his country as he could have hoped.

Maxwell Power said...

In school they taught us Jack London opposed immigration reform; that one sure didn't hesitate to call himself a socialist...

By the way Sanders is a draft dodger from NYC, before your Green Mountain Boy love-in gets carried away. I think it isn't surprising when pols from small states with no industry except agriculture pose a hard sell to the big Dow Jones PR campaign for a H-1B spree. In Vermont high-tech workers are probably better known as "the entire tax base"

Dave Pinsen said...

"In other words, even though Bernie knows the immigration bill is bad for the country, as he will explain at length, he's signaling that his vote can possibly be bought if enough goodies for Vermont dairy farmers are ladled onto the bill. This demonstrates a fundamental problem with the Gang of Eight's bill: compromises to attract marginal votes are likely not to make the bill better by reducing immigration, but to make the bill worse by giving away more visas to special interests."

It would have been more consistent for Sanders to shill for another bone to throw his dairy farmers -- maybe federal grants to help them automate, obviating the need for some of their helot labor.

Anonymous said...

He opposes the guest worker program for being an R flagged bill, not the amnesty->social networks->more illegals program that is currently D flagged.

Luke Lea said...

The comments under the Washington Post interview with Sanders are almost unanimously in support of his views. I'll be surprised if Capital Hill is not swamped by a tsunami of grassroots opposition to this bill. Here is the Capital Hill switchboard telephone number for anybody who needs it: (202) 224-3121

When this is over (and even if we lose) let's start pushing for a comprehensive immigration moratorium until we can absorb, integrate, and assimilate the 40-to-60 million foreign born immigrants and their families who are already here. I'd trade amnesty for a moratorium any day.

Anonymous said...

"By the way Sanders is a draft dodger from NYC, before your Green Mountain Boy love-in gets carried away."...

Bush was a draft dodger. Cheney was a draft dodger. People like Sanders and Clinton were against the war and didn't serve. Big difference. By the way, Sanders was right.

Semper Fi

Mr. Anon said...

Sen. Bernie Sanders:

"I’m a strong supporter of immigration reform, and of the need to provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants."

"My concerns are in regards to where we stand in terms of guest workers programs, made worse by amendments offered by Senator Hatch. What I do not support is, under the guise of immigrant reform, a process pushed by large corporations which results in more unemployment and lower wages for American workers."

Does he not realize that an amnesty, which is all this vaunted "pathway" will amount to, is an even bigger guest-worker program but with manifestly bad guests, guests who invite themselves in and then stay forever?

Bernie Sanders is often good on many civil rights issues, and some economic ones. But on this, I believe he is sorely mistaken.

Anonymous said...

What the hell happened to Ted Rall? That is the first sensible thing I have ever heard from him. Is older really wiser, or is he just having an off day?

Anonymous said...

Bush was a draft dodger. Cheney was a draft dodger. People like Sanders and Clinton were against the war and didn't serve. Big difference. By the way, Sanders was right.

I don't see the whole uproar over avoiding the draft, whether these were liberals or conservatives afraid to die. Liberals made themselves out to be these peace-loving idealists while conservatives were merely honest about being afraid to take a bullet. Either way, somebody else went in their place. I don't see how that's disgraceful. Do rich people send their kids to the local ghetto for public school indoctrination, or do they send them to private schools? How are these people maneuvering to stay out of the draft different? Are people really so dumb that they think war is this great adventure rather than a dirty job we send young volunteers with a thirst for adventure to accomplish?

Anonymous said...

You're right Steve.

Basically, the economics 'profession' has become completely discredited - and - prostituted.

The 'law of supply and demand', is really the only bit of economics that's worth a tinker's cuss - all the rest is extraneous bullshit.
- And yet you get the econo-whores quibbling, quibbling and quibbling thta some how the law of supply and demand 'doesn't really matter because of x or y or whatever in that specific circumstance or this circumstance or the 'lump of labor' or that little contingency etc etc etc until you get fooled (like a politician) or just plain bored or weary (the universe rests on an elephant which rests on a turtle which rests on....).
Like all social 'sciences' economics is not concerned with facts and reality but with couching political viewpoints with a veneer of 'acadmecism'. Basically 'truth' is whatever the professor wants it to be. Mad Hatter's logic if you will.
Oh, and anoher point with the econo-whores. Sociologists wrought their mischief mainly by ruining penal policy in line with the lefty belief that crims are always 'victims'.
Econo-whores generally do what their sponsors *pay* them to do. Always look at who's funding the econo-whore and his latest report which states that this, that or the other will 'grow the US economy by X billins over 50 years'.

IHTG said...

No comment: http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/orange_county&id=9122999

john marzan said...

if amnesty is pushed thru, it is easier to hire foreigners (low skilled and high skilled) because there's an "obamacare tax" disincentive on hiring americans.

ben tillman said...

Orrin Hatch sold out his vote for the amnesty in exchange for...even more immigration, in the form of more tech workers.


In 1647, in Marshfield, Mass., a man named Hatch built the oldest continuously occupied house in English-speaking America. His will stipulated that the Red House was to be passed down, "never to be sold or mortgaged from my children and grandchildren forever...."

When the house was finally sold out of the family, the will still hung on the wall. When did that happen?

You guessed it: 1965.

Anonymous said...


YES! Sanders and Rall are TRUEleftists, not fakeLeftists. They are concerned primarily with populist economics.

At least 95% of all washington politicians should be tried for treason. Sanders is not one of them.

On a side tangent, however, I will ask Steve when the paleocon sites will address the issue of the Arizona federal who struck down the enforcement provision of the AZ anti-immigrant law. This judge was appointed by Bush, a Republican.
True. Bush appointment are bad that's why I was surprise that Ted Cruz in Texas has not tried to play a Rick Perry, beef up the border but try to legalized thousands of illegals in Texas thru a guestworker program at the state level.
When will the paleocons really address the GOP sellout?
5/31/13, 5:41 PM

Anonymous said...

if amnesty is pushed thru, it is easier to hire foreigners (low skilled and high skilled) because there's an "obamacare tax" disincentive on hiring americans. You may have a point but Hispanics usually have kids. I blieve in the greater La area_La-Orange-Riverisde and so forth, whites are a lot less on government health care since they usually are not as likely to be poor and have less kids. Second and Third generation Mexicans who are children of the group that was legalized under Reagan received Medicaid more than whites in the greater LA area and immirgants that are legalized put their kids on the government healthcare programs.

Discard said...

Senator Saunders is speaking sense on immigration only because he's getting nervous about the increasing number of racial heretics and wants to throw them a bone. He'll still vote to let the Third World invade us.

Anonymous said...

Rall is a true "liberal" in the classical sense. 999 times out of a thousand, the things he says make me mad enough to want to see him on the end of a rope, but he is an independent thinker and when he says something it's because he believes it. That counts for something. I would take Ted Rall with all his warts as an opponent any time over the dishonest fakes that have taken over the political left in the USA. I have a small degree of grudging respect for the man.

Dr Van Nostrand said...


I don't see the whole uproar over avoiding the draft, whether these were liberals or conservatives afraid to die. Liberals made themselves out to be these peace-loving idealists while conservatives were merely honest about being afraid to take a bullet.

DVN: Im not so sure its that simple.Liberals whose party started the war became opposed to it when
a) it started going badly
b) Ho chi minh became a mini Mao for them to admire

Conservatives to be sure werent keen on fighting in Vietnam which they considered a lost cause but if you are talking about the politicians such as the few Republican stalwarts such as Bush,Cheney,Giuliani,Gingrich then I have to say their position was quite hypocritical

To be sure Bush did serve in the National Guard and being a pilot onthose planes is no picnic. However that division was least likely to be called into conflict and he went thru the motions
Cheney applied for a family deferment and sneered he had "other priorities" when pressed on his non service
Gingrich and Giuliani didnt make excuses and clearly didnt seem interested to serve

I wouldnt accuse them of cowardice -just a lack of motivation.
These same individuals most likely wouldve jumped at the chance to serve in WWII which was the "good war" and clearly defined objectives and enemies with competent civilians and military leadership

All of which were thoroughly lacking when it came to the meat grinder called the Vietnam war.

However all of these men make a great deal of serving in war and promote wars to advance their cause even as Iraq at one point was turning into another Vietnam

It is no coincidence that the two prominent individuals connected with the Iraq war Colin Powell and Army Chief of Staff Eric Shensike who most prescient about Iraq had served honorably in Vietnam


" Either way, somebody else went in their place. I don't see how that's disgraceful. Do rich people send their kids to the local ghetto for public school indoctrination, or do they send them to private schools? "

DVN: Yes having said all above I dont get this "chickenhawk" stuff. The era of heads of state leading their armies into battle died off in the 19th century. I believe it was Tipu Sultan who was the last king who lead his troops into battle.
This is not to say members of political and royal families dont serve (see Prince Harry, the sons of Sarah Palin,John McCain and Joe Biden) but not the head honchos



How are these people maneuvering to stay out of the draft different? Are people really so dumb that they think war is this great adventure rather than a dirty job we send young volunteers with a thirst for adventure to accomplish?

DVN:Actually I do believe many young men are dumb enough to believe army propaganda. To be sure not all of it is propaganda. There is still a sense of honor ,duty and camaraderie amongs the U.S armed forces.
However wars since WWI in the words of Churchill are no longer cruel and magnificient but just cruel and squalid

Maxwell Power said...

Bush was a draft dodger. Cheney was a draft dodger. People like Sanders and Clinton were against the war and didn't serve. Big difference. By the way, Sanders was right.

Semper Fi

5/31/13, 9:24 PM


And you were a staff sergeant in Starcraft II but it doesn't negate your eloquent political views