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Trump's Restrictionist Policies Hurt U.S. Businesses Along with Immigrants

Unemployment is down, but low- and high-skilled immigrants can't get in.

Twitter/Nick GillespieTwitter/Nick GillespieSince he first announced that he was running for president, Donald Trump has argued that immigration is bad for American workers and businesses. Yet some of his toughest critics are small businessmen who voted for him but rely on guest workers.

Consider Eddie Devine, a Trump voter who runs a landscaping business in central Kentucky. In a recent story for the Lexington Herald-Leader, he says that it's been years since he could find American workers willing to cut grass for $12 an hour and that he relies on low-skilled seasonal employees who enter the country legally under H2-B visas. That costs him an extra $18,000 a year, but that's the cost of doing business. Now, though, his business is now on the chopping block:

Restrictions on guest-worker visas, which began during President Barack Obama's second term as immigration became a hot issue for conservatives, have gotten worse under Trump. And it's even more of a problem now that the unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in years.

Devine says he lost a $100,000 account because he didn't have enough men to do the job. He's worried he may be out of business next year if things don't improve.

Then there's Ken Morin, who builds decks, garages, and room additions:

"Last year we about went bankrupt. The workers we were supposed to get in March didn't show up until August because they couldn't get visas."

Monin applied for eight H-2B workers this year, but he isn't optimistic he will get any. Employers seeking H-2B workers must prove they have advertised and tried unsuccessfully to hire local workers.

"Americans don't want most of these jobs," said Monin, who pays his workers about $17 an hour. "I've been in this business 20 years. It's hard, hot work."

The H-2 system has been in place since the early 1950s, with H-2A visas covering agricultural workers and H-2B visas covering non-ag workers. There are 66,000 visas allotted annually for the H-2B program and the government has received over 150,000 applications from potential employers. Without changing the law, the government could expand the number of annual H-2B visas to 130,000, but there's no reason to expect that will happen. Businessmen like Devine and Morin are screwed if they can't get visas for workers. They either have to make do with far fewer workers or raise their pay (and thus the price customers pay) to unsustainable levels. As a businessman himself, Trump knows this struggle—he's used nearly 150 H-2B workers at his various businesses since 2016.

The Trump administration is also screwing over businesses that use highly educated or specialized "workers in short supply" who are covered by H-1B visas. As Stuart Anderson writes at Forbes, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a memo earlier this year that makes it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for companies to hire foreign professionals. That's because the USCIS and the Department of Labor each have jurisdiction over the process and now have diametrically opposed definitions of what information a prospective employer needs to provide

A new lawsuit filed by a group representing small- and medium-sized business owners hopes to change that. The government gives out 65,000 H-1B visas a year, a total that was reached in early April. Unlike businesses that do agriculture, landscaping, and construction, many firms employing H-1B visa workers will likely outsource work to foreign countries when possible.

Other analysts find that Trump's increasingly strident crackdowns on immigration—including the deportation of parents of "Dreamers" brought here illegally as children, and the tighter limits on immigrants here legally under "temporary protected status" laws—are squeezing low-margin, labor-intensive providers of assistance to elderly and disabled people.

Eddie Devine, the Kentucky landscaper, says "I feel like I've been tricked by the devil" and "I feel so stupid" for having voted for Trump. You don't need to share those exact sentiments to appreciate how restrictive immigration policy, based on easy demarcations between Americans and foreign workers, really screws up domestic labor markets, punishing U.S. business owners and customers alike.

Photo Credit: America First, Bankruptcy Second|||Twitter, Nick Gillespie

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  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Jobs belong to the employers, not to these "Americans" some allude to.

  • damikesc||

    The employer can either do all of the work himself or hire people to do them. If he wants to underpay, seems like it is his problem.

    Libertarians love the market...until the market doesn't do what they want. Then they want to manipulate the market.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Re: damikesc,

    If he wants to underpay, seems like it is his problem.


    Hey, economically ignorant: how does one "underpay"?

  • damikesc||

    Well, given that people don't want the job who are legally allowed to work...that is the labor market specifically saying that he is underpaying.

    If your wages are too low to get legal workers, it is not the workers' fault.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Re: damikesc,

    .that is the labor market specifically saying that he is underpaying.


    That's not even the case. Underpaying is an action. You're paying someone under the agreed price. That's why I am calling out your ignorance.

    What you're describing is merely an unmet demand, that's all. But it's not "underpaying".

  • Juice||

    who are legally allowed to work

    Nothing creepy about that phrase.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Technically, we're talking about people who are allowed to work.

    Just someplace else, where they actually have some legal right to be.

  • BYODB||

    A better question is if you're on welfare programs and getting a job means you'll get less free money from the government, probably no money at all in fact, where is the incentive to get a job that pays $17 an hour?

    I find it interesting that in America no one is willing to ride around on a lawn tractor for 8 hours a day for $17 per hour or $35360 per year before taxes, no education required. Very interesting. How much does fast food pay again, and yet they find labor...?

  • ||

    Usually those welfare recipients get housing & med benefits along with the under-the-table job they doing.

  • retiredfire||

    But that's the point, isn't it?
    The government's welfare payments are the competition for low-paying employers - and the job demands on the welfare recipient are such that it is almost impossible for the low-paying employer to be able to attract any but those, who are not allowed to collect welfare - the illegal alien.
    This is not a good economic model, yet the prevailing attitude is to double-down, by allowing more illegal aliens in to take these jobs.
    Question: What does anyone think is going to happen if the millions of illegals get amnesty?
    The same people advocating for more "guest workers" also want amnesty for illegals, because those "guest workers" frequently overstay their welcome..
    The newly-amnestied will then be able to take those government payments, that they are now not allowed to.
    We will need to import a whole new batch of illegals to be able to fill those jobs that the welfare system pulls the available workforce away from.

  • SIV||

    You should recruit on a Mexican website. As Americans, we're too lazy to do that shit for the pittance you offer.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Eddie Devine, the Kentucky landscaper, says "I feel like I've been tricked by the devil" and "I feel so stupid" for having voted for Trump.


    You weren't tricked. You voted for him because he said more than half of immigrants from Mexico are rapists and drug dealers, conceding only that some are good people. He also said we were being raped by China. Are you now arguing you didn't think he was serious?

  • Homple||

    You're on shaky logical ground if you disagree with Eddie Devine, the Kentucky landscaper.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    "I thought he was just going to deport the Mexicans in California, not the ones I hire!"

  • JesseAz||

    Trump never imied a quantity idiot. He said open borders allow criminals to cross, not that all crossers are criminals.

  • damikesc||

    "Americans don't want most of these jobs," said Monin, who pays his workers about $17 an hour. "I've been in this business 20 years. It's hard, hot work."

    It doesn't seem Americans do not want to do those jobs.

    They do not want to do it at the low wages that he wishes to pay them.

    Bringing in illegals to pay them low wages seems like a poor choice.

    Pay people what the work is worth. If he lost a $100,000 contract due to not paying people $3 an hour more...seems to be his issue.

    and the tighter limits on immigrants here legally under "temporary protected status" laws

    Does the word "temporary" have a different meaning that implies ZERO limit on its duration? The main complaint is a temporary status that has lasted for about TWENTY FUCKING YEARS.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    They do not want to do it at the low wages that he wishes to pay them.

    This is another set of questions. Would Americans do them if they paid more? How much more? Would paying workers more reduce profit so much that going out of business is the better alternative? Is it possible to do the work with fewer higher-paid employees?

  • Rhywun||

    I have a related question.

    Would Americans do these jobs if they paid more than it pays to sit around doing nothing on welfare?

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Re: Rhywun,

    Even without welfare, Americans would still not do those jobs. They would and do other much more profitable jobs even if paid under the table. Immigrants are not the only "illegulz" who "takum er jebz!".

  • Cy||

    We could throw out all of the crap child labor laws and let kids actually go back to work. hell, they might even acquire some skills that are part of being a responsible adult.

  • BYODB||

    How anyone could be surprised that there's a 'low skill labor shortage' when you artificially restrict the low-skill labor market is a true wonder of modern idiocy.

  • Homple||

    "Even without welfare, Americans would still not do those jobs. They would and do other much more profitable jobs even if paid under the table."

    We know this ... how?

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Re: Humple,

    We know this ... how?


    Because of the demand for immigrant labor increases as economic growth increases. Economic growth leads to LESS people going on Welfare, not less. This is indicated by historical economic data that shows economic growth and welfare roles inversely correlate.

    THAT'S HOW WE KNOW. It's called "Economics".

  • Elias Fakaname||

    The voices in Mexifry's head tell him this.

  • SIV||

    Legalizing child labor would solve so many libertarian issues it's not funny. Yet Reason-fags just want to make all the roads toll roads, while reatiaing the gas tax to fund light rail, bike pathsand CDC gun control "studies". Letting kids choose work is somehow peyond the pale.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Even without welfare, Americans would still not do those jobs. They would and do other much more profitable jobs even if paid under the table.

    Is that a wish, an incantation, or what? Or is this some sort of lame old Mexican snark?

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    It ain't a wish nor an incantation. A lot of Americans DO jobs below the radar. What do you think all those licensing laws do?

    Why do Trumpistas make such asses of themselves when discussing economics?

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Why do Trumpistas make such asses of themselves when discussing economics?

    Oh Retardo Montalban, your accusations are so played out and tired.

    So you KNOW for a fact that it is not possible at all ever that Americans will take those jobs. If the jobs paid more then even still Americans wouldn't take them. The only way those jobs can ever be filled is by immigrants. I'm sure you accidentally forgot to provide the links that prove your point.

  • retiredfire||

    Doesn't that imply that there is something inherent about the various workforces, that one will not do hot, menial work, no matter how much they would be paid while another group would - and those groups are supposedly separated by race?
    Oooh, that sound, just a little bit "racist" to me.
    And it doesn't speak well for the group that will take those hot, menial jobs, does it?

  • Elias Fakaname||

    "Why do Trumpistas make such asses of themselves when discussing economics?"

    That it? That all you got?

  • vek||

    BULLSHIT Old Mexican. I have known, and know right this moment, many white and black folks, not to mention native born Hispanics, who work in both lawn care AND construction. I DID CONSTRUCTION for a while when I was younger. That argument is pure bullshit.

    The bottom line is these people aren't willing to pay what the local labor market demands. Markets are local, and I bet in small town, super low cost of living Kansas some white boys might even do those jobs for those wages. Or maybe not. Maybe it'd need to be $15 and $20 an hour, but there is a number.

  • Juice||

    Bringing in illegals to pay them low wages seems like a poor choice.

    You read the part where this guy is trying to do it legally through the H2B visa system, right?

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    "Americans don't want most of these jobs," said Monin, who pays his workers about $17 an hour. "I've been in this business 20 years. It's hard, hot work."

    This right here is a problem that can't be laid specially at Trump's feet. Pretty sure mowing lawns isn't a STEM field and STEM is where everybody is told they need to be these days. I'll give Mike Rowe credit for fighting that position.

  • damikesc||

    He seems to be the only who is. When I was in school, manual labor involved "working harder, not smarter".

    Who would've guessed that working smarter doesn't do much for physical-activity jobs.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Re: Damikesc,

    When I was in school, manual labor involved "working harder, not smarter".


    That's a simplistic view on it. Economics describes the difference between manual labor and smart labor as Comparative Advantage and Specialization.

    You know, things Trumpistas ignore.

  • damikesc||

    ...except that they pushed that on ALL students.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    So what? Even if schools pushed Marxism it doesn't change the economics.

  • BYODB||

    So trade schools being subordinate to a college education in our entire education system here in the U.S. has no effects on employment in the U.S.

    Cool story.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Re: BYOBD,

    So trade schools being subordinate to a college education in our entire education system here in the U.S. has no effects on employment in the U.S.


    The effect is NOT where you think. The effect is in the market for highly-skilled labor, but not lower-skilled labor which is covered by H-2 visas. Mowing laws, or picking up strawberries, doesn't require a trade school diploma.

    As for the higher skilled labor, the fact that students' preferences for easier subjects are being subsidized by the State does affect the market but, again, not to the degree where you only need to close the border to computer nerds from Asia or Latin America and **POOF!** Language Arts or Gender Studies graduates are going to start coding in Python or C++. That's NOT going to happen, at least not in this generation. In the meantime, businesses will do what Trumpistas cannot stop no matter how much they jerk off on the notion of stopping it by force: Businesses WILL outsource that work.

  • BYODB||

    It's strange that you imply we either need to make dumber Americans or import bottom-tier labor like seasonal pickers, but again our labor force participation rate is a problem for your assertions. Welfare programs enable people not to work, and specifically the people who have no labor skills.

    Yet I don't recall you ever speaking up about how welfare programs need to be abolished before immigration is thrown wide open. Odd, that.

    Yet somehow, Mexico has enough industry to export goods to the United States. Goods that require skilled labor. It's almost like they have educated people that are happy in Mexico. I wonder what segment of their population would look elsewhere, and what they might be looking for that they didn't find there.

    One thing it isn't is fleeing political persecution.

  • BYODB||

    Mike Rowe is a great guy, even when I disagree with him, and his message is a positive one that virtually no one has heard for going on a decade now. Most of those guys on his old show make way, way more than I do per year and this isn't information that most people are going to come across in the 'college vs. trade school' talk around the time of high school graduation.

    I know I didn't, and if I had I probably wouldn't have chosen college in retrospect but at the time it was presented as basically the only option.

  • MiloMinderbinder||

    Devine says he lost a $100,000 account because he didn't have enough men to do the job. He's worried he may be out of business next year if things don't improve.

    Presumably he lost the account to some other firm. That's competition. Not sure why this is anyone's problem except Devine.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Re: MiloMinderBender,

    Not sure why this is anyone's problem except Devine.


    Because this is supposed to be the pro-business administration?

  • damikesc||

    So, businesses undercutting the price of other businesses is now bad?

    Intriguing.

    SOMEBODY did the job, after all.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Re: damikesc,

    So, businesses undercutting the price of other businesses is now bad?


    How do you know he was undercut? You can't know that. A company can lose work for not veing able to schedule but not necessarily because it quotes high.

  • damikesc||

    How do you know he was undercut?

    A firm willing to pay $100,000 service will just do without?

    Unlikely.

    Companies do not spend $100,000 if they do not need to do so.

    You can't know that. A company can lose work for not veing able to schedule but not necessarily because it quotes high.

    In this case, he lost it because he underpaid staff and couldn't get enough bodies for the work.

    Some other company DID the work instead.

    It's not really that complicated.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Re: damikesc,

    A firm willing to pay $100,000 service will just do without?


    That doesn't mean the vendor was undercut. More likely, he wasn't able to schedule. That happens morw often than you think.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Either way.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    They either have to make do with far fewer workers or raise their pay (and thus the price customers pay) to unsustainable levels.


    Business owners are too greedy and unpatriotic as it is.

    /Marxist Trumpistas

  • damikesc||

    "We love the market.

    Until it works against us.

    Then the market must be 'fixed'"

    "Libertarians"

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Re: damikesc,

    Then the market must be 'fixed'


    That's not libertarians saying that. That was Mike Pence.

  • damikesc||

    That is the Libertarian argument.

    "Americans don't want to do the job at this wage. So we need to open the borders and find illegals who will do so."

    That is a basic market "fix" that you seem quite supportive of.

    While I do support business, the market is not there SOLELY to support businesses. Labor is ALSO part of the market. And if he lost his contract due to "not enough people", then he needs to fix his issue. Stop expecting us to import brown skinned folks for him to fuck over.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Re: damikesc,

    That is the Libertarian argument


    Liar.

    "Americans don't want to do the job at this wage. So we need to open the borders and find illegals who will do so."


    That's not a market fix, you equivocator. That's a policy fix. Unless you think that eliminating regulation is a "market fix" as well, or lowering taxes is a "market fix".

  • damikesc||

    That's not a market fix, you equivocator. That's a policy fix.

    WHICH IS WHAT YOU ARE ADVOCATING, fucking moron.

    The market has spoken. That dude's salary offer is too low for the market. You want to override the market.

  • Libertymike||

    No, it was not the market.

    If the market had prevailed, Mr. Devine could have employed as many brown skinned Mexicans he wanted.

    Instead, big government progressivism prevailed. Why should any business have to navigate the labyrinthine progressive regulations imposed by big government anti-free enterprise Trumptards in order to hire peeps?

  • BYODB||

    Fact of the matter is, if it was an actual free market the American workers would see their wages decrease by at least half to 2/3's of what they get paid now across every sector of employment as we would be in direct competition with the entire rest of the world on wages. Ever look at wages across most of the rest of the planet? I'm guessing no.

    Automation would be an economic non-starter almost overnight. Go ahead and take a gander at how China does it, and how companies like FOXCONN talk a good game about automation yet still use people like cogs the same way we did at the turn of the century.

    Is it any wonder that Americans across the board, across every ideological divide, don't want that?

    But I see that some people are still trying to make carve outs for slave labor though, which is hilarious since they're the one's that like to stand on the tallest soap boxes to tell us all about how we need these slaves and how ethically they'll be treated, while never once talking about how or why it could be that slaves are the only possible fix to what's wrong.

    Go peddle your bullshit someplace else, we're all stocked up here.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Re: damikesc,

    You want to override the market.


    I don't want to do shit. Again, you're equivocating. Opening borders is NOT a 'market fix', not more than justice reform is a freedom fix. Those are policy fixes, from more intervention to LESS intervention. That means: your conclusion is WRONG in that the Market is actually saying that there's a labor shortage because it ia being held artificially low, not that businesses are too stingy, which is what you're implying.

    You don't seem to get that vendors cannot set prices by themselves but that the consumer is sovereign. The consumer is the one setting the price. If quoted services go up because of labor shortages, that won't mean more jobs for Americans but simply less businesses.

  • BYODB||

    A market sector that can't get contracts because they can't afford the cost of labor to do their job, at the price demanded by the person issuing the contract, means that it's a sector of trade that doesn't exist because it can't. It's utility isn't high enough to demand the minimum legal price point, period.

    Let us not pretend that a small business being required to offer health coverage (on top of the laundry list of other taxes and fees) to legal citizens of the United States isn't also a burden that might make that $18,000 loss on Visa's well worth it since the loss would probably be even higher on a citizen.

    100 years of Unions and Democratic rule have ensured that immigrants are not a solution to America's labor woes without drastic and painful cuts to American labor protections that would primarily hurt the voters themselves. I.E. not very likely in this lifetime, brotini.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Re: BYOBD,

    A market sector that can't get contracts because they can't afford the cost of labor to do their job, at the price demanded by the person issuing the contract, means that it's a sector of trade that doesn't exist because it can't.


    Your assertion only works if labor markets are irremediably static, which is a typical Neo-Classic fallacy.

    Try again.

  • BYODB||

    Sorry, I forgot you're a blithering retard and apparently have no knowledge of what the actual fuck a price floor is. The key phrase that your brain was unable to process appears to be the bit you cut off, no surprise, where I said this:

    It's utility isn't high enough to demand the minimum legal price point, period.

    Again, go and sell bullshit somewhere else. We're all stocked up here.

  • Libertymike||

    The market is superior, always, to progressive non-sense.

    If one is peddling the market, one, by definition, is not peddling bull-shit.

    Unrestrained free enterprise in the United States would not result in slave wages because manual and physical labor as a percentage of total employment is going to continue to decline with the development of AI, continued automation, and the need for more brainpower.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Re: BYOBD,

    Automation would be an economic non-starter almost overnight. Go ahead and take a gander at how China does it, and how companies like FOXCONN talk a good game about automation yet still use people like cogs the same way we did at the turn of the century.


    Your moralistic attitudes about Chinese business practices notwithstanding, the fact is that even if it were possible to entice more people into doing work that immigrants are doing now, does not translate to the most efficient way to use that labor. Whether you want to mind it or not, immigrant laborers still represent a much better use of American labor. Americans are better educated and have access to much better training tools than immigrants, so why would anyone think that wasting that talent on menial tasks is better than using immigrants?

    I know the reason, and it has to do with giving work a value that it doesn't deserve, almost to the point of turning it into a moral imperative. But work is merely a means to an end. Labor is a COST, not a blessing. And back-breaking labor provides nothing to a person except a paycheck and a sore back.

    Automation presents but ONE solution to the problem of labor shortage but it is also a solution to labor expense, to increase the productivity of labor. Automation is just another tool.

  • BYODB||


    Americans are better educated and have access to much better training tools than immigrants, so why would anyone think that wasting that talent on menial tasks is better than using immigrants?

    I'm starting to think you're a lampoon from posts like this, where you essentially paint immigrants as a serf class to the Ivory Tower intelligencia of America and how that's more or less the proper order of the world. You'd have a tough time being more ridiculous, but every time I think you've bested your previous idiotic best you up your game.

    Long story short, McDonalds didn't start talking about self-pay kiosks until people demanded a $15 hour minimum wage for a job most people do for themselves for free. Think there might be a connection there that could apply to other labor markets, or are you going to double-down on ironic American exceptionalism?

    Bonus Points if you wonder how it could be that there are jobs that pay $35,360 a year ($17.00 x 2080hrs) for riding a lawn mower around all day, and that these fast food workers never heard about it until now even though they're making ballpark $15,600 (assuming $7.50 min. wage, 2080hrs). Assuming both are full time jobs, you'd need to be retarded not to mow the lawns so there is another factor here that isn't stated, and it's almost definitely the withholdings.

  • BYODB||

    Libertymike, do you think if you slashed incomes to competitive levels with the 3rd world automation and AI would still be the cheaper option? Why, or why not?

    Because last I checked the drive towards automation is in response to higher and higher price floors on labor, among other intimately related factors like benefits.

    Or...are you another magical thinker?

  • Libertymike||

    Magical thinking is the notion that central planners and government goons are somehow better able to manage the entire economy than the market.

    You are introducing the proposition that incomes are to be slashed in order to compete with the third world.

    Would you agree that the labor costs associated with cutting lawns in Cincinnati is not the same as in Calcutta?

    Do you think that the wages paid to Karl in Cincinnati would inevitably fall to the wages paid Koresh in Calcutta if government did not interfere with the ability of a business or a consumer to employ the manpower of their choice regarding the mowing of a lawn?

    If you answered yes to the second question, you are assuming that the lawn maintenance markets in Cincinnati and Calcutta are otherwise the same and static, save for the variable of the artificial labor restriction imposed by the United States government.

    You would also be assuming that the demand side would be uni-dimensional and that buyers would only be driven by price and no other factors would influence their hiring decisions.

    Such assumptions are utterly untethered to reality.

  • BYODB||


    Magical thinking is the notion that central planners and government goons are somehow better able to manage the entire economy than the market.

    Not my premise, so we agree here.

    You are introducing the proposition that incomes are to be slashed in order to compete with the third world.

    I see the issue, you're unaware of what free markets actually are or what a free market in labor here in the U.S. would actually mean in real terms for the average American. I'm not saying this should happen as a matter of forced policy, I'm saying that it would be the only conceivable end result of a free market in labor in the United States.

    Logically, the end result of allowing the free market to function in the U.S. labor market means all Americans would take a hit to their income that would vary but would also universally be down outside of, perhaps, certain rarified and very specialized sectors. Do you not realize that even things like the minimum wage are market distortions, let alone benefits and the rest of the deductions you see each pay period? Not to even consider the labyrinth of costs imposed directly on your employer? We're so far from free markets in our labor market that...well...it's difficult to even conceive for most people.

    The fact that people can say they're 'free market' but then turn around and ignore the clear and obvious results of their free market position is...concerning though.

  • BYODB||


    Would you agree that the labor costs associated with cutting lawns in Cincinnati is not the same as in Calcutta?

    Do you think that the wages paid to Karl in Cincinnati would inevitably fall to the wages paid Koresh in Calcutta if government did not interfere with the ability of a business or a consumer to employ the manpower of their choice regarding the mowing of a lawn?


    It doesn't matter if they fall to the same point as they do in Calcutta, that isn't the point. The point is that the American price of lawn care in Cincinnatti is set at a minimum of $7.50 and the observed trend that this price is too high as imported labor is doing the job under the table for less than $7.50.

    One doesn't need to be a genius to simply extrapolate this across American labor sectors, all of whom have massive distortions in the form of wage controls, labor boards, Union rules, and really a laundry list that is too long to even jot down that evolved over the past 120 years or so. All of this combines to distort wages upwards in both the aggregate and per industry, so without them it's simply obvious that they will go down.

    Don't lie about the predictable results of your ethos, it's a bad look to those who know enough to know you're advocating for American pay cuts alongside deregulation. I don't have a problem with that, but it's obvious the majority of Americans do. That's my main point.

  • Libertymike||

    First, we agree that there have been a myriad of costs imposed upon employers in the last 120 years.

    Second, I'll grant you that many of the costs imposed have operated to distort wages, in most instances upwards, but not in all instances.

    Third, it is good to see that you are allowing for some exceptions, i.e., "certain rarified and very specialized sectors."

    Fourth, what about employers, freed from the shackles of OSHA, EPA, ACA, et al, being in a better position to offer higher wages? There are costs imposed upon employers that are separate and apart from the provision of wages that have exerted downward pressure on salaries.

    Fifth, I do not quarrel with you on how most non-entrepreneurial people would react if told that there would be complete deregulation.

  • BYODB||

    After being all pithy about it, I realized that it had nothing to do with your understanding and more it was a misunderstanding.

    Fourth, what about employers, freed from the shackles of OSHA, EPA, ACA, et al, being in a better position to offer higher wages? There are costs imposed upon employers that are separate and apart from the provision of wages that have exerted downward pressure on salaries.

    Fifth, I do not quarrel with you on how most non-entrepreneurial people would react if told that there would be complete deregulation.

    4) They very well could do so, but that's where immigration dovetails into the discussion in that it would be very unlikly for them to bid higher than an American fresh off 120 years of overpriced labor. I don't pretend that this would be universal, but it would be shocking to find that an Indian M.D. would charge the same as an American M.D., as simply one highly-skilled example.

    As you point out, of course there will be winners among the losers but they would be in the vast minority given that the U.S. economy is mostly service oriented which would not survive contact with a free market in a recognizable form.

    Long term, the market will correct in this way one way or another but a planned deconstruction is superior to outright crash in my view. Most people would probably agree with me there, but would disagree with plenty of the points that lead me to that conclusion.

  • Libertymike||

    Magical thinking is the notion that central planners and government bureaucrats are better able to manage the economy than the market.

    You appear to be under the impression that with a totally free market, incomes in the United States would be slashed to third world levels if US businesses were to be able to compete against third world competitors.

    I trust that you would agree that the lawn maintenance market of Cincinnati is not the same as in Calcutta.

    Do you think that if there was an unrestrained free market, that the wages paid to Carl in Cincinnati would inevitably fall to the wages paid to Koresh in Calcutta?

  • Libertymike||

    Markets are dynamic and work much better when the do-gooders, including the jingoistic, patriotic, my nation-state first types, are shoved the fuck out of the way.

    Economic freedom is far more important than muh nation state.

  • vek||

    The wages in Cincinnati would not fall immediately to Calcutta rates, but they would fall, and probably considerably. A $15 an hour job might fall to $7.50 over 5 or 7 years.

    The short version of the story is the USA has a few sectors where we're actually globally competitive and that have very high wages. Everything else gets its wages relatively based off of this basically. We've locked in those high relative wages with restrictions on the number of immigrants, and other dumber laws/rules.

    The bottom line is that if we opened up the borders 100% to anybody wages would tank in almost every single field, and by very high percentages. ESPECIALLY on the lower end. Maybe doctors pay would fall from $150K to $100K or $75K, because MDs are scarce even globally. Same for programmers. But for cutting grass??? People from India may well be willing to do that for $2 an hour and live in a slightly nicer shack than back home. Carpenter? That $20+ an hour job might go down to $5-10.

    I'm no commie, but I DO NOT want to turn the USA into a 3rd world shit hole, and make life worse for 80-90% of the population here. Not to mention if those people could vote... We'd have no guns and sky high taxes overnight. FUCK THAT. I'd rather pay my lawn guy more money.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    Take away the fucking welfare and you will have more Americans begging to work for you than you possibly handle, Mr. Morin. You will get so sick and tired of turning away Americans looking for work you'll have to hang a "not hiring" sign in your window.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Take away the fucking welfare and you will have more Americans begging to work for you than you possibly handle


    Is that a wish, an incantation, or what? Because it's not a sound argument. Even without welfare you would still have a labor shortage because local labor has a better access to information and thus choices than immigrants who only have one or two price signals and, usually, from friends or relatives.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    1) Yes, that is a wish, but no more so than YOUR wish to eliminate all existing immigration laws and restrictions. My argument is just as sound as yours is, and my wish can be fulfilled just as easily as yours can.

    2) I call bullshit on your labor shortage claim when you take into consideration that even in an improved economy, the Labor Force Participation Rate is still close to its 40 year low.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Re: Weigel;s Cok Ring,

    1) Yes, that is a wish, but no more so than YOUR wish to eliminate all existing immigration laws and restrictions.


    Who said anything about abolishing all laws? About abolishing all restrictions? Who said anything about that? The only argument posited by ME is that the government has no right to intrude in the right of people to hire and invite in anyone they wish. The restriction thus resides THERE, with people. Laws that restrict people with known ties to crime or terrorist should be excluded. The criticism is not on laws per se but against the central planning aspect of the restrictions.

    I call bullshit on your labor shortage claim


    That's because you're an economically ignorant ass.

    the Labor Force Participation Rate is still close to its 40 year low


    See? I was right - you ARE an economically ignorant ass.

    Labor Participation is only a reflection of people's choices, that's all. People CHOOSE not to work. That doesn't mean the labor shortage is bullshit.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Is that a wish, an incantation, or what? Because it's not a sound argument.

    During the Depression there was no shortage of people willing to work in the various public labor programs of the New Deal. There's a lot to criticize about FDR's economic policies, but paying people a pittance to live in tarpaper shacks and do various public works projects, many of which are still being used 80 years later, is hardly welfare. The whole point of those programs was to get people working instead of sitting on their ass, because the devil finds work for idle hands.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Re: Red Rocks White Privilege,

    During the Depression there was no shortage of people willing to work in the various public labor programs of the New Deal.


    And?

    [...] paying people a pittance to live in tarpaper shacks and do various public works projects, many of which are still being used 80 years later, is hardly welfare.


    Perhaps but you're referring to a market that was impaired by severe market dislocations, all caused by government intervention in the finance and labor markets. By the way, the government didn't pay a "pittance", but enough to compete with the same businesses that were so desperate for labor while at the same time were paying taxes to keep the government competing against them for labor.

    Whatever the scenario you want to bring up, none represents a solution to the problem of government-created labor shortage. Perhaps, maybe, if the government stops doling away money, then maybe, perhaps, some people would mow lawns. Maybe. But that in itself is NOT a substitute for market-friendly non-intervention. You can have both an immigration that is much more open AND no welfare, no minimum wage laws, and then let the Market sort it out.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    And?

    Are you admitting that an open borders policy is incompatible with the existence of a welfare state?

    Perhaps but you're referring to a market that was impaired by severe market dislocations, all caused by government intervention in the finance and labor markets.

    Doesn't change the fact that the welfare state that exists today didn't back then, and the primary solution to a nationwide increase in unemployment was to figure out jobs programs to get people working instead of sitting on their ass.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Re: Red Rocks White Privilege,

    Are you admitting that an open borders policy is incompatible with the existence of a welfare state?


    No, I'm asking you "what's your point?".

    Doesn't change the fact that the welfare state that exists today didn't back then


    Actually, it DID. It wasn't called that, though.

    the primary solution to a nationwide increase in unemployment was to figure out jobs programs


    Excuse me but that wasn't the solution. As a matter of fact, such programs only made things WORSE, not better. You make the assumption that the be all and end all of an economy is to keep people employed, but that's a totally backwards way of seeing the economic progression. Work is only a means to an end. What's important is to meet ****consumer demand****, and unless you can show me how can government bureaucrats figure out ****consumer demand**** better than a fucking MARKET, then giving people a shovel is NOT conducive to that. It is only made-up work, non-productive work. Businesses who look at price signals and feel for profit opportunities know exactly how and where to use that labor, not government. And without those businesses, there will be many demands NOT MET.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Do you understand the implication of what I mean? Don't think of the economy as one big box with inputs and an output. The economy is a very complex NET, with producers and consumers pushing and pulling everywhere. NO human mind can conceive such a thing or regard it.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    I understand the economy far better than you ever will.

    No more illegals.

    Build the wall.

  • vek||

    Old Mexican, you're an idiot if you think we couldn't replace millions of low skilled laborers with millions of currently unemployed and leeching people in the US already. The labor force participation rate difference just between now and 10-20 years ago shows FAR more people of working age not working than we have illegal Mexicans in the country.

    You're so full of shit your eyes are brown!

  • Cy||

    If we let kids leave the house and *gasp* go to work, like they've done for every prior generation in human history, maybe we wouldn't need to hire illegals to pick crops and mow lawns.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    Yeah, right. All they lack is a kick in the behind... as if disutility of labor didn't play a part.

  • vek||

    I know of no reason pimply faced high school kids couldn't take my order in proper English like they did when I was a kid, versus the can't hardly speak English 40 year old illegal who often does it now... The fact that even native born adults are frequently doing such pathetically lowly jobs nowadays simply illustrates just how over saturated the low skill job market is. Proper grown adults didn't work at McDonalds back in the day, other than as managers.

  • Rev. Arthur Ꮮ. Kirkland||

    The current subhead reads "Unemployment is down, but low- and high-skilled immigrants can't get in."

    I note a perfectly valid alternate phrasing could be "Unemployment is down because low- and high-skilled immigrants can't get in."

    After all, if the supply of workers is restricted, the same level of demand will employ a higher percentage. That's math.

  • Libertymike||

    Rev, I have never encountered an Ivy grad who is more mellifluous than myself.

  • XM||

    I'm a bit puzzled that Eddie Devine can spend 18 thousand dollars to hire a handful of guest workers, but apparently won't offer higher wages or even health benefits to lure American workers, including local Latinos.

    You can earn 10-11 dollars working retail jobs. They'll enjoy the comforts of air conditioning and heating, as well as nearby bathrooms. Obviously most Americans would not be interested in working at a more physically demanding job that offers no upside from conventional jobs available in the marketplace. Most women eschew construction and other demanding work, which creates the "wage gap".

    Americans work in stifling Amazon facilities where workers allegedly pee in bottles to meet quota. And they only make 13 bucks an hour. But the hours are probably there, and maybe some healthcare benefits. Your resume will shine if it mentions Amazon. Working seasonal jobs at a crab factory isn't likely to advance your career.

    Since guest workers are here legally, it's not part of the politicized immigration debate. Trump shouldn't stop legal workers who are willing to work these jobs. But I think a question is, what is fair value of some of these jobs? I've seen landscaping ads that offered to pay 13 to 18 dollars an hour with sick leave and benefits. There aren't Americans who would apply for these jobs?

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Sure there are. The point is that there are people who want to use illegals to keep their costs down, amd also the obsessive open borders idiots who will twist that around to some sort of tragedy if those people can't use illegals t,depress wages as much as possible, because they think that's 'the market'.

    It is not.

    No more illegals.

    Build the wall.

  • Erik w||

    Opposition to immigration is cowardice. It's a response to being afraid of competition. Cowardice is the thread that ties much of Trumpist policy together. Fear of immigrants, fear of Muslims, fear of cities and of education. Fear, possibly most of all, of dissent. Cowardice.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Nope. Everything you said is bullshit. Sounds like progtarded idiocy.

  • Peter Schaeffer||

    Wages for American workers are lower now than in the 1960s. That not cowardice, that's a fact. See BLS series CES0500000031.

    Cheap labor immigrants are a huge burden on taxpayers. That not cowardice, that's a fact.

    Cheap labor immigrants (and their children) fail in America's schools. That not cowardice, that's a fact.

    Cheap labor immigrants demand, get, and apparently need racial quotas. That not cowardice, that's a fact.

    Cheap labor immigrants (and their children) have high (for the children, very high) crime rates. That not cowardice, that's a fact.

  • vek||

    All true. And as if it's somehow a worthwhile trade off to completely fuck up the country, AND screw the less bright native born folks so we can shave a buck or two an hour off of the costs of some low end jobs. Fuck these people.

  • MikeP2||

    Accusing people you don't know of cowardice for having a different viewpoint on economics and immigration policy. Now that's cowardice.

  • Peter Schaeffer||

    If America is really suffering from a labor shortage, why aren't wages soaring? The fact that wages today are lower than they were 50 years ago, shows that America has too much labor, not too little. Of course, the selfish and the greedy always wan't cheap labor. That's why we had slavery before the Civil War. Of course, slavery was a "big success". Now the cheap labor exploiters want Open Borders. The selfish and greedy never learn.

  • vek||

    Seriously! I don't understand how many libertarians somehow ignore that supply and demand, GASP, applies in labor markets! If you flood the market with low priced labor, it reduces the wages... And while that is good for consumers of that labor, it's awful for the original native born producers of that labor, who are now fucked. But I guess the yuppie crowd doesn't care about those poor bastards, as long as their lawn gets cut for a few bucks less... I'm a pretty heartless bastard, but even I don't want to see the entire working class living in abject poverty, like REAL poverty like in the 3rd world. That's exactly what would happen with open borders.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Wait--it's hard for immigrants to get in...and unemployment is at 3.9% or some such number?

    So much for 'doing jobs Americans won't do'. It's looking a whole lot more like they actually DID 'tuk er jerbz'.

  • MikeP2||

    Love how you avoid mentioning that that H-2B have been capped by law at 66k since long before Trump.

    That there were ~66k issued in 2014 and 2015. In 2016 it was exceeded, up to ~85k. But in 2012 and 2013 it was below 50k.
    That a quick Google will give you all the info you need for H-2B and H-2A visa approvals by year.

    but, yeh....it's all Trump's fault.

    Fake news, Nick. Fake news. You should be ashamed.

  • vek||

    This whole article is bullshit. Yes there are different thresholds for different levels of jobs. Both of these guys are simply underpaying for the particular job in their particular market. Before Seattle passed the idiotic $15 an hour minimum wage, NOBODY in this city would do ANYTHING for less than $11-12 an hour, including fast food workers. The market set that wage even for the easiest jobs. Harder jobs also paid proportionally more. These guys are just trying to pay 1980s wages in 2018, and then wondering why nobody applies.

    I made $12 an hour when I was 14 working at a parking lot in California, in the 1990s! And he wonders why nobody wants to do a shitty job for that little?

    Americans will very much do all of these jobs, they just want to be paid decently. I painted houses for awhile when I was young. One of the companies I worked for had all Americans working, and paid us decently for the work. He straight up said on a bunch of occasions how he was pissed because other companies were hiring illegals and paying them wages no American would work for. This was a semi newish thing in Washington state at that point, so he was still freshly mad about it. I don't know if he eventually started hiring illegals himself, or if he just gets far fewer jobs while still charging and paying better, or if he straight up went under... But the fact is people WILL do the work if it's not at horrible wages. Anybody who says otherwise is a liar.

  • vek||

    If you look at labor force participation rates we could boot every illegal out of the country and have multiple people waiting to take a lot of those jobs, IF they were at decent wages. I prefer that to the idea of endlessly importing uneducated 3rd worlders to suppress domestic wages.

    High end labor I don't think we should be restricting. They should be able to enter either on a temp basis, or permanent if they want. THOSE are the kind of people we need for the 21st century, not half illiterates that will work for peanuts.

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