What he said
Greg Saunders writing at This Modern World:
What people like the George W. Bush donít understand is that capitalism is not a one-way street. When the demand for workers is high and the supply of laborers is low, the rational solution would be for employers to raise wages, increase benefits, or both to ensure that supply catches up to demand.Conceptual Guerilla summed it up in three little words: "Cheap-labor conservatives." The bastards don't want to pay decent wages, and will do ANYTHING to avoid doing so.
Instead, employers have found a way to get around their obligations by employing ďundocumentedĒ workers (and thus creating a demand for illegal labor). Why are these men and women willing to do the same job that Americans are unwilling to do for less money? Well, theyíre here illegally, for one. They probably donít speak English well and have little familiarity with existing labor laws. Theyíre doing a job thatís unskilled while under the constant threat of deportation. Sounds like the new face of indentured servitude to me, but the President and his allies are trying to figure out ways to make it acceptable.
But hereís the key to all of these proposals : These illegal workers arenít being offered citizenship, but membership in a ďguest worker programĒ. Bush and co. donít give a damn about the working class in this country, they just want to make sure that the crooks arenít penalized for breaking our labor laws. The solutions bandied about would create a pseudo-citizenship which will protect employers but do little to lift immigrant workers from the bottom rung on the economic ladder. When residence is closely tied to employment, the threat of deportation doesnít go away, it just gets hidden a little better.
Which makes this whole debate even more galling. Immigrants are being exploited, American workers are getting screwed, and the whole debate is happenening as if these two groups of victims are on opposite sides. If you want to stop illegal immigration, you donít need to build a fence. The supply of illegal labor will go away once the demand for it ceases. We donít need new plans, we need to rigorously enforce the laws already on the books. If that means that employers are going to have to pay more to the people doing the jobs that ďAmericans wonít doĒ and pass those costs on to the consumer, then itís hardly our place to question the wisdom of the invisible hand, right?
Also, it should be stressed again that George Bush and his allies should be ashamed of themselves for slandering us with their anti-worker rhetoric. Arenít you paying attention, America? The President of the United States just called you an indolent snob. He thinks youíre too lazy to do an honest dayís work and too effete to do work that will get your hands dirty. Doesnít that piss you off? It should.