Businesses have to buy a certain amount of people's labor in order to make, sell, and service their products, which may themselves be nothing but services anyway. To decrease their costs and increase their profits, they buy that labor as cheaply as they can. They will pay less for it if the labor market is a "buyer's market:" plentiful supply = low price. Clearly, the supply is made larger and the price is driven lower if there's a lot of people whose expectations, in terms of wages, benefits, and working conditions, are low. To the people who run many businesses, then, the tide of Mexicans crossing the border daily represents wealth. For many Americans, it represents either no jobs or no decent compensation. Which brings me back to Dear Leader, who is working heroically for his corporate friends and benefactors. Here he is, working:
The president has been urging Congress to act on a guest-worker program for more than a year. Under his plan, illegal immigrants would be allowed to get three-year work visas. They could extend that for an additional three years, but would then have to return to their home countries for a year to apply for a new work permit.
Bush's plan pairs a guest-worker program for foreigners with border security enforcement, an attempt to satisfy both his business supporters, who believe foreign workers help the economy, and other conservative backers who take a hard line on illegal immigration.
He said the program he's proposing would create a legal way to match foreign workers with American employers to fill jobs that Americans will not do.
''This program would help meet the demands of a growing economy, and it would allow honest workers to provide for their families while respecting the law,'' Bush said.
"Jobs that Americans will not do:" that's one of George the Slow's favorite memorized catchphrases. Others echo it for him:
... he is offering a guest-worker plan to provide a continuous flow of low-wage labor to job sites nationwide whenever an American doesn't step up to work for the going wage.
So what, exactly, determines what the "going" wage is? I suppose it's the wage that an employer must offer in order to attract suitable workers. But that wage depends on the social and economic context in which the offer is made. Flood the country with
I have argued in the past, and will do so in the future, I expect, that minimum-wage laws are wrong in principle, because they are a warrantless government interference with the freedom of individuals to voluntarily enter into contracts with each other. The owner of a construction business, for example, can't force me to carry concrete blocks for two dollars an hour if I'm not willing to do so. But Bush, with his proposed "guest worker" program, plus his manifest disinterest in actually establishing control over our southern border, is effectively implementing a "maximum wage" law. By flooding the labor markets with low-wage, low-expectation, desperate foreign people, he makes certain that there'll be lots of jobs that "Americans won't do." Of course, there are cultural consequences associated with the Mexicanization of the American economy. But neither the Bushes, nor the people with whom they hang and chill, are lacking in social insulation from those consequences. Why, pool boys are cheaper than ever! Hoo-rah!