Thursday, April 11, 2013
Who's building what in Texas?
It's impossible not to call illegal immigration a mixed blessing, which is to say, it cuts both ways. A two-part story on NPR documents the tremendous blessing illegal immigration is to new home buyers in Texas. Because of it, they get monstrous discounts beneath the price they'd pay if the construction industry paid their help--much of it illegal--a living wage.
However, illegals grab thousands of jobs that would otherwise go to American citizens because they'll do them for peanuts, which is to say, for less than what we might call a living wage, a wage that enables someone to live at a certain level. Employers like that, so do home buyers, and so do illegals. Ostensibly, if this country's high school grads would all work for $70 a day, a going wage in Texas construction market, there'd be no unemployment and no illegal workforce. But they won't, in part because they can't.
In Sioux County terms, if ordinary high school grads were looking for work at the level illegals are paid to milk cows or pack meat, there would be plenty of jobs here too because most employers would just as soon have a legal work force and avoid the immigration hassles. The problem is--as they'll be happy to tell you--they can't get help at the price they pay for illegals.
Thus, even in an overwhelmingly rock-sold Republican corner of the world like this, there's not all that much spit and vinegar about illegal immigration because, dang it, for almost everyone, illegals are good for the pocket book, especially in a place like this that doesn't suffer from high rates of unemployment.
There are new arguments on the horizon. Get this--someday soon, employers here who rely on illegal help may be really hurting because a rising middle class in Mexico (higher wages, smaller families) makes life south of the border more of a comfort and a promise. Should that happen, employers who create jobs presently taken by illegals would almost necessarily have to pay more to garner a native work force, which would, resultingly, push prices up, which would, resultingly, make all us pay more for just about everything. And who would stand for that?
The bottom line goes like this: in Texas, houses are cheap because workers are cheap. Everyone's happy, right? The only ones hurt are young citizen workers who can barely live on $12 an hour--well, and the illegals, who have no insurance or benefits or medical care, and often, reportedly, work in conditions no union would tolerate. But then, unions are evil.
It's an intensely complex problem. If news sources are accurate, there's change a'comin'. Republicans can only win off-year, shoe-in contests without somehow gathering a following among this country's rising Hispanic population, a population obviously turned off by the insane Republican rhetoric of the last Presidential campaign. Nutty Republican babbling must end, or so says Reince Priebus, Bobby Jindal, Michael Gerson, and Joe Scarborough, to name a few.
Untangling the mess of 11.1 million people doing America's grunt work (and more) at the same time they're keeping prices for just about everything way, way down is going to take more than a Great Wall on our southern border.
Things will change. They will have to.
Posted by J. C. Schaap at 7:22 AM