Tuesday, January 10, 2012









The real fat cat party

If Republicans are 'the party of big business,' why are the Democrats raking in big bucks from industry after industry?

Jonah Goldberg

December 8, 2009

One of the great frustrations of the libertarian-minded right is how Republicans got stuck being "the party of big business."

The quotation marks around the term are at least somewhat necessary because, in many respects, it's not true.

The notion that big business is "right wing" has always been more sloppy agitprop than serious analysis. It's true that historically, big business is against socialism and communism -- and understandably so. Socialism and communism were once close to synonymous with expropriation of wealth and the nationalization of industry. What businessman or industrialist wouldn't be against that? But many of those same industrialists saw nothing wrong with cutting deals with statist regimes. For example, the Swope Plan, put forward by Gerard Swope, president of General Electric, laid out the infrastructure for much of the early New Deal.

Yet the debate is always framed as if the choice is between "government intervention" on the one hand and free-market capitalism on the other. From 30,000 feet, that division is fine with me. My objection is the glib and easy association of big business with the free-market guys (Milton Friedman was no champion of public-private partnerships and industrial policy).

This identification allows self-described progressive Democrats to run against big business when they are in fact in bed with the fat cats.

For instance, the standard line from the Democrats is that the plutocrats and corporate mustache-twirlers oppose healthcare reform because, in President Obama's words, they "profit financially or politically from the status quo." That sounds reasonable, and in some cases it is reasonable. But it makes it sound as if Obama is bravely battling "malefactors of great wealth."

But that's not really how it works, as Timothy Carney documents in his powerful new book, "Obamanomics." In 2008, Obama raked in more donations from the health sector than John McCain and the rest of the Republican field combined. Drug makers gave Obama $3.58 for every dollar they gave McCain. Pfizer gave to Obama at a 4-1 rate, as did the hospital and nursing home industries. In 2008, the insurance industry gave more money to House Democrats than House Republicans. HMOs give to Democrats over Republicans by a margin of 60 to 40.

So far, the healthcare industry has mostly been trying to cut insider deals with the government, not fighting to defend the status quo. Discussions between Big Pharma and the White House have been more like pillow talk than a shouting match.

This pattern is hardly unique to healthcare. The U.S. Climate Action Partnership, led by GE, includes many other Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs -- the company that has profited mightily from Obama's brand of hope and change. CAP is an aggressive supporter of the Democrats' climate change scheme. Why? Because GE and company stand to make billions from carbon pricing, thanks largely to investments in technologies that cannot survive in a free market without massive subsidies from Uncle Sam. GE chief Jeffrey Immelt cheerleads big government as "an industry policy champion, a financier and a key partner."

Going back to U.S. Steel and the railroads, the story of big business in America is often as not the story of fat cats rigging the system. And the story of progressivism is the same story. The New Deal codes were mostly written by big business to squeeze out smaller competitors. The progressives fought for these reforms on the grounds that it's easier to steer a few giant oxen than a thousand cats.

But healthcare is the most troubling example of the trend. Washington Post columnist Robert Samuelson notes that while everyone has been debating the government takeover of healthcare, what's really transpired is healthcare's takeover of government -- thanks to what he calls the "medical industrial complex." Already 1 in 4 federal outlays are for healthcare; government pays, directly or indirectly, for half of all healthcare costs; and the entire industry is heavily regulated. Obama's answer to this state of affairs is more -- much more -- of the same, on the phantasmagorial grounds that it will cut costs.

My biggest objection is not to what isn't true about the claim that the right is the handmaiden to big business, it's to what is true. Too many Republicans think being pro-business is the same as being pro-market. They defend the status quo against bad reforms and think they've defended economic freedom. The status quo stinks. And the sooner Republicans learn that, the sooner they'll deserve to win again.


February 11, 2009

Op-Ed Columnist

Trillion Dollar Baby


So much for the savior-based economy.

Tim Geithner, the learned and laconic civil servant and financial engineer, did not sweep in and infuse our shaky psyches with confidence. For starters, the 47-year-old’s voice kept cracking.

Escorting us over the rickety, foggy bridge from TARP to Son of TARP by way of TALF — don’t ask — Geithner did not, as the president said when he drew on the wisdom of Fred Astaire, inspire us to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start all over again.

The Obama crowd is hung up on the same issues that the Bush crew was hung up on last September: Which of the potentially $2 or $3 trillion in toxic assets will the taxpayers buy and what will we pay for them?

Despite the touting, the Treasury chief unveiled a plan short on illumination, recrimination, fine points and foreclosure closure. The Dow collapsed on its fainting couch as Sports Illustrated swimsuit models rang the closing bell.

It wasn’t only that Geithner’s own tax history — and his time as head of the New York Fed when all the bad stuff was happening on Wall Street, and when he left with nearly a half-million in severance — makes him a dubious messenger for the president’s pledge to keep the haves from further betraying the have-nots.

It wasn’t only that Americans’ already threadbare trust has been ripped by Hank Paulson’s mumbo-jumbo and the Democrats’ bad judgment in accessorizing the stimulus bill with Grammy-level “bling, bling,” as the R.N.C. chairman, Michael Steele, called it.

The problem is that the “lost faith” that Geithner talked about in his announcement Tuesday cannot be restored as long as the taxpayers who are funding these wayward banks don’t have more control.

Geithner is not even requiring the banks to lend in return for the $2 trillion his program will try to marshal, mostly by having the Fed print money out of thin air, thereby diluting our money, or borrowing more from China. (When, exactly, can China foreclose on us and start sending us toxic toys again?)

There’s a weaselly feel to the plan, a sense that tough decisions were postponed even as President Obama warns about our “perfect storm of financial problems.” The outrage is going only one way, as we pony up trillion after trillion.


Geithner is coddling the banks, setting it up so that either we’ll have to pay the banks inflated prices for poison assets or subsidize investors to pay the banks for poison assets.

As Steve Labaton and Ed Andrews wrote in The Times on Tuesday, Geithner won an internal battle with David Axelrod and other Obama aides who wanted to impose pay caps on every employee at institutions taking the bailout and set stricter guidelines on how federal money is spent. Geithner prevailed over those who wanted to kick out negligent bank executives and wipe out shareholders at institutions receiving aid.

In a move that would have made his mentor, Robert Rubin, proud, Geithner beat back the populists and protected the economic royalists. The new plan offers insufficient meddling with Wall Street, even though Wall Street shows no sign that the hardscrabble economy has pierced its Herm├Ęs-swathed world.

Wells Fargo, for instance, which has leeched $25 billion in bailout money, bought an inadvertently hilarious full-page ad in The Times to whinge about the junkets to Las Vegas and elsewhere it was forced to cancel because of public outrage. (The ad in The Times on Sunday could have cost up to $200,000, which may count as a bailout for our industry.)

“Okay, time out. Something doesn’t feel right,” John Stumpf, the president and chief executive of Wells Fargo wrote in an open letter defending their two decades of four-day employee recognition “events.” Calling them junkets or boondoggles is “nonsense,” he protested, adding about his employees: “This recognition energizes them.”

In this economy, simply having a job should energize them.

Geithner is wrong. The pay of all the employees in bailed-out banks, not just top executives, should be capped. And these impervious, imperial suits who squander taxpayers’ money after dragging the country over the cliff should all be fired — preferably when they come to D.C. on Wednesday in a phony show of populism on Amtrak and the shuttle to testify before Barney Frank.

Wall Street cannot be trusted to change its culture. Just look at the full-page ads that Bank of America (which got $45 billion) and Citigroup (which got $50 billion) are plastering in newspapers, lavishing taxpayer money on preening prose.

We don’t want our money spent, as Citigroup did, to pat itself on the back “as we navigate the complexities together.” Bank of America cannot get back our trust by spending more of our cash to assure us that it’s “getting to work” on getting back our trust.

Just get back to work and start repaying us.






A rising tide of social misery

By David Walsh
16 July 2009

Contrary to Obama administration and media claims about the recession “easing,” millions of working people in America are losing their jobs, earnings and health care benefits at an accelerating pace.

While executives at Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and other financial giants prepare to pay themselves billions of dollars this year in salaries and bonuses, life has continued to become more and more difficult for a broad layer of the population.

The New York Times pointed out on Wednesday that in California and a number of other states, “one out of every five people who would like to be working full time is not now doing so.”

The official jobless rate of 9.5 percent excludes both those who have stopped looking for jobs because local conditions are so bleak and those obliged to accept part-time employment.

If these unemployed and underemployed were included, the real jobless rate in the country’s most populous state, California, for example, would be 20.3 percent, according to the Times. In Oregon it would be 23.5 percent, in Michigan and Rhode Island, 21.5 percent, and in South Carolina, 20.5 percent. The figure would be just below 20 percent in Tennessee, Nevada and a number of “states that have relied heavily on manufacturing and housing.”

Given that the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ national jobless rate is skewed, for political reasons, to minimize the actual conditions, various analysts step in and attempt to come up with a “real unemployment” number.

The Center for Labor Market Studies at Boston’s Northeastern University places the current jobless rate at 18.2 percent, higher than the official figure on the eve of World War II. John Williams of Shadow Government Statistics puts the “Alternative Unemployment” rate at 20.6 percent. Other analysts calculate an “Effective Unemployment” figure of 18.7 percent. Whatever the precise number, the army of unemployed is large and swelling. A great many lives have already been devastated.

David Rosenberg, chief economist at the investment firm Gluskin Sheff in Toronto and former chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch, argues: “The official ranks of the unemployed have doubled during this recession to 14 million and if you take into account all forms of labour market slack, the unofficial number is bordering on 30 million, another record.”

The figures on job losses in the current slump are staggering. Since the start of the recession in December 2007 the US economy has lost a total of 6.5 million jobs. In fact, the economy presently has fewer jobs than it did in May 2000. The Economic Policy Institute points out that “the entire growth in jobs over the last nine years has been wiped out,” while the labor force has actually expanded by 12.5 million workers.

According to economist Rosenberg, “We have lost a record 9 million full-time jobs this [business] cycle, more than triple what is normal in the context of a post-WWII recession, with over 2 million pushed onto part-time work.” He notes that three-quarters of those laid off over the past year were let go on a permanent, not a temporary basis, and that a record 53 percent of those currently out of work were displaced for good.

Rosenberg estimates that more than four million jobs in financial services, residential construction, durable goods manufacturing, wholesale-retail and leisure-hospitality “are not going to come back.” The destruction of millions of better-paying, full-time jobs has enormous implications for the living standards of working families.

Job openings in the US have dropped by 42 percent since the end of 2007, so that in June 2009 there were some six unemployed looking for every job. As a result, the percentage of the jobless out of work for more than six months increased by nearly 70 percent from June 2008 to June 2009 (17.1 to 29 percent).

Since employers, who can afford to pick and choose, are generally taking experience over youth, and workers over 55 are holding on to their jobs for dear life, the official unemployment rate for young people has jumped to 15.2 percent for 20-24 year olds (a 49 percent increase in 12 months!) and 24 percent for 16-19 year olds. For African-Americans 16 to 19, the jobless rate is currently 38 percent.

As serious as they are, the jobless figures are only part of the story. Public and private employers across the country are taking advantage of the recession to cut wages, hours (through “unpaid leave,” “furloughs” and other means) and benefits, impoverishing many of those still employed.

The average work week fell to 33 hours in June, the lowest since data was collected in 1964, and 48 minutes shorter than when the recession began. The combined decline in jobs and hours in June was the equivalent of a loss of some 800,000 jobs.

Business Week notes that “Cuts in pay and hours are rippling throughout the economy in businesses large and small and industries from mining to retail.” A survey commissioned by the Economist in June found 5 percent of respondents had already taken a furlough in 2009 and 13 percent had taken a pay cut.

Mortimer Zuckerman in the July 14 Wall Street Journal commented: “Full-time workers are being downgraded to part time as businesses slash labor costs to remain above water, and factories are operating at only 65% of capacity.” Average weekly earnings fell to $611.49 in June, from $613.34 in May.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday that real average weekly earnings fell by 1.2 percent from May to June after seasonal adjustment. The drop resulted from a 0.3 percent decrease in average weekly hours and a 0.9 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index, driven by a sharp jump in gasoline prices.

Also on Wednesday, reports showed that industrial production declined in the US, for the eighth straight month. The industrial sector operated at 68 percent of its capacity in June, down from 68.2 percent in May, a new low in the 42 years since the data have been collected.

Meanwhile, eleven of the 17 Federal Reserve governors and regional bank presidents are predicting that unemployment will be 10 percent or higher in the final three months of 2009, and they expect the downturn, according to the Washington Post, “to be long-lasting.”

American workers are not only losing jobs and homes, they are also losing health care “at an alarming rate,” says a new report from Families USA. While the latest data from the Census Bureau indicated that 45.7 million Americans lacked health coverage in 2007, “economists believe the situation has only worsened in the intervening months as the economic downturn has taken its toll.” Experts predict an additional 6.9 million people in the US—a 15 percent increase—will lose their health coverage by the end of 2010.

Behind this health care disaster are the combined effects of rising costs, businesses slashing or eliminating coverage, and unemployment.

Noting that the rapid increase in joblessness means that the various states will probably “experience even greater losses ... than can be captured by our Key Findings,” Families USA estimates that between January 2008 and December 2010, 995,200 people in California, for example, will lose health coverage—or 6,380 per week. In Texas, which has the highest percentage of uninsured, some 866,000 residents will lose coverage by the end of next year.

In Florida, more than 3,500 people a week are losing coverage; in New York, nearly 2,500 people; in both Illinois and Georgia some 1,600 people; in New Jersey, 1,200, and in Michigan, a little more than 1,000 people each week.

In the US as a whole, the group estimates that 44,000 people are losing their health care every week.

On July 7 the American Bankers Association reported delinquencies on consumer debt rose to record levels, as customers had difficulty paying for everything from credit cards to automobiles. The percentage of borrowers at least 30 days late paying a balance is the highest since the association began keeping records in 1974.

ABA Chief Economist James Chessen stated bluntly, “The number one driver of delinquencies is job loss. When people lose their jobs, they can’t pay their bills. Delinquencies won’t improve until companies start hiring again.”

Public outrage at the present situation is growing. It is not uncommon to hear the rich, the “filthy” bankers, being denounced in work places and neighborhoods. Many workers—abandoned by the unions to their fate, lied to and cheated by the Democrats—have been stunned by the rapidity of the crisis. The Economist, a little nervously, refers to “The quiet Americans,” who are “proving stoical in the face of pay cuts and compulsory unpaid leave.” Later the magazine adds, “for the moment.”

Whatever the initial problems and hesitations of the population, the raging economic crisis will destabilize American political and social life, and radicalize vast numbers of people. It is inevitably creating the conditions for a showdown between working people, the vast majority, and the corporate aristocracy. Building an independent political movement of the working class based on a socialist and internationalist program to offer a progressive way out of the crisis is the most pressing task.


from the July 22, 2009 edition - http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0722/p08s01-comv.html

A spike in homeless families

By the Monitor's Editorial Board

The recession is changing the makeup of homelessness in America to include more families and more people in suburbs and rural areas. Private and public services for the homeless – concentrated on individuals and in urban areas – must now quickly adjust.

Last year, the number of individuals who used a shelter or other transitional housing in the US basically held steady, at 1.6 million, according to federal figures.

But the number of people in homeless families – typically a mother with two children – increased by 9 percent overall. Alarmingly, it rose by more than 50 percent in suburban and rural areas. In all, more than 500,000 individuals in families were homeless last year, about a third of the homeless population.

The nation can build on its recent success in reducing homelessness. Between 2005 and 2007, the number of chronic homeless – mentally ill or otherwise disabled people without a residence over the long term – fell by 30 percent, to 123,833. A coordinated nationwide effort was made to move from merely managing this group to helping them find permanent housing and assigning them case workers.

The needs of the chronically homeless may not mirror those of a family on the economic edge. But the overall approach must be the same: keeping or finding stable homes for them.

Fortunately, $1.2 billion of federal stimulus money for homelessness was released this month to communities across America. By assisting with rent and utilities, the funds can prevent households from losing their residences. And by providing funds for expensive up-front costs such as security deposits, the federal help aims to quickly move people out of shelters. To avoid fraud and abuse, the monies are paid to third parties, such as landlords.

Homelessness is a lagging economic indicator, and while the overall numbers may have held steady last year, they're expected to increase. At some point, people wear out their welcome with friends or relatives or can no longer afford a motel room. Shelters are seeing an increase in homeless families headed by professionals or skilled workers. Some shelters say they're full and are having to turn families away.

Homeless experts say the federal stimulus money will help greatly, but it's not enough. Local governments and charities will have to increase their efforts. Yet they, too, are cash-strapped. One answer, says Michael Stoops, executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, is for religious groups to gear up for these families.

He points to the 20-year interfaith network, Family Promise. Its participating churches, synagogues, and other groups have provided tens of thousands of families temporary shelter in their facilities and then helped them to stabilize.

America is a country of big hearts. It can rise to this challenge, as it has already proven this with the chronically homeless.


Illegal Immigration Explained - Profits & Poverty, Social Security & Starvation

Why the Federal Government Can't End Illegal Immigration

By Deborah White, About.com

See More About:





Illegal immigration into the United States is a highly profitable proposition for both employers and the U.S. government, and it also benefits Mexico, which is the largest source country of undocumented immigrants into the US.

The US and Mexican governments actively entice illegal immigrants to enter this country and to work illegally for profit-hungry U.S. employers. Poverty-stricken immigrants , who are often desperate to house and feed their families, respond to the financial enticements...and then are blamed by U.S. citizenry for illegally being in the US.

The purpose of this 4-part article is to explain why the US federal government can't afford and doesn't soon plan to to end illegal immigration.

Part 1 - United States Borders Are Barely Enforced

Ten million illegal immigrants live in the US, according to estimates by academic and government agencies, although Bear-Stearns investment firm analysts claim that the US illegal immigrant population "may be as high as 20 million people."

About 75% of undocumented immigrants arrive across the US southern border with Mexico, and hail from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia and other Central and South American countries. The bulk...about 50% of all illegals....are Mexican-born people.

Time magazine stated in 2004 that illegal immigration accelerated under the Bush Administration, with the US gaining 3 million additional illegal immigrant residents in 2004. A third of all illegal immigrants in the US live in California. Other states with large illegal populations are, in descending order, Texas, New York, Illinois, Florida and Arizona.

After more than 100 years in existence, President Bush dissolved the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)in March 2003 and absorbed it into the new Homeland Security Department, along with FEMA and dozens of other federal agencies created to help citizens and residents.

Until its dissolution, the INS had been part of the Justice Department since 1940, and before that, part of the US Labor Department. After the September 11, 2001 tragedy, the Bush Administration complained that the INS was insufficiently focused on deporting and expelling illegal immigrants, and thus asked that it be transferred to Homeland Security.

The US Border Patrol is charged with the responsibility of enforcing illegal immigration across US borders. Until 2003, the Border Patrol was part of the INS, but was also folded into Homeland Security (as a separate agency from INS).

The massive US intelligence agencies overhaul passed by Congress and signed by President Bush in January 2005 required Homeland Security to hire 10,000 more Border Patrol agents, 2,000 per year starting immediately. The Border Patrol currently employs 9,500 agents who patrol 8,000 miles of border.

But Bush Administration ignored the law mandating the hiring of new agents. Said Congressman John Culberson (R-TX) to CNN's Lou Dobbs, "Unfortunately, the White House ignored the law, and only asked us for 200 more agents. That's unacceptable." Culberson was referring to the federal budget for 2006 in which President Bush provided funds for only 210 new agents, not 2,000 additional agents.

Both houses of Congress worked together twice in 2005 to bypass the White House, and hire 1,500 new Border Patrol agents......500 shy of that required by law, but far surpassing the mere 210 planned by President Bush.

The US-Mexico border remains significantly under-patrolled. On October 7, 2005, 80 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to the President, calling on him to enforce immigration laws, and deferring consideration of the White House's proposed guest-worker immigration program. "History has shown that enforcement provisions are ignored and underfunded..." said the Congressional letter.

Meanwhile, Congressman Culberson told CNN's Lou Dobbs on October 7, 2005, "We've got a full-scale war going on our southern border. You don't need to go to Iraq to see a war. We've got widespread lawlessness...We need boots on the ground...ASAP."

Part 2 - Widespread Poverty and Hunger in Mexico

According to the World Bank, 53% of Mexico' population of 104 million residents live in poverty, which is defined as living on less than $2 a day. Close to 24% of Mexico's population live in extreme poverty, which means they live on less than $1 a day.

The bottom 40% of Mexican households share less than 11% of the country's wealth. Millions live in extreme poverty,and children are compelled to work on the streets in order to help provide food for their families.

Unemployment in Mexico is realistically estimated near 40%, and there are no governmen

Poverty wasn't always as pervasive as it is today in Mexico. A bit of economic history is in order.....

In 1983, the devaluation of the Mexican peso triggered an explosion of US-owned factories, called maquiladoras, along the Mexican side of the US-Mexico border. Corporations closed thousands of factories within US borders, and relocated them to Mexico to take advantage of cheaper labor costs, few required benefits and legally-acceptable poorer working conditions.

Hundreds of thousands of poor Mexican workers and their families moved to northernmost Mexico to labor in the maquiladoras.

Within ten years, though, those same US corporations closed the maquiladoras, and again relocated factories, this time to Asia, which proffered even cheaper labor costs, no benefits and often abject working conditions acceptable to local governments.

Those hundreds of thousands of Mexican workers in the maquiladoras, and their families, were left with nothing. No benefits, no severance. Nothing.

To complicate economic matters more, Mexico's 1994-95 privatization of its banking and telecommunications industries thrust millions more into poverty with increased consumer prices, rising unemployment and wage and benefit cuts.

Mexico's massive privatizations in 1994-95 also created a new privileged class of home-grown millionaires and billionaires. As of 2002, Mexico ranked fourth in the world in billionaires, behind the US, Japan and Germany.

To summarize thusfar, millions of Mexican families live in soul-stripping poverty...unemployed, hungry, without healthcare...and the US border with Mexico is significantly under-enforced.

Part 3 - US Employers Routinely Hire Illegal Immigrants, With Little Penalty

In March 2005, Wal-Mart, a company with $285 billion in annual sales. was fined $11 million for having untold hundreds of illegal immigrants nationwide clean its stores.

"The federal government boasts it's the largest of its kind. But for Wal-Mart, it amounts to a rounding error---and no admittance of wrongdoing since it claims it didn't know its contractors hired the illegals" wrote the Christian Science Monitor on March 28, 2005.

"If it weren't so easy for illegals and employers to skirt worker ID verification, the settlement's requirement that Wal-Mart also improve hiring controls might have a ripple effect in corporate America. but the piddling fine will hardly deter businesses from hiring cheap labor from a pool of illegals that's surged by 23 percent since 2000....But enforcement is pathetically inadequate, especially since 9/11."

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 provides for sanctions against businesses that hire undocumented workers, which means workers without proper identification. The legislation was enacted once Mexico-US border maquiladoras run by US corporations began closing, and those workers streamed across the border, searching for jobs of any kind.

But here's the rub. In 1999, under President Bill Clinton, the US government collected $3.69 million in fines from 890 companies for employing undocumented workers. In 2004, under President George Bush, the federal government collected $188,500 from 64 companies for such illegal employment practices. And in 2004, the Bush Administration levied NO fines for US companies employing undocumented workers.

In 21st-century America, it's an unspoken agreement between employer, the undocumented employee and the federal government: the employee provides acceptable ID that appears authentic, the employer asks no questions, and the US government looks the other way. Fake ID...Social Security cards, US permanent residency cards (i.e. "green cards"), US temporary employment authorization cards....are readily available for about $100 to $200 in every major American city,and plenty of smaller ones, too.

Wrote reporter Eduardo Porter in an April 5, 2005 New York Times article, "Currently available for about $150 on street corners in just about any immigrant neighborhood in California, a typical fake ID package includes a green card and a Social Security card. It provides cover for employers, who, if asked, can plausibly assert that they believe all their workers are legal."

Illegal Immigration Explained - Profits & Poverty, Social Security & Starvation

Why the Federal Government Can't End Illegal Immigration

By Deborah White, About.com

See More About:

           illegal immigration

           immigration reform

           illegal hiring practices

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(Continued from Page 2)

Why would employers hire undocumented workers?

According to Catholic priest Dr. Daniel Groody, Associate Professor at University of Notre Dame and a director of the university's Center for Latino Studies, "If they make it across the border, most immigrants will work at low-paying jobs that no one except the most desperate wants. They will de-bone chicken in poultry plants, pick crops in fields and build houses in construction.

As one person in Arizona noted, 'It looks like entering the US through the desert as undocumented immigrants is some kind of employment screening test administered by the US government for the hospitality, construction and recreation industries.'

Willing to work at the most dangerous jobs, an immigrant a day will also die in the work place, even while for others the work place has become safer over the last decade."

And undocumented workers, grateful for any job, will work for lower wages and minimal or no benefits, therefore enabling employers to make higher business profits. Cheaper labor costs and lesser working conditions equal greater profits for business owners.

In a January 2005 World Net Daily article, a report by investment firm Bear Stearns was cited that clearly illustrates that millions of US jobs have shifted from the legal workforce "as employers have systematically replaced American workers with lower wage illegal aliens."

For illegal immigrants, it's about finding any work to feed, clothe and shelter their families. For employers, it's about profits.

But why would the US government look the other way, allowing employers to replace American workers with undocumented workers from other countries?

"...experts blame the twin pressures of ethnic advocacy and business interests" reports the Christian Science Monitor.

Translation...."ethnic advocacy" means buying favor...and votes....within the illegal immigrant community. If an immigrant doesn't vote, he/she has relatives who do. In the 21st century, Hispanics surpassed African-Americans as the largest ethnic group in the United States. Many believe that the Bush Administration's lack of immigration enforcement in 2004 was directly connected to the Republican Party's goal to court the Hispanic vote, and to entice Hispanics to join Republican ranks.

Translation..."business interests" means profits. When labor costs are lower, business profits are higher. When thousands of businesses have higher profits, then the US business community is stronger (and happier). More votes and more voter perception of success.

A major economic drawback, though, to allowing thousands...probably millions...of US businesses to pay under-market wages and benefits to undocumented workers is that it depresses wages for all workers in the US. All Americans workers, then have decreased incomes, lower benefits and higher rates of poverty and hunger.

An obvious moral drawback to allowing US businesses to pay under-market, lower than even minimum wage rates, is that it's wrong. Minimum wage and standard minimal working conditions are established to humanely provide for the safety and welfare of all workers...not just American-born workers. It's a matter of decency and human rights, rooted in the United States' Christian-Judeo heritage. It's wrong and exploitative, and it's immoral. It's an updated form of economic slavery.

Writes Dr. Groody, "Immigrants die cutting North Carolina tobacco and Nebraska beef, chopping down trees in Colorado, welding a balcony in Florida , trimming grass at a Las Vegas golf course, and falling from scaffolding in Georgia....

With an economic gun at their backs, they leave their homes because hunger and poverty pushes them across the border....Every day, immigrants dehydrate in deserts, drown in canals, freeze in mountains and suffocate in tractor trailers. As a result, the death toll has increased 1,000 percent in some places."

And there's one more reason why would the US government would look the other way, thus allowing US employers to replace American workers with undocumented workers from other countries. A huge, seemingly insurmountable reason. A $7 billion a year problem: Social Security.

Part 4 - Undocumented Workers Give $7 Billion Annually to Social Security

According to a New York Times article on April 5, 2005, "...the estimated seven million or so illegal immigrant workers in the United States are now providing the system with a subsidy of as much as $7 billion a year....Moreover, the money paid by illegal immigrants and their employers is factored into all the Social Security Administration's projections."

However,since illegal immigrant workers are here illegally, and ostensibly presented fake ID to the US employer, they will never collect Social Security benefits. "For illegal immigrants, Social Security numbers are simply a tool needed to work on this side of the border. Retirement does not enter the picture," reports the New York Times.

The Social Security Administration remains solvent in large part due to deductions taken from the paychecks of illegal immigrant workers, yet Social Security will never pay benefits to those workers. The workers pay in, but they never receive back.

Wouldn't the federal government detect fake Social Security numbers? According to that April 6, 2005 New York Times article, "Starting in the late 1980s, the social Security Administration received a flood of W-2 earnings reports with incorrect---sometimes simply fictitious---Social Security numbers. It stashed them in what it calls the 'earnings suspense file' in the hope that someday it would figure out whom they belonged to. The file has been mushrooming ever since: $189 billion worth of wages ended up recorded in the suspense file over the 1990s, two and a half times the amount of the 1980s.

In the current decade, the file is growing, on average, by more than $50 billion a year, generating $6 billion to $7 billion in Social Security tax revenue and about $1.5 billion in Medicare taxes.

...the mismatched W-2's fit like a glove on illegal immigrants' known geographic distribution and the patchwork of jobs they typically hold. An audit found that more than half of the 100 employers filing the most earnings reports with false social Security numbers from 1997 through 2001 came from just three states: California, Texas and Illinois."

As shown by this information, the federal bureaucracy clearly knows which companies employ probable illegal immigrant workers, and it even knows which workers are likely illegals.

And the government does nothing about it. Not one penalty was levied by the federal government against an employer in 2004 for hiring undocumented workers.


The equation to explain the whys of illegal immigration into the US is simple:

Add: Widespread abject poverty and starvation in Mexico after US corporations relocated their cheap-labor plants from the US-Mexico border to Asia, and after Mexican banks and telecommunications were privatized, creating dozens of instant billionaires and plunging millions into poverty.

Add: An extremely porous, under-enforced US-Mexico border.

Add: US employers anxious for more profits, and willing to exploit the poverty and fears of illegal immigrants to do so.

Add: The federal government anxious to curry favor with , and garner votes from, business owners and the Hispanic community...thus, willing to under-enforce borders and immigrations laws, and ignore illegal hiring by employers.

Add: The Social Security Administration dependent on taking in $7 billion annually of contributions from illegal immigrant workers who will never receive benefits from the system.

THE RESULT: Millions of illegal immigrants working for low wages and in poor working conditions, grateful for "scraps to fall from the US table of prosperity," per Dr. Groody.

Wealthier US businesses, and a much-richer Social Security Administration, neither which reimburse local and state authorities and taxpayers for the costs (education, health care, law enforcement and more) associated with illegal immigrants.

And a very angry US citizenry, who vilify immigrants for being here, rather than blaming the business owners who hire and exploit them, the US government which lets them enter the US and profits greatly from them, and the Mexican government which is happy to see them immigrate out of their country.

"Our nation virtually posts two sign on its southern border: 'Help Wanted: Inquire Within' and 'Do Not Trespass," says Pastor Robin Hoover of Humane Borders.

"Without the help of immigrant labor, the US economy would virtually collapse. We want and need cheap immigrant labor, but we do not want the immigrants."


Channel 10 in Phoenix/ Illegals Busted, now Legals can have Jobs (watch the video)


2 Kinds of Republicans -- Mean-Spirited Utah Keeps Jobs From Unemployed Citizens While Compassionate Ariz. Opens Them Up

By Roy Beck, Thursday, March 17, 2011, 2:13 PM EDT - posted on NumbersUSA

In Utah, the cheap-labor Chamber of Commerce lobby has taken over the Republican Party and is, in effect, blocking thousands of unemployed citizens and legal immigrants from jobs being held by illegal foreign workers.

Across the border in Arizona, though, the Republican Party has resisted the worst of corporate lobbying and put unemployed citizens and legal immigrants first, constantly trying to stop unscrupulous businesses from filling jobs with illegal aliens. 

This local TV newscast shows the superiority of the compassionate Arizona approach . . . .

Channel 10 of Phoenix reported what happened when Sheriff Joe Arpaio raided a bunch of Pei Wei Asian Diners and led most of the workers there out in handcuffs because they were illegal aliens.

First, Pei Wei had to close its doors because it didn't have enough legal workers left.

Second, Pei Wei immediately started recruiting workers from among legal residents.

Finally, and triumphantly, as this newscast video so well shows, unemployed Americans created long lines to take the jobs.

How many times have you heard politicians, academic sophists and too many journalists facilely say that illegal aliens are just doing jobs Americans won't do? How many times have you heard that from a friend, co-worker or relative?  

And how many times have you heard them specifically say that Americans are not going to lower themselves to wash the dishes in the restaurants you frequent? 

Well, this video show all kinds of people willing to wash dishes for $8 an hour.  You'll see Latino Americans say they are willing to do so.  You'll see White Americans willing to do so.  Young.  Middle aged. One with a masters degree.

"I'm desperate," a young woman says.  A middle-aged woman says if she were younger she would look for yard work but happy to wash dishes.  "A job is a job," says Vince Flores, who refuses to be embarrassed about wanting a job that the elites of America sneer at.

Watch this video and renew your faith in the American people and their will to roll up their sleeves and do a job. 

But in Utah, the Republican-led government has just decided that it is better to keep those kinds of Americans unemployed and keep the jobs in the hands of illegal aliens.

Across America, corporate American lobbyists are pushing the "Utah Compact" as the "compassionate" way to deal with immigration.

Yeah, right, compassionate to business owners who want to stiff unemployed Americans by hiring cheap illegal foreign labor.

Indiana and many other states are currently under great pressure by these Utah Compact Republicans to turn away from the compassionate immigration policies of Arizona and adopt Utah's meanspirited approach to unemployed Americans.

Wouldn't it be great in your own community to see lines of Americans like those seen in this Phoenix video, filled with hope because businesses aren't allowed to hire illegal aliens?

By clicking here, you can send a free internet fax to your own state legislators asking them to reject the Utah model and, instead, keep illegal aliens from holding jobs in your state.

ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA

NumbersUSA's blogs are copyrighted and may be republished or reposted only if they are copied in their entirety, including this paragraph, and provide proper credit to NumbersUSA. NumbersUSA bears no responsibility for where our blogs may be republished or reposted.

Views and opinions expressed in blogs on this website are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect official policies of NumbersUSA.

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“At the hearing, Dr. Rakesh Kochar, Associate Director for Research at the Pew Hispanic Center, testified that in the year following the official end of the recession (June 2009), foreign-born workers gained 656,000 jobs while native-born workers lost an additional 1.2 million jobs.”

Immigrant Job Numbers Grow as American Employment Declines

On Thursday of last week, the House Judiciary Committee's Immigration Subcommittee met to hear testimony on the effect of immigration on the American job market. The hearing, entitled "New Jobs in Recession and Recovery: Who Are Getting Them and Who Are Not," is especially relevant given that many Americans are still struggling to find work in the midst of our nation's weak economy.

At the hearing, Dr. Rakesh Kochar, Associate Director for Research at the Pew Hispanic Center, testified that in the year following the official end of the recession (June 2009), foreign-born workers gained 656,000 jobs while native-born workers lost an additional 1.2 million jobs. Foreign born workers, he said represent 15.7% of the total American workforce and that the immigrant share of the U.S. working-age population is rising. (See Pew, Hispanic Center, After the Great Recession: Foreign Born Gain Jobs; Native Born Lost Jobs, Oct. 29, 2010) As of last year, he said, at least 8 million unauthorized immigrants participated in the U.S. labor market. (Pew Hispanic Center, "Unauthorized Immigrant Population: National and State Trends, 2010")

Economist Heidi Shierholz, from the Economic Policy Institute, testified that despite the fact that economists have declared an official end to the recession, there are still 5.4 percent fewer jobs available than when the recession began in 2007. Shierholz argued that the immigration system is completely unresponsive to the economic cycle. "For example, in 2010, the unemployment rate in construction was over 20 percent, but the Department of Labor nevertheless certified thousands of H-2B visas for construction workers. This defies logic," she said. Part of immigration reform, she concluded, would take into account the actual needs of the economy and its ability to accept additional workers.

Additional testimony came from Steven Camarota, Director of Research for the Center for Immigration Studies, and Greg Serbon, State Director of Indiana Federation for Immigration Reform and Enforcement (IFIRE). Camarota voiced concern that jobs created over the past decade are primarily going to foreign-born workers, while the number of working-age natives with jobs has fallen dramatically. Mr. Serbon spoke out about against the plethora of visa programs which allow non-immigrants to work in America and the prevalence of non-immigrant temporary visa holders overstaying the authorized visa time.

Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), stated that there is no more important issue that the subcommittee can address above how to preserve jobs for American workers. And when it comes to finding solutions for the unemployed and underemployed Americans who are still struggling, the Chairman made clear that the "answer is not to keep adding to the supply of low-skilled workers during a severe recession and its aftermath."





“As one member of the U.S. Border Patrol (search) told me, “They believe that they are only responding to an invitation.”



Judicial Watch

Mexicans Say Amnesty Will Boost Illegal Immigration

last Updated: Wed, 10/14/2009 - 3:02pm

If President Obama keeps his promise of giving the nation’s 12 million illegal aliens amnesty it will encourage more Mexicans to enter the United States, according to residents of the struggling Latin American country who are undoubtedly rooting for the commander-in-chief’s plan.

The majority of illegal immigrants in the U.S. are from Mexico therefore the president’s reprieve project will greatly affect that nation. Two-thirds of Mexicans say they know someone living in the United States and around one-third have an immediate member of their household or close relative living in the U.S. 

A majority of those residing south of the border say legalizing their undocumented countrymen will inspire more Mexicans to head north, according to a recent survey conducted by an internationally known polling and market research company. A vast majority of Mexicans with a relative in the United States said a legalization program would make people they know more likely to go to America illegally.

The results of the survey were made public this week by a research organization dedicated to studying the economic, social, fiscal and demographic impacts of immigration in the U.S. It reveals that nearly one-third of Mexican residents (nearly 40 million people) would like to live in the U.S. and if there was an amnesty a large number would come illegally with the hope of qualifying for a future exoneration. 

An amnesty, therefore, would stimulate more illegal immigration which is the last thing this country needs. Furthermore, rewarding those who have violated our nation’s laws with coveted U.S. residency and possibly citizenship demeans the system, especially for those who follow the appropriate steps to come lawfully. 

It’s bad enough that U.S. taxpayers annually dish out billions of dollars to educate, medically treat and incarcerate illegal aliens who are, in many cases, depleting local governments. Los Angeles County alone spends more than $1 billion a year, including $48 million a month in welfare costs, to provide services for illegal aliens. The crisis is hardly limited to border states, which have traditionally been the most impacted. Georgia’s skyrocketing illegal population costs taxpayers nearly $2 billion a year.



Labor Dept. Helps Illegal Alien Workers

The Department of Labor has launched a special program to assist and protect illegal immigrant workers in the U.S., referred to as “vulnerable” and “underpaid” by the presidential cabinet member who heads the agency.
Hundreds of new field investigators have been deployed to reach out to Latino laborers in areas with large numbers of illegal alien employees. Their message, in Spanish, is “we can help” bring workplace protections to the nation’s most vulnerable and underpaid workers, including those who have no legal right to live in the United States.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, a former California congresswoman with close ties to the influential La Raza movement, announced the “We Can Help” project with great fanfare a few days ago. A total of 1,000 investigators from her agency will focus on enforcing labor and wage laws in industries that typically hire lots of illegal aliens without reporting anyone to federal immigration authorities.

Solis told Latino workers that “your president, your secretary of labor and this department will not allow anyone to be denied his or her rightful pay, especially when so many in our nation are working long, hard and often dangerous hours.” She assured illegal immigrants that “if you work in this country, you are protected by our laws.”
The same day Solis publicly announced the Obama Administration’s new project, a Labor Department investigator visited a day laborer center in northern California to promote it. The federal employee actually chatted warmly with the illegal immigrants about how to find jobs without being exploited, according to a local newspaper report. “We’re the feds but the good ones,” he told the day laborers in Spanish. “We’re here to help workers.”
The agency has also launched a Spanish television advertising campaign to spread the word and created a web site. Workers in industries from construction to food service are urged to contact the Labor Department of wage and hour violations. An investigator may be deployed to the work site or the employer may be taken to court.
While in Congress, she opposed strengthening the border fence, supported expansion of illegal alien benefits (including driver's licenses and in–state tuition discounts), embraced sanctuary cities that refused to cooperate with federal homeland security officials to enforce immigration laws, and aggressively championed a mass amnesty. Solis was steeped in the pro–illegal alien worker organizing movement in Southern California and was buoyed by amnesty–supporting Big Labor groups led by the Service Employees International Union. She has now caused a Capitol Hill firestorm over her new taxpayer–funded advertising and outreach campaign to illegal aliens regarding fair wages: