On Christmas Eve, a story and column in the Washington Post caught the eye. For they tell much about the two Americas we are becoming under George Bush and a Democratic Party that has cut its roots to working America.
The front-page story by Mike Allen describes a Bush initiative on “immigration reform.” Seems that U.S. employers would post jobs and the wages that go with them on a Department of Labor website. If no Americans came forward to take the jobs, the employer would be allowed to bring Mexican temporary workers in legally, give them the jobs, and put them on a fast track to permanent residency and citizenship.
What would this mean? U.S. companies would offer pay at or near the minimum wage for jobs they had open in, say, construction.
As few Americans can support a family and kids in school on $5 an hour, many of these jobs would go begging. The employer would then be allowed to go to Mexico, where the minimum wage is about 60 cents an hour, or countries where it is even less, and hire all the hard-working labor he needed at the U.S. minimum wage.
As there are billions of people on earth who do not earn anything near $5 an hour, what the Bush plan means is throwing open America’s borders to millions of workers who will come in and suppress the wages of America’s workers.
Why the U.S. Chamber of Commerce might love this is easy to understand. But what is Bush doing to the working Americans who put him in office? Yet, as one reads further in the story, it appears it is not Bush who is doing this, it is boy-wonder Karl Rove. Bush’s guru seized on the idea as part of the campaign’s “compassion agenda.”
In addition to bringing in millions of workers who would take jobs at a fraction of a living wage for American families, Bush will propose that 10 million aliens, who are in this country illegally, be made legal.
According to the Post, Rove & Co. “concluded that they needed a response to the large population of undocumented workers for the plan to be credible and for Bush to get credit from Hispanic voters.
In that last clause lies the motive behind the sellout.
Rove is pandering to Hispanics, giving militants in the Latino lobbies what they demand – some form of stealth amnesty, where those who broke into this country are made legal residents of the United States and put on the path to citizenship. He is buying votes by selling out the white working class, which, presumably, has nowhere else to go.
As a sop to those who believe aliens who break our laws should be sent back home, the Bushites promise better border controls. In brief, if you want Bush to enforce America’s immigration laws, you must permit him to pardon those who broke these laws. And if you agree, Bush will promise to be more conscientious in doing his presidential duty to defend the borders of the United States.
How are the Bushites shafting American workers? Let me count the ways. Under Bush’s free-trade zealotry, the United States has lost manufacturing jobs for 40 straight months, the longest stretch since the Great Depression. Under Bush, hundreds of thousands of high-tech workers have been brought into the United States to take jobs at wages one-half or a third of those commanded by the U.S. workers they replace.
Under Bush, the “outsourcing” and “off-shoring” of U.S. jobs has accelerated, with tens of thousands of jobs once held by high-paid white collar and information-technology workers going to Asia.
Under Bush, millions of legal and illegal immigrants have poured into the country, putting downward pressure on wages.
Under Bush, the merchandise trade deficit has risen to $550 billion, which represents a massive annual transfer of factories, jobs and technology. China, Japan and East Asia are the lead looters of America’s once-awesome manufacturing base. Americans today buy nearly 15 percent of the entire GDP of China. The Chinese buy two-tenths of 1 percent of ours. It’s what the Bushites call “free and fair trade.”
What are the consequences for American workers? In a Post column, “Un-American Recovery,” Harold Meyerson says it all.
U.S. corporate profits have been rising for 7 months. In the third quarter of 2003, the economy grew at 8.2 percent, productivity at over 9 percent. Have our workers shared equally in the good times?
Writes Meyerson: “Since July, the average hourly wage increase for the 85 million Americans who work in non-supervisory jobs in offices and factories is a flat 3 cents. Wages are up just 2.1 percent since November 2002, the slowest wage growth we’ve experienced in 40 years.”
That’s right. According to Meyerson, the wages of Americans have gone up three cents since the economy took off on a tear in July.
Let it be said: Working America has no powerful voice in politics. Both Democrats and Republicans are open-borders, free-trade zealots, who troll for cash from corporate America and burn their incense at the altars of the global economy.
America needs a new party.