The same man who coined the phrase from last week’s article, “Charge-and-spend Republicans” gave me another pearl of wisdom. He described the president’s immigration policy as the “Saudiazation of America.”
You see, our friends in the “magic kingdom” don’t do manual labor, or what president Bush calls “hard jobs.” The Saudis import labor from so-called “third countries.” These workers are called “Third Country Nationals” or “TCNs.” They come from Pakistan, the Philippines and nearby countries to make up much of the work force of Saudi Arabia. They have no permanent status or benefits other than the ability to earn a better wage than what they would earn in their home country. They live in community housing and send money back to their families. Sound familiar?
It was fortuitous that I had the “Saudiazation” conversation just a few days before the president’s last minute pre-holiday press conference. On a couple of different occasions, the president supported his proposed immigration policy by saying that these workers are doing “jobs that Americans don’t want.” I just about fell out of my chair when the president repeatedly said that Americans are above certain types of labor and that’s why we need to allow immigrant workers a legitimate status, but no citizenship.
I am now convinced more than ever that this president is completely out of touch with the ordinary, “non-elite,” Maxwell House-drinking type folks. He owes his second term to these ordinary Americans. They voted for him in light of shrinking paychecks, the loss of their pensions, rising health care and the elimination of their industries. They voted for this president because, as some said, the president is the kind of guy I’d like to have a beer with. He’s like me. I can relate to him.”
Yet, as outlined in the president’s press conference, he’s more like a member of the Saudi royal family than any ordinary American I have ever met. The president is the worst kind of “elite swine.” He votes for policies which benefit the rich, while pretending to be “for the common folk.”
Perhaps the president is too out of touch to realize that the reason Americans “don’t want” these jobs is that a person cannot survive on minimum wage. Or perhaps he knows this, but has made a conscious decision to put the interests of the wealthy above the interests of ordinary Americans.
The New York Times – yes that “elitist, liberal rag” – released a housing study on Christmas Day that concluded it is impossible to survive on minimum wage in America. The Times reports that “in only four of the nation’s 3,066 counties can someone who works full-time and earns the federal minimum wage afford to pay rent and utilities on a one-bedroom apartment.”
The National Low Income Housing Coalition study also found that “a typical worker must earn at least $15.37 an hour to pay rent and utilities” on a two-bedroom apartment. This isn’t editorial bias. These numbers are hard facts.
Does the president even know what the federal minimum wage is? Remember, he couldn’t answer the question in the third presidential debate as to whether he would support an increase in minimum wage. The simple fact is that no, he does not support an increase in that $5.15 an hour wage.
He would rather import labor from our borders and have these workers live in camp-like conditions before paying someone triple what they make now in order to qualify to live in a two-bedroom home and raise and support a family. I guess you can count “family values and the sanctity of marriage” in the loss column for this president because it’s impossible for a family to survive in George W. Bush’s America.
So what if we grant the president’s argument and say, “Yes, Americans are above this kind of work”? What do Americans do? We are trailing now in math and science skills. We are losing our middle-tech jobs to India, China and Eastern Europe. We are outsourcing our manufacturing jobs to China where $5.15 an hour would be a dream job.
Where is this president’s investment in the future? Education? He just cut the Pell grants by $300 million for education. Technology? He said he “supports” broadband for the nation, but has not funded it. Does the president believe this new economy is going to be born in the cabbage patch, like where babies come from?
In the end, it’s all spin and more spin. The president does not value work. He does not value education. In the past, the president has been characterized CEO in chief. I agree. He thinks like a CEO who is determined to squeeze the most out of the least, even if it means moving his company overseas.
These captains of industry are driven by shareholder value and executive compensation – not their work force. This president gets his compensation in the form of campaign contributions from the likes of those who benefit from outsourcing jobs abroad and importing manual labor.
As for shareholder value, the president’s stock is as high as ever among the ordinary Americans. Perhaps one day these Maxwell House drinkers who voted for President Bush will wake up and smell the coffee.