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“Joe the plumber” became famous when he asked a question of candidate Barack Obama at a campaign stop in Ohio. You haven’t heard of Frank the carpenter, but Frank has had even more trouble getting his questions answered than Joe did.
Joe the plumber asked a question about small-business taxes, whereas Frank the carpenter has a question about small-business jobs – thousands of jobs being lost to illegal workers. Lost jobs should be a hot topic in the middle of a severe recession, but politicians run from Frank’s questions like vampires running from a cross.
Frank the carpenter is not a political activist. He works all day and sometimes weekends, and he can’t get time off to attend political rallies. But he is a citizen, a taxpayer, a father and grandfather, and he is as worried about his country as any Campaign for Liberty enthusiast.
Frank has been watching jobs disappear over the past decade, long before the current recession. He is worried because he sees thousands of jobs lost not to a recession but to illegal workers.
Frank the carpenter is not alone in his concerns. He is in the same boat as Ralph the roofer, Eddie the electrician and Antonio the gas-pipe welder. They have a lot in common with Charlie the carpet installer, Johnny the brick mason and Larry the drywaller.
Frank and Larry might have met Gilberto, the fourth-generation Mexican-American citizen whose janitorial business failed when Safeway and all the big grocery chains gave their cleaning contracts to a big company based in Phoenix that uses mainly illegal workers. Gilberto discovered a whole new meaning for “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
In fact, Gilberto is but one of millions of Hispanic citizens who would not be shocked by the data hidden deep in the archives of the liberal Pew Hispanic Center. Buried in the footnotes of their quarterly economic surveys are data which show that legal Hispanics annually lose tens of thousands of jobs to “new immigrants,” Pew’s politically correct code for illegal workers. The Pew Center likes to trumpet the growth of Hispanic employment but isn’t too keen to admit that Hispanic citizens and legal Hispanic immigrants have lost millions of jobs to illegal workers over the past decade. Don’t ask, and, definitely, don’t tell.
Frank has seen all of this up close and personal, and he has collected hundreds of documents, but it seems no one is interested. That makes him more than worried. It makes him frustrated and, not surprisingly, angry.
Make no mistake, we are not talking about “jobs Americans won’t do.” That is the big lie that slanders American workers. These are jobs Americans have done for generations, but that are now being given to illegal workers for only one reason: they will work for less money and no benefits.
Often, the company’s labor broker wears two hats and draws two paychecks. One paycheck is from the company, and the second paycheck is as an independent contractor who hires dozens of illegal workers for work at construction sites. The labor broker then pays the workers as independent contractors, thus keeping them “off the books,” avoiding payroll taxes and any need to provide benefits.
Frank the carpenter sees millions of dollars lost in Colorado tax receipts, money lost to schools, highways and bridges, law enforcement and libraries. He knows that the lost revenue runs into billions nationally. Frank also sees politicians of both parties wink at this criminal behavior, and even the IRS shows remarkably little curiosity.
Frank sees labor brokers exploiting migrant workers. The laborers are hired and then dismissed after two weeks – without any paycheck.
Frank has taken his evidence to the State Department of Labor, and they are not interested. He has talked to the local Immigration and Customs Enforcement office and asked them to investigate. They are not interested. He has given documents and affidavits to the Denver Post, and they were not interested. So, Frank is not surprised that the mayor of Denver is not interested: he is too busy running for governor on a jobs platform.
Are the tea-party leaders also uninterested in Frank the carpenter and Ralph the roofer? They pay taxes, they vote, they love America as much as an unemployed software engineer, real-estate agent or investment banker – and they have as much at stake as any Ron Paul libertarian.
My guess is that Joe the plumber would welcome Frank and his blue-collar friends into the tea-party tent, but some of the Washington gatekeepers think differently. Open-borders lobbyists like Grover Norquist and Dick Armey, who run Washington-based organizations that claim to speak for grass-roots Americans, say those illegal workers are future Republican voters. So, we all have to keep quiet about those lost jobs.
No, I swear, I’m not making that up.