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View Diary: Robert Reich's Flawed Math on Immigration (39 comments)

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  •  Here's the problem with your main idea. (4+ / 0-)
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    puakev, FG, Theoleman, Dbug

    It is not immigration per se that drives down wages--it's illegal immigration.

    Undocumented workers for the most part work--but they can't claim the protection of laws requiring minimum wage, overtime, workplace safety, workers' comp insurance, Social Security contributions, etc. Thus they are cheaper to employ, and drive down wages (and working conditions) for all citizen and documented-alien workers who have to compete with them.

    Legalize all the undocumented workers, and suddenly they're not so cheap. Wages and working conditions go up not just for them, but for all the legit workers competing with them.

    But that means the products and services they produce become more expensive, right? Not necessarily. Corporate profits now are sky-high, which means employers can afford to pay more without passing the increased cost along to consumers.

    A lot of workers with higher pay = more demand, because those workers have more to spend on homes, cars, restaurant meals, etc. More demand = more jobs, not fewer.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 02:33:01 PM PDT

    •  You Might Want to Run That Past Some Unemployed (11+ / 0-)

      programmers. Businesses are letting large numbers of unemployed tech workers stay idle to bring in foreign workers legally.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 02:45:45 PM PDT

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      •  That's a good point. (5+ / 0-)

        I thought about addressing that in my original comment, and probably should have.

        The main problem with the H1B program is actually similar to the undocumented-immigrant problem: it gives the employer excessive leverage over the employee, thus driving down wages & conditions for everyone competing in that labor market.

        That's one of the reasons why "guest worker" programs are a bad idea. The other reason is that they're just undemocratic--they don't give the workers incentive to commit to the welfare of the community, educate themselves on issues, participate politically, etc.

        Any major bill on any issue, including immigration, will be a compromise among a lot of priorities. In an ideal world I'd eliminate guest worker visas and H1Bs and just substitute more unrestricted green cards. But the overriding evil here is the millions of undocumented workers. To get them a reasonable path to citizenship, I'd be willing to compromise (to some extent) on other issues.

        "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

        by HeyMikey on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 03:09:52 PM PDT

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        •  compromises (1+ / 0-)
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          are pretty tough when one side (the oligarchy) has so much power and labor has so little. i am pretty sure that any compromise that gets struck here would be like social security compromises: the little people get screwed.

          •  If the little people would vote...Bro. Mouzone. (1+ / 0-)
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            There are more poor people than rich people in the USA--which, despite everything, is a democracy. The rich wield more power because nearly all of them vote, in nearly every election.

            Large numbers of the poor either don't vote at all, or vote counter to their interests. FDR could do what he did because he had Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress throughout his Presidency, and for much of it he had enough Senate votes to break filibusters.

            We get what we vote for, or what we fail to vote against.

            Yes, I know about voter ID, voter roll purges, etc. Those are real, but they affect outcomes only at the margins. If the poor had turnout in % roughly comparable to the affluent, that would swamp all vote-suppression efforts.

            Yes, I know the Dems have been uninspiring. Tough. Better Democrats are there in the primaries; but turnout is especially low for primaries. As Brother Mouzone said:

            "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

            by HeyMikey on Thu Jul 11, 2013 at 05:42:31 PM PDT

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        •  unrestricted green cards (1+ / 0-)
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          We have HUGE UNEMPLOYMENT in college students. Unrestricted green cards DIRECTLY attacks US CITIZENS who went to college and got degrees. Just curious as to why you want to make it HARDER for students to get jobs?

    •  completely wrong (2+ / 0-)
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      Theoleman, NoGig

      in fact, i think the best way for academia to develop a more pro-labor perspective on this issue would be to grant a couple of million legal visas to foreign academics.

      you really think wages in academia wont reflect the increased supply of labor?

      of course, the top of their field academics wont feel it as much, but the rank and file would feel it almost immediately.

      •  Are you following? (1+ / 0-)
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        The adjunct professor situation? Hundreds of thousands of US Ph.D.s who cannot get jobs due to oversupply? Post-docs that last 10 years instead of 2 like 10 years ago.

        The wages in academia for the run-of-the-mill Ph.D. have hit the dumper. I have a Ph.D. I have told my daughter, 22, to be extremely careful if she wishes to get an advanced degree.

        We do not need millions of academic scabs to make it harder for US Ph.D.s to get jobs.

        •  the usual divide and conquer BS (1+ / 0-)
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          Theodore J Pickle

          blame scapegoats rather than the corporate overlords who, over the last 40 years, have gradually turned higher education in America into a for-profit enterprise.

          Admitting lots of students into grad school became an easy way of getting cheap labor to teach undergraduate courses. Then they could proceed apace with the gradual elimination of tenure--which is the ultimate goal. And they will achieve this goal regardless of how many foreign academics there are.

          In the absence of the immigrant/citizen divide, they will exploit other divisions to pit the remaining workers against each other.

          People always think someone else is getting a better deal than they are--no matter how small the group is, it can always be divided into smaller groups that the overlords can more easily exploit.

          It's always easy to demonize immigrants, who are more vulnerable than citizens, rather than put the blame where it belongs.

          Mindless supply-siderism was stupid economic policy. It's equally stupid labor policy.

          If you shrink the labor pool, thinking you'll have more pie left over for the rest of the labor force, what makes you think the corporate overlords won't simply grab that extra pie for themselves? You believe in trickle-down, after 35 years of supply-side failure?

          You're either incredibly naive, or incredibly disingenuous. Either way, you're a tool of the 1%--witting or unwitting, it doesn't matter. You're doing their work for them.

          Anyhow, the structure of the academy is being fundamentally altered by the Internet. Many services provided by universities can now be provided online to larger numbers of people. The bricks-and-mortar university of the future will be very, very different from how it is now. Time to find a new model.

          "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

          by limpidglass on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 04:41:52 AM PDT

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          •  proof by association fallacy (1+ / 0-)
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            so because the word "supply" is in "supply side economics" and in our argument that an infinite supply of labor results in lower bargaining power by workers, ergo both are one percenter lies?

            that has to be the shallowest argument i have seen in a long time.

        •  sorry if i was not clear (2+ / 0-)
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          NoGig, WorkerInUSA

          that was not a SERIOUS suggestion to import a million PhDs. i agree the situation is bad enough and worsening.

          i was just commenting on the smug, anti-blue collar attitude i see among many of my peers, who dont perceive immigration as a threat to labor at all because it has not affected them yet.

          •  Anti-blue collar - bingo (0+ / 0-)

            That is so true. Many "liberals" and "progressives" either disdain or actively dislike blue collar workers.

            Blue collar workers are no longer Democrats. That's because the Democratic Party is no longer the party of the working person. It is the party of the illegal and the gay, and that's about it. Around here, a diary about TG toilet use can get 100s of hits, but jobs for Americans? Nope, we don't do that at DK.

          •  I couldn't tell (0+ / 0-)

            I suspected as much, but couldn't tell

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