The Immigration Reform American Workers Deserve

February 23, 2016

Democrats have wholeheartedly taken up the issue of income inequality and stagnant real wages of working class families.  Bernie Sanders has criticized our current trade policy; making it a centerpiece of his campaign. He does not support the purposed TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) trade agreement.

Here in Ohio, Sen. Sherrod Brown has been a longtime opponent of “free trade”.  Former Gov. Ted Strickland, who has a good chance of unsetting Sen. Rob Portland (r) in the upcoming election, is also campaigning against trade deals that put Ohio workers in direct competition with cheap foreign labor and sends Ohio jobs overseas.

What does it matter if we send American jobs overseas for foreign labor to fill or we bring foreign labor into the U.S.?  This is the disconnect of progressive economic labor policy.

In the relatively recent past, prominent liberals agreed that rapidly expanding the labor pool by bringing in millions of immigrants was not in the best interests of working Americans. Labor union leaders and civil rights luminaries, for a century right through President Bill Clinton, supported reducing the number of work permits for foreign laborers. They understood that such a move would spur wage growth and expand job opportunities for Americans.

A 1995 congressional commission, chaired by the charismatic civil rights leader and Democratic Texas congresswoman Barbara Jordan, recommended limiting immigration to 550,000 individuals a year. President Clinton praised the recommendation as a “balanced immigration policy that . . . protect[s] the American work force.”

There is no good reason to continue giving out one million new lifetime work permits every year, supporting guest worker programs and having a permissive attitude towards illegal immigration when over 15 million native and immigrant Americans already here are currently unable to find full-time jobs.

From 1924 to 1965, America sharply scaled back the number of immigrants it accepted. Without competition from a large pool of foreign-born laborers, American workers were better able to unionize and demand improved wages and benefits.

The share of income going to the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans dropped from 43 percent in 1924 — the year lower immigration quotas were implemented — to less than 32 percent in 1965 — the year the quotas were replaced with the current immigration system.

The post-1965 influx of workers helped freeze wages. In fact, inflation-adjusted wages have actually declined over the last forty years. The average worker in 1973 earned a higher real wage than the average worker does today.

Economists have concluded that high levels of immigration are partially responsible for wage stagnation. Harvard professor George Borjas, an immigrant himself, has shown that expanding the size of any working cohort — as defined by age or education — by 10 percent through immigration reduces the wages of all native-born folks in that group by 2.5 percent. The effect on native-born men is even greater — a decline in wages of 3.7 percent.

For Americans without a high school degree, the wage losses are even more pronounced — about $1,200 for the years between 1990 and 2010.

Immigrants themselves are not at fault. The overwhelming majority of immigrants are industrious people who work hard. It is just that in America, hard work often is not rewarded.  The strongest work ethic in the world cannot defeat the law of supply and demand. The more workers who need a job, the less employers have to pay to attract employees.

Our leaders have the power to stop this economic race to the bottom and boost wage growth. Scaling back the pace at which our nation admits new laborers from abroad would help disadvantaged immigrants who are already here. It would take job-market realities into account and give native and immigrant American workers the leverage to win back the wages and benefits they’ve lost over decades.

America has been and must continue to be a nation that does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, or national origin, but there’s no need to bring in one million permanent immigrants every year, allow guest worker programs, on top of illegal immigration when current residents cannot find good-paying jobs.

If progressive candidates are serious about standing up for American workers, they must consider greatly reducing the number of foreign laborers who have access to the American labor market through trade policy and immigration policy.


The New York Times Supports Open Borders

December 11, 2015

Once again the NYT makes its same old tired argument for completely open borders to anyone unlucky enough to be born in a country where bad things happen. Do they understand they are talking about 2-3 billon people depending on where you draw the line?

All the moral dilemmas set forth in this article have their roots in the US government’s unwillingness to enforce our immigration laws.

The fact that this illegal immigrant went undetected in the US for 15 years is objective proof that our system of immigration enforcement is a joke. Yet the NYT is opposed to any practical and sensible enforcement measures like E-verify of employment status, but supports sanctuary cities, a policy that only makes sense if you stipulate to a large population of illegal immigrate living in that city. Again where is the enforcement?

The NYT put forward another compelling story of all the moral dilemmas and hardships that accumulate when we do not identify and deport illegal aliens in a timely manner.

I would love to see the NYT put forward a plan to effectively and legally enforce our immigration laws. Of course, if the NYT are not willing to deport anyone for any reason at any time, you have made it impossible to enforce our immigration laws, and that is their true moral dilemma.

Profile of an illegal immigrant from the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/13/magazine/the-deported.html?_r=0


Representing One Side of the Labor Market

November 24, 2015

Mr. Tony Iriti – Economic Development Director for the Hancock County Alliance –  made a request for local government’s help to offset a local “Worker Shortage”.   I found this interesting on many levels.

I understand many in business feel that if government would only get out of way the economy would thrive.  In this case at least, Mr. Iriti is asking for a government solution and government funds to resolve a market problem.

This brings me to the function of a market.  Mr. Iriti seems to be representing only one side on the market.  Mr. Iriti fails to understand or acknowledge that when it is harder for companies to find workers that means on the other side of the equation workers are finding jobs more easily.

Whenever a business makes the statement that it is unable to find workers, in my mind , I always add the phrase “at the wages, benefits and worker conditions that I am providing.”

As a labor market  tightens, workers have more choice where to sell their labor. If the market forces business to raise wages and benefits to attract a workforce than this is a good thing.  Maybe the market is finally addressing the gross income inequality that this nation is facing.

As wages for low income workers rise they will become less dependent on government programs; like food stamps.  That is good for the whole community.

Our ultimate goal in managing our local economy should not be growth; it should be promoting broad-base middle-class prosperity.

If a business is having issues finding workers then they need to look at what they are offering in the market place.  To business I say; get out there and compete.  Have faith in the market, let the market work.


Ohio’s Issue 3: Time to End the War on Pot

October 30, 2015

The very definition of fairness is to treat like things in a like manner.   Yet many of our local politicians and the Courier Editorial Board would lump marijuana together with heroin; even as every objective standard would say that marijuana is far more like alcohol.

Simply take every objection to legalizing marijuana and replace the word alcohol and you will see that it is obvious that the opponents of issue 3 favor prohibition.

Prohibition of alcohol did not work.  Prohibition of marijuana is not working and will not work.  The cost of enforcement to the tax payer, the cost to our economy by locking up young people who should be starting their working life as productive members of society, is too high.

You can make a strong case that marijuana is less costly to society and less harmful to individuals than alcohol.  Yet alcohol is perfectly legal and can be purchased at numerous locations throughout our city. The State of Ohio holds a monopoly on the sale of hard alcohol.  We promote and even celebrate the consumption of alcohol while we wage a pointless and costly war on marijuana.

Hypocrisy and bias of our laws regarding the use alcohol and marijuana is not lost on millions of Ohioans.  It is symptomatic of an elite who have completely lost touch with the realities of day to day life.  They have put their personal bias for their drug of choice over the choice of their constituents.  They are so committed to this bias, devoid of any rational justification, that they are willing to arrest and imprison thousands of their own constituents.

Issue 3 may not be the perfect answer, but don’t be fooled by our State Rep. Sprague and State Sen. Hite; they will never support the legalization of marijuana.  Issue 3 is our best hope to bring fairness to our criminal justice system.

This issue is about personal freedom and smaller, less intrusive government.

This pointless and costly war has gone on too long.

You can bring it to an end. I urge you to vote no on issue 2 and yes for issue 3.


What I Know About The Establishment And Immigration:

July 16, 2015

I know that the establishment is using immigration (and trade) to drive down their cost of labor.

I know that immigration (and trade) are a primary cause of income inequality.

I know that the establishment is not even trying to stop illegal immigration.

I know that mass immigration is exploding our population and is making America a poorer nation.

I know that every time an illegal immigrant commits a crime it should have never happened.

I know that the establishment owns the press and is using it to promote mass immigration.

I know that the establishment owned press will label anyone who questions mass immigration as a racist.

I know that birth right citizenship gives foreign nationals the power to control our immigration system.

I know that when you boil down the argument for amnesty it is an argument for unlimited immigration.

I know that for all of the reasons above, the establishment does not really want to talk about mass immigration.


It is the Labor Market Stupid

January 5, 2014

Why Democrats will not address the real cause of income inequality.

I am hopeful that the public and our political class are coming to terms with income inequality in America and the harm it is doing to our economy and society.  At the same time, I am disappointed in the response by my party, the Democratic Party, to the overreaching economic issues of our time.

While raising the minimum wage would do more good than harm, simply raising the minimum wage would help too few people, too little, and could create inequities of its own.  More importantly, the minimum wage is a placebo, a distraction from the real labor market forces at work that is bringing the idea of America as a broad-based middle class national, to a close.

Our government over the last 30 years has pursued policies by way of trade agreements, cheap foreign labor embedded in the goods imported to the US and an immigration policy of non-enforcement to increase the supply of labor in the United States.  Globalization has been an abject failure for the American middle class.  When President Clinton supported NAFTA he sold out to a corporate establishment and took the Democratic Party’s labor market policy 180 degrees in the wrong direction.

Increasing the supply of labor into the US market has had a predictable, and for some, the desired result.  While corporate profits are at record highs the value of labor in the market has been diminished to the point where a full-time job no longer provides a place in the middle class.

For a party that holds the moral high ground on so many important issues, it sickens me to see Democrats pandering to foreign nationals who have intentionally broken our immigration law in order to gain an electoral advantage, and to a corporate establishment that is willing to put short-term profits above the economic interest of their employees and their own customers.

It is my wish that the Democratic Party will set aside the interest of foreign nationals and big campaign contributors and return to their core values of supporting a strong and prosperous middle-class.

Please like the Facebook Page: Democrats Against Amnesty   https://www.facebook.com/pages/Democrats-Against-Amnesty/152334804799707?ref=br_tf


Findlay and Hancock County Government Squanders Eighty Thousand Dollar

September 10, 2013

Despite their conservative rhetoric and pledges to be good stewards of public money, our local government has completely wasted eighty thousand dollars.  By using public grant money to tear down a Main St. building on behalf of an owner, Taurus Capital Management, who should have been held accountable for the condition of their property, the Hancock County Commissioners have allowed the Findlay City Government an easy out.

Over the course of years, the Mayor, the Findlay Law Director and City Council through incompetence, laziness or lack of intestinal fortitude have failed to hold Taurus Capital management accountable for the condition of their building.  By using the Moving Ohio Grant money for this purpose, the citizens of Hancock County have incurred $80,000 opportunity costs.  As many as eight residential properties, for which there is no owner to hold accountable, could have been cleared up in neighborhoods across Hancock County.

I personally called each County Commissioner, the final authority on the application of this grant, to express my concerns.  I had a face-to-face meeting with Commissioner Robertson who explained to me that the city had the means to hold Taurus Capital Management accountable but because the City Administration had moved forward with an agreement with Taurus Capital Management, that avenue was no longer available.

I will leave it to Commissioner Robertson to fill in the details of why the Commissioners agreed to let this misuse of public money occur.  But if you live in a neighborhood affected by an abandoned property, you deserve a full explanation from each elected official in Hancock and Findlay city government as to why a commercial property owner benefits while you suffer.

Also see Editorial in the Findlay Courier: http://www.thecourier.com/opinion/editoral/2013/Sep/04/ar_ed_090413.asp?d=090413,2013,Sep,04&c=e_0


Sen. Sherrod Brown, Time to Get Right with Middle Class

June 12, 2013

Why Does Sen. Brown Support Amnesty?

After reading Sen. Sherrod Brown’s book Why American Trade Policy Has Failed: Myths of Free Trade I was heartened to read that I am not the only Democrat that feels President Clinton’s support of NAFTA took America 180 degrees in the wrong direction when it comes to our trade policy.

But I am disappointed that Sen. Brown supports amnesty.  Some years ago, I remember a prominent democrat (if you know who it was, please drop me an e-mail) say that “free trade and illegal immigration are two sides of the same coin”.

Our trade relationship with China (and others) is sucking this country dry.  The total lack of immigration enforcement is simply allowing US companies to in-source workers to undercut wages and benefits for jobs that cannot ship overseas.

I am left to hope, without much hope, that the Democratic Party will get right with the American middle class working family and face up to the real issue face our country and save the American economy.


Mayor Mihalik: Show Us The Numbers

April 19, 2013

City of Findlay Says Findlay Fire Department EMS Service Not Cost Effective

The events in Boston and West, Texas remind us that emergency services are critical to the safety and security of our City.  While the City of Findlay can count on support from outside of our community, when that call comes in and the clock starts ticking, the protection of lives and property will depend on the resource that the City of Findlay provides.

We must look for efficiencies to provide the best service at the lowest possible cost.  One idea that has been talked about is a plan that would allow the Findlay Fire Department to take over EMS services.  It would seem that some duplication of effort could be eliminated and efficiencies gained if the FFD would provide EMS services to our community.

I called two of our city council member to see if any thought was being given to this idea.  It was suggested that I call the Service/Safety Director Paul Schmelzer.  In my conversation with Mr. Schmelzer I asked if there had been any analysis on the idea of allowing the FFD to handle EMS calls.  I was informed by Mr. Schmelzer that despite the fact that a private company is able to provide EMS services and despite the fact that the Ohio Performance Audit has shown that Findlay is outside the norm by outsourcing EMS, it would cost Findlay in the neighborhood of one million dollars per year above what could be collected from insurance billing to provide EMS services.

When I pressed Mr. Schmelzer on the details, I was not convinced that thorough analysis had been performed.  Mr. Schmelzer assured me that he could stand by his number.  When I ask Mr. Schmelzer to make his analysis public, I did not get a clear answer to that request.  A call to Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik was not returned.

With an election just around the corner, I would again ask the administration to make public their reasoning and numbers in regard to their decision not to transition EMS service to the Findlay Fire Department.  I feel that Findlay could benefit from open debate of this important issue.


Is Senator Jeff Session The Only Politician Looking Out for Working Families?

April 18, 2013

Senator Jeff Sessions R-Ala. released the following statement on the Gang of Eight’s immigration reform proposal:

The bill produced by the Gang of Eight is nearly 1,000 pages long and will impact every aspect of our society and every single American worker and taxpayer. It will take months—not days or weeks as the Majority proposes—to review this legislation.

Already, we know that the bill’s sponsors have abandoned their core promise to the American people that enforcement would come first. This bill is legalization first, not enforcement first. The day the bill passes there will be effective amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants, with only the same promises we have heard before of enforcement to occur at some later date. That amnesty will then become official in a matter of months—once DHS merely submits a plan for border security in the future. That’s not a trigger—that’s the honor system. DHS develops the metrics and DHS decides when those metrics are met. Why should we trust DHS to follow through—after amnesty is granted—when this administration has aggressively defied those laws already in place?

In recent years interior enforcement has been significantly undermined. And yet our interior enforcement needs are almost totally neglected in the Gang’s proposal. Alarmingly, the bill leaves intact the single greatest obstacle to immigration reform: the Administration’s abuse of prosecutorial discretion to prevent the enforcement of federal law. It will also provide safe harbor to those who have committed a variety of offenses—ranging from identity theft, to multiple immigration violations, and even those with criminal records.

This bill opens up citizenship to recent arrivals and, remarkably, millions who overstayed their visas. If adopted, this bill would send the following message to the world: if you get a U.S. visa and it expires, never leave—just stay put and evade detection. It even opens up citizenship to those who have been deported from the country.

Economic concerns abound as well. Once illegal immigrants are granted green cards, they will become eligible for generous welfare and entitlement programs. Because of how these benefits are structured, low-wage illegal immigrants who are legalized will ultimately receive trillions more in benefits than they contribute to these programs. Obamacare alone, over the long term, will see its unfunded liability grow by $2 trillion. The unfunded obligation for Medicare and Social Security, together, would likely increase by $2.5 trillion.

Most importantly, this proposal would economically devastate low-income American citizens and current legal immigrants. It will pull down their wages and reduce their job prospects. Including those legalized, this bill would result in at least 30 million new foreign workers over a 10-year period—more than the entire population of the state of Texas. This at a time when 90 million Americans are outside the labor force and a record number of our citizens are on welfare.

As with 2007, this entire process has been marred from the beginning by allowing special interests to place their priorities above the national interest. Instead of spending months courting the support of big business and labor bosses in Washington, the Gang’s first meeting should have been with the immigration enforcement officers who know the flaws in our system better than anyone. And before proposing a dramatic increase in the number of low-skill foreign workers, they should have met with experts about how this would hurt struggling Americans.

Has Congress forgotten who it represents? Congress’ duty is to the American people. I believe it is going to be clearly established that this plan will be detrimental to working Americans—and will not pass. What Congress needs to understand is that our obligation is to law-abiding Americans who have seen their wages erode over the last decade. We can’t further weaken their financial position in order to provide more benefits to those here unlawfully.

I understand the hard work that went into this bill. But as we explore its many flaws and loopholes in the coming days, I am confident the American public will firmly reject it—and will demand reform that puts the national interest first.


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