A Worker for Every Job

January 27, 2013

Immigration Reform: The Decline of the Middle Class and American Geo-Political Power

There is a mindset that permeates economic and political thought in American, that every job deserves a willing worker, this notion as played out in our trade and immigration policy, if continued will lead to the end of the United States as a broad base middle class society and diminish our geopolitical power.

Over the last three decades, through the liberalization of our trade and immigration policies, the United States has vastly increased the supply of labor in our domestic labor market. These policies, more than any other single factor, are the reason for the growing inequity, declining spending power of working families and inability of governments, at all levels, to match revenues with spending priorities.

Our labor markets are broken.  No one in power or influence seems willing or able to talk about our decline in terms of our labor market.  The balance between employment and the workforce is critical to our economy, to the access of the “American Dream” and to our geopolitical power.

And yet our policymakers in Washington and in Business are moving forward with the greatest single expansion of our (legal) labor force in the history of our nation.  They are doing so without any discussion of the effect on our labor market, on inequity in our society, on the long term effect on our broader economy. All these considerations are being brushed aside by the desire of both parties to hold the office of President and by the desire of business to have a growing source of ready and cost-effective labor.

Business intends to lower the cost of their labor, not by innovation or capital investment, but by simply planning to use access to a growing supply of labor as leverage in the market to place downward pressure on the wages and benefits of working American families. If we move forward with this immigration plan, millions of American families will be placed under even greater economic pressure. While no occupation or profession will be immune to this labor marker pressure, the sad fact is that the Americans who work the hardest and make the least will feel the biggest impact of this labor force expansion.

Wages are depressed in the United States because too many workers are chasing after too few jobs.  It really is just that simple.  You only need to look at the numbers of unemployment, the underemployed, the number of workers without health care benefits, those without adequate retirement plans and the number of workers that have gone into retirement early or have simply left the labor market.  (The lack of retirement savings by the post-baby boom generation is a ticking time bomb.)  We have dis-incentivized work and made work less accessible to millions of Americans

We currently have a highly subsidized labor market.  Governments, at all levels, have stepped in to make up the difference between what businesses pay in wages and benefits and what a family needs for their basic needs.  Food Stamps are just one example of a program meant as a temporary bridge for those in poverty, which has become a permanent condition for the working poor. The fact that growing numbers of worker families do not have the income necessary to pay federal income tax speaks to the unsustainable nature of the current condition of our labor market.  The level of government subsidies of our labor market is absolute proof that our labor force has been expanded faster than the ability of our economy to provide quality employment.

As a nation we need to address our immigration policy in terms of a broader discussion of our labor market crisis, to do that we need to recognize some fundamental facts.  Government has a very real impact, through trade and immigration policy, on the size and health of our labor market.  Our federal government, despite an amnesty program in 1986, has simply refused to take any practical measures to enforce our immigration laws.

Businesses will always argue for an expansion of the labor market as a source of lower-cost labor and, no matter how limited in their spending power, as consumers of their goods.

And we must dispel the myth of a labor shortage.  If every job in the United States has a willing worker no matter how low the pay, no matter how poor the working conditions or no matter how lacking of benefits, then there will be a continual downward pressure on American workers’ standards of living.  We continue to see the decline of the American middle class and a decline in American world power.

As a nation we need to get back to a place where workers have better choices.  We need a labor market where workers can turn their noses up at the lowest paying and least desirable jobs.  We need to be in a place where some jobs go begging for workers and some business models are unsustainable, and yes, even some businesses will fail because they are unable to attract a workforce in a highly competitive labor market.

We cannot turn our backs on the market forces, the economic processes that made us a wealthy prosperous nation, a broad base middle class nation.  The future of the American Dream and of American world power depends on our ability to make rational long-term choices about the balance between the size of our labor force and employment opportunities.


Higher Local Taxes Thanks to Gov. Kasich and Rep. Sprague

March 28, 2012

Higher local taxes are in your future thanks to Governor Kasich and Representative Sprague.  The elimination of the Estate Tax will cost the City of Findlay about .8 million dollars a year in lost revenue.  That is about 3.3 % of the city’s annual budget.  It may not seem like much, but when you add to that the loss of other sources of state funding and the roll back of the quarter percent emergency city income tax, the city of Findlay is facing a $4.9 million shortfall for the year 2013.

Rep. Robert Sprague and The Courier acknowledge that local taxes are bound to go up, but they believe that trading state taxes for local taxes is a good deal for the citizens of Ohio and Findlay.  I fail to see how trading one tax for another makes Ohio more competitive.

For a Governor that has his sights set on a presidential run in 2016, cutting the Estate Tax is all gain and no pain.  Governor Kasich can stick a nice feather in his cap by cutting the Estate Tax, long the whipping boy of the Republican Party.  Then Kasich will let local governments and local tax payers make up the loss of revenue.  Cutting the Ohio Estate Tax will play well with the Republican base at the national level, but where does it leave the Ohio tax payer?

I would ask; are Ohio’s Republican lawmakers using this budget crisis not only to shift the burden from the State to the Local level, but more importantly to shift the total of our state and local revenues to a less progressive and a more regressive tax system?   Elimination of the Estate Tax is the keystone in the Republican plan to shift a greater tax burden from the wealthy to working families.

In an environment where the state government is pinching local government at both ends with decreased funding and increased unfunded mandates to close the state’s budget gap, cutting the Estate Tax and placing a high tax burden on working families, in favor of the wealthy, seems irresponsible and wholly unfair.

Courier Editorial “Unbalanced”: http://www.thecourier.com/opinion/editoral/2012/Mar/23/ar_ed_032312.asp?d=032312,2012,Mar,23&c=e_0

Courier Editorial “Balancing Act”: http://www.thecourier.com/opinion/editoral/2011/Jun/21/ar_ed_062111.asp?d=062111,2011,Jun,21&c=e_0


Class Warfare in Ohio

November 7, 2011

Kasich characterized public employees as enjoying benefits that many other people do not.

“I’ll bring up a single mom with a couple of kids. She’s working. She doesn’t have good health care. She’s paying a lot of money for it. She doesn’t have a guaranteed pension. If she’s lucky, she has a 401(k). If she’s lucky,” he said. “And we expect her to pay for somebody else that doesn’t want to pay for their own? Is that just? Is that right?”  The Courier, October 11, 2011

If Governor Kasich was working to improve the pay and benefits of the single mother that he described above I think many in Ohio including myself could get behind that.  But this is not what Senate Bill 5 is about.  The Governor and the Republic party are pursuing a divide and conquer strategy of class warfare.  They would pit those who have felling out of the middle class or are desperately trying to maintain their foothold in the middle class, against families that are trying desperately to maintain their foothold or clime their way into the middle class.

It is as brilliant as is crude and cruel, to use our fears about the future to convince us to turn on ourselves.  The Governor like many powerful and wealth in our county are convince that road to stronger US economic is though sacrifice by working family, that the middle class most accept a lower standard of living for the benefit of our nation.  But we need to ask ourselves who really benefits as we pursue this race to the bottom?  Who really benefits from a declining cost of labor, from a declining middle class standard of living?

Don’t take the bait.  If you going to though tough time the road to a better times for you and your family does lie on the path of pulling down your neighbor.  The path to American prosperity is not to lower our wages to meet China’s wages or to match the wages of the lowest pay among us.  This is not time for the middle class to pull itself part.  This is the time to total rethink the raw deal that we have been handed by John Kasich and the Wall St. class.

Stand up for America, stand for the middle class, and stand up for your future.  Vote NO on issue 2.


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