Thursday, June 21, 2018

Working



Shermichael Singleton, a black, somewhat anti-Trump Republican strategist:


As Singleton learned- to his dismay- on the June 8 edition of Bill Maher's Real Time, a lot of Americans have a negative view of American workers, urban and rural.

As this video indicates, Singleton was fighting a losing battle with the audience and Bill Maher.  In an exchange which lasted from 39:15 to 42:50, Linda Chavez began

I'm sorry we are at a 50-year low in terms of illegal  immigration in the country. We are losing more Mexicans. We have fewer Mexicans today coming in than are leaving. We do a wonderful job of assimilation.

This conversation took place before the recent influx of immigrants and refugees trying to enter the nation through our southern border from central America and the controversy ensuing over the Trump Administration to separate parents and children. It is understandable, therefore, that Sanchez would remark that there are fewer Mexicans entering than exiting.

Understandable- but disingenuous. The primary reason for the net outflow is that there is a lag caused by the recovery from the Great Recession, which is what deterred so many Mexicans from migrating.

But Sanchez's claim (given that she's referring to immigrants rather than refugees) that "we do a wonderful job of assimilation" is fatuous. Many immigrants are not assimilating- and for precisely the reason she gives- they've come here to work- for welcoming them.

Sanchez is no fan of diversity. After a comment from Fareed Zakaria, she remarks

Part of the problem that the Democrats have- you use the word "assimilation," I've been using that word for thirty years and I will tell you it's a dirty word in the Democratic Party. They don't want to talk about assimilation; they'd rather talk about multiculturalism.

After a little pushback from Singleton, Sanchez continues

And we need immigrants. We need more legal immigrants. We need more immigrants in the United States. We have a tremendous labor shortage right now. And it's not just the STEM workers. It's people who work in poultry processing plants, people who clean toilets and buildings, people who take care of other people.

It is true that the USA is approaching full employment, in part because many individuals have dropped out of the job market. Some jobs are available- jobs in the gig economy are increasingly low-skilled, wages are not growing, and benefits are declining. Unions are being undermined by GOP governments and judges and the quality of jobs has declined. The concept of a "labor shortage" is greatly misunderstood. There is a shortage of jobs with a livable wage.

After Singleton asked "but can we not prioritize jobs for our own people?'" Sanchez responded "No, because our people don't want those jobs. Trust me. They don't want those jobs."

We know Donald Trump is lying when he says "trust me." Sanchez isn't lying; she's merely misguided. She contends

I'm sorry. If I'm an employer I don't necessarily want to hire somebody who has been on disability, who hasn't worked in the last, you know, 15 months. I would rather have somebody who comes here, who sees the bottom rungs of the ladder as a stepping-stone and wants to...

Darn those employees who get injured on the job! Who wants them, anyway?

I understand the resentment of people- workers- who at some point in their working life get something for nothing. It is, of course, not something for nothing- they've paid into it; they've worked; and now they're in need. And Linda Chavez assumes they're now lazy.

But Chavez likes the worker who "sees the bottom rungs of the ladder as a stepping-stone and wants to" work his or her way up. They are unusual these days because most workers realize that upward mobility is not what it once was or what they were taught that it is. If you can get people to believe that advancement is likely, you can get them to work for meager wages and benefits. Those are the workers Linda Chavez craves.










Share |

No comments:

Maya Angelou's Buddy

Fifty-five years ago, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously declared "I have a dream that my four little children will...