The (Former) Economics of Child Care

2008-Jul-18

When I was a rug rat, my mother got divorced and got very little in child support. She managed to get a job at the “Five and Dime” and got paid a dollar an hour (this was a while ago…), making forty dollars a week.

She had to find a babysitter for me. The babysitter she found got paid twenty dollars a week, and babysat four children, making eighty dollars a week total. Twice what my mother was getting. Half of my mother’s weekly wage. Back then babysitting was a reasonable job. Not any longer.

At one time, service jobs paid a living wage. Until the “haves” decided that they could get away with paying less than a living wage. When there are ten jobs and nine workers, wages and benefits rise. No matter what laws you pass. When there are ten workers and nine jobs, wages and benefits fall. If you bring workers in from other countries, you can guarantee a surplus of labor, and you can guarantee that wages and benefits and worker protections will fall. No matter what laws you pass.


H1B Auction

2008-Mar-18

Congress is about to try to repay all that corporate cash they are receiving by trying to give the corporations as much cheap labor as possible to lower our wages. Bill Gates just testified before Congress that the world will end if he doesn’t get a massive increase in H1B guestworker quotas:

Congress’s failure to pass high-skilled immigration reform has exacerbated an already grave situation. … Last year, for example, Microsoft was unable to obtain H-1B visas for one-third of the highly qualified foreign-born job candidates that we wanted to hire.

He claims he would be able to hire more Americans if only he could get those “highly qualified” foreign candidates. Of course those Americans might not be paid as much as the H1Bs:

These jobs are very, very, very high-paying jobs.

Wow! We must be paying H1Bs a whole, whole, whole lot for them to be “very, very, very high-paying”! (If he is telling the truth. Otherwise he is lying through his teeth.)

Let’s assume Bill is honest. One problem with the H1B program is that it is a lottery. If there are more applications that slots, then the slots are given away by random chance instead of allowing Bill to get the H1Bs he needs so desperately. And by random chance too many of those slots are given to H1Bs who are low-paid and untrained instead of to those who are “highly qualified” and “very, very, very” highly paid.

We can fix that! Easily. Just turn the H1B lottery into an auction. And I think we can simplify the process so that even poor Americans could administer it.

  • Each H1B application has an LCA (Labor Condition Application) filled out, many by email. This becomes the official application after the Department of Labor certifies it after looking for obvious errors.
  • Each H1B LCA must be placed online by the Department of Labor in a publically available place prior to the auction.
  • The LCA will have an Rate of Pay that will constitute what the employer is willing to pay the H1B.
  • The Rate of Pay must match or exceed the Level IV (Fully Competent) Wage Rate as determined by the Foreign Labor Certification Online Data Library. No other source for wage rates will be allowed. The FLC Data Center library has an updated list of prevailing wages for all appicable job classifications for all areas of the country. (It drastically understates wages that major employers actually pay, but it is a minimum standard until a better national standard can be determined.) If an H1B candidate is truly “highly qualified” and “very, very, very” highly paid, then surely they can reach the lesser standard of “fully competent”.

The only thing new so far is the demand that LCAs be made publically available before the H1Bs are given out, in order to make the process publically transparent to the taxpayers and voters. We now have all the information we need (Employer ID number, date of application, Level IV prevailing wage, offered wage, work location) to conduct an H1B auction. The auction part is the simplest part. I can write the code to conduct it automatically in five minutes:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
UNTIL quota reached or run out of valid applications
    for each occupation_code
        eliminate occupation_code if no more applications left for occupation_code

        for each area_code
            eliminate area_code if no more applications left for area_code

            the winner is MAX(offered_wage above prevailing_wage)
             
            if there are ties
                winner is employer with fewest wins so far

                if there are still ties
                    winner is employer with earliest application_date

REPEAT until done
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Benefits:

  • Easy: Little needs to be changed in the current process. The code to conduct the auction is incredibly simple and transparent.
  • Diversity: Currently the system is being gamed by IT groups flooding the process with applications and getting most of the H1Bs simply by filling up the lottery. Now each occupational category has a fair chance, and proportionately fewer IT jobs will be taken. And each geographical location will have a fair chance instead of just the major areas that pay most. So more of the country can see the wonderful benefits of H1Bs instead of just IT folks in major urban areas.
  • Transparent: With LCAs visible, anyone could duplicate the process to ensure it is operating correctly. With LCAs visible, anyone can see by auction time if an LCA is for a job where there are tons of available American applicants, ensuring that the Microsofts of the world are speaking the truth about the lack of Americans in that category, and whether the job classification and offered wage are appropriate. Even more transparency could be obtained if the resume of the H1B candidate were included with the LCA…)

If this modest suggestion were adopted, I wonder how many H1Bs would really be found to be needed.


Desperate Shortages?

2007-Nov-12

Every time corporations want to increase the quotas on guestworkers they repeat the same tired old lies about a supposed “desperate shortage” of workers in some field or other. Actually under capitalism there can never (by definition) be a labor shortage in any field. Any temporary shortage is quickly followed by a rise in wages and benefits until the shortage is alleviated. No wage increase, no shortage.

So should you send your kid to college to study science and math and engineering to alleviate the “desperate shortage” showed by current lowering enrollments in those fields? Hmm:

…the fact is that university enrollment in science programs has historically risen and fallen in almost perfect correlation to the opportunities in the job market.

…the U.S.-born scientist as a practical matter really only has access to the scientific job market in the United States, whereas his or her European counterpart has access to opportunities in the United States and the European Union.

…if there were indeed an undersupply of scientists, you?d see hyperinflation of salaries, which of course is simply not the case in any field of science. For example, a graduating Ph.D. in physics at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California currently receives a starting postdoctoral salary between $39,312 and $55,788. The other national laboratories and the National Institutes of Health offer similar salaries. According to the laws of labor economics, if there is no hyperinflation of salaries, then there can be no labor shortage. However, I do think that there is a shortage of U.S. citizens who are willing to spend 10 or more years to get a Ph.D. in physics for a starting salary of $39,312 a year.

…we were able to identify only 11 African American Ph.D.-level physicists with career positions in the major DOE-funded national laboratories. This was out of a total of 3200 Ph.D.-level physicists employed by the laboratories. Out of the top 20 physics departments, there are only two African Americans in tenure-track faculty positions. What we conclude from this analysis is that foreign nationals are preferred over African Americans in hiring at these facilities.

…the income of a foreign national with a J-1 visa, typically used for postdoctoral appointments, is not subject to U.S. income taxes. This puts the foreign national at a 15% salary advantage compared to the U.S. citizen in the same postdoctoral position.

My daughter went to a high school whose purpose was to persuade kids to major in science, math, and engineering. I’m glad she resisted the temptation. She’s better off.


Gut Feelings

2007-Jul-17

Chertoff, our Homeland Security czar, has a “gut feeling” that we will have a terrorist attack:

Chertoff indicated to the Tribune that the assessment is “not of a specific threat, but of increased vulnerability”

And sure enough, here come the terrorists with a virtual free pass across our southern border:

The FBI is investigating an alleged human smuggling operation based in Chaparral, N.M., that agents say is bringing “Iraqis and other Middle Eastern” individuals across the Rio Grande from Mexico. … A spokesman in Albuquerque said the FBI had “no viable information” that could lead to a case.

What was that we heard about fighting them over there so we wouldn’t have to fight them here? I’d have a gut feeling too if my incompetence at doing my job let all the terrorists come here just so we can keep on getting that supply of illegal cheap labor.


Illegal Immigration and Liberals: a Typology

2007-Jun-22

Nativist Zenophobic Liberal – Wants to provide his family with food AND clothing AND shelter instead of having to choose just one.

Limbaugh Liberal – “Anybody who disagrees with me is a racist!”

Limousine Liberal – Owns a business that will benefit financially from cheap labor. Wants to replace his uppity black landscaper who wants a living wage with a brown one who will take much less, but keep his Liberal cred by still hiring a “minority”.

Latte Liberal – Wants to remove all borders because if he loses his crappy job he can always go back and live in Mommy’s basement.


Playing the Race Card: Black vs Brown

2007-Jun-02

The Neo-Cons in the Bush Administration had a novel tactic in getting Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court confirmed. They tried to push the claim that anyone who opposed him could only be motivated by racism: “blue-state liberals against a modest Italian-American”.

Playing the race card by using false accusations of racism to defend a morally suspect political agenda worked so well for the Bush Administration that the fake liberals have been using it to justify their support for the Bush Neo-Con agenda of illegal immigration, by implying that any criticism of amnesty is racist.

When dealing with the Bush Administration (and all too often the Democrats who support them), it is safe to assume that whenever they hurl an accusation, they are trying to distract attention from the fact that they are guilty of whatever they are accusing others of. And the same goes here. If they are claiming it is racist to oppose the cheap labor corporate proponents of illegal immigration, it is more likely that the illegal immigration they encourage is serving the interests of racism, not ending racism.

Who wins and who loses through illegal immigration?

The biggest winners are employers of iillegals. First, they get the cost savings of cheaper labor. Second, they can now pay everyone less for the same job, since those who got fired and replaced by illegals must now accept lower wages in order to work, as the wages of all workers doing that job are reduced to what the lowest paid workers will accept. And once certain jobs are performed mostly by illegals, benefits (such as medical or pension benefits) are reduced or eliminated, job safety standards can be ignored, and unionization becomes impossible when strikers can always be replaced by an infinite supply of scab laborers. And those cost savings give corporate criminals an incomparable competitive advantage over employers who obey the laws. As long as employers know they will suffer no sanctions, the advantages of employing illegals over Americans are truly amazing.

The next winners are the illegals themselves. As I outlined previously, illegals can leverage the first world wages here against the third world cost of living of their extended families to get a strong competitive advantage over their neighbors back home through remittances.

So who loses? Blacks, first and foremost, as I noted before. The question is why would Liberals, Democrats let it happen? Why would Democratic politicians let Blacks, their most loyal supporters, slide into oblivion by supporting handing their jobs off to illegal immigrants?

Well, because that’s what happens every time a new wave of immigrants enters the country. White Liberals dump Blacks just as eagerly as white Conservatives do.

This time around part of it is crass political number crunching. Hispanics now outnumber Blacks and if Democrats can curry their favor and a majority of their votes, they may be able to make up for losing the votes of all the white racists in the South after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, especially since all those white racists voting solid Republican means Blacks really have nowhere else to go, so Dems can give them lip service and then abandon them with impunity.

And the dirty little secret…despite Democratic gloating that on the immigration issue Republicans are split between corporatist Republicans (“amnesty!”) and racist Republicans (“fence!”), Democrats have just as bad a split. Only on the Democratic side the corporate Dems and the racist Dems are the same damn Dems. But the racism is different.

When my Ex was young she went to summer camp, and when she returned her best friends refused to play with her. It seems that Blacks get tans too, and she was now a shade darker than her playmates, so she was too dark to be able to play with them. Republican racism is very simple. Everything is just black or white. But Democratic racism is complex, all shades of brown and gray. But with every wave of this “nation of immigrants”, the new immigrants always turn white but Blacks still end up at the bottom. Because each wave uses blacks as the spring board to step on to climb their way up the ladder:

IN 1971, THE Amsterdam News, New York City’s oldest African-American newspaper, published a cartoon by Melvin Tapley that gave vent to a uniquely black ambivalence toward immigration. The cartoon portrayed a downtrodden black figure crouched on the ground, labeled “US Folks,” a double entendre for “us folks” and “U.S. folks.” A chain of other figures, representing Spanish Americans and the foreign born, climb on the back of the crouched black figure, to pluck fruit off the tree of opportunity. Tapley had no illusions about the struggles of these immigrant minorities. Although he portrays them as getting ahead on the backs of blacks, immigrants too must climb over the wall of prejudice, and they reach only the lowest branches on the tree of opportunity.

The accompanying editorial read as follows:

News from the Census Bureau that Spanish-speaking Americans are now able to earn higher incomes than Blacks will not come as a surprise to many of us.

Since our arrival here in 1619 as slaves, Black Americans have watched millions of European immigrants arrive and within a short time hold jobs and reach levels of incomes Blacks were not allowed to attain.

In fact, during the early part of the century the hordes of Irish, Italian, Jewish, Polish, German, Scottish, Greek, Spanish, and other European immigrants frequently replaced Blacks as longshoremen, street-car motormen, construction workers, jockeys, blacksmiths, and able-bodied seamen. Outright, rank racism, and discrimination were the tools by which Blacks have been deprived of work over the decades.

The cartoon and editorial reflect a long strand of black thought, which regards immigrants and immigration with an ambivalence verging on resentment and bitterness. This should come as no surprise. As Lawrence Fuchs reminds us: “In 1883, when Emma Lazarus, a daughter of immigrants, wrote the impassioned words ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,’ the Supreme Court undermined the last of the civil rights laws passed by Congress following the Civil War.”3 And 1965 — the year these rights were finally restored — also marked the beginning of a massive influx of immigrants from every part of the world who were thrust into competition with blacks for jobs and opportunity. The crowning irony is that most of these immigrants would not be here, but for the black protest movement that led to immigration reform abolishing the national origins quotas that had chocked off flow of immigrants from nations outside of northern and western Europe.

Let me throw down the gauntlet: my challenge is to think about immigration from the standpoint of this black figure, crouched on the ground as others pluck fruit off the tree of opportunity. Dare we also read the immigration literature — the celebratory narratives of immigrant progress and triumph against adversity — from the point of view of “the man farthest down,” to borrow a phrase from Booker T. Washington?

When white “liberals” speak of immigration, they do it from a long history of themselves using it to give themselves advantage at the expense of others. It’s time they started to think of the wider context of who is being hurt as well as who they can obligate for future political favors. They have no basis for their self-righteousness. The effects of their racism are just as deep and lasting as that of the more honest racist on the other side. It’s time they faced up to it.


Immigration by the numbers

2007-May-20

Roy Beck‘s video should be seen by anyone wanting to understand the consequences of the recent bills recently pushed in Congress, supposedly to “fix the immigration problem”, but really to fatten the wallets of the “cheap labor” upper caste. It’s worth your 13 minutes:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4094926727128068265


Amnesty? Or Open Season on Blacks?

2007-May-01

The big push is on. In both the House and Senate the Cheap Labor Lobby is pushing to open the floodgates on bringing in folks to take jobs from American workers. The SKIL Bill (the SHILL Bill) in the Senate and the Strive Act Ithe Starve Act) in the house will allow huge numbers of guestworkers in to take any job that requires a college degree, and allow amnesty (without ever using the name) for unlimited numbers of illegals to take any job that does not.

If people want to give up their own middle class jobs (or the future jobs of their children or grandchildren) to guestworkers, that is their choice.

But right now I’d like to know where are the jobs coming from that are taken by the one to three million illegal immigrants coming in every year, many of them without technical job skills or good communications skills. Are there that many new jobs being created in this country for them?

Well, no. They are most certainly NOT taking jobs that Americans won’t do. They are taking jobs that Americans were doing, Americans who were already poor or barely making it, until they got replaced.

And it turns out that many of them were Black.

Finally, studies are starting to appear to show the effects of government policies to stop enforcing laws against illegal immigration:

The employment rate of black men, and particularly of low-skill black men, fell precipitously from 1960 to 2000. At the same time, the incarceration rate of black men rose markedly. This paper examines the relation between immigration and these trends in black employment and incarceration. Using data drawn from the 1960-2000 U.S. Censuses, we find a strong correlation between immigration, black wages, black employment rates, and black incarceration rates. As immigrants disproportionately increased the supply of workers in a particular skill group, the wage of black workers in that group fell, the employment rate declined, and the incarceration rate rose. Our analysis suggests that a 10-percent immigrant-induced increase in the supply of a particular skill group reduced the black wage by 3.6 percent, lowered the employment rate of black men by 2.4 percentage points, and increased the incarceration rate of blacks by almost a full percentage point.

Unfortunately, the study is behind a for pay firewall, and only excerpts can be found. More data from it:

Between 1960 and 2000, the employment rate for black men plunged from 90 percent to 76 percent; for “low-skilled” black men (defined as high-school dropouts), in particular, it fell from 89 percent to just 56 percent. Between 1980 and 2000, meanwhile, the incarceration rate for black men rose from just 1 percent to nearly 10 percent. A new study considers this shift in light of large-scale immigration, which may have crowded black men out of the labor market and made a shift to crime more appealing. The researchers found that as immigration increased the supply of workers at a particular education level, the employment rate for black men in that category declined, and the incarceration rate rose. From 1980 to 2000, the authors conclude, immigration accounted for roughly a third of the decline in the black employment rate, and about 10 percent of the increase in the incarceration rate for low-skilled African Americans.

George J. Borjas, one of the authors of the above study, also authored the book Heaven’s Door: Immigration Policy and the American Economy, with similar findings:

…the benefits of immigration have been greatly exaggerated and that if the American people allow immigration to continue unabated and unmodified, they are supporting an astonishing transfer of wealth from the poorest people in the country, who are disproportionately minorities, to the richest.

Despite estimates that range into hundreds of billions of dollars, net annual gains from immigration are only about $8 billion.

In dragging down wages, immigration currently shifts tens of billions of dollars per year from workers to employers and users of immigrants’ services.

And:

The new immigrants, Borjas finds, have also increased inequality in this country by depressing the economic opportunities of native-born unskilled workers. They have placed substantial fiscal burdens on the welfare systems of the states in which they congregate, and they have benefited employers of unskilled workers. In sum, today’s immigration “can be viewed as an income-redistribution program, a large wealth transfer” favoring high- over low-income Americans.

Many of these findings are now uncontested. The National Academy of Sciences Research Council (NRC) estimates that immigration was responsible for 44 percent of the decline in real wages experienced by high-school dropouts between 1980 and 1994. Writing in the Public Interest (Fall 1998), Steven Camarota, a scholar at the Center for Immigration Studies, maintained that the wage effects are even “larger than those reported in the NRC study.”

…multiculturalist banalities, it should be noted, happen to coincide neatly with the interests of the principal beneficiaries of today’s immigration–the people who hire the pool cleaners and gardeners in Beverly Hills and East Hampton and who insist on having freshly hand-picked vegetables and salads on their dinner table.

Illegal immigration has been used as a policy by cheap labor advocates to transfer hard-gotten gains over many decades from the poor, many of them Black, to the richest. And the gullible among us have gone along with it, with former Liberal (now Neo-Liberal corporatist) Senator Kennedy leading the charge to help George Bush and the wealthy racists take money from Blacks and give it to themselves (with tiny tidbits to the illegals themselves) by trying (successfully or not) to force Blacks and Hispanics to compete against each other for the limited pool of jobs. And there will be gullible Liberals and Progressives there to help. And perhaps save a few bucks by exchanging their own Black nanny or gardener for a Brown one.


On the Backs of Blacks

2007-Feb-20

“We are a nation of immigrants!”

What does that phrase mean? Ask Toni Morrison:

Fresh from Ellis Island, Stavros gets a job shining shoes at Grand Central Terminal. It is the last scene of Elia Kazan’s film America, America, the story of a young Greek’s fierce determination to immigrate to America. Quickly, but as casually as an afterthought, a young black man, also a shoe shiner, enters and tries to solicit a customer. He is run off the screen — “Get out of here! We’re doing business here!” — and silently disappears.

This interloper into Stavros’ workplace is crucial in the mix of signs that make up the movie’s happy-ending immigrant story: a job, a straw hat, an infectious smile — and a scorned black. It is the act of racial contempt that transforms this charming Greek into an entitled white. Without it, Stavros’ future as an American is not at all assured.

We immigrants have “made it” in this country in two ways, by taking land from the Indians and by taking jobs from Blacks. That’s our dirty little secret.

When my Irish ancestors came here we were not “white”. My great-great grandfather had a sign he had taken that said, “We hire Blacks but no Irish need apply.” But within a generation we had become white, and in doing so we were now able to make it by taking jobs away from Blacks. And so has every group of immigrants in turn. When jobs are plentiful and workers are scarce, Blacks make inroads. Then another set of immigrants comes and takes the jobs away. We make it by climbing on their backs and jumping up above them onto the ladder to success, and we leave them on the bottom rung. Because that’s what racism is all about.

And who are those immigrants getting their slice of the American Pie by taking it from those who were holding it? Why, us, the nation of immigrants. Those immigrant groups that voted Democratic alongside of Blacks when we were both down, and who feel ever so kindly toward Blacks as we make it at their expense and as we then help other ethnic groups to make it in their turn at the expense of Blacks.

We are what, when I was a politically correct New Leftist, was called a “White Liberal”. We always hated that label, because we could never understand how all our good intentions toward Blacks could be so misunderstood. After all, some of the best Blacks were allowed to be our friends. So why did they still think we were racists? What more could they want from us besides good intentions?

We Liberals–White Liberals–have to disguise our racism. We can’t use the N-word, we can’t call them “uppity” or even “lazy and shiftless”…or can we? So how can white liberals be racist in a manner subtle enough to get away with it? By following the lead of the Neo-Con Republicans. Don’t call Black people “lazy and shiftless”, just call the people who are taking their jobs away from them “hardworking and industrious”. Don’t call Blacks “uppity” when they ask for a living wage, for medical and pension benefits, or for union representation, nope, just call the folks you are giving their jobs to “easy to work with”. Just as the obvious white racists have learned to use code language to express racism, like having their presidential candidates make the necessary pilgrimage to the southern, um, “meccas”, those right-wing Christian schools that until recently forbade blacks from dating whites in their schools, so to we white liberals have our own code language that permit us to stay smugly pious as we dump our black nannies and landscapers and agricultural workers and construction workers and all of those other “jobs that Americans just won’t do” (at least not after we fire them) to replace them with those who are lighter, and like us before them, well along the road to becoming white.

And as we muscle then aside yet again, we ask Blacks to once again “silently disappear”. And if they don’t, then we will look away as the newcomers take their place on a higher rung on the ladder to success by force.

It will be extremely enlightening to watch our supposedly Liberal Democratic politicians as they deal with the next wave of immigrants who will want power in exchange for votes. Where will their slice of the political pie come from? Will the White Liberals give up some of theirs? Or will yet another wave of immigrants take their power by climbing up on the backs of Blacks?


Claire, Jobs, and Immigration

2006-Oct-23

Immigration is a wedge issue that could break up the Republican Party between the plutocrats who reap staggeringly huge profits by replacing American workers with those making much less, and the American workers (many of whom happen to have voted the Republicans into office only to find themselves betrayed and see their jobs disappear). It could have much the same effect on the Democrats, who already lost many of their numbers when they started favoring the bosses over the union rank and file, at which point we began to see the Reagan Democrats defect.

This country has two political parties, and they are NOT the Republicans and Democrats. They are the Plutocrats, the top one tenth of one percent, those whose annual income is over three million dollars a year (supported by their toadies, sycophants, and suckups), and on the other side Those of Us Who Have to Work for a Living, the 90% of us who make eighty thousand dollars a year or less. The top 0.1% just make it look like there are other parties by getting us to fight over issues like whether two gay guys ought to be able to get married and have abortions.

Immigration and jobs are just two sides of the same issue. The more immigration, the more people there will be fighting over available jobs (ever fewer as companies keep on downsizing) and the lower wages will be (and the lower benefits will be, the lower safety standards will be, the quicker unions will die, and the easier it is to discriminate against Blacks by firing them and replacing them with folks who are, um, less Black). And, on the other hand, the less immigration we have, the better the wages the employers will have to pay, the better benefits they will have to offer, the more they will have to give in to unions, and the harder it will be to discriminate racially. That’s called capitalism. The more competition, the better capitalism works, including for workers.

So the Republican Party has had outright warfare between the fatcats at the top, represented by BushCo who wanted to open the borders, and their working class rightwingers who see themselves laid off and replaced, losing their homes, their medical care, their kids’ educations… And the Democrats are not far behind, with the DLC Dems trying to open follow the Republican lead in opening the borders, while their union members see all the factory jobs gone and their hopes for computer jobs destroyed by the flood of guestworkers.

In all this, there is the sickening realization that illegal immigration, guestworkers, and offshoring are all the same thing, just slightly different ways for the rich to make themselves obscenely rich by destroying the lives of those in the middle and working classes.

And even more sickening is the spectacle of watching the Plutocrats find ways to con the gullible into going along with it. To con the Right, they use distraction: “Don’t look at what we are doing to your jobs, watch us send your kids off to die”. And to con the stupid and gullible of the Left they play the race card: “You must be a racist if you don’t support turning factories into sweatshops and construction jobs into deathtraps!”.

Into this mess and imminent tragedy, it is enlightening to see how any politician will try to skirt the issues and avoid the obvious pitfalls…

On immigration, Claire says,

… people who break the law should be held accountable. … Claire does not believe we need any new guest worker programs undermining American workers. While building a fence along the border in some of our most porous areas is an appropriate first step, rampant illegal immigration will not be resolved until this Administration stops taking care of special interests who care more about access to cheap-labor than they do about securing our borders.

Personally, I am encouraged she is coming down on the side of the 90% rather than being one of the sycophants and suckups who support the 0.1% at the top and then try to find feeble excuses for being suckups.

On jobs, Claire isn’t bad, but could do much better:

Reduce Government Waste and Spending

Uh, this doesn’t create jobs, it gets rid of some, even if it is a good thing…

Block the Outsourcing of Missouri Jobs. … by cracking down on corporate loopholes, which reward companies that ship American jobs overseas

Good. Most folks don’t realize that our laws encourage and reward offshoring with massive tax breaks. But will she really resist the temptations to be bought off?

Promote Educational and Job Training Opportunities for All Missourians.

Uh, sorry, but kids are abandoning math, science, computers, and engineering because they see their parents getting laid off for years at a time from great jobs with no future job in sight except “Welcome to WalMart”. There is no reason to train anyone here for jobs that are no longer being offered to Americans. This is just a pork-barrel handout to universities. Bring back the jobs and then we will fill the colleges to train for them. Or better yet, tell the damn corporations to go back to training like they used to instead of demanding workers train themselves at their own expense. (I used to be a corporate trainer.)

Support Fair Trade Policies

Everybody says that. I’m waiting to see results.

Raise the Minimum Wage

Yea, yeah, but $6.50 is still a pittance when the CEOs are getting $40,000,000 a year and $400,000,000 golden parachutes. Just a tiny bandaid on a gaping wound.

Support Renewable Energy and Alternative Fuels

OK, this could be a WPA program that really accomplishes something.

Support Small Businesses

OK, but just supporting the SBA is a token, not an answer. We need a whole lot more.

So, all in all, her heart’s in the right place, but she needs to go a lot further. We need to cut down on illegal immigration by going after those who hire them. Just one day in jail for each illegal worker (and it would be the CEO, not the flunky hiring manager) and the problem would disappear.

And we need to get rid of guestworkers. The companies claim they are hiring them because they are the “best and the brightest” who supposedly have skills that are beyond us. If that is true them pay them at the 95% level instead of the 17% pay level.

And other countries have tariffs to discourage offshoring, and so should we.

These are not rocket science. The issue is whose side are you on, that of the top 0.1% or the 90%.