When you feel guilty about spitting in the faces of desperate people…

When you feel guilty about spitting in the faces of desperate people… December 3, 2015

…you tell yourself anything to rationalize your behavior:

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  • Pete the Greek

    That takes REAL skill!

    • LFM

      Or one could imagine, “immigrant” not usually being singular, that some might do one while some do the other.

      The ideal immigrant is one who brings new skills not possessed in his/her new country, or money to start a business, or both. Most immigrants do not belong to either category, and while they don’t usually steal jobs, they do – in their desperation, don’t you know – drive down wages. A man who is willing to live in a rooming house with 6 friends while he sends money home is naturally willing to work for less than the man who wants to be able to buy or rent a decent house and support a family. Many employers prefer the first man because he is easier to exploit.

      • The cure for the situation is to increase labor demand, driving down unemployment to frictional levels (2-3%) and driving up wages. Or, you know, you could just make fun of the blue collar people who are getting absolutely hammered by the global increase in labor supply brought about by a global collapse of economic slavery.

        • falstaff77

          Yes, but driving down *real* unemployment, by first insuring that the labor force expands to include all those currently sitting it out. If the US labor force dropped to 100 people, with 2-3 looking for work, we’d still see apologists touting the correctly calculated unemployment rate of 2-3%.

          • The very normal and utterly predictable response of employers is to enlarge the labor force whenever unemployment goes down too low for their comfort. I guess we could legislate that stuff won’t stay suspended in mid air but the natural law of gravity similarly works without our intervention (pace roadrunner). Feel free to tilt at that particular windmill. It just doesn’t interest me personally.

            • falstaff77

              In the US it has always been the small employer who lifts those on the sidelines into the labor force, not Big Corp. Growing small buis is, relative to some years ago, hamstrung or destroyed. See the ACA and its cost impositions over 50 employees, small banks who lend to small buis nearly destroyed via Dodd Frank overhead, ever increasing regulation esp environmental which small buis can not handle. Big buis can finance through the like of the ExIm bank and the like it that way. On the labor supply side, we get more of what is subsidized. See 99 weeks of unemployment ins, 47 million on food stamps.

              • No arguments on your examples, I agree with you. The underlying effect is still there which will push to get rid of all those bad laws you’re arguing against.

  • Alma Peregrina

    Nice…

  • Unpopped Colonel Mustard

    Clever – I’ve made a joking variation of this observation myself (“lazy Mexicans taking our jobs!”), but the thing is… it’s not necessarily wrong. It’s wrong as to the individual – someone can’t be both lazy and hardworking – but it doesn’t have to be wrong when applied in the aggregate.

    Suppose your country takes in exactly two immigrants. One is a diligent worker, willing to work off-the-books and below minimum wage. He prices a citizen out of a job. The second sits around and collects welfare. The net effect is one native job gone, and more welfare dollars out the door.

    That scenario is at least logically possible. I’m not suggesting that’s what’s happening in America today, but it could happen.

    • Alma Peregrina

      Ah, but we’re talking about the Schrödinger immigrant, the one that is both at the same time.

      Or do you think that an immigrant like that is less plausible than a cat that is simultaneously dead and alive?

  • Can anyone tell me why we’re blaming the people who just want to work rather than the employers who hire them illegally?

    • Alma Peregrina

      Because the employers have money, therefore they’ve earned it, while the people that work for said employers don’t have money, therefore they’re lazy. So the employer may take money from his worker’s wage, so that they’ll have less money, and therefore be even more lazy.

    • Unpopped Colonel Mustard

      Good question. And the answer to it is why Donald Trump is a thing that’s happening.

      There are cheap and easy things that can be done to reduce illegal immigration. Disincentivizing the demand side with stiff employer fines would help. But the GOP refuses do it because businesses don’t like it.

      No reasonable Republican politician will take this common-sense step. So voters turn to unreasonable Republicans.

      • There are cheap and easy things that can be done to reduce illegal immigration. Disincentivizing the demand side with stiff employer fines would help.

        I keep thinking this, but my experience is limited. Are there any sound – or at least plausible-sounding – arguments against doing this?

        But the GOP refuses do it because businesses don’t like it.

        So the GOP is nakedly supporting the strong against the weak? I’m sure they wouldn’t characterize it that way. What does their rhetoric look like? What would they say they’re doing?

        • LFM

          On this issue their rhetoric is remarkably like that of their opposition. They claim that Americans won’t do the work in question (well, they won’t, at the kind of wage being offered); they say that Americans lack the necessary skills for the work in question (Silicon Valley employers like this one); they claim, if they’re hard-core libertarians, that they believe in open borders for capital and for workers. Mostly, however, they stay silent on the subject if they can. The Republican party (I say this as a non-American observer) has hoped for several decades now to pick up new voters when the “natural conservatism” of Latino immigrants asserts itself. That strategy has not worked, but the fear of alienating the Latino vote is still strong.

  • jeanvaljean24601

    It is becoming harder to satirize this sort of thing.
    Was it Mark Twain who said something about how fiction had to be plausible, whereas reality was under no such constraint?

  • Schrodinger’s cat would be a lot less puzzling if there were several million cats, some in one state, some in another.

    On to the people and I’ll try to use small words. Some immigrants arrive, never working a day in their lives here, and receive government benefits. This has been tightened up some with residency requirements but there is some resentment that people have over immigrants who ‘mooch’ benefits without ever having contributed and bring forward the day when these programs break (2035 for OAS Social Security). Other immigrants come in and want to work and successfully displace native workers. There is also understandable resentment by those displaced workers who have their standard of living lowered and all the workers who are not displaced themselves but who have lower wages due to the extra supply of labor.

    If you’re seven, you might think it’s funny to take these disparate groups of people and draw the graphic up top, calling this complex situation involving tens of millions of people Schrodinger’s Immigrant. There’s a lot of hard work that is going to have to go into creating viable solutions for the shortage of jobs and a sustainable safety net system. This mockery doesn’t help. In fact, it increases the chances that we go over the cliff as a society.

    • Why don’t we go after employers who illegally employ illegals?

      • Take a look at the problem set. Virtually all those employers have asked for and collected forged documents. You have to prove that they were insufficiently bad forgeries that even non-experts should have rejected them as obviously wrong. When they don’t collect the documents, they do, in fact, prosecute. Virtually no major employer has escaped the occasional episode of being fooled by especially good forgeries. Anybody who is being charged as you seem to want is going to immediately cry out that the law is being unevenly applied. Evenly applying it would be an enforcement nightmare.

        • Are you asserting

          1. that it is not a widespread practice of employers to hire illegals and pay them under the table, and

          2. that employers who hire illegal aliens really are, in nearly all cases, deceived into thinking they are hiring citizens (or green cards) and are properly reporting these (accidentally) fraudulent payrolls to the IRS?

          In any case, application of the law should go top-down, with prosecution of the largest and wealthiest employers first, since they would have the most resources to check legal-employment status.

          If it is true that it is excessively burdensome for the employers to check the legality of people’s documents and much too easy for these documents to be forged, then obviously the documents are insufficient for their purpose.

          • I’m asserting that a common use case is for employers to demand documents to fulfill the letter of the law and to accept pretty bad forgeries and not to do one check beyond what they are absolutely required to do. The under the table hiring doesn’t happen so much in larger employers. You personally might hire a lawn guy without checking his papers but IBM is very unlikely to. They’re a big, fat target and they know it.

            They also know that once they’ve been given a document, they’re in something of a bind as checking those documents too hard will bring charges of racism. So they don’t check. Who needs the pain of being accused of corporate racism?

            The insufficiency of documents is a longstanding argument in the US that dates back decades. Everybody’s schizophrenic on that one so far as I can tell and I don’t exempt me.

  • I have zero objections to the hardworking immigrant who “takes my job” because what he’s doing is lowering costs and increasing overall production. If I can demand “protection” for my fat paycheck, issued by an inefficient and noncompetitive business, then I have absolutely no right to complain about high prices and shoddy goods ANYWHERE. For the same reason, I don’t get to complain about jobs going overseas. On the contrary, if I am at all Christian, then I have a DUTY to ensure that people in Third World countries are not prevented from selling their work to us here in the US, say, by laws or policies “to protect American jobs.”

    The guy who comes here to collect benefits? He’s a rent-seeker, just like the guy who says “you have to protect my job from foreign competition!” They want to get paid without doing something to earn it.

    If I could legislate with a stroke of the pen, I’d lower the barriers to immigration immensely. Anybody who has no dangerous, contaigous diseases or convictions for violent crime or fraud, and is willing to forgo taxpayer-funded benefits for (say) seven years should be let in and put on the path to citizenship.

    “There are cheap and easy things that can be done to reduce illegal immigration. Disincentivizing the demand side with stiff employer fines would help. But the GOP refuses do it because businesses don’t like it.” — untopped colonel mustard.

    There is nearly always a solution to every problem that is straightforward, obvious, simple, cheap, and wrong. And since the actual demand is for lower prices, which in turn suggests a reduction in labor costs, this is not going to seriously dent demand.

    “The ideal immigrant is one who brings new skills not possessed in his/her new country, or money to start a business, or both. Most immigrants do not belong to either category, and while they don’t usually steal jobs, they do – in their desperation, don’t you know – drive down wages. A man who is willing to live in a rooming house with 6 friends while he sends money home is naturally willing to work for less than the man who wants to be able to buy or rent a decent house and support a family. Many employers prefer the first man because he is easier to exploit.” — LFM

    I think the minimum requirement can be put a LOT lower: any immigrant who is creating wealth sufficient to support himself is welcome. Anybody who works for less is not just driving down wages. He is driving down the prices you and I pay. I don’t know about you, but in general I like less waste, lower prices and lower costs. It has the added benefit of increasing the pool of available labor, meaning there are more people to create wealth.

    “The very normal and utterly predictable response of employers is to enlarge the labor force whenever unemployment goes down too low for their comfort.” — TMLutas

    What employers HAVE been doing is making labor more efficient and productive. And they are going to do so going forward, because there is a consistent drive to lower costs and improve quality. Their customers expect it.