Tags: Exporting | Jobs | Importing | Cheaper | Wages

Exporting Jobs, Importing Cheaper Wages

Wednesday, 25 February 2004 12:00 AM

Conspiracy theories aside, the much-heralded free-trade policies embraced by both major parties has resulted in an overall job loss for American workers in the decade since its passage.

These are jobs that have permanently been relocated to places like India, China, Mexico, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, even as more and more U.S. firms and businesses utilize cheap imported labor.

Worse, the Bush administration has just floated the idea of a new permanent wage depreciation policy for American workers, via an illegal alien-worker amnesty scheme purportedly to impress Hispanic voters.

This will be accomplished through a plan to essentially create a high-tech classifieds section on the Department of Labor Web site. According to administration officials, employers would post their jobs on this site, and any jobs not filled by Americans within a certain time frame would then be offered to immigrants – legal or otherwise.

My first question is how poor illegals from south of the border will be able to gain Internet access, but I don't dare ask too loudly, lest that become the next illegal immigrant entitlement.

But more important, however – as Pat Buchanan pointed out recently – is the probability employers will post jobs at far below current pay scales, just to be able to attract lower-wage earning immigrants and save themselves the higher rates of pay needed by American workers.

But not to worry. After all, most of these are "old economy" manufacturing jobs that are beneath the 21st century American worker, aren't they? In a word, no.

Not all Americans are college material. Some simply have no choice but to find a low-skill or menial labor job in order to make a living. If all of those jobs are taken away, what will these American workers do?

There is also a trend now among employers to transfer an increasing number of white-collar jobs overseas as well. In many cases, employers are adding insult to injury by making American employees train their replacements.

The trend in American corporate circles is to export jobs while hiring cheaper "domestic" help to fill labor needs at home. In the end they have the best of both worlds in that no matter where they seek employees, they will be able to cut their most expensive line item: the cost of labor.

While the White House's latest "guest worker" scheme will certainly exacerbate this phenomenon, a plan being floated by Democrats is worse.

Under their proposal, they want to make it possible for illegals to be given full citizenship after a period of time spent working in the U.S. At least the Bush wouldn't convey this coveted prize.

Still, it may not matter. Border Patrol agents have reported a surge in illegal immigrants caught trying to sneak in who say they came to America to take advantage of "jobs offered by President Bush."

And of those who are already living and working in our country illegally, giving them legal status won't necessarily transform them into model citizens. Scores of illegals would choose to remain a citizen of their native lands, but milk the much better American job market and send the proceeds home. Mexican migrants are already doing that, to the tune of $15 billion and more a year.

The future of American employment and the road to prosperity is on the line. For the cheap and extremely short-term goal of currying political favor with "key" constituencies, our politicians have nearly destroyed the profit-generating, free-market business climate perfected over the centuries by American ingenuity.

Maybe U.S. companies feel they have to import cheap wage earners and export American jobs just to stay viable. After years of being the targets of retribution by liberal lawmakers; after suffering through tons of expensive, needless red tape; after decades of strangling over-regulation; perhaps CEO's feel they have no other choice but to take advantage of "free trading" American jobs for profits.

Whether or not that's true, any guest worker program that provides jobs for millions of illegal immigrants is a policy guaranteeing the continued atrophy of American labor coupled with the importation of cheap wages.

Indeed, it's already happening.

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Conspiracy theories aside, the much-heralded free-trade policies embraced by both major parties has resulted in an overall job loss for American workers in the decade since its passage. These are jobs that have permanently been relocated to places like India, China,...
Exporting,Jobs,,Importing,Cheaper,Wages
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2004-00-25
Wednesday, 25 February 2004 12:00 AM
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