Special to WorldTribune, January 21, 2022
Item: Big-box media outlet expects readers to be upset that employers don’t have a captive cheap labor force with no other options anymore. It’s there in print: Higher wages and the chance to leave a job for a better-paying one are bad things to be made available to our manual laborers.
The Dallas Morning News on Jan. 20 published a rather amazing article bemoaning fact that without cheap foreign labor American employers are going to have to raise worker wages:
The [coronavirus] pandemic hammered the U.S. economy, revealing serious labor shortages. Now economists are highlighting a major factor: disappearing immigrant workers, both undocumented and with visas.
Labor shortages are rippling through the service and construction industries, pushing up wages even among undocumented workers. Legal immigration has been hurt just as much with many U.S. consulates and embassies on reduced schedules due to COVID-19 safety provisions.
Isn’t that terrible!
What is truly sickening is that these are supposed to be the people who really care about poor Mexican day laborers and the like, yet the entire theme of the article emphasizes the need to reduce these people’s employment choices so they will happily accept lower wages.
As part of the argument, the Morning News quotes a zealot from the Cato Institute, a “free-market” DC think tank that has worked with progressive globalist billionaire George Soros to promote open borders:
“This is bad for Texas’ economy, just like it’s bad for the economy in every other part of the United States,” said Alex Nowrasteh, director of policy and economic studies at the libertarian-centric Cato Institute. “People fuel economic growth and without more people, our economy is going to stagnate and eventually shrink.”
It is no exaggeration to say that Nowrasteh is an absolute maniac on the subject of the economic value of foreigners.
How insane is he?
Get a load of this jaw-dropping quote Nowrasteh made while being interviewed by the Centre For Risk Analyses last September. While acknowledging there is a threat to the safety of the American people posed by open borders, he added:
“There are always gonna be some [dangerous individuals] who come through. And the risk from that, in terms of higher crime or higher terrorism or anything, is very manageable in the way it is. So I would say we could have much higher levels of terrorism from immigration and it would still pass the cost-benefit test.”
Americans being murdered by terrorist foreigners is not a tragedy, merely one figure in a larger accounting balance that must be calculated.
This is truly how heartless the advocates of cheap labor are.
Nowrasteh and another “expert” lament to the Morning News that there are a missing 2-3 million foreign workers in America today:
Nowrasteh estimates that 1.6 million to 3.2 million immigrant workers would have been added to the labor mix had the economy continued on its go-go 2016 trajectory, when a high of 1,065,000 migrants came to the U.S. from other countries, according to the Census Bureau.
The bureau says net migration fell to 247,000 last year.
Giovanni Peri, director of the Global Migration Project at the University of California, Davis, estimates that 2 million immigrant workers are missing from the U.S. economy. He and other experts say the labor shortage has several causes: a decline in immigration, accelerated retirements and what many call the Great Resignation, where workers job hop for better wages or sit out the pandemic for months.
The paper stunningly quotes an upscale restaurant owner, described as a “Dallas entrepreneur,” who whines that workers are leaving him for construction jobs that pay far better salaries, blaming the immigrant worker shortage for creating this horrible situation:
Caught in the labor squeeze are Dallas entrepreneurs like Jesus Carmona, who operates the Mexican taquería Milagro and the Argentine bistro Chimichurri. Staffing and supply problems now eat into the workday of Carmona, a Mexican immigrant business owner who enjoys greeting customers by name. Workers job-hop for raises of 50 cents an hour, he said.
“People want to come in and make $18 and $20 an hour with no experience,” Carmona said.
Good job options for workers are painted as a drag on the economy:
Lately, Carmona worries about a different sort of competition: construction trades. Workers are exchanging aprons for utility belts in construction jobs where they can earn more money, but work twice as hard, Carmona said.
Demand is so intense in the North Texas construction industry that wages rose 10% over the last year for high-demand framers, bricklayers, carpenters, electricians and plumbers, said Phil Crone, executive officer at the Dallas Builders Association.
“If we can’t get the help from within, we need to find it from outside our borders and that means we need meaningful immigration reform… a program tailored to our construction needs,” Crone said.
Note well that the Morning News admits that workers will take tougher jobs in exchange for better pay, even if it means having to “work twice as hard.”
Funny how that works.
It’s not just a vexing dilemma for chic Dallas restaurant owners. West Coast vintners are feeling the squeeze too.
A Jan. 20 article at Wine Spectator titled “Who Will Pick America’s Wine Grapes?” spotlights that pesky, troublesome word again – “options” – for workers:
Workers are leaving the wine industry for good. “Vineyard work is extremely difficult and people have a lot of options today,” [Bob Torkelson, president and COO of Trinchero Family Estates, one of California’s largest wine companies] said. “We’ve seen farm workers leave for jobs in the service industry, construction and at huge delivery centers like Amazon.”
Winegrowers, who rely on seasonal workers as well as year-round labor to tend vines, are being forced to adapt. Some are replacing hands with machines, some are trying new ideas for attracting and retaining workers, and all are reimagining what work looks like in American vineyards.
Amelia Ceja, president of Ceja Vineyards in California’s Carneros appellation, tells the publication:
“Our parents’ generation were all agricultural workers in Mexico and they loved working the land, but the next generation does not want to do it,” she said. “It’s back-breaking work, I know; I spent years planting and pruning vines.”
There’s that “hard work that people won’t do” narrative so common among those clamoring for cheap-labor immigration. It goes 180 degrees against what the Morning News reported on restaurant workers choosing more hard-working jobs IF they were offered higher pay.
Jennifer Putnam, executive director and CEO of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers, discovers a miracle cure:
“We have always had greater needs year-round than other crops and other wine regions, because of the level of attention to each vine.” She believes that Napa has partially solved its labor problem through higher wages — seasonal workers in Napa earn a median wage of $18.50 per hour and year-round workers earn $20.31, compared to California’s minimum wage of $12 per hour.
Even more horrifying, workers are now in a position to demand benefits:
“Simply raising wages is not the answer to this labor crisis,” said [Chris Indelicato, president and CEO of Delicato Vineyards, one of California’s largest producers]. Offering paid holidays and paternity leave, full family health insurance, 401K plans and university scholarship programs for his workers has had “a huge impact over time” for Delicato, he reports. “We continue to focus on the work environment and culture, and provide opportunities for workers to grow their careers.”
One vintner refreshingly speaks the full unalloyed truth: Good workers are good for business, and thus it only makes financial sense to treat employees well:
Opus One winemaker Michael Silacci… believes the higher wages are worth it. “Grape quality has the largest impact on wine quality,” he said. “Skilled vineyard workers are like sculptors, and consumers respect the hands-on aspect of premium winemaking. Are consumers willing to pay higher prices for that? I believe they are for high-end wines.”
Imagine if America had this attitude about its workers again, instead of the endless obsession with immediate short-term profits and a limitless GDP growth that benefits a well-off portion of haves at enormous expense to an infinitely larger number of have-nots.