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More reasons Robert Reich isn't credible on immigration (amnesty, legalization, unions)

Robert Reich has a distinguished title - "Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley". Yet, on immigration, he keeps showing that either he can't figure things out, or he's willing to let political concerns take precedence over figuring things out.

His latest Tumblr is "Why the AFL-CIO Is Embracing Immigration Reform" (robertreich . org/post/46955871646).

What he's not telling you and why he's wrong will be discussed after the quote (bolding added):

Their agreement on is very preliminary and hasn’t yet even been blessed by the so-called Gang of Eight Senators working on immigration reform, but the mere fact that AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and Chamber of Commerce President Thomas J. Donohue agreed on anything is remarkable.

The question is whether it’s a good deal for American workers. It is, and I’ll explain why in a moment.

...The unions don’t want foreign workers to take jobs away from Americans or depress American wages, while business groups obviously want the lowest-priced workers they can get their hands on.

So they’ve compromised on a maximum (no more than 20,000 visas in the first year, gradually increasing to no more than 200,000 in the fifth and subsequent years), with the actual number in any year depending on labor market conditions, as determined by the government. Priority would be given to occupations where American workers were in short supply.

The foreign workers would have to receive wages at least as high as the typical (“prevailing”) American wage in that occupation, or as high as the prospective employer pays his American workers with similar experience — whichever is higher.

The unions hope these safeguards will prevent American workers from losing ground to foreign guest-workers.

But employers hope the guest-worker program will also prevent low-wage Americans from getting a raise. As soon as any increase in demand might begin to push their wages higher, employers can claim a “labor shortage” — allowing in more guest workers, who will cause wages to drop back down again.

So why would the AFL-CIO agree to any new visas at all?

Presumably because some 11 million undocumented workers are already here, doing much of this work. The only way these undocumented workers can ever become organized – and not undercut attempts to unionize legal workers — is if the undocumented workers also become legal.

Remember, we’re talking about low-wage work that U.S. employers can’t do abroad – fast-food cooks and servers, waiters, hotel cleaners, hospital orderlies, gardeners, custodians, cashiers, and the like. (Construction jobs were exempted from the agreement because the building-trades unions didn’t want to risk losing ground.)

They’re the fastest-growing job categories in America, and also the lowest-paying...

The trend is in the wrong direction – toward even more of these jobs, and lower pay. And that’s not because of undocumented workers. It’s because of structural changes in the economy that have shipped high-wage manufacturing jobs abroad and replaced other semi-skilled work with computers and robots. If you don’t have the right education and connections, you’re on a downward escalator.

The real median wage of Americans is already 8 percent below what it was in 2000. The median pay of jobs created during this recovery is less than the median of the jobs lost in the downturn.

One way to reverse this trend is enable these workers to join together in unions, and demand better pay and working conditions. And one strategy for accomplishing this is for the unions to embrace immigration reform, and organize like mad.

This is the next frontier for organized labor. Immigration reform is part of its long-term strategy.

1. He refers to a "short supply" of workers, and then just a few paragraphs later he admits that employers tend to mislead about "labor shortages". Apparently there are labor shortages only in the cases where they serve Reich's political aims.

2. The plan he supports would reward and encourage the very people who've pushed those "structural changes" that have screwed American workers in the first place. Shouldn't we try to penalize and discourage those elites instead, in order to force them into pro- rather than anti-American behavior? Reich would enable them to continue screwing American workers.

3. Years from now, the very crooks Reich enables will work to incrementally weaken the labor restrictions Reich describes in his post. They'll also work to enable future illegal immigration in order to lower wages. So, even if what Reich describes happens, it will only be temporary until employers have been able to get the next wave of illegal immigration.

4. In the last paragraph, Reich isn't mentioning other ways. Why not? Isn't he an academic, an occupation that's supposed to consider all possibilities instead of just pushing one? An alternative he won't mention is to enforce our immigration laws across the board with the goal of reducing the numbers of illegal aliens in the U.S., i.e., attrition. That will result in increased wages for lower-skilled American workers who won't have so much competition. And, it will also stick fingers in the eyes of the corrupt elites who've pushed outsourcing, globalism, and massive immigration with the goal of profiting no matter the harm to their fellow citizens.

Of course, the reason Reich isn't mentioning the last is because he wants the Democratic Party to have access to all those millions of new voters. Instead of putting America and American workers first and instead of living up to his academic title, he's just a political hack.

Tue, 04/02/2013 - 13:03 · Importance: 4