Helen Krieble's absurd Red Card "Temporary" Workers "Solution"
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Helen Krieble - president of the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation, an heir to the Loctite fortune, and an associate of Dick Armey - has been pushing her own guest workers plan for a few years. Now, apparently she wants to give it yet another try and has come out with the "Red Card" scheme, which is similar to the plan offered a few years ago by Mike Pence. In a word, her plan is absurd: it's divorced from our present reality, completely failing to take into account all the things that could and would go wrong. And, depending on the exact details, the plan may have a strong aspect of immorality, building up a possibly multi-generational serf class since - at least as planned - our "guests" would never be able to become U.S. citizens. Many of the ways her plan is wrong are discussed below, but even more could be said.
Under her plan, foreign citizens who want a "red card" would apply in their home countries and then :
Job applicants are matched to current, unfilled U.S. jobs; temporary, non-immigrant workers fill a specific job for a specific time and may return home when the job ends.
Bolding added. There would probably be even more abuse of this program than there is of the H1B program, where employers magically are unable to locate American workers to fill jobs. The US Chamber of Commerce and their friends would lobby (or similar) any politicians who looked into those abuses. The use of "may" is particularly interesting. A Bush "guest workers" proposal sought to enact a penalty on those workers who left a job before their time was up; is that how she means "may"? Or, does she mean that at the end of the job they can choose to remain here? If so, are they really "guests"? Could they remain here in the U.S. as "temporary" workers year after year and even decade after decade?
Kreible also seems to have forgotten about the fact that people tend to have children. In the case of "guests", those children would be U.S. citizens. That would create even more mixed-status families than we have now. The far-left, the Democrats, the mainstream media, and on down the line are constantly advocating to give citizenship or other benefits to the illegal alien members of such families. If such a program were enacted, those groups would work night and day to get those "temporary" workers on the "path to citizenship". Asking Helen Kreibel or one of her proxies about all of that - and getting it on video - would be a great public service (see the Tamar Jacoby entry).
And, of course, how are we going to deport "guests" who don't want to leave? Krible's solution isn't much of a solution:
Permits are in “smart card” biometric data, enabling border authorities to see that temporary workers enter legally for pre-agreed employment and return when the work ends.
How exactly are border authorities going to make sure that a "guest" in Iowa has returned home? The biometric data might prevent those who violated the terms of the program from returning as visitors or taking part in the program again, but the American Civil Liberties Union and related groups would fight her program over that issue tooth and nail, filing racial profiling suits and the like ad infinitum.
She also harps on the fact that private companies would underwrite the administrative costs of the program. Those would be relatively minor, so that's just an (additional) attempt to fool people.
And, supposedly, current illegal aliens would return to their home countries to apply for the card. Once again, the far-left would fight against that tooth and nail, and eventually that would probably be reduced to going to a local airport or other "port of entry" to apply. Recall, for instance, Luis Gutierrez laughing about how absurd his own plan's requirements were.
And, she makes this absurd statement:
Temporary workers paying taxes will cover their fair share of social services currently provided at taxpayers’ expense
Most low-wage workers (and their employers) are subsidized. For instance, someone making $25,000 a year might have two children whose schooling costs the government that same amount. Her "guests" might pay more than they do now, but the discussion of "fair share" is simply yet another attempt to mislead.
And, her white paper - from August 2005 - shows she's living in a "free market" fantasy :
With those concerns addressed, there is no need for artificial control of the number of "Guest" cards, because the market would keep a constant check on the flow of workers.
What she fails to note is that the labor market in the U.S. is not a free market due to all of the subsidies involved and the like. Her program would also hurt Mexico and other countries even further due to a nearly unlimited labor supply; with potentially hundreds of millions of laborers available, very few low-skilled jobs would ever rise above the minimum wage. Her program would also retard innovation; why invent machines to do a job when labor is so cheap?
Later on, she also uses a variant of the busboys canard. Her plan would also have slapdash background checks and also a "trust fund" of some kind in which workers' wages were held hostage pending their return home.
The above has just scratched the surface of how absurd her plan is. It may also be immoral, but that remains to be seen once she releases all the details.
9/12/09 UPDATE: From this:
Helen introduced The Red Card Solution on Tuesday while premiering a mini-documentary on the issue at the National Press Club in Washington, along with experts on the topic who were panelists in a lively Q&A with guests, including Steve Moore from the Wall Street Journal; James Carafano, Heritage Foundation; Matt Kibbe of Freedom Works; and Mario Lopez, Hispanic Leadership Fund.