Conservative commentator Pete Spiliakos says Republicans on Capitol Hill eager to do an immigration reform bill are putting the desires of the business class above the common good. Excerpts:
Reforming immigration policy is low on the list of the public’s policy priorities. There is wide bipartisan public support for shifting future immigration flows in the direction of skills and English proficiency. Canada has gone to this type of naturalization system, and polls indicate that this is what Americans want too. Why is the Republican political class taking on its own voting base and the general public in order to increase the labor supply in a sector of the labor market where the unemployment rate is high and wages are stagnant?
The answer is obvious when we remember that this is the same party establishment that forgot that most Americans were not business owners. Like the ghosts in the film The Sixth Sense, the Washington Republican political class only sees what they want to see. The business lobbies want ever-greater labor market competition and reasons can be manufactured.
A few days ago on his CNBC show, Lawrence Kudlow interviewed Haley Barbour. Barbour, a former RNC chairman turned lobbyist for Mark Zuckerberg’s “conservative” amnesty front group, is a living embodiment of the intersection of the Washington Republican operative class and the lobbying industry. And yet it was Kudlow who was most interesting. In the course of asking Barbour a very friendly question, Kudlow argued that increasing unemployment and declining labor force participation meant that we needed increased low-skill immigration. For the Republican Washington political class, anything seems preferable to paying higher wages to low-skill workers when the economy improves.
Check out this anonymous account on Gawker’s website, allegedly from a longtime Wal-mart manager, who details what he considers the company’s grinding down of its own workforce to save money. Excerpt:
This company is being managed by the quarter. We have executives who have no vested interest in Walmart. All they care about is their salary and bonus. So when they make poor decisions, for example this Christmas when they had a One Hour Guarantee for multiple items. This was a complete [financial] disaster but yet the executive praise what a big success it was. […] You know what direction us managers were given to do in January? Remember Walmart’s fiscal year ends January 31st. You guess it, cut hours. For the poor decision made by executives at Walmart who could care less where the company is at in 10 or 20 years, we had to cut hours. Not only that we had to cut all expenses. Home office put a hold on all our ordering of supplies and try explaining to customers you don’t have toilet paper for the rest rooms. We had to cut all our part-time associates from 32 hours to 25.5 hours. All our full-time associates had their hours cut too. In addition we had to call all the people we had scheduled for orientation and tell them we couldn’t hire them. Imagine you were told to start Walmart on Thursday but then get a call on Wednesday saying nope can’t hire you.
Do you know how hard it is to go to someone that make $8.85 an hour and tell him, sorry but I have to cut you down to 25.5 hours. These people can barely pay their rent as it is and with no notice we cut their hours.
Back to Spiliakos’s column (read the whole thing). It’s one of the reasons why I, though a conservative, quit the Republican Party and registered as an Independent. What I don’t understand is why grassroots working-class Democrats, and Democrats interested in increasingly employment, aren’t standing up to their own party on this immigration thing. I mean, I know what’s going on here, but they ought to wake up and speak out, just as grassroots Republicans should.