Sunday, April 30, 2006

Shame on me!

Good lord, get the second comment, aka diatribe, regarding the post below. 20 hail Mary's for me.

Regardless of me saying I was Mexican-American or not, my points still stand. And, claiming I was Mexican-American did what it was supposed to do, make the xenophobes feel bad about attacking a group of people on a public board. Sure I could have chimed in as myself, but would those people have felt bad about their comments, unlikely. Would I do it again, ya I would. Why, because doing so brought about the reaction I intended it to.

Have you ever been around someone who says something inflammatory about an ethnicity, or race, and there's one person in the group who is exactly the sort of person being flamed? What happens when that person speaks up and says, "Hey, I'm...(insert ethnicity or race) and I don't appreciate your comments." ?

Now take that same situation but this time a person just like the person making the comments says something like, "Hey, dude, that's not cool." Which reaction is likely to have an impact? Ya, that's what I thought.

Two more things dear lurker, if you're going to invest so much time thinking about me and my sins, at least sign you name--otherwise, you're a coward. And if you don't have the balls to sign your name, you have no right to say "Shame on you for saying you're something that you're not" cause, well.. you, you can't even say who you are.

P.S. Don't you dare tell me what my intentions were, you don't know me. " You were trying to stir up trouble, much to your protestation to the contrary. If you weren't, you would not have lied out of the gate."


Jen Stewart said...

'Anonymous' does have a point about pretending to be something you're not in order to make a point -- that's a stretch beyond playing devil's advocate, and you're certainly smart and articulate enough to frame your argument without resorting to lying about who you are.

However, your lurker, as far as I'm concerned, loses all credibility in his/her argument by hiding behind anonymity in order to take you to task, especially when he/she is taking you to task for hiding behind a label that doesn't belong to you. The mind boggles.

On a less contentious note: I've really been enjoying your blog. You have a lovely way with words.

Anon E. Mous said...

Wow, the lengths that some people will go to in order to make a point. Sheesh. Who knew what ire I would draw from a simple, yet long, retort.

You got a bit worked up, so I guess I got the reaction I wanted. Sorry, that was your language. That wasn't my intended reaction. Though your point about getting your desired reaction being a justification for the means is asinine at best. The folks that flew some planes into the WTC got the reaction they wanted. From whence does justification come?

The point in posting anonymously is to make the point that the argument should stand on its merits. What race, sex, age, nationality or race I am should not matter. I guess the subtlety was lost on you.

You are well read, and clearly very smart, so hopefully while you are fuming away in MA, you are also thinking about this. Perhaps preparing for a debate you may never have. Just think your points out, and LET THEM STAND ON THEIR OWN.

Tomorrow's events will be a travesty. They will alienate the very people that the illegals are trying to court. This whole thing is akin to a kid getting mad and taking their ball and trying to go home. Language in use by the protest organizers suggest they want to shut entire cities down. Boy, pissing off a bunch of people to show how much worth you have is not such a good plan. Protest after 5pm...on the weekend perhaps. That actually shows a higher commitment to the cause to me than ditching work...but that's just me. Does the result of them shutting down the system (if they indeed do achieve that) justify the means?

Christina said...

Illegal workers: Boon for U.S. economy

The U.S. has benefited from illegal immigrants, most economists say, though some low-skilled workers have been hurt.
By Chris Isidore, senior writer
May 1, 2006: 11:55 AM EDT

In the heated debate over the impact of illegal immigration on the U.S. economy, Andrew Sum is one of those focusing on the negative.

The economist - the director of labor market studies at Northeastern University in Boston - argues that the large supply of immigrants has displaced low-skilled U.S.-born workers, particularly the young and the poor, from jobs.

"About 85.5 of every 100 new workers are new immigrants in this decade," he said. "At no time in the last 60 years have we come close to this. They're really displacing young workers at a very high rate."

But even Sum would concede that the U.S. economy is larger, and growing faster, due to the supply of illegal immigrants, and that most Americans with higher job skills are better off for their presence.

"Without the immigrants, we would have a decline in labor force of 3 to 4 percent," he said. "We couldn't have grown nearly as much as we did in the '90s if we didn't have immigrants. And in the last few years our growth would have been slower. The only thing I've argued is that we've ignored that illegal immigration has put a lot of young adults into economic jeopardy."

Sum's views point out the dichotomy that many economists see when looking at the impact of immigration on the economy.

Few economists will argue with the concept that the economy is stronger for the presence of the low-cost labor force.

And while most admit they have to make guesses rather than the educated estimates they would like to make, most say that economic growth would be a half a percentage point to 2 points lower without immigrant workers..

But even most of those who think it's good for the economy do see an impact on lower-skilled U.S.-born workers.

Few economists expect the economy to take a noticeable hit Monday from the call for immigrants to stay away from work and take part in protests against legislation that will crack down on illegal immigration.

"It's only for a day; much of the work not done on Monday is just going to be made up for on the week afterwards," said Benjamin Powell, senior fellow at the Independent Institute, an Oakland-based think tank.

But Powell and many economists say that the economy would face significant problems if there was any significant cut in the amount of immigrant labor coming into the country.

"Immigration is actually critical," said Bernard Baumohl, executive director of the Economic Outlook Group, a research group in Princeton Junction, N.J. "It allows the U.S. economy to grow more rapidly without higher inflation pressures."

Some economists argue that not only do U.S. consumers benefit from lower prices as a result of the low wages most immigrants are paid, but that the availability of lower-wage labor helps create more work for higher-skilled, higher-paid workers who are generally native born.

"If I'm a builder and I can hire more wallboard guys cheaply, my (ability to use) skilled carpenters goes up," said Northeastern's Sum.

Some economists say that if immigrant workers weren't present, rather than native-born workers getting better wages to do the same jobs, many jobs done by immigrants might not get done at all.

If immigration reform pushed wages higher for lower-skilled workers that would probably stop many average Americans from hiring household help they can now afford. The same is true for some manufacturers and service sector employers as well.

"The average wage of the low-income American would be higher. But some of those jobs wouldn't get done at all and output would be lower," said David Wyss, chief economist for Standard & Poor's if immigration reform reduces the low-wage labor pool.

A crackdown in illegal immigration in 2004 caused a shortage of workers needed to bring in the lettuce crop in the Western United States, said Powell, which he said caused a $1 billion loss for the industry as many growers had to leave their fields unharvested.

"To hire Americans to do it, they would have had to raise wages so far, it wouldn't have been worth it for them," said Powell at the Independent Institute. "It caused less of a loss to leave the crop to rot."

As for complaints that many critics of immigration cite - demand for social and government services by immigrants - most economists believe that is outweighed by the increased economic activity, even if some specific school districts or public hospitals struggle with the costs associated serving the immigrant community.


Christina said...

Immigration reform could cost you

With nationwide protests set for Monday, a look at what restrictions on immigrant labor could cost Americans.

By Jessica Seid, staff writer
April 28, 2006: 12:30 PM EDT

NEW YORK ( - Ready to pay more for a loaf of bread or your morning corn flakes?

That could be one effect of immigration reform, according to farm economists and other experts.

The subject of much recent debate in Washington and across the country, immigration reform could push up wages if it makes it harder for U.S. businesses to hire lower-wage workers for low-skilled jobs. That would raise costs for farmers and other producers, who could then try to pass the costs along to consumers.

"In the absence of immigrant labor, wages might be a bit higher, particularly in sectors that hire lots of low-skilled labor, which could potentially show up as slightly higher prices," said Jared Bernstein, economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think thank in Washington.

Pat O'Brien, an economist at the American Farm Bureau, said that if immigration reform severely restricts the labor pool, wages for farm workers - and costs for farmers - could rise sharply for everything from wheat, corn and soybeans to dairy products, red meat and poultry.

He said that crop and livestock farmers, for example, would be forced to boost prices to compensate for more expensive labor. "We're estimating that wages could go up to $14.50 an hour," he said, from the current average of about $9.50 an hour.

In that case, "prices would go up possibly 5 to 10 percent as farmers try to pass along the higher cost of labor."

A big rise in labor costs could also have a devastating effect on many of the nation's farms.

"If labor shortages forced costs to rise, it would be hard to pass those costs along," said Jack King, manager of national affairs for the California Farm Bureau, an association of farm owners in the state with a $27.5 billion agricultural industry.

"We can't pass the costs along. We can't control the market. We don't really have any place to go if wages spiral out of control," said Luawanna Hallstrom, general manager of Harry Singh & Sons, a California tomato farm.

Hallstrom predicted that a reform bill limiting the availability of workers could force small and mid-sized farms to suffer, or even shut down altogether. "Some (farmers) are already choosing not to grow this year because they didn't know what will happen," she said.

Prices for other goods and services might rise as well, though that seems less clear.

Patricia Cortes, a graduate student at MIT, studied the effect of low-skilled immigration on the prices of things like cleaning and landscaping, and also found that less immigrant labor would bid up the price of low-skilled jobs, which she says could lead to higher prices.

Apples and oranges
But not all farm products would end up costing more.

Consumers would probably see little impact on prices of fruits and vegetables, for example, because "displaced American production would be replaced by production in countries like Mexico," said O'Brien at the American Farm Bureau, referring to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) from January 1994.

"The consumer would see the same head of lettuce at the same price," he said.

Still, farmers would take a hit because, historically, they haven't been as successful passing along wage increases.

Without migrant labor, "We would see up to a third of the fruit and vegetable sector go out of business almost right away," said Austin Perez, a labor expert at the American Farm Bureau.

The political debate
The Senate was supposed to take up its stalled immigration reform bill this week, but that got put on hold as lawmakers turned their attention to rising energy prices. (For more on President Bush's meeting with key senators on the issue, click here).

The issue of reform could have a huge impact not only on the estimated 11.5 to 12 million unauthorized immigrants living in this country, but also on farms, since up to 40 percent those immigrants work in agriculture, according to World Perspectives, an agricultural consulting firm.

If the Senate manages to pass a bill, it would have to be reconciled with the House bill passed in December that includes neither a guest-worker program nor any legalization process for illegal immigrants already in the country. Both those provisions are in the stalled Senate legislation.


For more on the May 1 immigration rally, click here.

Are there really jobs that Americans just won't do? Click here.

Immigration reform threatens to cripple some industries, click here for more.