Sunday, June 12, 2016

Willis Hart Economic Illiteracy So Profound He Believes Immigration (Legal Or Illegal) Does Not Depress Wages "For The Most Part"

Seems that the "facts" the Libertarian blogger Willis Hart knows are frequently ones that can be learned in an "introductory" or "101" class. And thus people who don't "know" then are freaking morons. This despite the facts (as he see them) not being the facts.

Willis Hart: On the Fact that Donald Trump's Economic Illiteracy Is so Profound that He's Seemingly Unaware of the Fact that Immigration Doesn't Just Move the Supply Curve (Pertaining to Labor) but the Demand Curve, too (and Hence Wages Are NOT Pushed Down for the Most Part)... I guess that they didn't offer Econ 101 at the Wharton School during his tenure there (that or he skipped a shitload of classes). (6/12/2016 AT 9:49pm).

What Willis is overlooking here (intentionally?) is standard of living. While immigrants (legal or illegal) do need goods (food, clothing, shelter, etc) and therefore more supply is needed to fill their demand, they frequently come from poor countries and are therefore accustomed to getting by on less. And (especially if illegal) willing to work for less (perhaps for wages paid under the table). Or, due to the fact that they're here illegally, employers are willing to take advantage and pay less (no overtime, hours off the clock, other wage theft) to not report them to ICE.

So, for Willis to claim that "wages are NOT pushed down for the most part" is FALSE! This is one of the things you'd expect Donald Trump (as a businessman) to know. Although, when it comes to his supporters, he absolutely could be lying (fearmongering), in that the message to them is "the brown person is taking your job!". That's part of the reason his duped supporters want a wall on the Mexican border.

Although, even though we can't believe what Donald Trump says, we can look at what he has done, which is to hire foreigners.

...Donald Trump turned down 94% of American job applicants to his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach FL in favor of foreign workers brought in under the H-2B visa program ... this turns out not to be the first time that Donald Trump has undermined American workers to expand his profit margin. That has been his M.O. throughout his career.

In the early 1980s... In a lawsuit filed in Manhattan Federal Court, members of House Wreckers Local 95 alleged that, to avoid paying union employees their pension and welfare benefits, Trump (and the contractor he used for the job, Kaszycki & Sons) brought in some 200 undocumented Polish workers to demolish the Bonwit Teller building that then occupied the site of the future Trump Tower.

Thomas Macari, a vice president of Trump-Equitable and its manager in charge of the demolition of the Bonwit Teller Building, was on the site regularly. According to the court opinion, Macari "was involved in every aspect of the demolition job. He knew the Polish workers were working off the books, that they were doing demolition work, that they were non-union, that they were paid substandard wages with no overtime pay, and that they were paid irregularly if at all". (Donald Trump Thinks American Workers Aren't Good Enough for the Trump Organization by Ian Tuttle. The National Review 2/25/2016).

This, I think, is proof that Trump knows what he's talking about and isn't "economically illiterate". Given the fact that he has personally benefited from wages being pushed down by the hiring of foreign workers (which, while they were here legally under a visa program, didn't prevent Trump from taking advantage of them). This being the thing Willis said "for the most part" doesn't happen. Right.

The article excerpt above from the Conservative magazine, the National Review, which is a publication that has been described as "the bible of American conservatism". And whose authors include "paleo-conservatives, neo-conservatives, tea-party enthusiasts, the deeply religious and the agnostic, both libertarians and social conservatives, free-marketeers and the more protectionist".

Obviously the article must have been written by one of the protectionists, as many conservatives (IMO) know immigration depresses wages (especially illegal immigration) and want the depressing to continue (as it benefits the oligarchs they worship). Which is why the GOP politicians blather on about a border wall that will never be built (due to construction/maintenance costs which would be astronomical and logistical/legal issues).

If we were to deal with illegal immigration in a way that actually worked (comprehensive immigration reform including a path to citizenship and a national e-verify program) Conservative politicians wouldn't be able to gin up votes from racist constituents any longer (at least not as much). I mean, this is precisely the reason Trump made a border wall a signature issue in his campaign. One has to wonder, however, how his supporters would react if he were elected (and the wall not built. Which it would NOT be).

In any case, Trump knows hiring foreign workers over Americans depresses wages. The National Review knows it (or, some authors who work there know it). Making foreign workers into Americans (legal immigration/a path to citizenship for undocumented workers) depresses them less (Illegal Immigrants Depress Wages: So, Make Them Legal Immigrants, Forbes).

Because American workers have protections that bolster their wages (minimum wage, unions, etc). And they have rights that they are aware of, and so can't be intimidated and forced to work for less. The Trump situation (btw) being proof that we need to do something not just about illegal immigration (employers illegally hiring them, actually), but employer abuse of worker visas (The fix is in: Proof that H-1B visa abuse is rampant).

Which is why I say American jobs should be (almost exclusively) for American workers. If an employer can PROVE they can't find an American to do the job... well, we might need to bring in some foreign workers under a work visa program. But that should be a last resort.

But Willis doesn't bring up ANY of these issues AT ALL. He simply states that Trump is "economically illiterate" on the issue. A claim I think I have disproven. Trump's own actions show he is very literate when it comes to screwing American workers by hiring cheap foreign laborers.

BTW, I'm sure that Willis is completely oblivious to the fact that his argument (which there is a grain of truth to, as I pointed out) applies to labor outsourcing as well (which he supports. Although Libertarians refer to the exporting of jobs as "free trade", which it isn't). In that workers involved in the manufacture of goods for American markets have no effect on our demand curve at all (as they buy their goods and services in their home countries. You know, because that's where they're located).

Further proof of the Hartster's Libertarian economic illiteracy. I guess they didn't offer Econ 101 at Central Connecticut State University during his tenure there (that or he skipped a shitload of classes).

OST #152


  1. I am guessing Both Trump and Will may have done their fair share of skipping classes.

    We are great because we are a nation of immigrants and yes, immigration does result in some downward pressure on wages.

    Of course if one is a legal immigrant (or US citizen) working in a company operating with a collective bargaining agreement in effect the pressure is minimally felt.

    JAP, meaning, just another perspective .

    1. I agree. Although I'd say when more people are working under collective bargaining agreements the pressure on wages is upward.


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