2005 August 14 Sunday
Whites Still Do Manual Labor In Wisconsin

Over at No Speed Bumps Dan reports on how during a vacation trip in Wisconsin he found white people doing all the manual labor jobs that are done by Hispanics in Texas.

Two weeks ago I vacationed near Oshkosh, Wisconsin. One thing strikingly different than living in Texas was that there were few Hispanics. In Texas, Hispanics are found in all walks of life, from doctors to janitors.

With so many impoverished Hispanics illegally moving to Texas over the southern border each year, they have taken over most of the lower-skill jobs because they will work for less than American citizens. Go to any restaurant, hotel, or construction site and all of the basic manual labor tasks are being done by low-income Hispanics.

Anyway, while on vacation, in the hotels we stayed in all of the maid staff and other help were white. The same was true of all of the restaurants we ate in, from the cooks, to the bus boys, to the grounds keepers. I felt like we were in a time machine and in a strange land.

An interesting note about the maid staff at the hotels was the good cheer that they were in. They were constantly chatting among themselves and seemed very content as they went about their work. This reminded me that, yes, there is dignity to manual labor, and yes, white people can still do manual labor.

This runs counter to the fashionable argument today justifying the open border policy with Mexico. The argument goes that America could just not function without all of the low-skill workers coming in to do all of the manual labor. Well, that is ridiculous. It may drive prices up some, if American citizens (whether white, black, or any other race) must do the work but the work will still get done, one way or another.

One of the big whopper lies told by open borders advocates such as George W. Bush is that there are "jobs that Americans won't do". This is nonsense. One only need travel to those places where the bulk of the population is still white to see that this claim is false propaganda.

As for the argument that a lack of cheap immigrant labor will drive up prices, it rests on three fallacies:

  • That low skilled labor makes up much of total costs. Wrong-o sleigh bell lovers. The bottom quintile of the United States population earns only 3.5% of national income. 20% get 3.5%. If we deported all the illegal aliens and stopped all low skilled and moderate skilled immigration the bottom 20% would see some significant increase in their wages. But that increase would be unlikely raise total prices by even a couple of percent. We don't pay them that much. A 10% or 20% increase in their salaries won't matter much to the rest of the population.
  • That there are no substitutes for cheap labor. Again, wrong-o sleigh bell lovers. Necessity is the mother of invention. In all likelihood, faced with higher labor costs industry would be more eager to develop and buy more capital equipment and to arrange the methods of purveying goods and services to decrease the amount of labor needed. In fact, we have an example available for what the lack of cheap immigrant labor will do to an industry. The Australian wine industry is more automated than the American wine industry due to lack of cheap immigrant labor in Australia. Ben Franklin was right. We'd advance more rapidly without simple minds available to do simple tasks cheaply.
  • That there are no external costs to cheap unskilled immigrant labor. And once again, wrong-o sleigh bell lovers. Low skilled laborers can not afford to pay for their own medical care. They don't pay enough in taxes to pay for the educations of their children. They do not make enough to pay for their retirements in the United States. The list goes on. Oh, and they commit crime at higher rates. So they cost crime victims and also the criminal justice system. A year for an inmate at Rikers Island in New York costs $47,000. Criminals are expensive for the rest of us in many ways.

The Open Borders advocates are deeply dishonest. They know their propaganda is based on fallacies. America's elites are corrupt. They lie. They can not be trusted. America is going down a very wrong path. Our leaders in business and politics are to blame. But so are apathetic members of the public. It is time to wake up and demand a stop to massive immigration. The costs have become far too high and will be with us for decades to come.

Update: Linda Thom reports that whites still do manual labor on Whidbey Island in Washington State.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2005 August 14 06:44 PM  Immigration Economics


Comments
razib said at August 14, 2005 8:55 PM:

in vermont too. many more latinos work in oregon than 10 years ago though, and i hear that similar things are going on in the south. i suspect that for a variety of reasons the upper midwest and new england (distance, climate, cost of living) will resist latino labor the longest.

Mark said at August 14, 2005 10:59 PM:

Resistance is futile. Viva La Rasa.

John S Bolton said at August 14, 2005 11:26 PM:

There would be a net savings from reversing the antimerit immigrant flow, some of which would be passed on to the consumers. If the bottom 20% gets paid so little that their wages could double without the rich even noticing it, shifting 4% of the total income away from the top 80% over several years, that is a worthwhile price to pay. There is no economic need to increase the size of the bottom end; it isn't about money, it's about power. How to get power, when there are no ideas; won't they use immigration to increase racial conflict, and say that officials must have more power?

Dave Schuler said at August 15, 2005 7:47 AM:

For some reason my trackbacks to this post don't take, so ping!

Kurt said at August 15, 2005 10:01 AM:

Eastern Washington, North Idaho, and Montana are alot like Wisconsin in that low end labor jobs are done primarly by whites. We have very few illegal aliens in this part of the country. This is good because we have much less of the "servant" culture that you see in California and other places. People clean their own homes and often do their own yard work. If you have someone else do these things, they are done by outside services operating more like independent business people rather than as "domestics". Not having the illegal immigrants means that we have a much more "do it yourself" mentality than, say, in Southern California.

I do not like that "class" mentality that illegal immigration has produced in places like California and Texas. I think having distinct social classes, especially if they are of different races, is very destructive to the future of the U.S. The "open-borders" people need to be grilled over this issue.

Jim said at August 15, 2005 1:22 PM:

razib - don't underestimate the number of mexicans in the upper midwest - chicago has the 2nd highest mexican population in the u.s. after l.a. granted this isn't wisconsin, but....

randall - in a similar, practical manner that you approach alternative energy solutions, i.e. can't tell people to drive less or other inconveniences that would be a political non-starter in america today; what would be your political platform for immigration that would be politically feasible? i would love to know what you'd recommend, having put considerable thought to this issue, assuming something like you were an advisor to your senator. thanks.

Steve Sailer said at August 15, 2005 2:03 PM:

I spent a few days in Sierra Vista, AZ, a booming town about 15 miles north of the Mexican border. Strikingly, the maids in my motel were white, as were a lot of the other service workers. The answer to this paradox is that Sierra Vista is within the narrow band heavily policed by the Border Patrol. If illegal aliens are found there, they are deported. But if they make it far enough north to Tucson or Phoenix, well, they're Ollie Ollie Home Free.

Randall Parker said at August 15, 2005 3:33 PM:

Jim,

Perhaps I don't understand your question. Politically feasible? I think a candidate for the Presidency could run on a platform to deport all the illegals and win. The dollar cost to the government of deporting all the illegals would be pretty low.

The anger about the immigrant deluge is building. But politicians are chasing the votes of Hispanics, the Democrats see them as a solid Democrat voting bloc (and they are), and some business interests want cheap labor.

I'd tell a US Senator to submit a bill to fund a barrier along the entire length of the border. I'd also propose upping the number of Border Patrol by 20,000 and setting them loose in the interior with orders to round up all illegals. Congress should give instructions to DHS to resume interior enforcement.

Jim said at August 16, 2005 2:54 PM:

RP, yeah, I wasn't too articulate on the question. You partly answered my incomplete question, in paragraph 3 of your response, although the current political infeasibility of your approach is highlighted in paragraph 2 of your response.

I guess I'm looking for more tactics. I generally agree with you - low cost, low productivity workers are a general drain on our society. this needs to be limited.

One political tactic that occurs to me is targeting labor unions.... how are they possibly for immigration is beyond me. I mean the game is limited supply of workers in industries with somewhat fixed demand for labor will necessarily push up labor costs (i.e. economics101 of supply-demand, right) so why on earth do current labor unions vote support immigration - it is simply against their best economic interest. part of the answer is that these workers empathize with immigrants, and may be recent immigrants themselves, but that doesn't seem like enough. I think it comes down to the average union guy not getting the game, and his leaders really don't care about the workers, just more numbers - more better in the leaders' point of view.

while the wall idea is simple and elegant, my gut tells me that it's too inflamatory to get real political traction. 90% of the effect could probably be achieved with better surveilance and enforcement.

i think the interior enforcement is as simple as looking for TIN's of employers rather than SSN's of their employees. something (and i have no good ideas here) would be needed to transition all the farms, restaurants, etc. who rely on cheap immigrant labor currently to keep their businesses going when the real immigration starts. (maybe we start after the fall harvest, giving the farmers half a year to find suitable capital/labor replacements. Mabye it's retraining of currently unskilled, unemployed citizens.

The final unanswered issue that I see as I write this, is what to do with the immigrants who have U.S. born, citizen children? Personally, I couldn't support separating children from their parents (and that would be at least as expensive to society)

Obviously a big part of changing policy is what you're already doing on this blog - education/discussion of real costs/benefits to society. get the winners on your side, minimize and appease the losers, and compromise.... politics.

Randall Parker said at August 16, 2005 3:16 PM:

Jim,

Oh, tactics? I've made this case in the past: Go local. Go state level. The referendum process is the way ot go in the West. Check out the California Border Police initiative. Now, California might be too overrun with Hispanics to get the initiative passed. But it has a chance. Also, a similar initiative could be done in Arizona which also has a state ballot initiative procses.

I've argued for state-level funding of border barriers and also state initiatives to order police to round up illegal aliens.

D Flinchum said at August 16, 2005 5:25 PM:

"One political tactic that occurs to me is targeting labor unions.... how are they possibly for immigration is beyond me. I mean the game is limited supply of workers in industries with somewhat fixed demand for labor will necessarily push up labor costs (i.e. economics101 of supply-demand, right) so why on earth do current labor unions vote support immigration - it is simply against their best economic interest."

If you were to poll rank and file union members, I'm sure that they would break out no differently than non-union members - overwhelmingly against illegal immigration and for lower legal immigration. It's the leaders/average Joe disconnect that we get in the general population. The leaders aren't competing with illegal immigrants to hang drywall for peanuts.

I hit a labor blog (lots of staffers etc, few rank and file)where I brought up this issue a couple of times, including a breakdown of how bad McCain-Kennedy was not just for US workers but also for the illegal workers it was supposed to be helping (EX: Workers must pay back taxes in order to be "normalized" but employers don't.). I put a lot of thought into it, steered clear of sensationalism, name-calling etc. I was accused of tasteless immigrant bashing, called a xenophobe, and told I should "join the 21st century". In view of the fact that this was occurring simultaneously with the CAFTA vote - which these same folks were against - and those of us who were against CAFTA were being accused of refusing to join 21st century globalization, I thought it was a bit weird.

It is incomprehensible to me that people who understand that shipping US jobs out to cheap labor countries is bad for US workers don't seem to understand that the flipside is importing (or allowing it to import itself) cheap labor to perform jobs in the US that can't be imported.

D Flinchum said at August 16, 2005 5:29 PM:

Correction:It is incomprehensible to me that people who understand that shipping US jobs out to cheap labor countries is bad for US workers don't seem to understand that the flipside is importing (or allowing it to import itself) cheap labor to perform jobs in the US that can't be EXPORTED.

RPM said at August 16, 2005 8:58 PM:

I agree with Kurt 100%. Here in downstate Illinois (forget that Chicago mess) we still mow our own yards. I know no one with a full time housekeeper or cook. I hate how the Southwest and West Coast is basically importing a servant class. Like John Derbyshire says, we're Saudi Arabianizing the American workforce and witnessing the death of Can-Do America. Disgusting.

AMac said at August 17, 2005 1:55 PM:

This long article on the Open Borders lobby from the January 2004 Front Page Magazine (caveat lector) makes interesting and grim background reading for this post.

http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=11838

lindenen said at August 18, 2005 10:37 PM:

Randall, could you explain the math behind this statement? I don't really know economics well, so I'm really curious. Plus, I'd like to be able to prove it to people I may argue with?

"That low skilled labor makes up much of total costs. Wrong-o sleigh bell lovers. The bottom quintile of the United States population earns only 3.5% of national income. 20% get 3.5%. If we deported all the illegal aliens and stopped all low skiilled and moderate skilled immigration the bottom 20% would see some significant increase in their wages. But that increase would be unlikely raise total prices by even a couple of percent. We don't pay them that much. A 10% or 20% increase in their salaries won't matter much to the rest of the population."

Randall Parker said at August 18, 2005 10:59 PM:

Lindenen,

A few points:

1) In inflation-adjusted terms minimum wage was much higher in the late 1960s. I don't have the numbers in front of me but if memory serves the minimum wage rate from, say, 1968 would be at least $12 per hour in 2005 dollars. Wages at the bottom didn't just not keep up with increase at higher income levels but actually declined in the last 30+ years.

What caused the decline at the bottom:

2) Part of the decline in income at the bottom is due to international trade.

2) Part of the decline at the bottom is due to automation.

3) More low skilled workers are available to do the work at the bottom. Lots of the Hispanic influx is now here to stay due to babies being born here and due to amnesties. So our Permanent Disadvantaged Minority populations are larger. Hence the supply of low skilled labor is larger.

So even deporting all the illegals wouldn't get us back to where we were in terms of wage distribution before the Hispanic influx.

I'm guessing on just how much wages at the bottom would go up if all the illegals were deported and the influx of low skilled workers was totally stopped. But I'm guessing based on a combination of what the historical wages were for the bottom versus higher skilled workers and also due to the fact that we know that the demand for low skilled labor has dropped due to automation and trade. I just can't imagine the bottom getting back all the ground they lost. Well, even if they regained all the ground they lost their wages still wouldn't double.

I haven't googled up references to all the pertinent facts underlying this argument. But I've read the relevant stuff and have read arguments from labor economists arguing about what percentages of the wage decline at the bottom is due to illegals, trade, technology, etc. I didn't bother to google up all that because I didn't expect anyone to be interested.

Randall Parker said at August 18, 2005 11:01 PM:

Lindenen,

A few points:

1) In inflation-adjusted terms minimum wage was much higher in the late 1960s. I don't have the numbers in front of me but if memory serves the minimum wage rate from, say, 1968 would be at least $12 per hour in 2005 dollars. Wages at the bottom didn't just not keep up with increase at higher income levels but actually declined in the last 30+ years.

What caused the decline at the bottom:

2) Part of the decline in income at the bottom is due to international trade.

2) Part of the decline at the bottom is due to automation.

3) More low skilled workers are available to do the work at the bottom. Lots of the Hispanic influx is now here to stay due to babies being born here and due to amnesties. So our Permanent Disadvantaged Minority populations are larger. Hence the supply of low skilled labor is larger.

So even deporting all the illegals wouldn't get us back to where we were in terms of wage distribution before the Hispanic influx.

I'm guessing on just how much wages at the bottom would go up if all the illegals were deported and the influx of low skilled workers was totally stopped. But I'm guessing based on a combination of what the historical wages were for the bottom versus higher skilled workers and also due to the fact that we know that the demand for low skilled labor has dropped due to automation and trade. I just can't imagine the bottom getting back all the ground they lost. Well, even if they regained all the ground they lost their wages still wouldn't double.

I haven't googled up references to all the pertinent facts underlying this argument. But I've read the relevant stuff and have read arguments from labor economists arguing about what percentages of the wage decline at the bottom is due to illegals, trade, technology, etc. I didn't bother to google up all that because I didn't expect anyone to be interested.

Jorge D.C. said at August 22, 2005 1:09 AM:

I agree with Kurt 100%. Here in downstate Illinois (forget that Chicago mess) we still mow our own yards. I know no one with a full time housekeeper or cook. I hate how the Southwest and West Coast is basically importing a servant class.

Just want to chime in with Kurt and RPM that real Americans mow their own goddamn lawn and do their own laundry. Even in the south only 10% or so owned slaves and later employed black servants. In SoCal cities there is an anti-American vibe in the affluent communities that is sickening. For regular Americans that is the accurate term to describe the feeling of being exposed to the phenomenon. Sickening. Not so ironically, a lot of the employers of the Mexican servant class are Armenians, Iranians, Jews, Chinese etc. The usual market-dominant minorities. This is not to excuse the old-fashioned rich white person in America who will definitely employ the cheapest most competent domestics he can find. Just the way it is.

Like John Derbyshire says, we're Saudi Arabianizing the American workforce and witnessing the death of Can-Do America. Disgusting.

Well, increasing affluence has it's repurcussions. If greed isn't ranked #1 of the seven deadly sins it should be. Greed can wreck nations and presumably entire planets.



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