Wednesday, April 12, 2006

A Modest Proposal on Immigration and Trade

The related issues of immigration and trade have been "front burner" issues lately, but Congress appears gridlocked and no one seems to have a comprehensive solution. In that regard I wish to make a modest proposal.

No one's happy with the current system. NAFTA and the other free trade pacts negotiated by Bill Clinton and endorsed by both Republicans and leading Democrats have done a good job of providing multinational corporations with the cheap labor and freedom from over-restrictive labor and environmental laws that they need to keep shareholders happy, but those corporations are wasting good money shipping their goods from factories in India to their consumers here at home. American workers are understandably upset when their jobs are moved to other countries. The current system encourages illegal immigration, because as all the poorly-paid, dangerous, dirty work is outsourced to third-world nations, the relative quality of American jobs increases: foreigners come to America to work because our jobs are safer and better-paid than they are in their home countries. Employers want immigrant labor because it accepts lower wages and works harder despite worse working conditions than we coddled Americans will. And environmentalists have sagely noted that shipping goods long distances from overseas factories to U.S. consumers wastes energy.

But there's an easy solution to all these problems, and it lies in the realization that those illegal immigrants may be on to something after all. When they come here and displace well-paid, union-protected American workers by taking low-paying jobs under the table, they're really just importing outsourcing. What's the difference between legal free trade agreements that move American jobs to poor countries, and illegal immigrants from the same poor countries taking our jobs here at home? Does the American worker who's replaced by the foreigner really care whether that foreigner lives next door or in Bangladesh?

I say, let's run that ball! If we're going to export jobs and pollution, let's export them to America!

We can protect both American workers and American business by creating a free-trade zone RIGHT HERE IN THE U.S.! We're Americans, dammit, the best and the brightest; we can run maquiladoras as well as anyone. If Disney's California Adventure can recreate ALL OF CALIFORNIA on about thirty acres in Orange County, then our talented corporations should be able to recreate the Third World somewhere in the Arizona desert or the Monongahela Valley rust belt. In our new domestic free trade zone, we can have sweatshops as good as any in Honduras, China or Vietnam. If foreigners can harness 1950s pollution-control technology and 1800s labor practices for the 21st Century, then so can we!
Instead of employing Mexicans in Mexico, where they waste our perfectly good American pennies on Mexican tortillas, we can pay American workers the same free-market wages here at home, and make American tortilla-makers rich! Why should WalMart customers' money support some Chinese seamstress, when No Child Left Behind and the underfunding of Head Start have created our very own underclass of impoverished young women willing to work for a penny a seam? And since Mexican pollution blows right across the Rio Grande to pollute our air, and water always finds its own level anyway, why should we worry about environmental degradation and melting ice caps? If anyone's going to get rich by crapping on the environment, then bless it, it should be us!

As to the illegal immigrant problem, well, once we've leveled the playing field by making America's environment, job opportunities, and social safety net no better than they are in Guatemala and Guam, those people probably will pack up and head home of their own accord. Problem solved.

Some may think this is a far-fetched idea, but it's already being done in American protectorates like the Mariana Islands, where foresighted patriot Tom Delay has made sure that immigrant young women are able to freely find employment 18 hours a day churning out high-quality underwear proudly bearing the "Made in the U.S.A." label. Some say they don't get "benefits", but they do get free abortions, subsidized by their employers, which should please both conservatives who want to keep the welfare rolls lean and liberals who generally seem to like killing the unborn. Bottom line is, if free trade, unencumbered by environmental laws, unions, labor laws or safety rules is good enough for the little brown people we're protecting, then it darn well is good enough for honest, hardworking Americans in need of the same jobs!

I honestly can't think of a better plan. After all, the alternative -- negotiating the fair trade riders that should have been incorporated in Clinton's free trade agreements in the first place, backed up by protective tariffs on goods imported from countries that don't protect their workers and the world's environment the way we do -- is just anticapitalistic protectionism. And voters hate anticapitalistic protectionism.

Don't they?

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Linktos: Immigration Trade Immigration Trade Immigration and Trade Immigration and Trade: A Modest Proposal

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

“6 Reasons for Illegal Aliens not to come to the US”

1. States should not issue driver licenses to non US Citizens.
2. School districts throughout the nation should only allow US Citizens or properly documented children to attend schools.
3. Make it a law that if a non US Citizen gives birth while in the United States, the child does not automatically become a US Citizen.
4. Enforce the law, in fact increase the penalty (1 Year in Prison for the hiring manager and a $250,000.00 fine) for any company hiring an Illegal Alien.
5. Do not provide any medial or dental care to an individual that can not prove they are a US Citizen.
6. Only US Citizens should be entitled to any Government benefits.

MrMitch said...

#3 - Uh, does it not say in the Constitution (remember that silly thing?) that persons born here are given citizenship?
Jeebus, I feel like I'm in a "South Park" episode with reporters asking the president what he's going to do about this First Ammendment thing.

I Like Danceers said...

5. Do not provide any medial or dental care to an individual that can not prove they are a US Citizen.

I, too, am firmly opposed to medial care. Why should those in the middle get different treatment than those on the ends?

rez said...

3. Make it a law that if a non US Citizen gives birth while in the United States, the child does not automatically become a US Citizen.

I agree so much, I'll go you one further. Let's make it retro-active. If you can't prove that your parents came to America before, say, the year 1300CE, you have to go back to whichever country you emigrated from. It'll be easy to do. Not registered with a Native tribe? Get out. Then you can become Naturalized, once we decide to open our borders to foreigners.

Standing Bear for President!

lucretia said...

Thersites2: You and the readers' responses seem to think that illegal immigrants are here taking away American jobs for less pay and living on Medical/Medicaid. Yes they are.

In California many white middle class like you have for decades buried their heads in the sand, accepting happily this somewhat slave labor in the fields, in the homes, in factories.

At the present time in history Mexicans and white Americans benefit from this arrangement. But, you know, the Mexicans are human beings and once in awhile they or their kids get sick and we're supposed to be humane here, or if not, certainly quid pro quo?
That also applies to schooling, at least some until 9 or 10 years when the kids can be sent to the field/factories.

Get this straight: The illegals are not living off of us, we're living off of them. That's why Bush came out for immigration that gives this cheap, cheap labor--he loves it this way. Remember he had some bill early in his regime that committed immigrants taking a job here to staying for a 3-year period at low pay and indeterminate lodging? He lost out. It was reminiscent of early American indentured servants. Remember that in school?

Of course the Mexican immigrants should have drivers' licenses. Where does your head live? It lives where the white Californians live--it's a buried racial issue.
The immigrants drive anyway, illegally, because how else would they get to work, especially the fields? But they would benefit from the law Gov. Gray Davis got passed and Arnold the Carnard repealed when he was put in office by Enron and Bush. The law called for driver training to make better, safer drivers and would have legalized the driving of hardworking people, a lot harder working and more patient with life's troubles than any of you could possibly be.

carbon based said...

AMENDMENT XIV
Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868.
Section 1.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

It is hard to imagine that the intent of this was to bestow U. S. Citizenship on children of visitors, illegal immigrants, international fugitives, foreign soldiers, etc.

Thersites D. Scott said...

Yes, but it's funny how the same people who rail against "activist judges" somehow don't think "All persons born ... in the United States ... are citizens of the United States" means what it says.

carbon based said...

Well, thersites2, do you have an opinion on the meaning of the Second Amendment?

lucretia said...

Theresites2: I apologize for taking on readers responses anti-immigrant. I did not read carefuly and was thrown off by tiresome anoymous.

I do think your modest plan is just that, not realistic.

Thersites D. Scott said...

do you have an opinion on the meaning of the Second Amendment?

Yes. The Constitution provides for a permanent Navy but a temporary Army, with Army funding having to be renewed every two years by Congress. That reflected the Founders' belief that standing armies can easily become the tools of oppressive governments and/or can overthrow democratic governments and replace them with military juntas. Both to provide for the defense of the people against Indians and invading foreign powers AND as a counterbalance to governmental power, they believed that citizen militias were more reliable than professional armies.

Against that background, and reading the exact language of the Second Amendment, I firmly believe that the federal government should not interfere with the right of well-regulated citizen militias to be adequately armed, and that the regular Army should never be permitted to seize the armories of state-based National Guard units.

carbon based said...

OK .... "Against that background, and reading the exact language of the Second Amendment...."

What about every citizen having a bazooka and an AK-47(and a spotted pony too!)?

Amendment IV was instituted immediately after the Civil War (passed by Congress June 13, 1866, ratified July 9, 1868). The slaves had been emancipated, and the former citizens from the Confederate States of America were living under federal occupation. Would it be possible to interpret Amendment IV, Section 1 to have the intent to restore the Union and to provide for the citizenship of the freedmen, regardless of the state where they had been born, or then lived?

Anonymous said...

Lucretia, you ignorant slut, people who enter this country illegaly are not owed anything but a jail cell. They erode our job market and bring the standard of living down for the majority of citizens. Pull your head out and smell reality for a change.

Thersites D. Scott said...

Lucretia, you ignorant slut

Just once I'd like a troll with the courage to use even a fictitious name. They don't even have the guts to flame or troll under a pseudonym!!

Unless Lucretia asks me to pull that last comment down, which I'll gladly do, I'll leave it up for a while for laughs. They're getting desperate.