Submitted by Jeff Buster on Fri, 03/10/2006 - 12:45.


We hear of CAFTA, NAFTA, PAFTA, and how our government wants to help those people in areas with low wages by spreading democracy, “stabilizing” their governments, and letting our companies go and set up shop there. Reducing tariffs - we are told - will bring economic prosperity to economically “underdeveloped” regions.


    Our government also named its recent roll back (ie allowing an increase in pollution discharges from power plants, etc.) of our legacy national air quality act the “Blue Skies Program” and our national spying and rights reduction is called the “Patriot Act”.


I think we need to remember our Pavlovian teachings – when the dog goes to his dog bowl and gets an electric shock, the dog learns immediately not to go to his bowl, even though it looks tasty. The dog recognizes the bowl for what it has become – a trap. Our government has taken on a diabolical disingenuousness – cleverly using slogans and stories which convey to citizens exactly the opposite of what they know to be the truth. 


If our citizenry had canine IQ would we recognized that our country is being reduced to the level of those third world countries which our manufactures are said to be out to help?


Would we recognize that salaries here in the US are now at levels lower than they were in 1980?


Here is what I am certain about: in 1980 my partner and I operated a mid-sized construction company. Our starting salary for kids out of high school was 8 to 10 per hour. If they could drive a truck, the high end, if they couldn’t, the low range; no skills were required, it was on the job training. 


Today, the car wash down the street – which is owned by someone I know – employs all Guatemalans; even the foremen are Guatemalan. The pay ranges from minimum wage to $10.00 per hour. Another good friend of mine runs a large landscape company. He has about 50 employees. All but two are either from Mexico or Central America. 


The trash truck which collects the Town trash is driven by, and the pick-up fellows are, Latin American. Dunkin Donuts and the gas stations employ Middle Eastern workers. A local 40 truck (all refrigerated) green vegetable distributor – has all foreign workers. 


A very large local Cemetery –  – employs hundreds of temporary “farm laborers”  to maintain their grounds. They obtain a special license from the feds to import these workers.


The dairy farms, the fish processors, the poultry cutters and the meat slicers across the country all use out of the country labor.


Our government tells us that these migrant workers are doing jobs that US citizens don’t want to do – so that they are not really impacting employment availability –


This is “Blue Sky” BS. 



Of course every worker in our economy influences the entire pay scale of every other worker in our economy – because if Americans had to pay livable wages for their chicken breasts, or to have their lawns mowed, or to have their cars washed, or their cup o joe filled – wages for those jobs would immediately have to be in the 15 to 20 dollar range – and then US citizens WOULD be willing to do them. The reason these jobs are not now filled by US citizens is because they don’t pay enough for a US citizen to even get by on. 


When you buy that chicken – or anything else - processed at minimum wage – which is not a livable wage – you are part of the problem. 


So it is inevitable that with the introduction of non-voting, doubled and tripled up dorm living migrant workers here in the US, our US pay scale will continue to slide downhill until it reaches an equilibrium with the lowest of overseas wages. Following their bottom line, corporations who can't find low wage labor here will move the work to low wage areas.


It is not rational for Saudi Arabia to pump MORE oil to reduce the global oil price – they would be crazy to want to reduce the world oil price. Similarly, it would be crazy for the US and its businesses who are looking to locate production facilities overseas to want to INCREASE the wages in those areas. What is not crazy is for US business is to want to REDUCE wages in the US. 


There are two other factors associated with migrant labor which have a huge cascading effect on our US economy. First, many, many of the migrant workers are here without their families, so much of the money they earn here is wired back to their native countries.



That money is not spent here in the US economy. Second, the children of US citizens, - kids who used to take the jobs at the Dunkin Donuts, at the gas pump, and at the car wash and at the landscaper – aren’t working at all. Instead they are watching more TV or WoW or maybe they have a good paying job selling drugs. 


In France the minimum wage is about 15.00 per hour. The affect of this “living” wage is that many jobs were dropped – it is a two way street – if you insist on having a living wage, then you can’t morally expect others to work for less. For example, if you needed a bell hop at a hotel, you probably wouldn’t find anyone because the hotel made the decision that it was better to have the guests carry their own luggage, than to have to raise the hotel prices to pay for a bell hop. So that’s one job gone. Maybe that’s a good thing if it was a poorly paid job. What’s wrong with a labor market that doesn’t allow what are essentially poverty wages and pays only for what it decides it really needs?


Until we understand that we are seeing the global situation backwards – because we have been brainwashed by big business and our biznocratic™ government - we can’t begin to improve it.