U.S.A. fact of the day

The government granted 408,000 visas for guest workers in 2019, up from 103,000 in 2010. This growth began well before the start of Donald Trump’s term, but has recently come back into focus. If a proposed rule-change takes effect, guest workers could become an even larger source of labour in low-wage industries.

Here is more from The Economist.


Don't worry, they're only doing the jobs americans won't do--like sex worker, drug-dealer, urban public high school teacher, undercover journalist at the DNC, literature nobel prize winner, etc.

Don’t forget Pulitzer Prize-winning illegal aliens...

Right...because so many are sneaking into America to write...

So what is your model for enforcement the law? I'm aware that there is some discretion on the margins, but why is it okay to not enforce the law in this area? Why not other areas of the law, like business contracts, property crime, etc.?

Property crime laws here in California are a joke.

"Model for enforcement of the law"? Nothing could be simpler: enforce laws against your enemies and don't enforce laws against your friends and clients. Illegal immigration increases the size of my vote bank, so it's good and laws that prevent it don't get enforced.

Illegal aliens dont vote.

But they do. https://publicinterestlegal.org/files/Report_Alien-Invasion-in-Virginia.pdf

"PILF has removed Exhibits 1 and 7 to this Report, reproducing records provided by Virginia election officials that named Virginia registrants and voters and provided personal contact information for those registrants and voters. The records in Exhibit 1 show voters whose registrations had been cancelled based on a declaration of non-citizenship on a Department of Motor Vehicles form and who failed to affirm citizenship within two weeks of being sent a notice from election officials. PILF recognizes that individuals in Exhibits 1 and 7 were in fact citizens and that these citizens did not commit felonies. PILF profoundly
regrets any characterization of those registrants as felons or instances of registration or voting as felonies. We believe voter registration laws should be enforced so that non- citizens are not permitted to vote and that citizens remain on the voter rolls."

So... who is responsible for such a large number of low-wage workers entering the economy and competing with America's low-wage workers?

If an American cannot make enough money working, does not social welfare look like a reasonable option?

You need to get rid of the saftey net. Hispanics will walk/swim to America for those jobs. Most unskilled labor will not even move across the state.

Where where would they live? In places with jobs housing costs are high. Immigrants defeat this problem by crowding. If you try to legally add a bedroom to your house you have to pay a small fortune for permits and expansion of the leach field, but 40 illegal aliens can crowd into the house next door and suddenly their leach field is ok and it would be awful to to descriminate against people on the basis of family size (40). And yes, that really happened here except there were actually 43 in a 3 bedroom house. Nobody cares until the place burned down due to a faulty space heater. A little girl was killed.

Media still casting about for some economy-related fact to use against Trump, I see. Low-end wage growth is happening, though. Either the guest workers are actually competing with a different segment of the labor force, or this effect is minuscule as compared to the drop in border crossings.

The employers are responsible, but they most certainly do not want to pay more. Obviously not in wages, and not in taxes to make social welfare look like a reasonable option for anyone.

And why should they? The system is working to their benefit as it is.

What if the issue were framed as a consumer issue: with guest workers, the consumer pays one price for produce, without guest workers, the consumer pays a much higher price for produce. In the latter case, the angry birds would still complain, but about the price of produce rather than guest workers.

Guest worker visas are divided into two categories: H-2A visas for agricultural workers and H-2B visas for non-agricultural workers. The H-2A program isn't cheap: among other things, the employer must provide housing. No, guest workers are not the preferred choice of employers, it's often the only choice. With today's low unemployment rate, the pay to recruit a sufficient number of domestic workers would be so high that the price consumers would pay for produce would be significantly higher. And that's even assuming experienced domestic workers could be recruited at all.

So what's your choice angry birds: guest workers or significantly higher prices for produce?

Is $20 a year significantly higher?

'Giving the 3.5 million workers picking produce on American farms a raise to match the $15 an hour many fast food workers are fighting for sounds unaffordable, right?

Not really. According to University of California-Davis agricultural labor economist Philip Martin, the likely additional cost to American shoppers of that wage hike would be about $20 a year.

“Farmers don’t get much of the retail dollar, and then of course farmers don’t give everything they get to workers,” Martin says. “So it’s fractions times fractions, and you get down to a relatively small share for farmworker wages in retail food cost.” And Martin says that means that raising the wages for farmworkers wouldn’t cost most Americans very much money at all.' https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/food/the-plate/2016/03/31/can-we-afford-to-pay-u-s-farmworkers-more/

Since I represent a large (family owned) citrus business I am keenly aware of the rising costs and low margins and the shortage of labor. Climate change is making agriculture much more expensive, and unpredictable. I don't think Americans are aware of what's ahead. But Americans (and economists!) seem oblivious to the consequences of the failure to invest in productive capital and infrastructure. Americans are stupid, and proud of it!

Climate change was predicated on the greek goddess Niobe's vision for daughter.

How is climate change making agriculture much more expensive and unpredictable ? If anything CO2 should improve crop yields.

Carbon is rarely the rate limiter in crop yield. They have tested growing crops in high CO2 environments and yields are often better but the nutritional content decreases.



Your Sci. Am. link shows a 4% decrease in nutrients with enhanced CO2. Hardly a problem. Here is the Ontario agriculture department about CO2 in greenhouses. Their graph shows a very strong increase in photosynthesis due to carbon dioxide. They recommend a level of 800-1000 ppm as optimal. btw nobody is complaining or even mentioning lower nutrient content for these vegetables.

I was speaking to someone from an Appalachian state recently and he mentioned some extraordinary steps companies are taking to bring in and keep workers. For example, they are dumping huge amounts of money into job training and transitional programs for people in recovery from addiction, and then actively recruiting them into jobs. I think this is good, but I wonder at what point it makes sense for them to simply increase the wages enough to get reliable workers without all the other hassle, also whether guest workers would be an option for some of these employers.

Employers pay wages while we pay for training. We also pay the external costs of the so called "cheap" labor. Like the six kids they send to school.

These companies are paying for more than normally would, including special training, which is what makes it interesting. When does it become better for them to pay it in wages instead? Maybe we can bring in guest workers to build cars, but I kind of doubt it.

...are the future workers. You don't want children in the US?

I think it's because they are brown.

There doesn't seem to be much angst over financial and legal philistines reaping millions for navigating the arcane pathways of corporate theology, the secular religion of post-modern America. Executives walk away from failure with resources that dwarf the budgets of small cities. Best of all, minor league public employees protect and serve for a few years and then enjoy a hefty tax-payer supplied perpetual stipend to augment the next parasitic chapter in their increasingly longer life.

But if some "uneducated, unskilled" prole is put in a supply-demand situation that might marginally increase his income, then it's the end of the world as we know it because the price of the roma tomatoes for a salad have gone up by 8 cents a pound.

As I recall, the ABA does not certify foreign law schools. 'Globalization for thee but not for me.'

Maybe some of these highly-skilled workers could justify their monthly incomes by picking up some trash along the highway or mopping the courthouse floor once in awhile.

Since we gave up manufacturing I wonder what jobs are skilled. We dig hole in ground export resulting liquid and gas.

Gave up? There are 1 million people in the machinery manufacturing industry, another 1 million manufacturing computers and electronics, 800,000 in the chemical industry, etc. Manufacturing employment is down for a number of reasons but the industry continues to be an important part of U.S. GDP and even of the labor force.

Machinist jobs are in high demand and pay well. Of course, you need to have (or develop) an intuitive understanding of high school level trigonometry and coordinate geometry. And you have to want to work in a factory environment.

You don't hear much about machinists in the media. I suspect it's mostly cultural; the average j-skool grad has nothing in common with the average machinist. And since machinists are often paid more, the recipe for utter contempt is complete.

And you need a lot of training and experience in addition to that. Physicists are great at trig and coordinates but generally are terrible machinists.

On occassion I've heard that teenagers are now less likely to have summer jobs. I suspect that this is a factor.

Prior, your autism is immediately recognizable.

Go back to your handle.

The effort to put the middle class out of their jobs continues.

Nobody mentions The Wall, and its importance in stopping this kind of thing?

You might think writing all that you write might help. Not at all, my dear friend. You're as biased as anyone.

Have you ever gone to a US resort during the summer and been served by an Irish or Polish waiter.

I have.

Do you live in a state where teenagers of color or poor white children look for summer jobs, and do not find any?

I do.

Have you ever asked the resort owner why he doesn't recruit low income urban poor to work in his resort.

I have.

And, got no answer.

Work in your community to get urban youth summer jobs.

I did get one answer, which did not fully explain the situation of all foreign temp workers: School starts after labor day. But, even with that, there is a fall off at the resort after labor day, and some of the foreign workers head back home, where they attend colleges or find other temp work.

Does the employer get a break on FICA withholding for the immigrant waiter? I'm almost certain foreign "students" don't pay FICA:


It seems the incentives are strongly skewed against employing Americans.

Yeah this is the move Trump's properties pull.

Why do you fools take America to be the world. America is a nation state like any other one.

I have been to America as a tourist once. That was my point - American 'tianxia' - you have to be not so American to understand this - unless you're a not so brainy Canadian! TC, we'll check your eclecticism here!

And a post just disappeared. No so much free speech here. That's the basic thing - any 'tianxia', a larger or a smaller sub-group. But to protect the dominant group, it has to be removed. You don't say truth to the emperor do you, unless you're the emperor yourself.

Pale, male and stale while the turbaned lady is still on waiting for the tenure!

The appropriate number of visas granted to guest workers in an advanced and diversified economy is nil.

Why would this wreck our state universities? I think most state university systems already have a range of schools, some harder to get into than others. Berkeley is much harder to get into than SJSU, and that would remain true even if tuition were free. As long as the schools kept their selectiveness and grading standards, why would this change make them worse?

Is the effect you're worried about mainly on the top private colleges? Maybe Duke won't have a great selection of students if UNC Chapel Hill is free?

What am I missing?

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