Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Elgin forum autopsy - report #2

Sympathetic Schock
Mayor Ed Schock said some interesting things at the NPR forum the other night. He was bemoaning the fact that our government has allowed illegals to enter the country for many years and, because of that, we should not be coming up with laws and ordinances punishing them.

Here’s the quote: “Then after having had, and almost invited, millions of people to enter our country, to come up with draconian measures that’s going to punish those people once they are here is to attack the problem from the wrong end.”

It almost sounded like what Elvira told the Mexican congress back in August when she said: “The United States is the one who broke the law first by letting people cross over without documents and by letting people pay taxes.”

So, because no one has stopped me from speeding along I-90 all these years, they now have no right to pull me over and give me a ticket. Is that what Schock and Arellano are telling us? Heaven forbid they set up a radar gun and entrap me!

The mayor did expose the almighty dollar behind his thinking when he said: “The fact of the matter is, the economy of the United States is dependent upon and grown as a result of the immigration. The unfortunate thing is that this has had to occur too often in an illegal environment rather than a legal, orderly process.”

And later on in the evening Schock said:
“Of course there have been employee and employer abuses, but the key factor to remember is this; In the Chicago metropolitan area since 1970, 96% of the population growth in the entire six county Chicago metropolitan area has been as a result of Latino immigration. No immigration; no new workers. Our region would have lost jobs because of its inability to provide or find workers.”

George Borjas talks about a parallel economy with third world immigrants being both the consumer and the producer. It is an interesting discussion found in his book Heaven’s Door. Of course, all of society benefits from the illegal alien labor force, but we also suffer the consequences of taxation, social program costs, pollution, overcrowding, and crime at the hands of the illegals.

Perhaps worse is the fact that we could have and should have handled this societal adjustment ourselves. This crutch has prevented us from working through a slow-growth demographic model on our own. And our native sons and daughters have missed the opportunity for hard work. They now believe that working at McDonalds or on a landscape truck is beneath them. It’s work the illegals do, not them.

My first job was as a busboy in a department store restaurant. I worked Monday and Friday nights and all day Saturday. I was able to take off the occasional Friday night for a dance or a game. These days I wouldn’t have been given a chance to work there. Juan will work all day and won’t take any Fridays off.

But I worked with someone else that would have been marginalized. David was a 45 year-old man, strong as an ox but mentally a third grader. David was driven to work by his parents every day and he worked 9 to 5, Monday through Friday. David could bus dishes and remove them from the conveyor-type dishwasher. But he was incapable of firing up the dishwasher (steam valves, chemicals, etc) in the morning or even loading dishes on the belt. He was limited to unloading dishes, stacking them, and busing dishes.

The store gave him insurance benefits even though there wasn’t a federal law requiring it. In a year and a half, I only saw David unhappy twice. The rest of the time he was pleasant and happy to be working.

Today, some MBA would have him fired or laid off. “You can’t afford to carry a liability like that”, they’d say. Instead Juan would be hired, work a thousand hours, followed by another Juan for the rest of the year.

This ready supply of cheap labor means my kids won’t learn how to work like I did and guys like David will end up begging on the street corner.

Mayor Schock, the reason your area employers are behind you is because it is the easy way out of our slow-growth population challenge. Besides, the illegals spend money just like the citizens do.

In the process you’ve left a wake of social expenses. But the greater loss is to our own who have been displaced – entry-level workers and those with few skills and limited capacity. Mr. Schock, that is no bargain.

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