The Dobbs Story and What it Really says About Illegal Immigration

The Lou Dobbs story simply underscores the fact that the illegal immigration debate is fundamentally about labor supply and demand.

The things that strikes me the most about revelations (as noted earlier today by Doug Mataconis) that Lou Dobbs and his family employed illegal immigrants isn’t the gotcha nature of “Ha! Lou Dobbs is such a hypocrite” (although I think it is fair to call him such).  Rather, it is that the story of stable hands and gardeners underscores the reality of a specific segment of the US economy that is real and involves a large number of people doing hard jobs.  People like Dobbs (and his supporters/fans) always act as if solving the problem of migrant Mexican labor is easy (enforcement!) when, in fact, we are talking about a structural part of our economy that is not so easy to extricate and which touches more of us than we (or, at least, people like Dobbs) care to admit.

I won’t even get into the question of whether Dobbs knowingly hired illegal immigrants, although I think he is smart enough to at least have had serious suspicions. However, what is especially worthy of criticism is the fact Dobbs has to understand the degree to which his lifestyle is directly serviced by immigrant labor.  The bottom line is that a large number of persons who work in fairly menial tasks (such as gardening) are immigrants, many of whom are undocumented.  Indeed, I am pretty sure that was what Colin Powell was referring to when he got himself into trouble on MTP a few weeks back when he said “They’re all over my house, doing things whenever I call for repairs, and I’m sure you’ve seen them at your house. We’ve got to find a way to bring these people out of the darkness and give them some kind of status.” He took a great deal of criticism for being honest misspeaking and had to walk back the statement (Colin Powell clarifies remarks to say he doesn’t hire illegal immigrants).

Powell was simply acknowledging reality, i.e., the fact that the roughly 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States are mostly at work in our economy and they are doing things like cleaning houses, watching kids, roofing houses, doing repair work, and frying hamburgers.

However, Dobbs and his allies don’t want to deal with reality, instead they seek to engage in a combination of demagoguery and fantasy.  The fact that Dobbs himself is the direct beneficiary of such labor simply underscores this fact.

The bottom line is that the odds are incredibly good that all of us have, at one time or another, been the beneficiaries of  illegal migrant labor, whether it be in keeping down the cost of burgers at the local fast food establishment or in keeping the cost down on the framing and roofing of one’s house.

As I have stressed over and over and over on this topic, the proper diagnosis is necessary for the proper policy prescriptions to be applied and yet, instead, we get get either the sanctimoniousness of people like Lou Dobbs or the rantings of politicians like Jan Brewer and friends.

The reality of the situation is that we have an obvious demand for this labor in our economy and there is a clear supply of said labor south of the border.  Either we realistically deal with that fact and craft a policy that deals with reality or we will continue to stumble along as we have.  While it is true that some people enter the US illegally because of drug smuggling/with criminal intent and that some may come for social services, but the bottom line of the entire situation is one of labor supply and demand.

I would, by the way, include here the Meg Whitman story about her housekeeper (see here) in the same category as Dobbs’ situation.  Again we have someone who was more than willing to use the topic of illegal immigration for personal political gain whilst being a partaker of that which was being decried.

FILED UNDER: US Politics, , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Brummagem Joe says:

    “As I have stressed over and over and over on this topic, the proper diagnosis is necessary for the proper policy prescriptions to be applied”

    Or course it’s about supply and demand just like the drug trade or any other economically driven situation. The OECD have estimated that the US is going to require something like 25 million emigrants if the growth rates of the last thirty years are going to be maintained over the next 20. And yet Brewer, and the nativists of the GOP (which is supposed to be the party of business) are determined to block it. Unfortunately, the Republican party as long ceased to be the party of proper diagnosis. They prefer to rely on their gut for solutions.




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  2. Wayne says:

    Maybe we need better ways of insuring workers are here legally and have harsher punishment for those who falsify documentation. Of course some actual enforcement wouldn’t hurt either.

    The problem with a labor force that have no issue with breaking laws is that they undercut the legal labor force who are willing to follow the laws. Giving them amnesty will not change their attitude about following laws.




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  3. Brummagem Joe says:

    “25 million emigrants” oops “immigrants” of course.




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  4. Brummagem Joe says:

    “The problem with a labor force that have no issue with breaking laws”

    You could say the same about speeding or talking on the phone while driving. There are some laws that stupid and/or very hard to enforce like prohibition. When laws come up against an overwhelming social or economic imperative they invariably fail to be effective.




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  5. PD Shaw says:

    The problem is that catering to the lazy bums who don’t want to operate a can opener only creates a cycle of dependency where nobody will know how to operate a can opener.

    And then come the Morlocks and they eat up all the pretty people living their banal lifestyles in idealistic comfort.




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  6. James Joyner says:

    Or course it’s about supply and demand just like the drug trade or any other economically driven situation.

    I used to use the illegal immigrants = cocaine argument when teaching undergrads.




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  7. I used to use the illegal immigrants = cocaine argument when teaching undergrads.

    Heck, I still do: the fundamental dynamic is the same.




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  8. mantis says:

    You can’t snort illegal immigrants!




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  9. PD Shaw says:

    “we have an obvious demand for this labor in our economy and there is a clear supply of said labor south of the border”

    Watch where you say “we” kemo sabe. I do my own lawn and garden work, mix my own drinks and watch my own kids. Some people have a demand for services they don’t want to have to pay the legal price for.




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  10. John Personna says:

    Another factor which cannot be discussed is the impact on the defacto minimum wage.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe illegals typically earn a couple bucks an hour below minimum. Not as low as overseas labor by any means, but enough to shape the cost structure in many industries.




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  11. Brummagem Joe says:

    Jim/Steve: when did Republicans start ceasing to understand the most basic economic principles. I blame it on Laffer.




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  12. mantis says:

    Watch where you say “we” kemo sabe

    I’ll watch for him.

    “we have an obvious demand for this labor in our economy”

    Do you think he might have been using “we” to refer to the United States, and not you and him, maybe? Hmmm? The existence of demand in an economy is not dependent upon every single person exhibiting it.




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  13. John Personna says:

    I was pecking slowly on my phone as PD also came to price.

    I think if illegals were gone an the min wage were enforced, we’d have “some of each” in that in some segments people would pay more, but some industries would contract. Some would hire legal stable help, and some would give up horses.




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  14. Brummagem Joe says:

    PD Shaw says:
    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 15:50
    “Some people have a demand for services they don’t want to have to pay the legal price for.”

    An immediate demonstration of my point. This Republican doesn’t seem to understand that most basic fact of US economic life. Americans are addicted to low prices and they don’t pay too much attention to how they are arrived at. Whether its furniture made in Chinese prisons or lettuces picked by illegal immigrants, it’s the price that counts.




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  15. John Personna says:

    Not cheap enough Joe, what with food stamp usage at an all-time high.

    (actually I t




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  16. John Personna says:

    Doh that misfired. I think food is cheap, but it comes AFTER lodging and transportation which are not. Enough phone pecking!!




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  17. legion says:

    we are talking about a structural part of our economy
    That’s really hitting it on the head – Pretty much nobody in the US (certainly nobody in the MSMedia) wants to address the fact that a massive chunk of our standard of living is subsidized by labor we simply couldn’t afford if it weren’t being done by a) illegals here, or b) people in other countries, who will never be earning the amount of money an American would demand for the same job.

    And PD:
    Watch where you say “we” kemo sabe. I do my own lawn and garden work, mix my own drinks and watch my own kids.
    I do too, but I’ll wager a large chunk of change that neither you nor I make anywhere near as much money as Lou Dobbs or Meg Whitman. If we did, I think there are some things we do now that we’d strongly consider farming out to someone else. The difference then between what we think we are and what we know they are is greed in being willing to save money by hypocritically flouting the very laws people like Lou & Meg get paid to trumpet…




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  18. PD Shaw says:

    mantis, why are you reluctant to bring up the issue of “class” here? Joe lunch pail isn’t having trouble finding a decent au pair and gardener.




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  19. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Is there some part of ILLEGAL, in the term Illegal alien that is difficult to understand? First responsibility lies with the federal government, which has failed in its task of protecting and defending our borders from those who would invade. To blame anyone like Dobbs for utilizing what is available is in it self hypocritical. But since the left has no morals or values. Ethics are also wanting on the left. That is obvious to anyone who reads the comments here. Those who do not strongly oppose invasion should have their house invaded and have the invaders refuse to leave. To be liberal is to be stupid.




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  20. Brummagem Joe says:

    PD Shaw says:
    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 16:16
    “mantis, why are you reluctant to bring up the issue of “class” here?Joe lunch pail isn’t having trouble finding a decent au pair and gardener.”

    What are you trying to do now launch a class war? And since when ISN’T Joe Lunch Pail the main purchaser of all that cheap stuff in Wal Mart?




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  21. mantis says:

    mantis, why are you reluctant to bring up the issue of “class” here?

    Because I was just pointing out how silly your implication that “I’m not looking to buy something, therefore there is no demand for it in the economy” was. Didn’t really seem like something that had a “class” angle to it.

    Joe lunch pail isn’t having trouble finding a decent au pair and gardener.

    Me neither. I take care of my own lawn just like you. That doesn’t mean other people don’t hire gardeners.




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  22. PD Shaw says:

    legion, I certainly agree that it can be more difficult for the rich to be good people, but I’m still not terribly sympathetic with the idea of illegal labor. I feel that way about slavery too btw.




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  23. Herb says:

    “I do my own lawn and garden work, mix my own drinks and watch my own kids. Some people have a demand for services they don’t want to have to pay the legal price for.”

    I know you’re an island of self-sufficiency, PD, but I’m sure you eat food just like the rest of us. Chances are some of it (most of it?) was grown, picked, packaged, or prepared by an illegal immigrant.

    You don’t need to own horses or have a gardener on staff to benefit from illegal labor. You just need a healthy appetite.




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  24. Brummagem Joe says:

    “Me neither. I take care of my own lawn just like you. That doesn’t mean other people don’t hire gardeners.”

    As I pointed out PDS is one of those Republicans who doesn’t understand and/or is in denial about the most basic economic facts of life. I know of a perfectly respectable lady in her mid 70’s whose on a fixed income who recently had her historic clapboard house painted at half the going rate by guys some of whom were probably illegals. In West LA where I visit occasionally the area is alive with Mexicans mowing and painting, a goodly number of whom are probably illegal. If all these guys are committing crimes they are doing it with the aid of most of the American people and that includes the sainted PDS.




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  25. Steve Plunk says:

    Dr. Taylor,

    Criticism of Whitman seems off base. Her employee falsified documents and Whitman paid her much more than minimum wage. When the deception came to light she let her go immediately. Her situation is very different than the typical one.

    ZRIII makes the point that regardless of supply and demand illegal immigrants are still here illegally. It seems both political parties shy away from reform for variety of reasons (mostly having to do with reelection) regardless of the economics.

    Whatever steps may be taken to solve this problem should be tempered and phased in over time. We are already experiencing a crisis of economic uncertainty so making it worse with more uncertainty is unwise.




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  26. Steve Plunk says:

    Oh, I almost forgot, I mow my own yard as well.




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  27. Stephen Taylor is wrong in several ways, and just one is thinking that we really have an actual “demand” for such labor. Rather, the ready availability of large amounts of illegal labor pushes out a better, more American way of doing things: automation, mechanization, and good wages under safe conditions for American or at least legal workers.

    If, unlike Stephen Taylor, you oppose the illegal immigration-supporting establishment, do what I’ve spent my valuable time doing, assisted by no one else: calling their little helpers out over lying about this story. See examples in my feed: twitter.com/24AheadDotCom

    Don’t buy the sweet lies from the “Tokyo Rose” types (some of whom have a financial or electoral stake) who tell you we need massive illegal labor to get our jobs done, it just isn’t true.




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  28. Watch where you say “we” kemo sabe. I do my own lawn and garden work, mix my own drinks and watch my own kids.

    As someone already noted, by “we” I mean the US.

    However, while I, too, mow my own lawn (well, my oldest son does now) and watch my own kids, etc., I would note that unless you never buy produce, never eat at fast food restaurants, never stay at hotels/motels and any number of other things, the odds are that you are not as untouched by illegal labor as you think.




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  29. @Steve: I think you miss the point of why I included Whitman. The fundamental point has to do with the significant prevalence of illegal immigrants in the workforce.

    And we can all point out how illegal it is all day long–that’s not addressing the problem though, now is it? More to the point: we need a new set of policies (and laws) to deal with the situation. Laws can be modified and changed to adapt to conditions on the ground, not what we would like the conditions to be. The current immigration laws weren’t written in granite by the finger of God and therefore are mutable. We need a workable policy and we currently do not have one.




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  30. Stephen Taylor is wrong in several ways, and just one is thinking that we really have an actual “demand” for such labor

    If you think that that is the case, then you do not understand what “demand” is.




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  31. PD Shaw says:

    Herb, to follow-up on my reference to slavery, I have no problem with the notion that in antebellum America, non-slaveholders were part of an economy which all received direct and indirect benefits from slavery. I similarly am part of economy in which illegal labor is a part.

    The question is whether minimum standards for labor, including minimum wages, overtime, health and safety standards should exist. I agree w/ John Persona that a certain percentage of this work would disappear if done completely by the book. That percentage is the demand for illegal labor, not demand for fruits or childcare or day laborers.




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  32. Brummagem Joe says:

    Steve Plunk says:
    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 16:44
    Dr. Taylor,

    “Criticism of Whitman seems off base. Her employee falsified documents and Whitman paid her much more than minimum wage. When the deception came to light she let her go immediately. Her situation is very different than the typical one.”

    Yeah right. An illegal works for you for NINE years and you NO IDEA they are illegal…even though you got a notification they probably were……Then when (arrgghhhhh shock horror) you find out they are illegal you turn your back on them immediately and won’t even help them to find a path to legality even though you’re a billionaire and hiring a lawyer to take care of it would be a nothing.




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  33. mantis says:

    The only demand 24ahead is interested in is related to traffic to his website.




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  34. Brummagem Joe says:

    PD Shaw says:
    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 16:56
    “Herb, to follow-up on my reference to slavery, ”

    Yeah right. Much easier to talk about slavery than address the economic realities of illegal immigration of which PDS along with the rest of America is a beneficiary.




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  35. The question is whether minimum standards for labor, including minimum wages, overtime, health and safety standards should exist.

    And, further, whether the current legal regime surrounding immigration makes sense in upholding or bypassing those standards. This is part of the point.




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  36. James says:

    Yellow Line: Steve and James tend to drive on the West side of the Yellow Line 🙂




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  37. Brummagem Joe says:

    “If you think that that is the case, then you do not understand what “demand” is.”

    Another Republican Exhibit A to prove my case Steve. They either don’t understand or if they do, realize the economics are against them so go into denial or change the subject.




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  38. Juneau: says:

    @ Brummagen joe

    You could say the same about speeding or talking on the phone while driving. There are some laws that stupid and/or very hard to enforce like prohibition.

    Relativism at its best… Only problem? Speeding or talking on the phone while driving do not continue to cost me, the taxpayer, thousands of dollars – year, after year, after year. Like illegal immigration does. In ever-increasing amounts.

    You hear the latest and greatest? Our oh-so-offended neighbor to the south, Mexico, is building a fence – yes, that’s right, a fence – across its southern border to keep out ILLEGAL Guatemalans and such. But of course, for us to do that would be just…. out of the question according to libs. The liberal’s attitudes are making them bigger and bigger fools each and every day. And the average American is noticing…




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  39. Wayne says:

    Re “More to the point: we need a new set of policies (and laws) to deal with the situation.”

    Good point. First we need to reduce the minimum wage. Do a big overhaul of the welfare system so it doesn’t pay more to not work than work. Redo the tax code, bureaucracy and labor regulations to make it much less oppressive in hiring legals. Get control of the border.

    Once that is done and if we need more labor after that, we can increase our immigration quotas.




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  40. PD Shaw says:

    Prof. Taylor, I think supply precedes demand here. The U.S. has had (probably since it’s founding) labor flows stemming from comparatively higher benefits that the country of origin. You have a huge supply of illegal immigrants along the Southern borders willing to do work of perceived low value cheaply. Latinos are not sneaking across the border to be brain surgeons; they are sneaking across the border to do jobs for which there are low cost substitutes. The low price (wage and non-wage) creates the demand for illegal labor.




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  41. Brummagem Joe says:

    Juneau: says:
    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 17:04
    @ Brummagen joe

    “Relativism at its best……. The liberal’s attitudes are making them bigger and bigger fools each and every day. And the average American is noticing…”

    As usual what you’re ignoring is that if illegals are committing crimes their accomplices are average Americans who are hiring them and/or benefitting from their presence….and somehow I doubt the business lobby are all Liberals don’t you?




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  42. Brummagem Joe says:

    PD Shaw says:
    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 17:19
    “Prof. Taylor, I think supply precedes demand here.”

    You have to love it when these guys keep proving the point about their total ignorance of basic economics.

    “Latinos are not sneaking across the border to be brain surgeons; they are sneaking across the border to do jobs for which there are low cost substitutes. The low price (wage and non-wage) creates the demand for illegal labor.”

    That’s THE DEMAND (because there aren’t any low cost substitutes)




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  43. John425 says:

    Today, we have huge high-school dropout rates. These kids, native-born, are shut out of the entry-level jobs that illegal immigrnats steal from them. Basic jobs in construction, roofing, landscaping, warehousing, trucking, culinary services etc. all go to illegals these days. So…if you advocate looking the other way on this you, in essence, are dooming our less-fortunate young people to a life of drugs, gangs, teen pregnancies and poverty.

    Happy now?




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  44. Brummagem Joe says:

    Wayne says:
    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 17:18

    There you have the Republican solution in a nutshell. Increase the number of Americans living in poverty from around 20% to say 30% who will thus be forced to go pick lettuces, mow grass, clean toilets and paint houses for much less. Problem solved.




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  45. Brummagem Joe says:

    John425 says:
    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 17:28
    “These kids, native-born, are shut out of the entry-level jobs that illegal immigrnats steal from them. Basic jobs in construction, roofing, landscaping, warehousing, trucking, culinary services etc. ”

    Yeah they’re all lining up to pick lettuces and mow lawns in the inner cities.




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  46. @John425: the current set of policies is what helps create distortions in the labor market. We are looking the other way now while pretending otherwise. Those who want to simply cry “it’s illegal” as if that fixes the problem are the ones who are looking the other way, not me.




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  47. John Personna says:

    With 1/6th of our people on gov assistance we already have the poverty. But it’s lower-middle poverty, not 8 guys to an apartment poverty. Illegals can live near min wage because they live that way.

    I’m kind of open to eliminating the min wage because with free trade it makes no sense (min wage with light tariff would also make sense)

    But if you eliminate the min wage are you going to do anything to make life at the min more civilized? Cheap rent somehow? More public transportation? I hope you don’t think anyone at min wage can drive to work, and pay rent, and eat.




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  48. Herb says:

    “Speeding or talking on the phone while driving do not continue to cost me, the taxpayer, thousands of dollars – year, after year, after year. Like illegal immigration does. ”

    How much do you pay illegal immigrants, Juneau? I’m confused about how they’re costing you anything….

    “But if you eliminate the min wage are you going to do anything to make life at the min more civilized? Cheap rent somehow? More public transportation? I hope you don’t think anyone at min wage can drive to work, and pay rent, and eat.”

    Good questions. I don’t expect many on the right have any answers.




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  49. John Personna says:

    I fear that even without changes to immigration or thein wage we’re going to have to change our assistance system. We pay out too much without really giving people a toe hold, a way to build a saving account.




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  50. Wayne says:

    Re “Yeah they’re all lining up to pick lettuces and mow lawns in the inner cities”

    Why would they when they can live of the Government (taxpayers).
    Increasing job opportunities for unemployed Americans will increase the number in poverty? Wow.

    Steven it is the liberals who are looking the other way and want to continue to do so. Conservatives are saying we need to stop looking the other way.

    As for helping the minimum wage, you can take the so call “free housing” that they live in and destroy now and rent it to them and hold them responsible for damages. Maybe they won’t have to rebuild them every 10 years or so.

    How are the illegals paying for food, transportation, etc now? If they can do it maybe Americans can as well.




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  51. kth says:

    Haven’t dropped by for awhile (wtf did y’all do to the site?), just wanted to give you props for being basically the only right-of-center blog to even discuss the incident (at least if Memeorandum is any indication).




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  52. John Personna says:

    Do the math Wayne, what does a month at min wage earn? After tax? How much for rent?

    You act like min wage (or below!) can be an adult job, but you might need a free place to crash.




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  53. Brummagem Joe says:

    Wayne says:
    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 18:32

    “Why would they when they can live of the Government (taxpayers).”

    Of course it’s all the welfare cheats that are problem. Just as you suggest Wayne lets cut it all off, double those in poverty and the problem is solved. The servant problem too. Can’t happen soon enough for me a member of the comfortable upper middle class. I’m sure this is a proposition with immense appeal for those without jobs for over six months.




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  54. Brummagem Joe says:

    “Do the math Wayne, what does a month at min wage earn? After tax?”

    Wayne like most economically illiterate Republicans doesn’t do math. He relies on his gut to tell him what the problem is. After all it works when he has indigestion so why not for the issue of illegal immigration. It’s just a simple.




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  55. PD Shaw says:

    I prefer the minimum wage to the earned income tax credit, and I would prefer the minimum wage to be localized, not nationalized. I tend to think the rate is too high, but that’s rather a feature of geographical discrepancies and the belief that Democrats tend to undervalue the risk of increasing unemployment. I live in low cost-of-living area; one can live decently doing the jobs at wages that only an illegal immigrant will do in other places. We also have about half the unemployment rate of Los Angeles.




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  56. michael reynolds says:

    Is there some reason this hotel doesn’t have a mini-bar? I mean, damn.

    Oh. Relevance.

    Um. . . If we had more illegals this hotel might be able to afford to stock mini-bars.




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  57. wvtechie says:

    Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    “First responsibility lies with the federal government…”

    No, first responsibility lies with those who hire illegal immigrants. I can effectively end illegal immigration in 6 months without building one foot of border fence or hiring one border guard. Just fine every employer, large corporation or individual, $10,000 per day per illegal immigrant employee and give half the money to the first person who reports the employee.




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  58. 1. “mantis” stalks me from site to site. Ignore it as you would any other stalker.

    2. Steven Taylor has no clue about what an artificial demand is. If there were little illegal labor available, we’d make out just fine. For various reasons, our leaders have decided to look the other way on massive illegal activity, resulting in them being forced into one way of doing things (using illegal labor working for low wages under bad conditions) rather than the American way (using legal labor working for living wages under good conditions). Stephen Taylor is fully supporting the first way.




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  59. Sirkowski says:

    “I mow my own yard”

    Cool story bro.




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  60. For an example of that artificial demand (and for why you can’t trust Stephen Taylor), see this NYT article, specifically the third paragraph on page 2: peekURL.com/zrhawk2

    Here’s what our corrupt elite does:
    1. Our corrupt elite makes research into farm mechanization difficult (that NYT article), and at the same time,
    2. Our corrupt elite looks the other way on illegal labor.

    If our elites weren’t corrupt, they’d enforce the laws as we wish, and the laws about #1 would be changed.

    It’s like cracking down on pot while allowing heroin-laden ships to dock freely, shunting pot demand into harder drugs.

    P.S. I’m having a sense of deja vu here, because over three years ago an earlier smear of Dobbs involved both Sully (who’s linking to this absurd post) and – believe it or not – Stephen Taylor himself:

    http://24ahead.com/blog/archives/006729.html

    (poliblogger.com is Stephen Taylor).

    You just can’t trust these people, they don’t have America’s best interests at heart.




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  61. Grewgills says:

    Speeding or talking on the phone while driving do not continue to cost me, the taxpayer, thousands of dollars – year, after year, after year.

    They increase the number of traffic accidents and so emergency room visits, so yes they do cost us all.




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  62. James says:

    14 Trillion Dollars of Debt: How do you solve a headwing of 14Trillion Dollars of Debt. ?

    How much Debt have the illegals created?




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  63. mantis says:

    “mantis” stalks me from site to site. Ignore it as you would any other stalker.

    Aww, that’s cute. You actually believe that, don’t you? You peddle your link in the comment section of every site you can find, and in doing so happen across two I’ve frequented, and think I’m stalking you. It’s true, URL man, I am stalking you, and I’m an illegal immigrant too! Booga booga!l




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  64. John Personna says:

    James, the answer is essentially none. Studies show small wins or losses, but nowhere near trillions. We do that all ourselves.




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  65. Brummagem Joe says:

    24AheadDotCom says:
    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 21:56
    “For various reasons, our leaders have decided to look the other way on massive illegal activity, resulting in them being forced into one way of doing things ”

    Those reasons would include the huge demand for cheap labor in highly profitable industries providing low cost products and services to the American public and thereby expanding our GDP. These highly profitable industries then persuade or bribe our leaders to face reality and look the other way. Alas, as is only too obvious from his slightly paranod comments 24A doesn’t have a clue about reality. Btw having worked in the farm machinery industry I can assure you there is no attempt to restrict farm mechanization, quite the contrary in fact. It’s just that some products are virtually impossible to harvest mechanically without damage. Take a trip to Moline and they’ll explain it to you.




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  66. Brummagem Joe says:

    James says:
    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 23:44
    “How much Debt have the illegals created?”

    None. Illegals are net contributors to GDP. But as one of the aforementioned Republican economic illiterates I suppose this may be hard for you grasp.




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  67. James says:

    None. Illegals are net contributors to GDP????

    Illegal alien migration into the United States costs American taxpayers $346 … This all happens while the US national debt approaches $10 trillion. …

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=4&sqi=2&ved=0CB4QFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rense.com%2Fgeneral81%2Fdtli.htm&ei=HkevTMvdJ8OAlAf3kujbBA&usg=AFQjCNGGvHC2ysK5IEuiSrnA8aJtdWFIyw




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  68. Wayne says:

    Brum you all need to get away from the liberal math where it is what you say it is without proof. Statements like” Illegals are net contributors to GDP” isn’t true just because a liberal says so or in your mind you can’t’ imagine living on less than $50,000(whatever number you think) a year so it must be true that nobody can.

    To use liberal’s tactic. You disagree with me so you are an idiot. You can’t do math and know nothing about history. You are a moron. You are acting like a child. I’m not going to answers questions like “if an illegal can live off wages that are less than legals, couldn’t an American?”




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  69. James says:

    James, the answer is essentially none (Fuzzy Math) 🙂

    Google: cost of illegal immigration

    113 Billion: Cost of illegal immigration 113 Billion, not exactly chump change 🙂

    Hope you like the Billions




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  70. john personna says:

    LOL James, try not to make it so easy for me:

    Q: Do illegal immigrants cost $338.3 billion dollars a year? More than the Iraq war?

    A: A chain e-mail that makes this claim is loaded with errors and misleading assertions. Published studies vary widely but put the cost to government at a small fraction of that total.

    http://www.factcheck.org/2009/04/cost-of-illegal-immigrants/

    Also from that page:

    More recently, a 2007 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office examined 29 reports on state and local costs published over 15 years in an attempt to answer this question. CBO concluded that most of the estimates determined that illegal immigrants impose a net cost to state and local governments but “that impact is most likely modest.” CBO said “no agreement exists as to the size of, or even the best way of measuring, that cost on a national level.”

    You know, your $113B was running away from your “trillions” but the truth is even smaller than that.




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  71. Andrew says:

    I’m not clear from what I’ve read about the Dobbs case whether he actually had illegal immigrants on his payroll, or whether he simply used the services of a company that employed illegal immigrants. In terms of culpability I think there’s a vast difference between the two scenarios. Nevertheless, I’ll accept your basic point that it’s nigh impossible to avoid making some use of illegal labor these days. But I’m not clear what conclusions we’re expected to draw from this observation: throw up our hands and ignore illegal immigration? Immediately legalize all the immigrants already here? One might as well say that since most of us have at one time or another exceeded the speed limit in our cars, we should do away with all speed limits on the roads.

    Not sure whether the cocain=illegal immigrants equation makes sense either. In the case of cocain the product itself is illegal whereever it is produced. In the case of illegal labor the service (i.e. labor) is not illegal, it’s not even necessarily illegal if it comes from abroad, it’s only illegal if the laborer crosses the border illegally in order to perform it. If, hypothetically, we were able to completely secure the border against illegal immigration, and prevent employers from hiring illegals, the cost of some types of labor would increase (due to reduced supply), demand would be reduced, and – as another commenter has explained – some people would pay more, others would simply not purchase that service any more. I’m not saying whether that’s good or bad, but don’t think it’s entirely impractical/unrealistic. That’s very different from the situation with cocain where we’re trying to suppress the entire supply of a product for which there’s clearly a demand. If you’ve got a cocain habit you’ll go to some lengths to obtain it; if you need a gardener and it becomes harder to hire an immigrant, you’ll just pay more for a local worker or cut the lawn yourself.




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  72. Brummagem Joe says:

    Wayne says:
    Friday, October 8, 2010 at 12:26
    “Brum you all need to get away from the liberal math where it is what you say it is without proof. Statements like” Illegals are net contributors to GDP”

    Quite apart from the numbers quoted by JP which show that even at the officially calculated level the effect is broadly neutral this almost certainly underestimates the positive GDP effect of illegals because so much of their activity is in the black economy which is unrecorded. The notion that you have 12-20 million illegals here doing everything from serving drinks and picking lettuce to doing surgery and programming computers and that they are a net loss to the economy is beyond brainless.




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  73. Wayne says:

    Re “their activity is in the black economy which is unrecorded”

    That includes many of their negative cost as well. Emergency room visits, crime, falsification of documents to receive welfare, school lunches, college grants and other benefits.
    JP post stated “CBO concluded that most of the estimates determined that illegal immigrants impose a net cost to state and local governments”. Cost not benefit.




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  74. Brummagem Joe says:

    Wayne says:
    Friday, October 8, 2010 at 15:09

    ” JP post stated “CBO concluded that most of the estimates determined that illegal immigrants impose a net cost to state and local governments”. Cost not benefit.”

    At best it was marginal and hardly the “trillions” which then became hundred of billions that you claimed. Count me a sceptic about all these numbers which are largely guesses anyway because you don’t need the analytical skills of Krugman or Friedman to figure out that if you plonk 12-20 million illegals two thirds of whom are adults (2-4 times the population of Finland) in one of the most highly productive economies in the world and they are by definition largely excluded from social welfare systems then it’s a virtual certainty that they are adding a lot more value than they are subtracting.




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  75. wr says:

    24A — Mantis has been here for months. You have been here for hours. If he’s stalking you, he’s damn good at it!




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  76. sam says:

    @Wayne

    “Conservatives are saying we need to stop looking the other way”

    Evidently not when la migra comes around.




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  77. Wow, I almost didn’t make it through that and probably all for naught, but there is a really good policy paper by Dr. Raúl Hinojosa-Ojeda entitled “Raising the Floor for American Workers.” Basically Dr. Ojeda compares the 1986 IRCA and the economic impact of it to what would be the result in today’s numbers if we did the same thing and estimates “that comprehensive immigration reform would yield at least $1.5 trillion in cumulative U.S. gross domestic product over 10 years.” And please, for those that oppose the idea, its actually worth reading before going all crazy.




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  78. Apologies, Here is the link to the aforementioned article. Its a PDF file.

    Raising the Floor for American Workers




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  79. Brummagem Joe says:

    “And please, for those that oppose the idea, its actually worth reading before going all crazy”

    There’s nothing crazy about it at all. The OECD have published studies showing we need 25 million immigrants over the next 20 years to maintain the growth rates of the last thirty years.
    .




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  80. I prefaced that because so many people that blog won’t take the time to actually read something before rejecting it out right.




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  81. Opiwan says:

    If we want smaller government and more individual freedoms, then we have to accept the fact that each individual citizen will be required to police those things the government will no longer be doing. Which means it will be the responsibility of the citizen to know who is getting any and all portion of the money they are paying for work, regardless of direct or indirect, or contracting hires. Without someone overseeing the workers, the citizens will have to do all levels of policing. This is what Lou Dobbs wants everyone else to do, except him.




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  82. Since this has gone about as far as I think it can, let me say that I am glad to see Doc reading The Nation.




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  83. @Tal: Yes, I think this particular thread has run its course.

    And I have rather wide-ranging reading habits 😉




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