Arguing Immigration with a Compassionate Liberal -or- How to Twist Your Head into a Pretzel

Arguing Immigration with a Compassionate Liberal -or- How to Twist Your Head into a Pretzel by David Haggith

Arguing with a liberal about the economic impact of rampant immigration will twist your brain into a pretzel. It inevitably goes something like this:

“Illegal aliens and legal immigrants are taking millions of our jobs.”

“No, they’re not.”

“Then they’re all on welfare.”

“No, they’re not. Even most undocumented workers are productive members of society.”“How are they productive if they’re not taking jobs?”

“Undocumented workers are only taking jobs American’s don’t want.”

“Americans don’t want those jobs because migrant workers have been taking them for so many decades that wages have remained stagnant at a level that only a totally desperate person would work for. That is exactly how they are hurting us by taking jobs. They are not just taking up jobs, but they are keeping wages suppressed because Americans would have to reduce themselves to living like many migrant workers in substandard housing and driving badly broken vehicles in order to stay alive at those wages if they accepted those jobs.”

“Migrants only live at that level because they are forced to.”

“Exactly. They are forced to because the pay for those jobs never goes up because they are willing to live at that level out of desperation if that is what it takes to stay alive, and you’re willing to exploit them.”

“And if migrant workers didn’t do that, you’d have to pay more for all the food you eat. Do you really want to pay more for everything?”

Migrant Workers in California Fields

Migrant workers in a California field.

Maintaining a peasant immigrant labor class is what it is really all about

And that, you see, is the bottom line — cheap labor via a peasant class. We don’t want to pay more for everything, so we turn a blind eye to the cheap, illegal labor and keep the peasants coming, regardless of the social costs of maintaining a peasant class.

They are truly peasants, not just because of their living conditions, but because they supposedly have no voting rights (debatable). They have no say in the laws that govern them so live by the rules of another class of people, and they have to keep their heads low to keep from being deported. That means they dare not complain about working conditions either, as Americans most certainly would.

Peasants have to take what they get. That’s why we keep them illegal, and why we just catch and release them, letting them stay here in spite of the fact we know they have no legal right to because we just caught them crossing the border. It all forces them to keep their heads low … until one day they rise enough in numbers that they don’tkeep their heads low any longer, and the peasants revolt against their slavish conditions.

Caesar Chavez, Migrant Workers Union leader.

What about the compassionate liberal argument for immigrant labor

At this point, the liberal turns to the compassion argument, since the economic argument for immigrant labor leads to ruin. The compassionate argument runs like this, this time started by the liberal:

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David Haggith

Knave Dave — vigilante against the false profits of The Great Recession Too many criminal CEOs still fill their porky bellies with the biggest taxpayer bailouts in the history of the world. These bailouts protect their reputations, saving them from the fall they should have taken. They continue to receive bonuses for having done an unparalleled job of destroying their companies! Many of their companies wouldn’t be making any profit at all if not for the interest they’re making off of nearly free government bailouts. Just this week Hewlett-Packard fired its CEO, but is still paying him a bonus of millions of dollars in exchange for a year of corporate wandering in the wilderness. Netflix’s CEO cost his company hundreds of thousands of subscribers and had to reverse his decision. Bank of America’s CEO launched a debit-card fee plan that was immediately stupid in the eyes of many, but greed an arrogance led him to think he could pass it by his customers, and he lost customers in droves and had to reverse his decision, as did the many major banks that followed him. Since these corporate leaders do things most of us can immediately see as being dumb, why are they rewarded with salaries a thousand times greater than many of us make?