Let’s on-shore the American dream

There is a major employer in Dayton that hires thousands of people from India to come here and work and untold thousands more in India to do high-level coding for its information-services business. When it comes to immigration status, they have the best lawyers around on retainer to work though the issues.

There are local hotels, construction companies, restaurants and manufacturing companies that hire “illegal immigrants” to clean their rooms, do the dirtiest of demolition, wash dishes, and do menial labor.

Rich friends of mine brag about their Mexican electrician, groundskeeper, housekeeper.
Our farm economy still depends on illegals (we like to call them “migrant farm workers”) to pick tomatoes, mushrooms, oranges, lettuce- etc.

Our poor people complain that these immigrants take their jobs- yet, I had a two-time ex-con tell me that doing data entry “wasn’t in his job description” (which is odd because I don’t have written job descriptions) as “office manager.”

For a year, I had the luxury of having a coder from Nigeria who was here on a student visa while getting a master’s degree at Wright State. His work ethic was excellent, his enunciation a bit difficult, but upon graduation he was on a countdown to get his visa sponsored and my small company couldn’t compete with bigger businesses.

Our manufacturing base has moved off-shore because they say they can’t compete with cheap overseas labor- yet, others (including Congressmen and Supreme Court justices) have been caught hiring these affordable “illegal immigrants” in “nanny-gates” while still passing laws against paths to immigration, not raising the minimum wage and continuing to support laws that create “illegal underground economies” with the “war on drugs,” bipolar gambling laws; it’s legal on Wall Street and the Lottery- but online poker or a home game for money is illegal.

A friend went to Siberia to build a waste-water treatment plant for Pepsi a good 15 years ago- he went over a 40-year-old, overweight, cynical, not-by-choice bachelor- he came back with a beautiful 25-year-old pregnant wife- with a master’s degree in economics. Her family came to visit- and thought his 4-room shotgun cottage was a mansion. Because he owned a car, a “band van” and 2 motorcycles- they believed him to be rich.

In Dayton, we’ve got a growing population of Mexicans, Nigerians, Armenian Turks, and Indians to add to a bunch of Koreans (we’re home to an Air Force base where airmen meet Korean women and bring them back).

Ohio is losing population, Dayton is spending millions to tear down homes, and lamenting the loss of income-tax revenue- yet there are probably thousands of workers working in Dayton, who would be happy to pay taxes, if it would not come with a knock on the door from immigration.

What could happen in America if we just integrated the “illegal immigrant” underground economy into the legitimate one? Would we stop seeing the budget crisis? Would the economy bounce back almost overnight? I’m not advocating instant citizen status, but a path to citizenship with a legal work status.

Those who’ve been convicted of crimes would not be eligible, but, the honest hardworking people who clean your hotel room, wash your dishes, pick your vegetables would.

Immigration is one of the “hot button” issues that is used to divide voters, to rile them up, to take them out of rational discussions of the real issue in America today: the economic divide.

While 13% of us continue to be out of work, while our city “leaders” are about to raise our income tax again while we hand over a $30-million dollar building to a California “developer” with no money down- the divide continues to grow. Our political system has devolved into an auction to the highest bidder- with no end in sight.

What kind of country do you want to live in? One that has “Freedom and justice for all”- or only those who make the laws (hint- it’s not the people anymore).

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23 Responses

  1. Gary April 30, 2011 / 10:08 am
    I was looking in the business section the other day of the phone book, and there are hundreds, maybe more, businesses in the surrounding regions of Dayton and the Miami Valley, etc.
    Why so negative all the time …
    Count your blessings!
    Where else would you rather live?
  2. Gary April 30, 2011 / 10:31 am
    I see there’s been a bozo vote for my comment already … Why can’t we for once, make a list of the good things about Dayton, good things going on here?
    I’ll start: RiverScape; City Folk; well, that’s about it, duh on Gary V.  :-)
  3. Gary April 30, 2011 / 11:02 am
    Obama would say, the more immigrants the better the economy!  But I agree with David that they need to get their Visas first …
    I sure would not want to do manual labor in a field of greens, nor do any dirty work anymore, been there done that!
    Further, being a single man, I would date any good looking and kind ethnic woman, as long as they don’t have that terrible ethnic temper most of them have!
    Aren’t many of the companies around America that hire illegals getting busted?
  4. somedude April 30, 2011 / 5:20 pm
    Gary wins the prize for the most subconsciously racist comment.
  5. Ice Bandit May 1, 2011 / 8:19 am
    What could happen in America if we just integrated the “illegal immigrant” underground economy into the legitimate one? Would we stop seeing the budget crisis? Would the economy bounce back almost overnight? (David Esrati)
     
    ….why of course, dear David, the answers to your three questions are why not?, yessirree and hellyeah’. What makes the underground economy vibrant even when the overall economy is in Thomas Crapper’s invention is not only the lack of taxation, but the lack of regulatory oversight. The shadetree mechanics  and gypsy cab-drivers thrive even as dealerships close and livery outfits go bust-out. However, dear David, your sudden (and probably temporary) conversion to libertarianism is somewhat baffling insofar as you advocate tax and regulatory relaxation for immigrants and simultaneously champion crushing regs and road-to-serfdom taxation on just about everything for the citizenry. Furthermore, if you think Uncle Sam is going to let Dayton turn into Ayn Randville with a “It’s a Small World” twist, methinks you naive. What the cynical may say is your suggestions, albeit intellectually praiseworthy, are a candid admission that Dayton is in such a state of basket-casedom that folks born here will never move back. And if you think throwing the gates to the city to the world are the answer, dear David, see how well that worked for LA……
  6. David Esrati May 1, 2011 / 11:24 am

    @CSAPT- uh, I don’t think they beat me to it- http://esrati.com/crazy-economic-development-idea/250/

    And- I think I’ve spoken about this before Gary Leitzell discovered his inner Turk.

    As to @Icebandit- the problem with your libertarian ideas is that they don’t work any better in reality than do the ideas of Karl Marx or James Madison- or John Maynard Keyes or your Austrian – Ludwig Von Misus (who misses the mark as often as he hits it).- the primary problem is people will always game the system to “get ahead” even if it means screwing the rest of us over.

    Man has no respect for his fellow man- when push comes to shove. So you can push your libertarian ideas the same way I push my own- and we can both tell each other to shove it- and the reality still comes down to, you need government to intervene to balance the needs of all vs the needs of the few.

    The problem we have in the US is that the system has become fundamentally flawed because of our campaign finance system which sells politicians to the highest bidder. Fix that- and a lot gets better.

  7. Ice Bandit May 1, 2011 / 12:11 pm
    ….whew, dear David. After reading your dark assessment of the human condition the Old Bandito got such a bad case of the blues  he had to order a Zoloft omellete with a side order of Paxil and wash it down with a six pack of Prozac. Fact is, dear David, all economic theories are not alike, with the problem being that we’ve had a double dose of Marx and Keynes and our economy is suffering a Von Mises deficiency. The “why” is obvious; Karl and John Maynard’s advocacy of big-state spending appeals to real and wannabe elites, the “we know what’s best for you” nannies and those convinced that any societal ill can be remedied by spending vast amounts of other peoples’ money. But the reason folks “game the system” is because there is a leviathan and wealthy system to game. Reduce the scope, power and wealth of the state and all those incentives disappear, as does your pessimism. What you refer to as the urge to “get ahead” is really an enlightened self interest that should be pursued and encouraged. Perhaps the only good aspect of our current economic doldrums is that the citizenry is, for the first time since FDR, questioning the efficacy of Keynesian economics, with its’ intoxicating bubbles followed inevitably by it’s terrifying busts. Karl Marx, scoot over and make room for John Maynard Keynes in the museum of discredited economists…..
  8. Dad May 1, 2011 / 12:27 pm
    It ain’t something new.
    I worked on The Plain Dealer from 1964 to 1984 and we constantly imported skilled journalists from the Dayton Journal Herald. These come to mind: Bill Treon, Pat Holecek, Bruce Ellison. There were others, too.
    But, to be fair, Dave McLean quit The PD and moved to the Journal Herald, where, I think, he became managing editor.
    I was once  offered a job by someone called Strauss to take the job that Ellison eventually took. I was then the editor of the Van Wert Times-Bulletin.
    My point  is that people move. It has nothing to do with City Hall.
  9. Gary May 1, 2011 / 8:50 pm
    Here’s a plan for Dayton: Let IRG give all the Mexicans temporary work permits, and hire them along with all the other 13% unemployed in Dayton, and grow produce in the Emery building, and of course put in solar windows as Herres proposed.
    IRG can afford it, and bus us all out there and do something for Dayton before it’s too late!
    And no- Somedude, I’m not consciously nor subconsciously a racist!  I am entitled to my opinion … If anything I am a small bigot–I get it from my dad, an ol’ school Catholic … I defy the Catholic priests for molesting kids, and I defy same sex marriage, but; I’m White, and have had several ethnic girlfriends, who yes, have a temper, but they love Jesus!
  10. John Ise May 3, 2011 / 9:57 am
    2 Quotes from…Ronald Reagan!

     “Any place in the world and any person from those places; any person with the courage, with the desire to tear up their roots, to strive for freedom, to attempt and dare to live in a strange and foreign place, to travel halfway across the world was welcome here.”– Ronald Reagan Aug 27, 2007

    “Are great numbers of our unemployed really victims of the illegal alien invasion, or are those illegal tourists actually doing work our own people won’t do? One thing is certain in this hungry world: No regulation or law should be allowed if it results in crops rotting in the fields for lack of harvesters.” 1977

  11. etack May 3, 2011 / 11:44 am
    Ronald Reagan Aug 27, 2007-
    Ronald Reagan died in 2004

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Reagan

  12. Ice Bandit May 3, 2011 / 9:26 pm
    …are those illegal tourists actually doing work our own people won’t do? (John Ise)
     
    ….well, dear John, who did that work before the illegals came here? The Old Bandito will wager that if we solicited just the limited Esrati.com community, readers would share  stories of jobs as just as dirty, difficult and poverty inducing as any of the jobs aliens do now. The Old Bandito has hung tobacco, worked and a scrap-yard and found himself butt-crack deep in horse crap with a shovel. Methinks, dear John, your real question is what jobs American employers no longer wish to pay a reasonable wage for, and must resort to outlaw labor…..
  13. Gary May 4, 2011 / 6:15 am
    @Ice- Yup, I think you nailed it- employers don’t want to pay anything!  Most of them now only call for a high school diploma, don’t want to pay benifits, pay a low wage, and have 40 thousand responsibilities, including your ability to lift 50lbs. most of them, anyway …
    I’m sure there are good jobs out there if you are young and a go-getter …
    It’s quite depressing, too, to have gone to college and worked hard on your assignments, speeches, papers, etc., to find no one cares, except my mom …
  14. Bubba Jones May 4, 2011 / 7:04 am
    @Gary – Employers don’t want to “pay anything” to someone that only has a basic skill set, if even that.  If you have a skill that they need, they are willing to pay because their customers are willing to pay them for that skill.  That’s the way it works – you are supposed to generate income for your employer!  Those “40 thousand responsibilities” that you are lamenting should be looked at as 40 thousand OPPORTUNITIES to prove to your employer that you are valuable to him and allow you to advance within the organization.  But if your only skill is the ability to lift 50 pounds, don’t expect to be paid $50k per year!  And, just because you “worked hard” in college and got a degree, don’t expect the world to be enthralled about that and to come knocking at your door.  You still need to prove your worth.  One of the worst, non-productive, most expensive, time wasting employees that I ever had looked great on paper…. BS in accounting, an MBA with a concentration in MIS, fortune 500 experience, etc.  I was paying her $75k per year in 2000 dollars and in 7 months of “working” for me, she produced about $1500 of actual work.  Not to mention the amount of my other employees’ time that she wasted talking about her big house and her kids’ soccer games.
     
    Even though you’re in your 40’s now doesn’t mean that you can’t still be a “go-getter”!! One of my brother in laws is in his late 50’s and thinking about retiring.  He often jokes that he wants to get a job as the Wal-Mart greeter.  I tell him that it wouldn’t work because he’d be managing the freakin’ store within a month of becoming a greeter!  Yeah, he’s still a go-getter!
     
    Here’s a hint, Gary.  Why don’t you go down to the local Small Business Administration office and talk to a couple of the SCORE guys that are working down there.  I don’t know where their office is located these days, but why don’t you be a go-getter and figure it out yourself?!  If you can’t wipe  your own ass, just ask here and I’m sure David E knows where their office is.  Take your resume with you and have them look it over.  Ask them for hints about how to improve your resume.  Maybe you can tell them what your skill set and interests are and they might be able to give you a hint or two about what kind of business you might think about starting for yourself?  Hey! That’s an idea! Make your own opportunity instead of waiting for it to be handed to you!!
     
    Another reason to head down to the SCORE office… they may have several pretty, ethnic women with bad tempers that work there!  You might get lucky! ;)
     
  15. Stephen Lahanas May 5, 2011 / 8:09 am
    The way this has always worked in the past for the United States is that a transition path was provided to allow illegals who had come to eventually gain citizenship. This occurred with every nationality / ethnicity / wave of immigrants who’ve come here since the beginning. This is a good thing for several reasons – 1: it has expanded diversity and the cultural and entrepreneurial depth of our nation. 2: Once citizens, this new labor pool blends into the core labor pool, no longer artificially lowering wages through maintenance of a permanent underclass.
     
    Here’s what doesn’t work so well. 1: migrant workers being given no rights never emerge from the underclass and permanently depress wages for trades such as construction. 2: foreign workers are given temporary visas supposedly because there are shortages of skilled technical labor but in fact it is to ensure that they are paid half of what their American counterparts get. If these workers don’t have a path to become permanent residents and eventually citizens it then depresses wages for everyone in the IT industry. 3: Skipping the US altogether and sending the jobs overseas. So, if you think about it – every positive outcome is associated with finding ways to incorporate immigrants rather than segregating them or keeping them offshore.
  16. Gary May 5, 2011 / 11:20 am
    Bubba- What is SCORE?
    Stephen- If these workers don’t have a path to become permanent residents and eventually citizens it then depresses wages for everyone in the IT industry. Huh ?  Where does information technology fit in this picture?  Do you mean the processors of their visas will lose work?
    See my little story on the new post about Mexicans …
  17. Stephen Lahanas May 5, 2011 / 12:20 pm
    Hi Gary, well as you may have guessed, I work in the IT industry. In the late 1990’s a consortium of giant software producers (Microsoft, Oracle and so forth) banded together to lobby for massive increases in non-immigrant visas – H-1Bs and at the same we got hit with a wave of offshoring. The combined effect of this took several million of the best paid jobs in our new information economy out of American hands. The temp workers get paid half of what American IT workers get and the offshore folks – it is maybe 1/8 or so. The impact of course = fewer jobs and depressed wages.
     
    Now we have absorbed some of those tech professions as residents and citizens, but the point is this – anytime we favor labor solutions that discourage the path to citizenship the economy takes a hit and all us lose opportunities. This does not merely happen at the bottom of the labor market – it is now spreading to Healthcare and many service industries (through offshoring) and of course we’ve all seen in Dayton how it works for manufacturing.
  18. Bubba Jones May 5, 2011 / 2:44 pm
    Bubba- What is SCORE? – @Gary
     
    Oh, c’mon Gary!!  How do you wipe your own ass???  No wonder you can’t find a freakin’ job!!!
     
    I wrote “Why don’t you go down to the local Small Business Administration office and talk to a couple of the SCORE guys that are working down there.”  You’ve heard of Google, right?  And you obviously have access to a computer with internet access.  Now, I would think that a highly educated guy like you would be able to put 2 and 2 together and look at that sentence to figure out a few search terms for Google.  Let’s start with “Small Business Administration” as a search term.  A little bit more analysis might have you looking at the word “SCORE”.  Hmmm, it’s all in CAPS which means it’s probably an acronym for something.  And since it’s in the same sentence as “Small Business Administration”, I’ll bet it’s got something to do with the SBA!! (BTW, Gary, “SBA” is an acronym for “Small Business Administration.”  Oh, and “BTW” is an acronym for “by the way”!)  So, open up Google and enter “Small Business Administration SCORE” in the search term box and then press the “search” button.  I’ll bet if you click on the first link that comes up and then click on the “About SCORE” link you might learn something.  Well, maybe you’ll learn something.
     
    Are you really this clueless or are you just playing all of us here?
  19. Gary May 5, 2011 / 6:07 pm
    Slow down Bubba, speed kills you know!  Why would the SBA need SCORE anyway, seems redundant doesn’t it?  Cooporate Welfare # 2!  The Service of Retired Executives=SCORE–you happy now?  You must be retired, aye?  See my comment on the prior post, someone tried to stop me here!  :-(
  20. Ice Bandit May 5, 2011 / 8:00 pm
    But I agree with David that (immigrants) need to get their Visas first … (Gary)
     
    …but they should, dear Gary, explore Discover and Mastercard as well…….
  21. Bubba Jones May 5, 2011 / 10:24 pm
    @Gary – I’m not even going to bother replying to you anymore.  Good luck with your life.
  22. jstults May 8, 2011 / 2:11 pm
    David Esrati:

    Our manufacturing base has moved off-shore because they say they can’t compete with cheap overseas labor-…

    This is a truism that just isn’t true anymore (if it ever was, the parallels to changes in agriculture employment are informative).  There’s value to be had in tightly integrated design and manufacturing, however, this is a development that the Dayton Aerospace Cluster cheerleaders seem to still be missing.

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