Reid-Kennedy Vs. Frist-McCain + The Pay Scale For Guest Workers
This tells you everything you need to know about how popular the Senate Immigration Bill is with the American people:
“House Republicans are so critical of the Senate bill that they can’t bring themselves to call it by the name of any of the several Republicans who played a larger role in passing it than Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada or Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat.
“Two-thirds of the people who voted for that bill coming out of the Senate were Senate Democrats, led by Harry Reid and Senator Kennedy. So, it’s the Reid-Kennedy bill,” House Majority Leader John A. Boehner said yesterday when asked why he refuses to credit any of the Republicans who were instrumental in drafting the bill or any of the 23 Senate Republicans who voted for it.
For their part, Democrats have begun calling it the “Frist-McCain” bill, a reference to Mr. Frist and Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who has been one of the chief architects of the Senate bill.”
When you have both parties trying to convince the American people that the other side is responsible for the bill, that tells you a whole lot.
PS: Also, in the same article, we find this:
“The Senate immigration bill would require that foreign construction laborers here under the guest-worker program be paid well above the minimum wage, even as American workers at the same work site could earn less.
The bill “would guarantee wages to some foreign workers that could be higher than those paid to American workers at the same work site,” says a policy paper released this week by the Senate’s Republican Policy Committee. “This is unfair to U.S. workers, inappropriate, and unnecessary.
…The Davis Bacon Act of 1931 (DBA) requires that the local prevailing wage be paid to all workers employed in federally contracted construction or projects done for the District of Columbia. Those wages — up to four or five times higher in some fields than the federal minimum wage of $5.15 per hour — are set by the Department of Labor.
The Senate’s immigration bill would require that the higher wages be paid to foreign temporary workers in all construction occupations, even if the project isn’t federally funded and doesn’t otherwise fall under DBA.
“In other words, foreign workers employed in a construction job for which a DBA wage rate has been determined could be guaranteed wages higher than those paid to American workers doing the same job on the same private construction project for the same employer,” the policy paper reports.”
What’s the main reason American businesses want to hire illegals? Simple: they can get them cheap. Well, if we have a guest worker program and the workers have to be paid Davis Bacon wages, will get Social Security, and have to pay taxes, they won’t be cheap labor anymore. To the contrary, as the article points out, you could have foreign workers actually making more than American workers in some cases. This leads to two questions…
#1) Doesn’t this kill the whole, “Prices will skyrocket if we don’t have illegals to do construction and pick lettuce,” argument dead as a doornail since the guest workers will be making comparable (or even higher wages) than the American workers?
#2) Now, we’ve got illegals competing with Americans for jobs. Isn’t this just going to lead to illegals competing for jobs with guest workers and Americans? Aren’t the same businesses that are already hiring “undocumented workers” still going to be motivated to continue doing so even when guest workers are available because the illegals will still be much cheaper than the guest worker?
Of course, if you drop the Davis Bacon requirement, what you’ll have are businesses slashing salaries so low that Americans won’t take the jobs, then proclaiming that they can’t find any American workers, and hiring guest workers to “do jobs Americans won’t do (because the pay is too low).”
So, what’s the answer? Avoid the whole mess by cracking down on illegals and refusing to start up another guest worker program. That will cause the labor market to tighten for a short period of time, but, as always, the market will adjust, and after a relatively short period of time nobody will even notice that the illegals are gone.