Your Lying Eyes

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29 November 2005

'Jobs Americans Won't Do'

This is a favorite catch-phrase of the open-borders crowd (and their Commandante Uno Bush) - immigrants are just trying to make a living doing jobs that Americans just won't do. The phrase conjures up an image of a nation of spoiled brats, unwilling to dirty their hands in uninspiring toil.
So what would be a good example of a job that an advanced society would collectively shun? How about plumbing - while laying pipe at a new construction site may be inoffesive enough, the kind of plumbing work that has gone on at my 4-score-year-old house takes a pretty strong stomach. Yet plumbers are almost without exception native-born. How do we get them to perform their foul duties? Well you know perfectly well how - we pay through the nose.
Plumbers generally have to be licensed and their ranks - at least in these parts - are strictly union. And so the plumbing profession relies on what economists refer to as 'barriers to entry' to keep out cheap labor. The licensing requirements ensure a certain minimum skill level for people to get paid for plumbing, as well as restrict the field of available plumbers. The result is that a job that would have to be on anyone's short list of ones you wouldn't want to do ends up being in fact a fairly desirable profession - that is in fact not all that easy to get into. Now I'm not proposing that we start licensing landscapers and short-order cooks for chrissake - just pointing out the obvious disingenuousness of the open-borders crowd.


Blogger Intellectual Pariah said...

Next time you hear that phrase, just pick it up in a non-confrontational way, but extend it: "jobs Americans won't do for the wages offered". Then steer the conversation onto the issue of working-class incomes, particularly for blacks*. Now you'll have shifted the terrain to a more objective view on the issue. Eventually your interlocutor's eyes will light up with fear, as he realizes that he's crossed over into intellectual bandit country, and he'll quickly scurry back behind the lines -- but you may have done some good in the meantime.

*The point of focusing on blacks is not just to manipulate liberal shibboleths. The fact is, America *does* owe blacks in a way it doesn't owe illegal immigrants.

November 30, 2005 9:31 AM  
Blogger ziel said...

America *does* owe blacks in a way it doesn't owe illegal immigrants.
I agree, and I would much prefer employers were forced into hiring blacks by a labor shortage induced by reduced immigration. However, the few people I have talked to who hire Latinos shudder at the thought.

November 30, 2005 11:08 PM  
Blogger Intellectual Pariah said...

Blacks have been heavily de-socialized over the last generation and a half. So, initially poor whites will be the main beneficiaries. But blacks will benefit too, and over time a dynamic may emerge that re-integrates de-socialized blacks. It takes a long time to screw things up in society, and it takes a long time to fix things.

December 01, 2005 8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you ever asked a plumber about finding good help? The ones I know say there IS a generation of young Americans that don't want to get their hands dirty. I hear the same thing from friends who are electrictions. Nobody wants to do hard work. Maybe its because they all see labor as immigrant work?

December 01, 2005 11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How have blacks been de-socialized over the last generation and a half?

December 01, 2005 12:32 PM  
Blogger Intellectual Pariah said...

In one word: welfare. With more words, you could get a more nuanced account.

December 01, 2005 1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, the lowering of the bar so that the reward is attainable without the discipline.

Question I have is, how long does this "debt" need to be paid off?

December 02, 2005 8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are you Art Ziel at You sound like something he would write about! Is this you Art? Just wondering if it truly is Art Ziel from Glendale, CA

December 22, 2005 4:18 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

No, I'm not Art Ziel from Glendale CA - though that's not a bad pseudonym. Perhaps I'll adopt it.

December 22, 2005 7:43 PM  
Blogger superclosetnerd said...

Updating my bookmarks... see you're still here. Looks different than I remembered. I've updated my stuff too - chimney rock

November 29, 2006 2:12 PM  

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