Tuesday, March 28, 2006

A Cultural War Has Been Declared on America

I personally witnessed a protest march, late yesterday afternoon in Houston, concerning the immigration bill being debated in Congress. Roughly one hundred Hispanic teenagers participated. I doubt if anyone was older than nineteen. They carried no less than six Mexican flags. A couple of them were very large. There were no American flags whatsoever. Not even one. Let us not continue to fool ourselves: a cultural war is being waged against the United States. These young people are giving us the proverbial middle finger. They have contempt for our institutions and values. The politically correct multiculturalists have successfully taught them to despise America. Remaining outsiders is obviously their central goal. Assimilation is not even slightly desired. This cannot be tolerated. The Republican Party may sometimes be wishy-washy on this issue---but the Democrats are an utter disaster. Some affluent Republicans like cheap labor. They have admittedly contributed to the problem. Only left-wing Democrats, however, have encouraged these illegal immigrants to so openly filth on the United States.


Knucklehead said...


Does a hundred, or even several hundred, Hispanic teenagers running around the streets of Houston brandishing some Mexican flags really represent the declaration of a culture war?

The average teenager in the US, Hispanic or otherwise, is a twit. They don't recognize culture sufficiently to wage war for or against it. They just like to gather together in crowds and pretend to "stand for" something.

Eric said...

I tend to agree with knucklhead. Its this summer's fad.

David Thomson said...

The recent protest marches throughout the United States highlight the Mexican flag. And yes, that is indeed a not so subtle declaration of a cultural war. If this was not intended---then the leaders would have made sure that only the American flag was displayed. The symbolism is very important. They want to make sure we get the message. Do the kids know what they are doing? Perhaps not, but the adults do! These kids are being influenced to have contempt for America.

Knucklehead said...


We clearly have a large problem on our hands. Whether or not it represents a culture war is open to analysis and debate.

I suspect, however, that the presence of Mexican flags at these demonstrations is not particularly meaningful either way. By your own estimate you saw "no less than" six flags carried among some hundred demonstrators. Six (or 100 for that matter) isn't a large number so we reasonably presume that there weren't dozens of flags among these approx. 100 demonstrators. By your estimate, as an eye witness, some 96% or thereabouts of the demonstrators didn't carry Mexican flags.

Among the handful that were there what was the meaning of carrying the Mexican flag? We can assume some of the handful harbored ideas of reconquista. I personally would presume that at least some of the handful carried their Mexican flag as some symbol that we all know what we're talking about when the words "illegal immigrants" are used. We're talking about Mexicans here in the US illegally.

When people talk about rounding up and deporting some 10 million "illegal aliens" they are talking about not only rounding up 10 million Mexicans within the US but also dumping 10 million Mexicans back into Mexico.

This is yet another of those issues that people seem to think there is some Star Trek transporter solution to. We can't just triangulate on these 10,000,000 people and beam them back into Mexico. Ignore, for a moment, the problems it would cause here in the US and consider what happens on our southern border if we dump 10,000,000 people there. Dump that many people into Mexico and you'd probably have half of them back at the border within a week or less.

What happens if 250,000 illegal Mexican immigrants roll into the center of LA with food and water for 72 hours, sit down, and say, "Here we are, deport us, but you're going to have to carry us away and tomorrow we'll be at the border again."

I have to admit that I find it completely flabbergasting that there are so many Americans who seem to think there's some wave of the wand solution to this issue of 10,000,000 Mexicans here illegally.

And that's before even addressing the "illegal" issue. Good freakin' grief! Crossing the border and taking a job as a laborer for low wages isn't murder and mayhem. Yeah, it is illegal. So is speeding and cheating on taxes and a jillion other things Legal Americans do every danged day. We don't demand they get all rounded up and tossed in jail - we fine them and threaten to make the punishement worse the next time.

Yeah, sorry, this wasn't about the Great Mexican Roundup and Deportation, it was about flags at a protest march. I'm extremely frustrated, however, that so many of my fellow citizens are willing to toss the nation into violent havoc over this silly roundup and deportation nonsense.

It isn't going to happen and trying to make it happen would be a cure far worse than the disease. We can piss and moan about "illegal immigrants" forever or we can do something to convert the illegal aliens into legal immigrants and guest workers or whatever we prefer to call them. But we're not rounding them up and deporting them and it doesn't matter in the least how many of My Fellow Americans stamp their feet and shout themselves blue in the face over it and threaten never to vote for another Republican ever again as long as they live. Vote for Democrats, that'll solve the problems. Yeah, right.

Knucklehead said...

Oops, I did mean some 94% or thereabouts rather than 96%. I'm getting lathered up about this issue and I can't type straight when I get like that.

David Thomson said...

I am quite liberal regarding the immigration issue. It is my hope that we cut as much slack as possible. At the very best, we will come up with some sort of sausage making compromise. There are roughly 10-12 million illegals in this country. Obviously, we are not going to “send them all back where they came from.”

The Mexican flags represent an unwillingness to assimilate. These teenage students have almost certainly been taught that the United States is a despotic nation. Pragmatically speaking, the organizers should have insisted on only American flags---but they instead opted to insult us. Also, who is paying for these flags? I saw a couple yesterday that looked rather expensive. Are the kids spending their own lunch money? No, I doubt this very much. Has any reputable polling organization studied the protesters. I would love to see the results.

flenser said...

"But we're not rounding them up and deporting them"

Yes, we are.

If you decide that you want to conduct the discussion at a more adult level let me know. But pissing and moaning and stamping your feet really does not impress me. And that is all you are doing here.

Eric said...

You ever been to a San Genero day parade? or a St. Patricks day parade? or the Puerto Rican day parade?

You're not going to see a lot of US flags compared to Irish, Italian and Puerto Rican ones.

Is that 'cultural war'? I don't think so.

Frankly, the root problem hasn't been addressed: US businesses hiring illegals.

Until US businesses have to suffer some sort of negative consequence for hiring illegal aliens, this problem isn't going to go away. Period.

Knucklehead said...


Let me know when the roundup and deportation begins. I won't be holding my breath waiting for it and I suggest you don't either.

It is not going to happen. And regardless of whatever fantasy you might harbor about it, if it ever did happen within a few short months you would be unable to recognize the country you live in and you'll be looking for the exit.

We are not rounding up 10-12 million people for the simple reason that we are not Nazi Germany or Stalin's Soviet Union and without being one of those the mechanisms and will to accomplish it are not present and never will be.

We will never even begin to solve this problem until the preposterous nonsense about rounding up and expelling 10-12 million people is recognized as the rhetorical nonsense that it is.

Charlie Martin said...

David, where the hell do you live? Are you really under the impression that there's aren't usually a bunch of Mexican flags around any of the Hispanic rallies around here?

And yeah, they're not assimilating by turning into New England Presbyterians or Southern Baptists. They do, however, assimilate into the local hybrid culture in which speaking Spanish and eating menudo are as common as speaking English and eating hot dogs.

What's more, we gringos assimilate into the same culture, and eat menudo too, while hispanic kids eat hot dogs and mac&cheese as readily as the anglos. (Well, some of us eat menudo. Chilequiles, anyway.)

Charlie Martin said...

Oh, and by the way, if you look off the legacy media, it's no problem finding lots of American flags in those protests too.

Charlie Martin said...

Flenser: Yes, we are [rounding them up and deporting them.]

Yeah? Al ten or twelve million of them?

How? That's around 250,000 busloads, and they have to be rounded up, guarded, and transported, and then you have to keep them from coming back.

What about the kids, who are US citizens?

How many of these deportees will you have to shoot?

Are you ready to have our mass grave score exceed Saddam's?

Knucklehead said...


Why should the punishment for the nation's failure to secure the border and implement a reliable identification system fall upon small businesses?

Put yourself in the position of a small business owner. The ongoing course of your business requires a 8 or 10 employees but seasonal or other situational requirements means that you have to ramp up, often on short notice, to 14 or 16 or even 20 employees - the additional work being time sensitive, unskilled labor - for short durations: days, maybe a few weeks.

To remain competitive (to even get the seasonal or situational work) in the first place and make enough profit at it to make it worth even trying, you can't pay more than $12/hr for the temporary labor.

Where do you find these people who are willing to take temporary jobs, at a moment's notice, for $12/hr? Not only where do find them, but where do you find people who will show up every day for the few days or weeks that the job lasts?

Do we really believe this guy is going to worry about whether the person who shows up can prove he's a legal resident of the US? How's he going to go about doing that? What's he supposed to ask for? A green card? "No green card, Senor. I'm a citizen." A passport then? "No passport, Senor. I never leave the country."

Social Security card? Please. I'm legal and I haven't seen mine in years. And it has to be the most easily forgeable bit of official documentation ever devised by man. Is there some federally run 800 number people can call to determine if the SSN Pedro Rodriquez just provided is really registered to a Pedro Rodirquez who appears to be somewhere between 25 and 40 years old?

Birth certificate? "Oh, Senor, my madre lost that when I was a leetle boy."

"I have a driver's license, Senor."

We have no secure, mandatory national ID in this country. And just about anyone can get a driver's license. DL's are, by far, the most accepted version of identification.

How are such small businesses supposed to go about ensuring the legal resident status of the people they hire? Are we really going to put those people out of business because they hire illegal immigrants for short duration labor jobs? Are we really prepared to potentially cost those 8 or 10 regular employees their jobs to prevent the Mexicans from finding temporary labor jobs?

Is there any legitimate claim that it is large corporations who are hiring illegal aliens? I know the company I work for wants no part of it and does substantial checks on prospective hires.

Wal-Mart? Well, if we go back to Oct. of 2003 we can find:

Federal officials raided Wal-Mart stores across the United States Thursday, arresting about 250 illegal immigrants working on cleaning crews at 61 stores in 21 states.

That's hardly fueling the illegal immigration boom. They raided 61 stores in 21 states and found 250 illegals. Wow. It's going to be tons of fun rounding up 10 or 12 million of them, isn't it. We know we're limited to 50 states so that number can't get ridiculous. At 4.1 illegals per store cleaning crew, however, that leaves us with.... somewhere between 2,439,000 and 2,927,000 store cleaning crews to be raided. OK, that's unfair. I'm sure they could get 6 or so from the cleaning crews at a lot of office buildings.

That's the ticket. Shut down all those landscapers, cleaning crews, appliance delivery outfits... Fix that problem right up and, heck, we all know there's millions of Americans just waiting for those landscaping and cleaning crew jobs!

terrye said...

My father in law was nine years old before he spoke English in school. He grew up in the part of Cincinnatti they called German town. My ex said that even when he was a boy the old folks often spoke German at home. My father in law was also a chemical engineer and a WW2 veteran and a member of the Elks.

You can drive thirty miles from me right now and go into an Amish community and listen to them speaking Dutch. They are no threat to anyone however different they may be.

Down in Jasper they have a beer festival every year and German flags and accordians are right out there in public.

When I was in college my room mate was from Chicago and she was fluent in Italian, because that is what her people were.

I also knew a couple of kids from Cuba who came here to escape Castro and in their hearts they were still Cuban to some extent. But America gave them refuge.

In fact I knew another girl in my dorm named Shapiro whose mother was smuggled into the country in WW2, she was the only person in her family to survive the Holocaust.

That was not all that long ago.

I think people are acting completely stupid about this. I know we really have to tighten up the border and do a far better job of enforcing our laws and get a handle on immigration but people like Tancredo are just ridiculous. On one hand the man acts as if any compromise with the Democrats is an evil thing and then in a link to a Newsweek article I read about the guy threatening to run on this in 08. It was pointed out to him that he could split the vote and hand the election to the Democrats and he says "So be it".

So be it???What the hell kind of stupidity is that? What kind of border bill does he think Reid and Clinton would pass?

This is self serving demagoguery plain and simple.

As for transporting 11 million people, well look at this way. There are about 6,300,000 people in Indiana, there are about 3,500,000 people in Oklahoma. In other words it would be necessary to depopulate the entire states of Indiana and Oklahoma and throw in Vermont to come up with that many people. And it would be on TV, with screaming women and children and for what? If we do not come up with a workable longterm solution we will just pull millions of people out of our economy and dump them in Mexico and what happens then?

The horse is out of the barn, the barn door is shut. We can and should come up with workable and fair solutions for this problem, but if the Republicans implode over this...the Democrats will settle it for them.

And treating some old lady like a criminal because she hires some Mexicans to work her on house and treating them like child molestors or serial killers because they don't have the right paperwork is not going to solve anything.

MeaninglessHotAir said...

Really, the idea of rounding up the illegals and deporting them all is flatly absurd. This whole area from California to Chicago would be massively depopulated. Ain't gonna happen.

terrye said...

Well we need to start clamping down on people coming in and the states in the southwest who have problems coping need to have relief. I know it is difficult for them.

I think what concerns me is that there are two camps emerging in the extreme: the shoot them on sight camp and the more the merrier camp. Really there needs to be a workable solution somewhere in between.

Anonymous said...

In an earlier thread, I said "If we didn't have a Race Industry, we might not need The Wall. But with the Race Industry as influential as it is, sadly, we do."

In other words, the great majority of Hispanic immigrants have assimilationist leanings and the desire to maintain what might be called traditional American family values. But the PC culture, in combination with a convertly irredentist Mexican beauracracy, effectivly blocks this tendency. Fausta Wertz, born in Puerto Rico, echoes these sentiments in her blog:

Directing these children towards what it means to be American would not deny them their heritage, but instead strengthen their values and their own selves, while opening their futures to the myriad opportunities that attract immigrants to our country.

Anonymous said...

Irredentist - isn't that what happens after he administers too many X-rays?

/Buddy Larsen

terrye said...

I miss Buddy.

Anonymous said...

Me too. I've seen comments of his at Roger's place and also at Wretchard, I think.

Luther said...

Yeah, I miss Buddy as well. A font of good American/Texas wisdom. But, he gets busy on those missions :-)

But as to the topic. I just want a wall, a good one, with well controlled entry points. Who's here is here, whomever comes before the wall is complete, will be here as well. That is the reality as I see it.

I just desire a controlled number of immigrants. Set the number, hundreds or thousands of thousands per year, just some type of control. Either that, or let's make Mexico the 51st state.

At base, I just want America to stay America.

More to David's point, it is cultural, but, obviously, based on false pretenses and a lack of education. Were these folks receiving a 'balanced' education, they would not be so quick to bite the hand that feeds them.

Eric said...


I don't know where you live, but in NJ and NY, I, as a adult, caucasian male, with an American accent, had to prove citizen ship, either with some combination of SS card, Birth Certificate, or passport. This, applying for work at 3 different corporations, and a University. All within the last 10 years. And they still raided the warehouse of one the companies I used to work for, looking for illegals. (No wonder we were finding all sorts of mistakes in the product being shipped to the stores, nobody could read English in the warehouse).

From what I've seen of the small businesses you speak of, there ain't NOBODY paying $12 an hour to cut grass. NOBODY.

Most of these small businesses are taking advantage of the illegals, paying them below what even places like Wal-mart start their employees on, which they can do, since they're not taking out payroll taxes etc..etc..

You can whine that Americans 'don't want those jobs' but that's a crock. What Americans don't want is to be underpaid and exploited like illegal aliens.

Knucklehead said...


I don't know where you live, but in NJ and NY, I, as a adult, caucasian male, with an American accent, had to prove citizen ship, either with some combination of SS card, Birth Certificate, or passport. This, applying for work at 3 different corporations, and a University. All within the last 10 years.

The larger and/or more "high status" sorts of employers don't willfully hire illegals into any "visible" portion of their operations. They can't afford to because they'd be prosecuted and fined and have their name splashed all over the media.

They have the resources to run checks on prospective employees and the types of people they are hiring for those jobs are the types of people who have "paperwork". You and I - and our coworkers - can produce a passport, we know how to take our one remaining raised seal official birth-certificate and get it notarized. We don't operate in the world of looking for a job today and starting it tomorrow.

And they still raided the warehouse of one the companies I used to work for, looking for illegals. (No wonder we were finding all sorts of mistakes in the product being shipped to the stores, nobody could read English in the warehouse).

I've worked in warehouses picking orders for shipping to stores. There are a whole lot of issues that produce mismatches between what gets ordered and what gets shipped and they go beyond language. But let's stick with who takes these sorts of jobs and what the people who run the ops in these sorts of places have to deal with.

I've worked these jobs and I know what the people who take them and who run the operations are like. Whether you care to believe it or not Americans are not lining up for these jobs and the ones who take them are, as often as not, unreliable (or are perfectly upfront that it is a temporary situation - back to school in Aug or whatever) or are looking for something better, and will - completely understandably - jump ship the moment they find it.

If you run one of these warehouses or similar sorts of operations and turnover is a huge issue, a handful of Mexicans who show up, on time, day after day, week after week, and produce a predictable amount of work are going to start looking might legal mighty quick.

If HQ isn't going to pay any attention to your warehouse beyond whether or not stuff is moving through it, you maximize for predictablility in your employees. They guy running the warehouse doesn't get the option of figuring out what the price point is for finding reliable Americans to fill the jobs.

From what I've seen of the small businesses you speak of, there ain't NOBODY paying $12 an hour to cut grass. NOBODY.

And the last time you talked to someone who runs a little grass cutting business was when? The last guy I talked to pays $10/hr for people who push or ride a freakin' lawn mower, run and weed whacker, or a blower. How much do you think people can afford to pay, or should be paid, for deploying that skillset for seasonal work?

I know another guy in a different sort of "turf care" who pays $14/hr for people to walk behind a large, self-propelled machine and manage a couple simple settings, pour some "stuff" in the right hole at regular intervals, and turn the damn thing around when they reach the edge.

I've known both these people for years. The grass cutter has a business that occupies him for 9 months of the year provided he charges $25 - $30 per week for the lawn service. At $35 or $40 business drops off. The price point for the service dictates what he can pay. He's got to find and keep the clients, run a rider, purchase, maintain, and transport the equipment and the workers, pay for the gas and oil for all the vehicles, and keep the records. Run a quick scan and 'rithmetic guesses on all that and they guy probably nets himself a fat $20/hr for 9 or 10 months per year. Man, talk about riding the backs of the illegals.

The guy doing the upscale turf care stuff does better for himself but he also spent years barely making ends meet building the business. He has no end of horror stories about why he's given up hiring anyone but Mexican laborers; people who disappear at lunch time, can't manage a wristwatch to fill the proper tank with the proper stuff on a simple schedule, people who don't show up tomorrow... Enough of that, he found one Mexican guy who he pays $17/hr, tells him how many people he needs and for how long, and it's all taken care of. He pays the people the guy shows up with $14/hr. Whether or not they kick something back to El Jeffe is something he stopped caring about. He's got a business to run, the business is seasonal and time sensitive, there's competition (a price point for the market) and without reliable Mexicans he claims he'd have to shut down.

The argument here is that if everyone had to pay laborers $15, or $17, or $20/hr with benefits then there'd be reliable Americans taking the jobs. Well, maybe.

I'm not sure those numbers bear out but the fact of the matter is that small businesses live with the economy that is, not the one that "should be". They can't hang around waiting for the government to choke off the supply of "cheap labor" and the marketplace to adjust to new reality. If they can't compete NOW, TODAY, they go out of business. And when they go out of business the secretary, the mechanic, and probably other people along the food chain go down with them.

I know, very well, a guy who runs an electrical business. His business is more formalized and subject to much more oversight, so whether he would or could, he won't hire anyone who is a potential illegal. He hires at a starting wage of $17/hr, with a standard benefits package (health insurance, vacation, 401K, etc) for an electrician's helper. He pays for training and will take (has taken) any young kid who proves himself willing to work and tolerably intelligent right through to their electrician's license at which point they can make $35/hr, sometimes more.

This guy insists that he could double, or even triple, his business if he could find reliable and reasonably intelligent people to come work for him. They aren't out there. And this isn't that he can't find 20 or 30 - he can't find even 2 or 3 or 4 in a densely populated area. He's been through no less than 20 young guys to find the three he has who aren't too stupid or lazy or unreliable or poorly educated to justify paying $17/hr. And some of the ones who aren't too stupid or lazy or whatever spend a few months pulling cable through attics or crawl spaces in the heat or cold and choking dust and they decide they'd rather go back to school and get an office job.

Sorry, Eric, but I ain't buying the notion that there's some magic "living wage" at which Americans start swarming out of the woodwork to do the jobs that are going to the Mexican laborers. I don't think there's any significant number of Americans who want those jobs at any wage anyone can afford to pay for that level of work.

If you can't find a ready supply of young American kids who will take $17/hr, with benefits, to learn a trade that will pay $35/hr in a few short years, or even turn into their own small business with the potential to make even a little more, then I think the idea of Good Ol' Legal Murricans glancing longingly at the jobs the Illegals are taking, wishing they could have such work if only it paid A Few Dollars More is a fantasy.

This is a constant refrain from every small business tradesman I have ever talked to. Plumbers, roofers, siding guys, concrete guys... every single one says the same thing. They could all grow their business but they can't find people to work (other than Mexican laborers).

Here's another constant refrain from homeowners. Can't get plumbers or electricians or whatever to come out and do small jobs. Gee, why is that? Because you want your estimate for free yet somebody has to travel to your home and spend time working it up. If you're paying $35/hr to the licensed electrician and $17/hr to the helper, as well as purchasing and maintaining the vehicles and tools and buying the gasoline, you can't afford to spend two and three or more hours a day running around doing estimates. You can't afford to take the jobs that have an hour of travel time for a three or four hours of work.

I really think there's a lot of My Fellow Americans who have no idea what goes in to hiring and maintaining employees or running small businesses and the how difficult and expensive it is to do those things.

Most of these small businesses are taking advantage of the illegals, paying them below what even places like Wal-mart start their employees on, which they can do, since they're not taking out payroll taxes etc..etc..

You can whine that Americans 'don't want those jobs' but that's a crock. What Americans don't want is to be underpaid and exploited like illegal aliens.

Knucklehead said...


These were Erics words, not mine.

Most of these small businesses are taking advantage of the illegals, paying them below what even places like Wal-mart start their employees on, which they can do, since they're not taking out payroll taxes etc..etc..

You can whine that Americans 'don't want those jobs' but that's a crock. What Americans don't want is to be underpaid and exploited like illegal aliens.

Young Americans have a wildly inflated idea of what they are worth. It is no trouble, none whatsoever - I can make it happen at least 50% of the time I walk up to a cash register to pay for merchandise - to demonstrate that the average young checkout person is not worth much at all. The young man or woman standing there will not have a solid enough grasp of simple freakin' arithmetic to make change without the aid of a calculator.

Repeat this experiment any time you want a moment of amusement.

Whatever you are purchasing, wait for the calculator, the register, to stop doing its little bit of magic and rendering the total you owe.

Say the total is $14.27. Hand the checkout girl $20. Wait for her to punch that into the machine so she learns that she needs to give you $5.73 in change.

Then say, "Oh, wait, I don't want coins, here's 30 cents."

When she starts to look on the verge of panic, say "Just keep the three cents and give me the $6."

You will short circuit half the checkout people in the United States with that routine. You aren't trying to cheat them, in fact you'll leave them 3 cents more than necessary.

What's a fair, "living wage" and benefits package for someone to get paid to run a cash register when they can't even do basic arithmetic?

Back to the $17/hr electrician's helper. That's roughly $34K/yr. The cost per hour to employ that person, counting benefits and insurance, training, vacation, etc. (but not truck, tools, fuel, etc) runs to roughly $38 or $39K. When all is said and done it gets out around $45K/yr (about $22.50/hr) to employ a $17/hr electrician's helper.

Before $1 can be made exploiting that young kid everything necessary to make sure that he's got 40 hrs per week of work and all the tools and supplies necessary, the electrical contractor has to be able to find $45K worth of business in a year. The $35/hr. ($70K/yr) electrician turns out to be marginally cheaper on a percentage basis but not much. You have to find roughly $85K of work to break even on the guy. Keeping the truck with an electrician and helper out working is a $130K/yr proposition at break even point for a electrical contractor who runs several trucks.

Here's another experiment. If you live in a metro area, call your yellow pages folks and ask 'em how much it will cost to have a full page plumber ad for the year. Then ask about a double page ad.

You wanna be a small business electrical contractor in a metro area running 3 trucks and appropriate advertising and emergency service? Plan on roughly $500K/yr cash flow for break even.

My electrician buddy was pissing and moaning a while back because the bill for his YP ad had come. Somehow the conversation eventually yielded the little nugget that the yellow pages are great for plumbers but suck for electricians.

How on earth could there be any difference, asked I.

Because, he claimed, the yellow pages, at least for the crafts such as plumbing and electricians, are a source people turn to most for "emergencies".

Yeah, so?

"When you have a plumbing emergency you call a plumber. When you have an electrical emergency you call the fire department."

Not that that had anything to do with anything, but I found it amusing. Based on the single case of electrical emergency I can recall ever experiencing, this is true. My neighbor across the street had an electrical emergency. She called me.

"I think an electrical outlet in my kitchen is burning behind the wall!"

"Ummm..., did you call the fire department?"

"Yes! They're not here yet!"

"Umm..., do you have a fire extinguisher?"


"I do. I'll be right over."

5 seconds with a screwdriver... phtt... phtt... no more smoldering behind the outlet. Fire trucks (no less that three) arrived and checked things out.

"Now what do I do?"

"Ummm... call an electrician?"

My buddy is probably right.

Eric said...

Look, I'm not saying it isn't a hassle being a small businessman.

But you're proving my point. The businesses claim they can't find workers at wage x, (so we gotta hire illegals) and that they can't break even at wage x+y. (so we gotta hire illegals). They can't they can't charge that much because of price points? Raise the price. Oh, can't do that because rival business charges less because they're hiring illegals?

What I'm saying is that they're feeding the vicious cycle. And no one seems to want to look at the problem in terms of that.

Knucklehead said...

We feed all sorts of vicious cycles, Eric. The question is what sort of vicious cycle do we begin to feed if we start cracking down on small businesses and fining the heck out of them.

Granny can't have her lawn mowed for $25 anymore, now it costs $40 except that the guy who ran the lawn cutting business lost half his customers at that price, at least for a summer until they remember why they hired somebody in the first place, so he says screw it and closes down.

The guy who pays $14/hr now has to pay $18, plus benefits, but he can't find enough workers who work as hard so he can only do half as much business, half his machines lie fallow, so before the marketplace adjusts he goes bankrupt and lays off the secretary and the sales guy. Somewhere else a factory needs one less employee 'cause he ain't buying the stuff he once hired Mexicans to pour into the machines at regular intervals.

It all sorts itself out in a year or three or four but in the meantime we feed a viscious cycle of small businesses going belly up. And we start a viscious cycle of inummerate and incompetent, but supremely confident, young brats demanding higher wages for less work.

What happens to the housing market if you knock 36% of the insulation installer and 29% of the roofers labor right out of the water? How many small business construction contractors disappear, bankrupt? How many people downstream in shingle factories and lumber yards wind up losing their jobs?

We're running at 5% unemployment and some 5% of the workforce - heavily concentrated in labor and other lower scale jobs - disappears. What viscous cycles does that sort of thing set in motion?

Does getting rid of 5% of the workforce eliminate unemployment or does it have repercussions that wind up driving unemployment up to 7 or 8%?

Every spring I look around me and see the gardening stores crawling with people buying sacks of mulch and such and trucks running around dumping off all sorts of stuff. People spend $100, maybe $200, and the shops deliver the stuff. None of it is gigantic money, but if the price of doing that jumps 20% (sorry, ma'am, but the mulch costs $110 this year and I gotta charge a $10 delivery fee) and some portion of people (10%, 20%) are going to say, "Yaknowhat, I'll just skip it this year, makes my knees hurt anyway."

That happens time and time again, in a million different ways, and you've got some viscious cycles nobody thought about.

If by some magic a ton of jobs don't just disappear with the Mexicans and suddenly Legal Americanus can get $12/hr + benefits to ride a lawnmore and pound nails what happens to the $17 cable puller? Now he wants $20, and they $35 guy wants $40, and the electrician shuts down a truck 'cause he can't raise his prices quickly enough to cover the increase. Instead of two people making more money you've got people out of work.

But heck, there's landscaping and hotel room cleaning jobs out there for them.

I find myself hoping My Fellow Americans don't get what they seem to want so badly. The crackdown is going to cost far more than they had any idea it might.

We think we're hearing catfights over Iraq? Wait till we hear the catfights over putting a half-million or more small businesses under. It'll get ugly.

Eric said...

Knuck, I'm more in your court than you think.

Like I originally said, the problem isn't going away until its addressed at the level of the businesses hiring illegals.

I don't think its going to be addressed.

Gerard van der Leun over at American Digest points out something about the "Mexican flag over the US flag pictures" here:

I think he's right. No way this is going to change.

I just feel sorry for the legal immigrants, (I work with enough of them) who are going to get caught up in the hysteria.

terrye said...


When I was farming I learned that a bunch of folks out there are not worth a warm bucket of spit when it comes to working.

What is this thing about ripping people off? Not long ago I was talking to an old lady who got some Mexicans to put a new roof on her house for her, if not for them there would have been no new roof. People like her don't have 10 thousand dollars laying around, it has nothing to do with ripping people off.

Years ago back on the farm I got a big baler for putting up hay because that big honking piece equipment worked and was there when I needed it which is more than can be said for the hay crew. I am sure that the chances of getting a crew today would be even more remote.

A friend of mine {I should say former friend} refused to let her 15 year old son do yard work for an old man on social security for the $6 an hour the old boy was paying. She said her little darling was worth more than that. hell he could not even drive. I told her I would pay someone to take that kid of my hands because as it was he spent most of his time watching TV. pissed her off.

Gale is in a constant battle to find help. He can not afford to pay a lot, he doesn't make that kind of return. He tells me he is lucky if he sees half these guys after their first pay day because as soon as they get a little money, they are gone.

terrye said...


Hysteria is the word.And I am getting tired of it. First there was the Miers thing, that was bad enough but it was the Supreme Court and it just goes on and on. Katrina, NSA, Dubai, etc. It is like every few days the blogs and pundits and polticians find something new to get bent out of shape about. It is getting weird. And the right is just as bad about doing it. They bitch about the president's approval rating, but they never miss an oppurtunity to have a hissy fit.

Glenn Reynolds made a point about the hassles his sister in law who is from Nigeria went through. No doubt that is true, but she is from Nigeria, it is not right next door. I think the problem with these illegals is that we encouraged and allowed this for so long and there are so many extended families scattered through the region, it became too easy.

In other words if Nigeria was next door, they might be sneaking in too.

Luther said...

Just for the record. Terrye, I'm not hysterical about this matter. I just want something done about it. I have no problem with anyone coming to this country. I just think we should have some control over it. We have none now. And, don't forget, there are occasions when the squeaky wheel does indeed get the grease.