Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 09-13-2017, 11:40 AM
XT XT is offline
Agnatheist
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: The Great South West
Posts: 32,453
Is Trump et al inadvertently helping US labor/workers?

Yeah, I know...no way this is happening, right? And maybe it's not. That's what I came here to see. I was reading this article on CNN:

Quote:
"The rhetoric from the Trump Administration isn't matching the reality of this labor market," says Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank. "Any measures that try and cut back on immigration would be problematic for an economy that's running at full employment and is actually running out of workers."

Such a high number of job openings is a mix of good and bad news. The good: Employers are hiring. When the Great Recession was at its worst in 2009, job openings fell to 2.2 million, an all-time low.

The bad: Employers can't find anyone. From farms to construction sites to small businesses, employers report mass shortages of workers, surveys show. Many experts say unemployed Americans don't have the skills needed. Others argue that employers aren't willing to pay up and offer higher wages to attract better workers.

To help fill the gap, employers have relied on foreign-born workers for years as millions of Baby Boomers retire. Last year, there were 27 million foreign-born workers in the United States, according to the Labor Department.

Job openings cut across American industries in July. Manufacturing had nearly 400,000 openings; construction 232,000; education and health 1.1 million; finance and insurance 270,000; retail 625,000.
So, by pushing through his ridiculous anti-immigration anti-illegals policy, it seems to me that the unintended consequence is that, at a time when the US is pretty much at full employment, the only recourse some companies will have to get the labor they need is to up either their salaries or their benefits to try and attract that labor. No?

As an aside, I'm militantly unsurprised that, once again, the Trump message radically diverges from reality.
__________________
-XT

That's what happens when you let rednecks play with anti-matter!
  #2  
Old 09-13-2017, 01:50 PM
treis treis is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 9,106
Quote:
Originally Posted by XT View Post
Yeah, I know...no way this is happening, right? And maybe it's not. That's what I came here to see. I was reading this article on CNN:



So, by pushing through his ridiculous anti-immigration anti-illegals policy, it seems to me that the unintended consequence is that, at a time when the US is pretty much at full employment, the only recourse some companies will have to get the labor they need is to up either their salaries or their benefits to try and attract that labor. No?

As an aside, I'm militantly unsurprised that, once again, the Trump message radically diverges from reality.
Increasing US workers wages is the point not an unintended consequence of Trump's immigration policy. If it's not that, then what is it?
  #3  
Old 09-13-2017, 02:00 PM
Buck Godot Buck Godot is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: MD outside DC
Posts: 4,319
Quote:
Originally Posted by treis View Post
Increasing US workers wages is the point not an unintended consequence of Trump's immigration policy. If it's not that, then what is it?
For many Trump voters the main goal of the immigration policy is to make America white again, but I agree that driving up wages due to reducing the number of workers was exactly the proposed non-bigoted rationale they gave for their policy, and so this couldn't really be called inadvertent.

Last edited by Buck Godot; 09-13-2017 at 02:01 PM.
  #4  
Old 09-13-2017, 02:26 PM
XT XT is offline
Agnatheist
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: The Great South West
Posts: 32,453
Quote:
Originally Posted by treis View Post
Increasing US workers wages is the point not an unintended consequence of Trump's immigration policy. If it's not that, then what is it?
Getting rid of the immigrants and especially the illegals. Making all those great low end, low wage and low benefit jobs available to REAL Americans was the stated goal. Causing a labor shortage that might force some companies to increase wages to entice REAL Americans(tm) (or, conversely, forcing companies to invest even more in automation I suppose), especially since they are stifling immigration? I don't think that was the intended consequence, but maybe it was. Perhaps I'm too critical of the orange haired one, but seems to me he doesn't think that strategically, especially since it's going to hurt businesses if they have to increase wages to entice in workers instead of being able to draw from workers who were willing to work for a lot less.
__________________
-XT

That's what happens when you let rednecks play with anti-matter!

Last edited by XT; 09-13-2017 at 02:27 PM.
  #5  
Old 09-13-2017, 02:40 PM
Hilarity N. Suze Hilarity N. Suze is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Denver
Posts: 7,205
I think this was one of his promises to people. More American jobs. Put Americans back to work. So, not unintended.
  #6  
Old 09-13-2017, 02:43 PM
treis treis is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 9,106
Quote:
Originally Posted by XT View Post
Getting rid of the immigrants and especially the illegals. Making all those great low end, low wage and low benefit jobs available to REAL Americans was the stated goal. Causing a labor shortage that might force some companies to increase wages to entice REAL Americans(tm) (or, conversely, forcing companies to invest even more in automation I suppose), especially since they are stifling immigration? I don't think that was the intended consequence, but maybe it was. Perhaps I'm too critical of the orange haired one, but seems to me he doesn't think that strategically, especially since it's going to hurt businesses if they have to increase wages to entice in workers instead of being able to draw from workers who were willing to work for a lot less.
It was definitely an argument:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trump
When politicians talk about immigration reform, they usually mean the following: amnesty, open borders, and lower wages

Immigration reform should mean something else entirely: it should mean improvements to our laws and policies to make life better for American citizens.
http://www.politico.com/story/2016/0...nscript-227614
  #7  
Old 09-13-2017, 03:08 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: South Bay
Posts: 80,460
Is there any evidence that Trump's policies have significantly changed the number of immigrants in the US, or is this just the result of a continuously improving US and world economy. I seem to recall reading somewhere that we are in a strange situation where most or all of the industrialized economies are growing. Usually, some are out of sync, but not now.
  #8  
Old 09-13-2017, 03:37 PM
puddleglum puddleglum is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: a van down by the river
Posts: 5,388
According to this article the number of illegal border crossing fell by about 60% in the months after he was elected.
  #9  
Old 09-13-2017, 04:33 PM
Sage Rat Sage Rat is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Howdy
Posts: 18,512
Raising wages is unlikely to help the issue much. Most low-wage jobs (farms, manufacturing, etc.) are centered in locations that attract migrant workers from Mexico. Most Americans cannot be described as a "migrant worker". If the job is not where they live, they're not going to move to it.

Encouraging Americans to move into positions abandoned by illegal workers is not as simple as blocking illegal immigrants. You also have to provide sufficient motivation for Americans to move from wherever they live to, effectively, Nowheresville and subsidize businesses in Nowheresville so that they don't move across the border. And when you subsidize, you can't just subsidize one or two key businesses, you have to subsidize the entire industry.

When the government provides a subsidy, they are naturally going to subsidize at the level where the business won't be inclined to move, not to the level at which they would be competitive against their competitors if those competitors moved abroad. The subsidy is enough to make the business decide that the capital cost of moving isn't worth the effort. But if you only subsidize one business and not his competitors, then the competitor moves, incurs the capital cost, and is at a disadvantage for a while, but over time will come out ahead because their products are now cheaper. The company that stayed is at a disadvantage on the market because the subsidy wasn't high enough to make them competitive, just high enough to make them lazy about moving.

Since Trump isn't providing motivations for people to move and he isn't providing industry-wide subsidies, what we should expect to see isn't higher wages, it's production shortages coming in to the consumer at higher costs. Foreign competitors for those products won't have the same issues - they'll be plentiful and cheap - so the American businesses will start to get squeezed out of the markets that they are in. The wages will briefly surge at those American businesses, but anyone who actually moves to where the jobs are is going to move just to find themselves quickly out of a job.
  #10  
Old 09-13-2017, 07:45 PM
OldGuy OldGuy is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Very east of Foggybog, WI
Posts: 4,434
Quote:
Originally Posted by puddleglum View Post
According to this article the number of illegal border crossing fell by about 60% in the months after he was elected.
I have no cite, but my recollection is the primary reason apprehensions fell at the border was that agents were moved from border areas into the interior to deal with illegal immigrants already here.
  #11  
Old 09-17-2017, 04:32 AM
nachtmusick nachtmusick is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 605
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sage Rat View Post
Raising wages is unlikely to help the issue much. Most low-wage jobs (farms, manufacturing, etc.) are centered in locations that attract migrant workers from Mexico. Most Americans cannot be described as a "migrant worker". If the job is not where they live, they're not going to move to it.

Encouraging Americans to move into positions abandoned by illegal workers is not as simple as blocking illegal immigrants. You also have to provide sufficient motivation for Americans to move from wherever they live to, effectively, Nowheresville and subsidize businesses in Nowheresville so that they don't move across the border. And when you subsidize, you can't just subsidize one or two key businesses, you have to subsidize the entire industry.

When the government provides a subsidy, they are naturally going to subsidize at the level where the business won't be inclined to move, not to the level at which they would be competitive against their competitors if those competitors moved abroad. The subsidy is enough to make the business decide that the capital cost of moving isn't worth the effort. But if you only subsidize one business and not his competitors, then the competitor moves, incurs the capital cost, and is at a disadvantage for a while, but over time will come out ahead because their products are now cheaper. The company that stayed is at a disadvantage on the market because the subsidy wasn't high enough to make them competitive, just high enough to make them lazy about moving.

Since Trump isn't providing motivations for people to move and he isn't providing industry-wide subsidies, what we should expect to see isn't higher wages, it's production shortages coming in to the consumer at higher costs. Foreign competitors for those products won't have the same issues - they'll be plentiful and cheap - so the American businesses will start to get squeezed out of the markets that they are in. The wages will briefly surge at those American businesses, but anyone who actually moves to where the jobs are is going to move just to find themselves quickly out of a job.
I have never bought the argument that unemployed Americans would not fill the jobs that illegal immigrants are filling, given sufficient compensation. This is a great explanation why that simple thought doesn't work. Very persuasive.
  #12  
Old 09-17-2017, 06:12 AM
John Mace John Mace is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: South Bay
Posts: 80,460
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sage Rat View Post
Raising wages is unlikely to help the issue much. Most low-wage jobs (farms, manufacturing, etc.) are centered in locations that attract migrant workers from Mexico. Most Americans cannot be described as a "migrant worker". If the job is not where they live, they're not going to move to it.
According to the BLS, there are about 760,000 jobs in agriculture and there are 4,700,000 jobs in the food service industry.
  #13  
Old 09-17-2017, 06:30 AM
John Mace John Mace is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: South Bay
Posts: 80,460
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
According to the BLS, there are about 760,000 jobs in agriculture and there are 4,700,000 jobs in the food service industry.
And according to Pew, about 50% of illegal immigrants work in the Service or Construction industry, while only 4% work in agriculture (and forestry). I think there is some confusion between "occupations with a high percentage of illegal immigrants" (farming) and "occupations that attract the bulk of the illegal immigrants" (service, construction and some other, non-farming jobs).
  #14  
Old 09-17-2017, 03:21 PM
igor frankensteen igor frankensteen is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 1,129
I have a lot of problems with what I see as this vastly over-simplified description of how American economics and market places work, just as I have done since Trump started campaigning way back when.

There are lots of errors and holes, but I'll start with a big, but subtle and so far entirely ignored one: the things that American businesses did back in the 1980's, as stop-gap measures to cope with their short-sightedness in the decades before that, are still causing huge problems for us today.

The way I see it, in the period from about 1955, to about 1975 or so, American Education was left pretty much as it had been, in the decades before. It was left that way, and not upgraded, because the relative explosion of high paying high school diploma based jobs in the years after World War 2, seemed to make upgrades in education unnecessary. So politicians short changed schools and education in order to keep state taxes down. No one noticed that the rest of the world, and Japan and Europe especially, were passing America by in educating their workforce.

As the need for more education showed up, American businesses, still flush with high profits from the overall lack of world competition after WW2, spent their own money to train their workers as needed, to perform the tasks required.

But in the late 1970's, it began to become clear that foreign competition was not only for real, it was both cheaper and better than US production in many areas. Among the first cheap quick fix American businesses went for, was to stop spending part of their profits on training, and switch to hiring only experienced pre-trained workers, from other countries if necessary. That problem has STILL not been correctly addressed, since it is STILL not possible for someone with a High School education to get a middle-class lifestyle paying job.

The reason why Trumps idea to throttle the sources of cheap foreign workers wont do the trick is, that they STILL haven't fixed the education part of the situation, and even worse, everyone is still completely ignoring the fact that businesses can no longer afford to pay wages at a rate that allows workers to live in the same area where the business' markets are.

During the 1980's, wages were cut all over the country, but the cost of housing and food and other basics remained at the high level they reached before the competition from overseas kicked in.

Top that off, with the common standard economic models that American and most foreign businesses operate under, and there still isn't any way for businesses TO increase wages significantly.

Wages were reduced (where the wages themselves weren't reduced, they were effectively cut, by eliminating paid benefits) as a quick-fix to the need to rapidly increase productivity in the face of competition. That was about when the cost of Medical insurance began to show up as a big political issue, notice. That mistake has yet to be rectified, which can only be accomplished by finding a way to drive down the cost of living proportionately.

Cutting off access to cheap foreign labor wont do anything to resolve those issues, it will just cause businesses to look for ways to get around the limits (such as demanding more exceptions to the limits of importing foreign workers for specific training needs), or to shift even MORE industry overseas where the workers can ALREADY afford to pay for their housing (such as it is).

Last edited by igor frankensteen; 09-17-2017 at 03:23 PM.
  #15  
Old 09-17-2017, 05:47 PM
Sage Rat Sage Rat is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Howdy
Posts: 18,512
Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
According to the BLS, there are about 760,000 jobs in agriculture and there are 4,700,000 jobs in the food service industry.
That would be a pretty solid argument against what I wrote. I should have looked the numbers up.

(See kids, this is why you don't assume that because someone says something assertively that they aren't talking out their ass.)

Last edited by Sage Rat; 09-17-2017 at 05:47 PM.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:03 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017