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Old 07-26-2019, 08:17 AM
Scylla is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 16,390
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Originally Posted by slash2k View Post
You would be wrong. Trump has endorsed measures that would have cut legal immigration by 40 to 50 percent or more (such as Tom Cotton's RAISE Act).
I’ll check it out. Thanks.


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So what do you expect to happen to the people filling those jobs?
I expect that a lot of them will be fucked over if you raise wages. As I said in the post above, there are many sound reasons a person work and benefit from a low paying wage, and a living wage is not the same to all folks everywhere.

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What if there aren't incentives, though, to which people can respond?
A lack of incentives would mean that everybody is so satisfied with what they are doing, they are unwilling to change jobs or move (in the context of our discussion). That is in fact, the evidence, the data is suggesting is occuring.

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Some economists see a future in which the number of actual jobs in the U.S. declines, even as the population continues to increase. If 150 million people are chasing 125 million jobs, for example, the incentives and wage structures are going to be grossly distorted.
Yes. That might happen, or not. Right now we have the opposite problem. Not enough people to fill existing jobs. That future, if it happens will not happen overnight. If and when it does begin to happen, we will have to adapt.

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Even today, we see an increasing bifurcation between highly-skilled and highly-paid workers, on the one hand, and the great mass of workers on the other. This latter group has generally seen their wages stagnating or only very slowly increasing, even as the smaller group surges ahead. Moreover, there's not a lot of mobility between the groups. People who spent the early part of their career in a coal mine tend not to have many opportunities to become digital architects or marketing experts, even if they want to learn something new.
The phenomenon you are describing has always existed. Dish washing is not a skilled or highly valued career. It is though a job almost anyone can get. You mention the lack of mobility between job strata, but you don’t state why it exists.

Maybe people like being coal miners, working their Dad’s job in their hometown making a halfway decent wage. They don’t want to leave everything they know, the place they have been their whole lives, friends and family, and uproot and try to do something new somewhere else. That’s tough scary, risky and unpleasant.

But maybe we need less coal, and the economy has moved on from coal because it is dirty and inefficient and destructive to mine.

How do you get that coal miner to give up what he has known all his life, the only thing, and abandon everything to go somewhere else and try something new?

There are three ways:

1. He is a natural adventurer and will give it a go.
2. You offer him something so incredibly awesome at such a high wage, that sounds so good, he can’t say no.
3. Things get so unpleasant and difficult that he no longer stays.

1and 2 are nice those rare times they occur. The market takes care of #3.

If you interfere with that maybe you are helping him, but maybe you are just prolonging his misery in his current circumstances while depriving him of the better future waiting for him.

Sadly, people are stubborn, and oftentimes things have to get truly terrible before people will abandon what they know.

Do I like it or want it this way? No, but that is the unfortunate reality we must recognize.


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Labor isn't a single item. A roofer and a nurse are not interchangeable, for example, even though they are both "labor," and even with training may not be capable of doing the other's job. Treating all workers as fungible is overly simplistic to the point of invalidity.
And there are different grades of crude oil too. It’s a stratified or graded commodity when you look at large enough figures to be statistically significant which is why the statistics that I cited and the gov reflect them as such.

Last edited by Scylla; 07-26-2019 at 08:19 AM.