Labor Day is the perfect time to acknowledge the backbone of the American economy, the middle-class American worker.
Unfortunately the American worker has become the forgotten person.
Across the board politicians pay lip service to get their votes during an election year, and after that go back to quietly ignoring their concerns.
As CAPS has previously pointed out, over the past four and a half decades American workers have been dealing with a myriad of economic challenges that have negatively impacted their wages and buying power.
One of the most important factors that has made life more difficult for American workers is increased job competition through mass immigration.
A seminal report from Steven Camarota at the Center of Immigration Reform indicates that more immigration has resulted in lower wages for American workers.
George Borjas, a Harvard professor described by both Business Week and the Wall Street Journal as “America’s leading immigration economist,” has focused on how immigration affects American workers. He wrote an extensive and balanced essay on this topic for Politico Magazine in September/October 2016.
Borjas detailed how wages are affected by increased immigration:
“Wage trends over the past half-century suggest that a 10 percent increase in the number of workers with a particular set of skills probably lowers the wage of that group by at least 3 percent. Even after the economy has fully adjusted, those skill groups that received the most immigrants will still offer lower pay relative to those that received fewer immigrants.”
Borjas noted that immigration has a disproportionate negative effect on “low-skilled American workers, including many blacks and Hispanics, who have suffered most from this wage dip.”
He also broke down how this impacts the bottom line for those scraping by:
“The monetary loss is sizable. The typical high school dropout earns about $25,000 annually. According to census data, immigrants admitted in the past two decades lacking a high school diploma have increased the size of the low-skilled workforce by roughly 25 percent. As a result, the earnings of this particularly vulnerable group dropped by between $800 and $1,500 each year.”
The solutions are out there for every politician to see.
America should have an economy and immigration policy that work for its citizens. Restricting immigration would tighten labor markets and help grow the ranks of the middle class.
Working hard, saving money, and giving your children a better life than you had was always an integral part of the American dream.
We should get back to being a country where the average worker can live comfortably on the fruits of his or her labor.
This Labor Day our political leaders should reflect on how they can help the American worker, instead of supporting immigration policies that exacerbate their problems. They need to set reasonable limits on immigration, require E-verify for all workers, and control our borders.
At the end of the day, American workers need a raise, not more immigration.