White House Turns its Back on Unemployed, Poor Americans

Published on January 20th, 2015

By Joe Guzzardi
January 20, 2015

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ December jobs report is the usual mishmash of misleading facts that provide Wall Street and President Obama cover to promote a distorted economic picture.

Sure, December marked the eleventh month in a row that employment has increased by more than 200,000, the longest such streak since 1995. As impressive as that may sound, analysts rarely mention that the 1995 U.S. population was 266 million; today, it’s 316 million. Comparatively then, the jobs’ streak is less impressive than the White House would like Americans to believe, especially in light of consistently stagnant wages which declined five cents an hour in December.

The most important yet overlooked statistic is that since 2007, all new jobs have gone to immigrants, legal and illegal. Fewer native-born Americans are working today than in 2007. The findings come from Center for Immigration Studies’ research, and were published on Drudge and in the National Review.

Specifically, 23.1 million adult legal and illegal immigrants were working in November 2007, but 25.1 million were employed in November, 2014, a two million increase. For native-born, 124 million worked in November 2007 compared to 122.5 million, a 1.5 million decline. Naysayers should note that the underlying data comes from publicly available government sources.

In defense of his executive action amnesty that will give work permits to about five million unlawful immigrants, Obama has long insisted that his measure will benefit Americans. The argument that Obama and other pro-immigration advocates make is that high immigration is complementary to American workers; that is, as immigrants replace American workers in low wage jobs, Americans move up the economic ladder to take higher paying positions.

But the BLS statistics prove Obama wrong, one reason why he neither mentions the work permits as he travels nationwide to promote his amnesty nor has information about them posted on the White House website. More workers dilute the labor market and make employment conditions harder at the lower and middle echelons. On the other hand, truly tight labor markets, impossible to achieve with a federal immigration policy that admits about one million legal immigrants each year, would improve real wages. Conversely, loose markets hurt the lowest-paid workers and those with the least bargaining clout, thus insuring more wage stagnation and income inequality.

Black Americans will suffer the most if Obama’s executive action survives the various legal challenges it faces. Black teen unemployment, as an example, hit a devastating 33.2 percent last month.

The painful truth is that Obama can’t point to a single economic reason to justify giving amnesty and work permits to five million aliens. In December, the labor force participation rate fell two-tenths of a percentage point to 62.7 percent as more potential workers became either “marginally-attached” or “discouraged.” A record 92.9 million Americans didn’t participate in the December labor market. As their costs of living go up, their paychecks either vanish or shrink.

With U.S. poverty, homelessness and welfare dependency at or near record levels, Obama should make struggling Americans his first priority, instead of pursuing a politically-driven agenda that only benefits illegal immigrants.

Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow. Contact him at [email protected] 

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