If we are really serious about turning back the tide of illegal immigration, we should start by raising the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to something closer to $8. The Massachusetts legislature recently voted to raise the state minimum to $8 and California may soon set its minimum even higher. Once the minimum wage has been significantly increased, we can begin vigorously enforcing the wage law and other basic labor standards.
Millions of illegal immigrants work for minimum and even sub-minimum wages in workplaces that don’t come close to meeting health and safety standards. It is nonsense to say, as President Bush did recently, that these jobs are filled by illegal immigrants because Americans won’t do them. Before we had mass illegal immigration in this country, hotel beds were made, office floors were cleaned, restaurant dishes were washed and crops were picked — by Americans.
But if we want to reduce illegal immigration, it makes sense to reduce the abundance of extremely low-paying jobs that fuels it. If we raise the minimum wage, it’s possible some low-end jobs may be lost; but more Americans would also be willing to work in such jobs, thereby denying them to people who aren’t supposed to be here in the first place. And tough enforcement of wage rules would curtail the growth of an underground economy in which both illegal immigration and employer abuses thrive.
Raising the minimum wage and increasing enforcement would prove far more effective and less costly than either proposal currently under consideration in Congress. If Congress would only remove its blinders about the minimum wage, it may see a plan to deal effectively with illegal immigration, too.
D'oh! The problem isn't that too many unskilled workers cross the border; it's that there are too many jobs in this country with a pay rate suitable for unskilled workers!
Let's note that the Duke's co-contributor is a student of the dismal science:
Michael S. Dukakis, the governor of Massachusetts from 1975 to 1979 and from 1983 to 1991, is a professor of political science at Northeastern University. Daniel J. B. Mitchell is a professor of management and public policy at the University of California at Los Angeles.
Well. One can't say this idea lacks imagination. Personally, I wonder if the authors attempted to imagine the impact of this proposal on low-skilled native born Americans, but hey - Democrats always want to raise the minimum wage, so this might just become the next fantasy reason for doing so.
INCOMPARABLY WORTHLESS: Per this old thing, the Duke
has endorsed the so-called comparable worth doctrine -- an approach that assumes that workers in occupations traditionally dominated by women earn less than workers in different but "comparable" jobs generally held by men.
Say no more.