Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Discovering the Obvious

If you import millions of low and unskilled workers into a country, what happens to wages for low and unskilled workers already working there? Well, if the available supply of any good or service outstrips the available demand for that good or service, then the price demanded for that service must fall in order to attract consumers. This works for employment as well. The more available workers, the lower the wages offered, since employers will not have to compete with each other to attract workers and can secure enough workers even after lowering wages. Fewer workers mean higher wages since employers would then have to compete for workers. This is basic economics, real ECON 101-level stuff.

So what then is the effect of America's current immigration policy - the deliberate failure to enforce immigration laws thus permitting millions of low and unskilled workers to flood across the nation's borders? Why, it lowers wages. And whose wages get hit hardest? Not surprisingly, it hits those who can least afford to see their wages fall, the poor - usually the immigrants themselves. A University of South Carolina economist has taken the time to confirm that basic economic principles still function as expected.

As South Carolina's Hispanic population has grown, one measurement of wages for all workers has dropped, a University of South Carolina study released last week found.

While study authors would not attribute all of the drop to immigration, their findings were similar to research done elsewhere.

The S.C. median annual wage, adjusted for inflation, dropped 3.1 percent to $28,039 between 2000 and 2005, a period when the state experienced rapid growth in its Hispanic population. The median is the midpoint at which half of all salaries would be above that figure and half below.

Pay in construction, the dominant field for Hispanics, slipped 5 percent for all S.C. workers during what was a record housing boom. Construction wages for Hispanics fell by more than twice that.

"When an industry is booming like this, you expect to see wages increase, not decline like this," said Doug Woodward, a research economist at the USC Moore School of Business. Woodward wrote the study with Elaine Lacy of the USC Consortium for Latino Immigration Studies.

Woodward said the study supported the notion that Hispanic workers were willing to take less desirable jobs, such as slaughtering chickens or roofing during hot S.C. summers, for lower wages.

"What we're doing here in South Carolina is importing cheap labor to our economy," Woodward said.

Woodward has hit the nail on the head, explaining the motivation behind Big Business's support for open borders immigration policies: cheap workers. Since the people who run large companies tend to be wealthy, they don't have to compete with Spanish-speaking day laborers, and they can afford to live in gated communities, sealed off from the societal rot their immigration policies are inflicting on the nation at large.