Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Mexican Solution To A Shitty Economy: Move To The USA

There is not much in this world that shocks me but one thing that does on a regular basis is complete honesty by a politician. Often I find future topics through the wonderful invention of Google news alerts; this story comes courtesy of one of those alerts.

I literally almost fell out of my chair when reading this story about the sad state of the Mexican economy. The mayor of Mexico City is quoted as saying the following: “In agreeing with Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, on the need to change Mexico’s economic model before there is a civil conflict, L√≥pez Obrador said that the only explanation for people in Mexico not having protested in light of more than 20 years of economic stagnation is because escape valves, such as immigration, have been found.”

So basically, the reason the Mexican people have not pressured their government for reform and policies that would improve their economy, is because they can go north to the United States and find a better paying job. Gee, I am no economist but that is f*cked up.

The U.S. economy and businesses are nowhere near innocent in this sordid tale. Our businesses, big and small, hunger for cheap, no questions asked, labor. While we continue to quench our thirst for cheap labor and send un-told amounts of foreign aid south to Mexico there is no incentive to change the current system of wide-spread corruption.

The other component to this equation is the fact that immigrates, legal and illegal alike, send billions and billions of dollars south to their families to Mexico. I have absolutely no problem with people providing for their families, regardless of their immigration status, but with all that money flowing south it acts as a double hit to our economy. Not only is that money not spent here in the U.S. but often immigrates, legal and illegal, place an enormous strain on a health care system, education, police, fire, and social services that can not deal with the influx. Some would say that we should just increase funding for those departments but more often then not, those who are here from Mexico do not pay taxes in to the system and we end up throwing money at the problem without any counterbalance from tax revenue.

Now I can hear people asking themselves why should I care about this? Or I live in, name a Midwest or Northeastern state; we don’t have an illegal immigration problem. Hello, open your freaking eyes!!!! The fact that we have an illegal immigration problem is just a symptom of the larger issue of not being able to control our borders. I don’t want to go off on a tangent but let me cite two examples from history. The Roman Empire finally collapsed in part to Rome’s inability to control their vast borders. The Great Wall of China was built at an enormous human cost to prevent the consistent invasion of China from the west. Remember this quote, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”. Something like that, it’s late and I can’t find the exact quote on the net.

The fact of the matter is that illegal immigration is everyone’s problem. The effects of migration on the Mexican economy are twofold. On one hand the pressure is removed with regard to zero economic growth since those who would draw from public aid go north, and the other effect being that those who are in the U.S. send about US$17 billion to Mexico annually.

Here in Arizona the voter recently passed Proposition 200, it states that proof of U.S. citizenship is required to vote in all elections and to receive public benefits. It was challenged in court and upheld thankfully as a valid law. Now you might ask what public aid is defined as, glad you asked. Public aid is defined as benefits that include public assistance such as food stamps, cash assistance, and housing assistance, basically anything that Arizona taxpayers pay for with the important exception of Police, Fire, Health Care and Education since those are in part funded by federal money given to Arizona. The full law is listed here if you care to read it and the “English” translation.

The hope is that this new law will serve as a deterrent to those who come north in order to collect welfare and send money south to Mexico. I don’t really believe it will work, since the state agency charged with the verification of citizenship prior to the payment of public aid is ripe with corruption and the sad fact that obtaining false documents is much too easy.

My hope for the President is that he abandons this “guest worker” program and puts forth a real plan to reform immigration and secure our borders. And for the rest of the country that has been blind or ignorant to the immigration problem, here’s your wake-up call. Next time you’re out and about on your daily routine, look around and you will be surprised by number of immigrants doing jobs that “no American wants”. The fact that we have people on public aid that contribute nothing is enough to dispute that lie, but I will save that for a slow news day. Sorry for going long but I have a vested interest in this issue since I live a mere 3 hours from the U.S./Mexican border. Enjoy the links, later…………


Anonymous said...

Erik here ( Just too lazy to create a blogger account.

I appreciate your well written thought-out post about immigration. I happen to totally disagree with you though. My history book tells me that this country has become great by hardworking immigrants moving to this country to better themselves and family. I also think that immigration helps us. It lowers the cost of goods for consumers so this is good for all of us. Also, immigrants do help the economy since they spend a lot of the money here and lots of times they stay here and raise a family that becomes productive tax payers.

I am a software developer and I have seen lots of foreign workers come here and work. A lot of people have similar feelings that you have about the same issue. But, I would rather have people move here and pay taxes then see jobs go offshore. I look forward to reading the rest of your posts.

Steve said...

Try running business where the only "intelligent" life you can get to work for 7 or 8 bucks an hour ( thats above the $6.75 minimum wage in California) to run a small business like a landscaping company, car wash or restaurant. Most indigenous American's that will work for that cheap rate are students, which are reliable but time restricted. You get "thugs" who show up drunk, on crack or "have a parole officer" and are counter-productive to small businesses whose main business is.... service?

Oh and by the way, most Hispanics I know that work in the service industry are not on welfare, don't take our food stamps and would rather take the cash then to pay for the health care program that is subsidized by their employer.

Lastly, we have a sector of "failing" Socialism on the West Coast called San Francisco. There is a "living wage" that all small businesses (Gas Stations, Florists, Dry Cleaners, Car Washes, etc.) must abide to. They have to pay $8.50 minimum wage and have to subsidize health care for their families. Yet, all San Franciscans wonder why they pay the highest price for housing, gas, previous services I have mentioned, and even fast food than any other city or state in the union. So you are afraid of our money going south? How about Californians losing our businesses to Arizona and Nevada because, the weather is good, land is still cheap and wouldn't you know it... labor is cheap too. Tucson, Arizona is the phone bank capital of the world. Citibank is there, and so is Sears. Why? Labor is cheap and so is the air conditioning.
PS Your site is good by the way, keep it up!

The Mad Tech said...

Thanks to both Erik and Steve for their comments. I wish that our “leaders” in Washington could sit in on discussions such as these; maybe they could understand how complex this issue is. Every proposal I have seen come out of Washington takes an over-simplified approach.

I do certainly sympathize with small business owners in their quest for quality employees and by no means intended to disparage Hispanics. That would have serious consequences for me as my wife, in-laws and least 50% of my kids are Hispanic. Let clarify that, not half of my children but rather half their heritage, weak attempt at a bad joke. A good friend of mine, known only as “The Old Man”, has told me horror stories from living in the Bay area with the artificially induced cost of living.

Erik, I agree with the statement that immigration is a better solution to off-shoring but at least here in Arizona, I don’t see the jobs going over-seas being filled by immigrates for a number of years.

Steve, it is true that Tucson and Phoenix are home to many large companies operating call centers, I am in fact employed in a help desk enviroment, but all immigration has done for this segment of the market is depress wages because the talent or commitment to customer service is just not there any longer, not sure which one is more to blame. Guess that could contribute to the public’s poor view of customer service, tech support, and other service oriented fields. But alas that’s another topic for another post, stay tuned.

Thanks again for your comments; I look forward to your contributions on future posts.

The Mad Tech