Downward Spiral

Ezra Klein, pimping for the cheap labor lobby, notes that not only is creating a big guest worker program seemingly popular, but "If you asked whether temporary workers should be allowed at prevailing wages, in counties with low unemployment rates (temporary workers aren't permitted in counties with unemployment at 7% or higher), and only after the job has been posted in the employer workplace, offered to any interested citizens, and posted for ten days in a wide circulation newspaper, you'd have an even heavier majority than you see now."

These are all great measures to mitigate the basic horribleness of the proposal, except that they're basically bullshit. Say unemployment is low in the county where I run my business. That means a tight labor market. That means valued employees asking for higher wages. Wages above the prevailing rate. And I need to give it to them. And that's how working people obtain prosperity in this country. Well, welcome to the United States of Guest Workerdom where if you ask for a raise, I just tell you "no" and if you quit I import a foreign worker to do your job at the old old (i.e., prevailing) rate. If my business does well, I'll expand my operation and hire more and more people, but no matter how tight the labor market gets I'll never to raise wages since I can always complain that nobody wants to do it at the prevailing rate.