Saturday, September 1

Labor Shortage Will Depress the Economy

Rudy Carrasco at Urban Onramps is blogging about those jobs Americans won't do and an Associated Press article that reports on help wanted ads that are going unanswered in the west.
The article doesn’t even mention the word “immigration.” (Well, not by name.) But read it and you will get a picture of what things might be like once the government follows through on this immigration crackdown thing. There has been a big debate on the concept of “jobs Americans won’t do,” but up to now it’s been pretty theoretical. Well, from now on, it won’t be.
I don't have a problem with the illegal immigration crackdown--the laws need to be enforced--but I do have a problem with the fact that nothing is being done to fix the legal immigration process. It needs to be safer, more efficient, and provide for the labor needs of the country. Either that, or the real labor shortage issue needs to be addressed. It seems quite obvious we have a serious need for a comprehensive temporary worker program in many sectors of our economy.

Rudy quoted the following in the AP article:
John Francis, who owns the McDonald’s in Sidney, Mont., said he tried advertising in the local newspaper and even offered up to $10 an hour to compete with higher-paying oil field jobs. Yet the only calls were from other business owners upset they would have to raise wages, too. Of course, Francis’ current employees also wanted a pay hike.

“I don’t know what the answer is,” Francis said. “There’s just nobody around that wants to work.”

The final paragraph in the article was worth paying noting:

"The hardest thing is to keep the economy growing at a strong rate when you have a low unemployment rate," he said. "Take a company that wants to expand. Where is the next worker going to come from?"

Americans need to STOP being so combative, emotional and irrational when discussing the immigration debate, and need to start discussing solutions and ideas. I'm not asking anyone to change their views or to compromise on their position -- I'm asking people to start listening and start being solution-oriented in our discussions. Yes, border security is urgent. Yes, the laws need to be enforced.  But there is a deeper underlying economic problem that seems to me is being ignored in all the rhetoric.

The fact remains that if our country continues to experience the labor shortage we are experiencing, the economy is going to slow down and prices are going to go way up. It's basic economics! And while many middle class and affluent Americans might look at their check books right now, and say "I'm ok with that...I can pay higher prices" the fact remains that millions will be negatively affected by an economic slowdown. 
Being myopic about this issue is not going to help our country. Saying exciting, passionate and short-sighted sound bites for the cameras might get you invited back on Fox News, but it won't solve our country's labor and economic challenges. It truly is time conservatives start looking for solutions. What is it going to be?

Feel free to leave your ideas, suggestions or thoughts in the comments. What solution do you think America should pursue? What would you suggest Congress, the Senate and the future President should pursue?
Cross posted at