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Indiana Wages Are Rising amid Donald Trump’s ‘Hire American’ Immigration Policy

President Donald Trump speaks at a "Make America Great Again" rally in Phoenix, Arizona, on August 22, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images
NEIL MUNRO

President Donald Trump’s “Hire American” economic policy is boosting the marketplace clout of restaurant staff in Indiana, much to the distress of dining critic Liz Biro.

Under the headline “Why restaurant customer service has been getting worse around Indianapolis,” Biro mourned “the dog-eat-dog world of Indianapolis’ restaurant labor crunch [where] low unemployment rates and a continuously growing number of new restaurants has operators fighting for personnel and diners noticing the fallout.”

But her article is full of good news for working Americans:

A scarcity of applicants has meant pay bumps for job seekers … The going rate for dishwashers is $13 an hour in Indianapolis, [Patrick] Tamm said. That’s above the national $11-per-hour average estimated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“It’s an employee market today. It’s not an employer market. And that’s not going to change for the foreseeable future.”

Tamm is the president of the Indiana Restaurant & Lodging Association. Biro continued:

Employees are getting the one thing they want most — salary increases — but also scholarships and career advancement opportunities, Lane said. Tamm has seen restaurants doling out discounts, free meals and parking reimbursements.

In fact, the staff of one restaurant won a strike against a co-owner because the employers could not hire replacements from the no-longer-visible pool of illegal migrant workers who were welcomed by former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. “A strike at single-unit Tinker Street restaurant last spring locked the top Indianapolis restaurant’s doors for two weeks and forced out one of its owners after workers alleged that a waitress was wrongly fired,” Biro wrote.

The state government reported in March that “Indiana’s unemployment rate stands at 3.5 percent for February and remains lower than the national rate of 3.8 percent … and the state’s 65.2 percent labor force participation rate remains above the national rate of 63.2 percent.”

Also, the federal government’s support for legal immigration has added few extra workers to the state’s economy, according to the National Immigration Forum, which lobbies for a greater inflow of cheap workers. Immigration has boosted the state’s workforce by only 6 percent, in sharp contrast to Texas, where immigrants have flooded the state’s workforce with an extra one worker for every four working Texans.

Trump is polling at plus three percent in Indiana, according to Morning Consult.

Biro’s worries about table service were posted after White House senior counselor Jared Kushner declared that Trump’s top priority in immigration policy is protecting Americans’ wages. “We have a lot of objectives … Number one, he wants to protect American wages,” Kushner said.

Kushner also listed the many advantages employers have gained from Trump’s policies:

We freed up companies to be able to invest capital, which is creating jobs — we’ve lowered the corporate tax rate and we’ve given a tax cut to individuals, which means there is more consumption. We’re working on trade deals … We’ve figured how to make our country energy independent. We’ve increased the amount of energy we are creating which geopolitically is very important. We’re investing in the industries of the future — Artificial Intelligence, 5G, quantum computing– a lot of things that allow us to be long-term competitive. And then also appointing a lot of conservative judges has allowed us and a lot of businesses to have certainty on what the law is, and so those things, if you couple them with maybe infrastructure [spending] and then immigration reform, I think that will keep out country competitive for the long run.

In sharp contrast, Democrat candidates are calling for increased migration in order to deliver more legal or illegal workers to employers through the United States.

“We need workers,” Democrat presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar told Fox News’s Bret Baier February 12. She said:

I think we need to pass comprehensive immigration reform, and I look at this is not just a moral issue. I actually look at it as an economic issue. When you look at, in my state, we need workers for some of the jobs, especially in rural areas. We have a 2.8 percent unemployment rate.

Voters in Minnesota got a record wage increase of 5.2 percent in 2018 precisely because the state has a very low unemployment rate of 2.8 percent and partly because migrants have increased the workforce by only ten percent.

A second candidate, Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend in Indiana, also wants more imported workers, saying:

We need people here. We need to grow. my community …  If we’ve got responsible, able-bodied people on a path to citizenship, send them to South Bend. Because we trying to grow our community, and job growth in population growth go hand-in-hand.

We know — despite what they say about us here in the heartland —  we know how much our communities benefit from the growth that happens through immigration.

Each year, roughly four million young Americans join the workforce after graduating from high school or university.

But the federal government then imports about 1.1 million legal immigrants, refreshes a resident population of roughly 1.5 million white-collar guest workers in addition to approximately 500,000 blue-collar visa workers, and also tolerates about eight million illegal workers and the inflow of hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants.

This federal policy of flooding the market with cheap white-collar graduates and blue-collar foreign labor is intended to boost economic growth for investors.

This policy works by shifting enormous wealth from young employees towards older investors even as it also widens wealth gaps, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, hurts children’s schools and college education, pushes Americans away from high-tech careers, and sidelines millions of marginalized Americans, including many who are now struggling with fentanyl addictions.

 

 

 

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