We previously reported on Paul Ryan’s betrayal in passing a $2 trillion spending bill and forming an alliance with Harry Reid. We noted that while politics is the art of compromise, there were no compromises made in the budget. The spending bill was particularly kind to illegal immigrants – giving federal benefits to DREAMers (illegals who came as minors), quadrupling the number of visas for unskilled guest workers, and giving grants to Sanctuary Cities.
A recent interview Ryan had with Bill Bennett shines some light on the bill – and it doesn’t seem that Ryan holds any opposition to the provisions on immigration. To quote from Breitbart:
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) defended his omnibus bill’s controversial expansion in the H-2B visa program, which would allow foreign workers to fill blue-collar American jobs, by arguing that if the provision were not included, American companies would be forced to shut their doors.
Bennett pressed Ryan on the details of the H-2B visa expansion, slipped 700-pages into Ryan’s 2,009-page omnibus spending bill—asking Ryan directly, “Do you believe there are not enough Americans to fill these jobs?”
In response, Ryan described the H-2B visa expansion as “a very small, discrete provision.”Despite the nation’s high levels of unemployment and stagnating wages, Ryan continued on to assert, without offering evidence in support of his claim, that corporations are facing a shortage of labor, which rendered the provision necessary. Ryan said: “The reason that this was passed is because there was some seasonal surge jobs that they can’t find local workers to fill, like the seafood packaging industry in Chesapeake Bay. You have seafood season, you need people to package those things, to can them. In the North, we have the summer tourism industry. What it is is there’s seasonal industries where they can’t find local people to do the jobs: kids are already in college or things like that where you have a surge in workers.”
Ryan explained that the provision was passed specifically “to help small business who cannot find labor when there’s a surge in demand for their labor like seafood processing, or tourism.”
Ryan warned, “The point is these businesses would have shut down without this and that’s what we didn’t want to see happen. We didn’t want to see businesses, who are seasonal, shut down because they couldn’t get the labor. That’s why this provision was passed in July.”
Ryan is regurgitating an old liberal argument for immigration – “what American is going to pick oranges for $6 an hour if not illegals?” It’s interesting that liberals are suddenly against living wages when it comes to immigrants.
Regardless, lets answer the question. What American is going to do low-skilled work for low wages if not for illegals? Well, they’re not. In absence of illegals, these low-skilled jobs would have to pay higher wages to attract domestic labor.
We may pay a few cents more at the register, but if these Americans were otherwise unemployed we would be paying their welfare checks so it’s hardly a bad trade-off.
[Note: This post was authored by The Analytical Economist]