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James K. Galbraith writes:

What does Bush want? He wants a growth rate high enough to get him through the election. That's obvious. After that, he doesn't care. His clientele -- the military contractors, oil companies, pharmaceutical firms and big media that control this government -- make their money on patents, contracts and the exercise of monopoly power. (Case in point: Bush is pressuring impoverished Central Americans, in trade negotiations, to add 10 years to the length of drug patents.) These people have no interest in full employment. They like unemployment, weak labor, low wages and a government that bullies on their behalf. And after the election, if Bush wins, that is what they will get for four more years.

And why the "guest worker" program affects you, faithful citizen:

The new class of migrants would have to leave when their permits are up, unless renewed. They would have to leave if fired from their jobs. In a word, employers would judge who stays in the country and who is kicked out. Forget labor rights. Forget unions. Also forget family, home, neighborhood, things like that. Anyone wanting to protect those things will stay out of sight.

Worse, workers coming into the program would in practice be giving up their path to political rights. They would, for the most part, never become citizens. They would never get to vote. No one will represent their interests. No one will speak for their schools, their clinics, their wages. No one will stand in their defense when they are abused on the job, hurt, sacked, blacklisted, and sent home.

There is worse still. Bush made clear that this program is not just for workers presently in the country, as the press has mostly been reporting. It is not just for those who may soon arrive. No, it is far broader than that. Here's the president's speech: "If an American employer is offering a job that American citizens are not willing to take, we ought to welcome into our country a person who will fill that job."

This program will permit any employer to admit any worker. From any country. At any time. The only requirement is that it be for a job Americans are not willing to take. But it is easy to create such jobs: Cut wages. Terminate the unions. Lengthen the hours. Speed up the lines. Chicken farmers have known this for years. Bush's plan is a blank check for every bad boss this country has.


For millions of citizen workers, what would happen? The answer is clear: Bad bosses drive out the good. Good bosses will turn bad under pressure. The terms of our jobs would get worse and worse. Who would want a citizen worker? A bracero will be so much cheaper, more loyal, and under control. And who among us, in our right mind, would want to look for work? Unless, of course, we needed to eat. Or pay the mortgage. I am not exaggerating: This is a threat to us all.

Replies: 2 Confessions

This sounds like a legal sanction for current conditions.

elavil @ 01/19/2004 10:25 AM CST

Also, people coming into the country can do so for free. People already here would have to pay a fee which hasn't been determined yet.

Cinnamon @ 01/20/2004 04:32 PM CST

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