Will Jobs In Obama`s Infrastructure Boondoggle Be Reserved For Americans—As In FDR`s WPA?

Although
Barack
Obama
spent 20 months

running for President
, he never quite found the time
to tell us much about what he would actually do in the
White House.

Yesterday, he

announced
something he forgot to mention during the
campaign: A massive public works effort that he says "will
mean 2.5 million more jobs by January of 2011."

Obama didn`t put a price tag on his plan,
but one reasonable estimate (mine) is
"a hajillion
dollars."

Nor did he offer details. In outline,
though, his description of his plan is an amusing
combination of
Stuff White People Lik
e and

Stuff Mayor Daley Likes:

"We`ll put people back to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and
bridges, modernizing schools that are failing our children,
and building wind farms and solar panels; fuel-efficient
cars and the alternative energy technologies that can free
us from our dependence on foreign oil and keep our economy
competitive in the years ahead."

It`s unclear whether Obama realizes he`s
pulling our leg about getting gigantic environmentalist
fantasy projects going in just 24 months. Nothing

happens that fast anymore
—precisely because of
all the environmental laws and regulations.
Huge wind
and solar farm projects are mostly going to employ lawyers,
bureaucrats, and
environmental impact consultants
for the next several
years. But those are the kind of tax-eaters who make up

Obama`s political base
. So, to Obama the master
politician, that`s not a bug, it`s a benefit.

Presumably, Obama`s real plan is to try to
inflate an

Alternative Energy Bubble
to replace the
Housing Bubble
that helped get Bush re-elected in 2004.

What Obama
could do fast is
what he`s

watched Chicago Mayor Richie Daley
do for two decades:
hand out huge amounts of money to resurface roads … badly.

In Chicago, traffic is terrible for half
of each year because of all the snow and ice. And the other
half of the year, traffic is worse—because of all the crews
employed by major campaign contributors using
technologically obsolete gunk to filling

potholes
that will reappear in a decade, about
one-fourth of the time that road repairs in Europe last.

To the Chicago Machine, however, the
short-lived crumminess of the repairs is all part of the
plan.

The real issue posed by Obama`s
proposal: will he follow the precedent set by the New Deal`s
Works Progress Administration (WPA) in limiting employment
on his public works projects to United States citizens?

The WPA started in 1935, a period when
there was
little
immigration because of the 1921-5
cut-off and the
Depression. When

the economy turned down in 1937
, the Democrat-dominated
Congress

restricted
it to American citizens (n.b. citizens, not
even legal residents):

"In 1937 Congress, following a trend already
established by the states, declared that all programs of the
Works Progress Administration (WPA
) would be closed to
aliens. The "citizens-only" policy of the WPA extended even
to companies that fulfilled government contracts;
corporations such as General Motors fired those whom they
perceived as foreigners to keep from losing lucrative
government business."[LATINO
AMERICANS, IMPACT OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION ON
,
Macmillan Reference USA, 2004]

Otherwise, Obama`s public works
spending will merely draw in millions of foreigners, just as
the late Housing Bubble did.

As you`ll recall, the rich, powerful, and
influential relentlessly lied to us throughout this decade
about how illegal aliens were crucial to the economy because
they would do "the
jobs that Americans just wouldn`t do."
O Of course, it
turned out that we didn`t need—and couldn`t afford—the
McMansions and granite countertops that the illegal
immigrants were employed to build.

Nor could we afford the illegal aliens. In
fact, it`s hardly a coincidence that the states with the
most illegal immigrants, such as

California
, Nevada, Arizona, and Florida,
set off the great crash of 2007-2008.
We deluded
ourselves with the dogma that diversity was prosperity, but,
in truth, no matter how profitable it was for employers who
socialized costs while privatizing profits,

importing
millions of

grade school dropouts
was always a losing proposition
overall for our modern economy.

Moreover, during the Housing Bubble,
blue-collar Americans in dying cities like

Detroit
and

Cleveland
largely missed out on the chance to move to
places like Las Vegas for construction jobs—the

illegal aliens would work for less
.

During the Bubble, huge sums of money
flowed
out
of the United States as remittance
s. The
Washington Post
reported in 2006 at the peak of the Bubble:

"A report released yesterday by the Inter-American Development Bank
estimates that immigrants living in the United States will
send $45 billion to family members this year …"
[Immigrants
Sending $45 Billion Home
, By Krissah Williams,
October 19, 2006]

Remittances to Latin America shot up
during the Housing Bubble, both because so many immigrants
were employed in construction, and because so many took out
dubious mortgages that they have since defaulted upon.

Remittances finally started falling early
this year. The Dallas News reported:

"Other Mexican officials said the decline is a reflection of the
worsening U.S. economy, particularly in the area of
construction. The U.S. construction industry accounts for
about 20 percent of jobs for Mexicans living in the country,
according to the [Mexican] central bank."[
Remittances
To Mexico See Biggest Drop In 13 Years
, By Alfredo
Corchado, March 7, 2008]

These remittances deprived the American
economy of the celebrated Keynesian
"multiplier
effect
"
on construction spending that you will hear
so much about from the Obama administration this week as
they rationalize their spending plan.

The idea has been around longer than
Keynes, as Jerry Pournelle

noted recently
:

"As Abraham Lincoln

once observed,
if he buys a coat from New England, he
has the coat and the money remains in the United States
where it can be taxed. If he buys it from England, he has
the coat."

What you likely won`t hear from Obama,
however, is that if you pay an American to fill potholes,
he`ll spend the money in America, where other Americans will
then spend it some more. If you pay a Mexican, however,
he`ll send a lot of the money back to Mexico.

Mexico, with its population of 110
million (just counting those still resident within its
borders), is unquestionably going to go in the tank
economically in 2009 because it depends upon remittances,
oil, and American tourists. So if Obama fails to close his
infrastructure jobs to non-citizens, there will be another
rush to America by unemployed Mexicans.

Obviously, the highest priority way to
reduce unemployment in the United States is to encourage
non-citizens to go home, as America did
during
the Great Depression.
(There was actually
net emigration in
the 1930s.)

It`s better for all concerned: after
all, Mexico is a much cheaper place to be unemployed.

(This is a financial-crisis friendly version of what
VDARE.COM calls the “Sailer Scheme”—my 2005
proposal that all
troublingly unassimilated immigrants should simply be bought
out)

But because that makes the most sense of
all the ideas out there, you`ll hear about it the least –
except here on VDARE.com.


[Steve
Sailer (
email
him) is


movie critic

for


The American Conservative
.

His website



www.iSteve.blogspot.com

features his daily blog. His new book
,
w:st="on">AMERICA`S HALF-BLOOD PRINCE:
BARACK OBAMA`S "STORY OF
RACE AND INHERITANCE"
, is available


here
.]