Will Jobs In Obama`s Infrastructure Boondoggle Be Reserved For Americans—As In FDR`s WPA?
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
"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,
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.
could do fast is
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
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
immigration because of the 1921-5 cut-off and the
the economy turned down in 1937, the Democrat-dominated
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
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
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
of the United States as remittances. The
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
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
"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
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
the Great Depression. (There was actually
net emigration in
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
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.
The American Conservative.
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BARACK OBAMA`S "STORY OF
RACE AND INHERITANCE", is available