Saturday, May 28, 2005

Closing the Border

I finally got around to reading an account of what The Gubernator of California had to say about closing the border to Mexicans a while back, praising the militia that acted on its own to "help" the Border Patrol. The arguments all seemed to be up or down, open the border completely by letting Mexicans sign in and enter legally and those who want to ban all crossings of illegals because they take jobs of muricans and lower wages here (both of which are true).

And I hate to get into the either/or controversies going on in today's world, but it seems to me that we have two extreme choices, neither of which is good, but which might be combined.

1. Let us close the border, period, not just only to people but to imports, except for those that pay tariffs enough to raise their retail cost to what we would pay if they were made in this country. We would also demand that imports would be made by people who are paid U.S. scale for the same job and that the environmental restrictions that they now ignore would have to apply to them. That would limit many imports right there and would mean an end to CAFTA, NAFTA, the new CAFTA and any other free trade agreements. Not only would the World Trade Organization scream like a mashed cat, but so would the American consumer. Costs of everything from dishpans to socks to dinner would skyrocket. But wages would also go up as producers fought to hire a limited pool of available labor.

2. We open the border to those who produce the goods under free trade agreements as well as to the goods. If the products they make can come in, so can those who make them. They must sign in at a formal crossing point and carry an ID card. They then could hold any job they want, send whatever money they want back to Mexico, and visit home on vacation. They would have to be paid at least minimum wage and likely more so that wages might rise again in this country. I think another good point would be that since they would be legal, the unions might have more success in organizing them. The companies who employ them, the IBPs, the Wal-Marts, the Tysons, would not have the leverage they now have to fire anyone who tried to organize the company. As I saw in looking at IBP years ago, before it was bought by Tyson, the economy of scale that IBP was talking about came at the expense of the employees. They broke the unions and brought in lower paid workers to cut you your food.

1 Comments:

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