Hope Your Labor Day Included A Protest About Unemployment---And The Immigration Connection

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

September 7, 2011

Robert Reich, the former U.S. secretary of labor and current University of California at Berkeley professor of public policy encouraged Americans to cancel their traditional Labor Day parades this year. Instead Reich suggested staging protest marches that targeted President “I’ll Create 3 Million Jobs” Obama on his failure to deliver on his campaign promises.

Here are a few of the dreary holiday statistics Reich dredged up. According to the Commerce Department, the last ten years have been the worst decade for American workers in a century. Private-sector wage gains even lagged behind wage gains during the Great Depression’s decade (4 percent over the last 10 years, adjusted for inflation, versus 5 percent from 1929 to 1939).

Adding to the nation’s pain is that major American corporations make more money and create more jobs outside the United States than within it. CEO pay, not surprisingly, has soared. A proxy statement survey conducted by the Hay Group consultancy firm on behalf of the Wall Street Journal found that the median value of salaries, bonuses and long-term incentive awards for CEOs at 350 biggest American corporations soared 11 percent last year to $9.3 million. Bonuses alone surged 19.7 percent.

Even though corporate profits go ever upward, with no ceiling in sight, companies continue to lay off their workers and cut wages and benefits. In fact, the ratio of corporate profits to wages is now higher than at any time since----you guessed it---just before the Great Depression. [This Labor Day We Need Marches, Not Parades, by Robert Reich, Chicago Tribune, September 1, 2011]

Throughout the crisis President Obama, the candidate who was swept into office on his lofty rhetoric about jobs, has done nothing.

The most obvious decision against which no rational person could persuasively argue would be to put a moratorium on legal immigration, at least until the job market stabilizes. That obvious decision however is  beyond this administration's  abilities.

Although under Obama’s administration millions of Americans remain jobless, the president continues to allow a federal immigration policy that distributes about one million new green cards to working age immigrants each year which gives them permanent access to American jobs. This data comes from the U.S. Office of Immigration Statistics.

Our president's duty is to protect American citizens and to promote policies that make our lives better. Instead, apparently motivated by a political agenda that includes pandering to the pro-immigration lobby in exchange for 2012 votes, Obama appears to have committed himself to more immigration at a time when the nation needs none.


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