Shovel-Ready Jobs

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By Michael W. Cutler

Mike is a Senior Fellow with CAPS and retired INS Senior Special Agent. During his 30-year career with the INS he rotated through all of the squads within the Investigations Branch. He was assigned to the Unified Intelligence Division of the DEA and for 10 years was assigned, as an INS Senior Special Agent, to the Organized Crime, Drug Enforcement Task Force. He has testified at numerous hearings conducted by committees and subcommittees of the House and Senate and provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission.

He hosts "The Michael Cutler Hour" on USA Talk Radio Fridays at 7 p.m. (EST) and is frequently interviewed by broadcast media on various aspects of immigration issues, especially the nexus to national security.

The writer's views are his own.

July 15, 2011

The United States is confronting so many challenges coming from many directions simultaneously.

Our nation is facing a debt ceiling and no one has yet to determine what will happen if the debt ceiling is not raised and the United States defaults on its obligations.  What is known that this would likely have serious ramifications for our nation, our citizens, and for other countries across the planet.

We are also confronting a growing unemployment problem.  Official statistics reflect that the unemployment rate is over 9 percent.  However, this number is not an accurate assessment of the true unemployment rate.  It does not include people who have run out of unemployment benefits nor does it reflect those who are underemployed.  Think of how many people who had been drawing solid salaries for high tech jobs as computer programmers, engineers, technicians and other such jobs that require high levels of education and skills, and are now working at jobs that pay much less than their previous jobs, doing work that does not require their education or experience.

I have seen some estimates that claim that the true unemployment rate is more than double the officially stated rate.

Let's take a moment to give some thought to the high tech jobs that have been lost, either to the faltering economy or to foreign workers who have come to the United States on "temporary work visas" (keep in mind that foreign workers who have been admitted into our country with temporary nonimmigrant visas are only to be considered "temporary" because no one lives forever).

Some of those high tech jobs are being forfeited at this very moment.  These are the jobs that are directly related to the space program and the space shuttle.  Depending on which news report you read, you will find a variety of statistics as to how many jobs are being terminated because the shuttle program will end forever when the Shuttle Atlantis lands at the completion of its final mission in just a few days.  When the shuttle touches down, the United States will find itself in a position it has not been in for roughly 30 years--our nation will have lost the ability to send U.S. astronauts into Earth’s orbit and will become entirely dependent on Russia to send our crews to the International Space Station.

Meanwhile the administration has been justifying the massive amounts of money pumped into the economic stimulus package with the promise of creating “Shovel-Ready Jobs” while many complained that not nearly enough of those jobs were actually created.

I recently watched a program that aired on the History Channel's series "Modern Marvels" entitled, "It Came From Outer Space."

The point to the program was to show how many of the modern conveniences and life saving equipment used by firefighters, soldiers and surgeons had the origins in the space program.

As the high tech jobs associated with the space program are being terminated, other jobs related to business establishments located near NASA and companies that are contracted by NASA to provide various components for the space program are also disappearing.

Yet the administration is promising us "Shovel-Ready Jobs."

The administration and others who favor open borders and massive amnesty programs keep telling us that the illegal aliens are doing the work that Americans won't do.  Generally these are the jobs that require manual labor; jobs that require the workers engage in filthy, backbreaking and dangerous work that purportedly Americans won't do.  These are the jobs that may, in fact, require the workers use shovels and other tools and implements of labor intensive work.

Of course claim is false, but, nevertheless, it is a claim that has become the mantra of the open borders/pro-amnesty advocates.

My dad was a construction worker--a plumber.  Although he passed away from lung cancer more than 40 years ago, I still remember hearing him clomping around in the kitchen in his work boots, while I lay in bed before having to get up to go to school.

My dad and his buddies of the construction trades built this nation and continue to do so to this very day.  They embodied the "Can-Do" spirit that was synonymous with our nation and our people of all ethnicities, all religions and all races.  What defined and united them all was one factor--they were all Americans.

Today many politicians who would not know a hard day's work if it jumped up and bit them on the nose or some other body part, are quick to eschew American workers who are the hardest working people on this planet.

Some time ago I saw an amazing film, "October Sky," a real life story about Homer Hickam, a young coal miner's son, who had grown up in Coalwood, a coal mining town in West Virginia during the 1950's.  This young man became intrigued about rockets and spaceflight when the Soviet Union launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik, on October 4, 1957.  The son of a coal miner ultimately becomes an engineer who winds up working on the Space Shuttle. It was the story of the American Dream.

Because of his eloquence as a writer and speaker, and because of his background, being the son of a coal miner, he was called upon to deliver a eulogy at the church services held in the wake of the Sago Mine disaster several years ago in West Virginia. One sentence Mr. Hickam said really struck a resonant chord in my heart, he said, "There is no water holier than the sweat of a man's brow."

His reverence for those coal miners reminded me how I felt about my dad and his fellow tradesmen who were his friends.  These honest, hard working men were not intimidated by any challenge.  What might have been "Mission Impossible" for most men was simply "Mission Difficult" for them. No matter how tough the job might be, they were always up for the challenge.

They were only paid for the actual hours that they worked and so my dad would go to work on the hottest or coldest days even if his back ached or he had a fever.  I carried him off the job in the middle of his very last day at work when, at age 57 when he was dying of lung cancer.

The politicians who look down their noses at these tough American workers betray their candy-ass inability to understand what a physically tough day at work requires.

But here is the question: What is the point to providing "Shovel-Ready jobs" to Americans if they believe that no American would do such a physically demanding job?

Maybe we should be handing shovels to our politicians so that they can clean up the manure they spread whenever they make such absurd statements!

Perhaps it is also time to not only talk about creating "Shovel-Ready jobs" but instead high tech jobs that will advance our country and provide incentives for our young men and women to go to college and acquire the education and skills that have traditionally provided the motivation that sparked the largest, upwardly mobile middle class that any nation has ever had.

The original purpose of our nation's immigration laws was to make certain that the jobs and wages of American workers be protected.  This was what enabled America's middle class to grow and expand.

Our middle class has been the engine that has driven our nation and it is this engine that must now be jump started, and the sooner the better!

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