While searching for something unrelated, I came across this bill that was introduced in the House a few months back that tried to make recruiters and employers more accountable for abuses of guest workers. It struck me as odd that proponents of this legislation name the source of the problem, that guest workers are tied to a particular employer, but want to solve it by regulating employers and recruiters. Regulation might deter abuse, but it might also deter recruiting, making it more difficult for guest workers to come work here and enjoy a higher income. Why not tackle the problem at the source and disentangle guest worker visas from particular employers? Then, as with US residents, firms would compete for guest workers and not have the ability to treat them like quasi-slaves. I have a feeling that the reason for tying visas to jobs has something to do with employers needing to “prove” that they have a “need” for labor that domestic workers will not fill.

Okay, time to get a little informal. I’ve been scornful of moralizing lately, but this is just too compelling. Man, the idea of “proving a need for foreign workers” is such total BS. First off, you can get plenty of labor for any job you can imagine by offering a high wage. What does it even mean that farmers “need” a certain amount of labor? If labor is expensive, they’ll substitute towards more machinery; if it’s cheap, they’ll substitute towards more labor. The real issue is that employers like less expensive labor, the same as you might like less expensive TVs. And foreign workers are willing to supply less expensive labor, since the wages are still higher than what they could get back home. However, American workers have a sweet deal, a racket, that they and their representatives would like to defend. Defending the racket gets dressed up in nice language like “protecting American workers,” when in fact it implies that the government and those who support its policies think the worth of a human being depends on where they were born (since foreigners’ right to work here is apparently not as important as the rights of the native born).

 I think the government should not make it unreasonably difficult for someone to work here. As to what constitutes reasonable difficulty, that’s the hard part. I’m not sure. I guess we should check for known criminals and terrorists. Perhaps the flow needs to restricted so that existing infrastructure is not overwhelmed if many foreigners come at once. But there shouldn’t be obstacles the purpose of which is to protect the jobs of US citizens.

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