NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING

  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics


  • Why the GOP Should Not Blame Immigrants for High Unemployment


    Bob Pollin: Republican-controlled House is split over immigration reform but those against reform should think twice before blaming immigrants for economic slump -   October 3, 14
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here


    Audio

    Share to Facebook Share to Twitter



    I support The Real News Network because it is news - David Pear
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Bio

    Robert Pollin is professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is the founding co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI). His research centers on macroeconomics, conditions for low-wage workers in the US and globally, the analysis of financial markets, and the economics of building a clean-energy economy in the US. His latest book is Back to Full Employment. Other books include A Measure of Fairness: The Economics of Living Wages and Minimum Wages in the United States and Contours of Descent: US Economic Fractures and the Landscape of Global Austerity.

    Transcript

    Why the GOP Should Not Blame Immigrants for High UnemploymentJESSICA DESVARIEUX, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Jessica Desvarieux in Baltimore. And welcome to this edition of The Pollin Report.

    Bob Pollin is the codirector and founder of the PERI institute in Amherst, Massachusetts. He's also a regular contributor to The Real News.

    Thanks for joining us, Bob.

    ROBERT POLLIN, CODIRECTOR, POLITICAL ECONOMY RESEARCH INSTITUTE: Very glad to be on. Thank you, Jessica.

    DESVARIEUX: So, Bob, as you know, immigration reform is being highly debated here in the United States. We have the Senate that just recently approved a immigration reform bill. And now the House hasn't really set any concrete dates, but there is a lot of outside pressure for them to decide on whether or not to take a vote on immigration reform.

    You wrote a piece a couple of years ago about immigrants in the United States called "Can we please stop blaming immigrants?" Let's talk about the economics of immigration in the United States, because you get a lot of people saying that it's a simple supply-and-demand game. If there is a set supply and there are many workers who want these set jobs, that will therefore lower wages and increase unemployment. What do you say to people who have such logic?

    POLLIN: Well, you know, the logic works part of the way, and in some situations the logic holds true to explaining problems in the labor market, problems of unemployment, problems with low wages. But there's other factors, and it's very important to recognize these other factors.

    The other factor, the overriding other factor is that immigrants are not just people that take jobs; they're also people that live in communities, that participate in communities, that buy things, and that invest in businesses themselves. And by making those contributions to the communities in which they live, they also are adding to the number of jobs in the community. They're adding to the demand for goods and services in the community. And so the result is actually that when we study this in the places where you have the high concentrations of immigrant workers, you really don't see any effect in terms of places that have a lot of immigrants having worse job situations for, say, native U.S. people versus places that don't have a lot of immigrants.

    So let me just give you some data on that. If you study, for example, as I've done with Jeanette Wicks-Lim, following work by Professor David Card at UC Berkeley, if you study--let's compare two cities, Miami and L.A., where 35 to 40 percent of the people in the low-wage job market are immigrants, okay, versus Atlanta and Philadelphia, where you have a much lower percentage of immigrants in the job market. What is the effect of having a lot of immigrants on the job market in L.A. and Miami versus not having so many in Atlanta and Philadelphia? Well, it turns out the effect is nothing. Job opportunities and wages for native U.S. workers in Miami and L.A. are pretty much the same as they are in Philadelphia and Atlanta. And you can say, well, how could that possibly be? Because what we hear is that immigrants just come in and take the jobs, especially low-wage jobs, service sector jobs, restaurants, hotels, cleaning services, cab drivers, bus drivers. Okay. We're saying that immigrants are taking all those jobs, so how could it be that we don't see any effect on, say, unemployment or wages? And the reason is that the immigrants in Miami, in L.A. are of course also living in communities, buying things. Actually, money is coming in from the countries in which they're natives, in which they're investing and creating their own businesses. So we don't see the effect that people claim is a major cause of unemployment and low wages in this country.

    DESVARIEUX: Okay. So for you what is the real cause? Why is that root issue? Why do we see such low wages?

    POLLIN: Right. I'm glad you ask that, because we still obviously have this problem of mass unemployment. We still have the problem of low wages. We have the problem that we can't get out of the recession. That's why I called the article "Please stop blaming immigrants", because it's not the fault of immigrants. It's the fault of our macroeconomic policies that aren't focused on job creation, that aren't focused on stabilizing the labor force, the financial markets. And they aren't focused on helping people get decent wages.

    So, for example, if we have a decent minimum wage, which is another policy area that is being debated now, a higher minimum wage that would be the law that would apply to people in all the cities, whether there's immigrants or not, we wouldn't have to worry about that downward pressure from immigrants being strong at all, because we would have a higher minimum wage. The problem is not the immigrants; the problem is the low minimum wage. If we had policies that were pushing for full employment instead of settling, as we seem to be now, that 7.6 percent unemployment is the best we can do, if we push for full employment, then whatever competition there would be between, say, immigrant workers and native workers, that competition would be diminished because the economy [incompr.] focused on full employment.

    All that said, the problem is not immigrants. The problem is a lack of full-employment policies, lack of decent minimum wages, unions not being strong enough to push up for good wages.

    DESVARIEUX: Okay. Thanks so much for joining us, Bob.

    POLLIN: Thank you very much for having me.

    DESVARIEUX: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

    End

    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    Nurses Unite to Stop TPP Fast Track
    Is FCC Approval of Net Neutrality a Real Win for Consumers?
    Nader: Canadian Anti-Terrorism Bill Follows America's Lead
    Why the $655 Million Verdict Against the PA is Not A Victory for Human Rights
    Proposed Maryland Charter School Expansion Would Hamper Unions
    Venezuelan Gov. Releases Audio of Coup Plotters
    The Greek Debt and the German Acquiescence
    Maryland Police Reform Advocates and Opponents Speak Out Prior to Hearing
    Baltimore College Fights To Keep Accreditation Status
    An Irish-Style Banking Inquiry into the 2008 Financial Crisis
    What Role Can Social Media Play in Supporting Protests Against Egypt's Military Regime?
    Greece Now Positioned to Negotiate a New Loan Agreement
    Netanyahu on a Destructive Path
    Chicago Mayor Emmanuel Forced Into Historic Runoff
    Guardian UK Exposes Horrific Abuses at Police 'Black Sites'
    Greek Reform Proposal Preserves Privatization Commitments, Ignores Debt Restructuring
    The Modern History of the Greek Debt Crisis
    Iran's Intent is the Real Issue, Says Former IAEA Inspector
    Bill O'Reilly May Have Covered-Up a Massacre
    How Radical is the SYRIZA Party in Greece? (2/2)
    Leaked RCMP Report Targets Activists as a Threat to National Security
    European Banks vs. Greek Labour
    What Happened to Making Steel in Baltimore? - Mark Reutter on Reality Asserts Itself (2/3)
    Black, Brown and Woman: Afro-Latinas and Legacies of Imperialism
    Capitalism's War on Democracy
    What Was Missing from Obama's Anti-Terrorism Speech
    Prejudicial Trial, Prejudicial Verdict: $218 Million
    Iceland's Supreme Court Upholds Jail Sentences of Four Banking Executives
    What Happened to Making Steel in Baltimore? - Mark Reutter on Reality Asserts Itself (1/3)
    Will Quantitative Easing Solve the European Economic Crisis?

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting