Freedom Folks

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The "Progressive" Disconnect

Source: The Guardian

A few months ago, I travelled to the sparsely populated, stunningly beautiful, western state of Idaho. I was there to interview hungry people, a category of which, unfortunately, Idaho has all too many. There were immigrant families who worked in the fields, single mothers who took casual work helping old people, even a Mormon prison guard, his wife, and their six young kids.

In the late 19th and early 20th century, anarchist and socialist labour unions and political parties were rather influential in this part of America; the state's miners, lumbermen, and other industrial workers were some of the most radical in the land. By the 1980s, however, as Christian conservatives and extreme, home-schooler-type libertarians gained in influence, progressive movements in the state had more or less imploded, and the state, its legislature dominated by conservative Republicans, embarked, pell-mell, on a programme of tax cuts and a decimation of the social safety net.
Abramsky goes on to detail how charitable food providers, once assisting primarily the homeless and unemployed, now help feed rising numbers of poor workers and their families.

Yet increasing numbers of people at the bottom of the ladder cannot make ends meet. Juggling rising rent, healthcare costs, utility bills and car payments - in a region of the land as rugged as Idaho, driving is a necessity, not a luxury - food inevitably ends up being skimped on.
Without so much as mentioning the illegal immigration crisis our country faces, he offers the solution of raising the minimum wage. Ironically, the two industries he specifically mentions where people suffer from being dangerously underpaid are agriculture and fast food. 'Cause none of those jobs are being done by illegal aliens.

Raising the minimum wage without stemming the torrential river of illegal aliens flooding the country -- and deporting the millions already working the very jobs he singles out -- doesn't seem all that productive to me. If we don't enforce the existing laws against hiring those without the legal right to work in this country, where is the benefit in raising the minimum wage? The greedy companies he talks about (and we can certainly agree on that point) will hire even more illegals to do "the jobs Americans won't do," leaving even more Americans and their families hungry.

Of course, Abramsky never refers to the increasing hunger facing America's citizenry, only its population. As if a sovereign nation has the responsibility to take care of anyone and everyone who manages to get into the country, legally or otherwise, and take up residence on its soil.

As if.

Technorati Tags
Illegal Immigration * Minimum Wage * Hunger * Progressive * Socialist * Anarchist



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