Dissolve the Workforce and Elect a New One

By Mark Krikorian on February 2, 2009

Want a small taste of what would have happened if President Bush had gotten his way with his "Any Willing Worker/Any Willing Employer" plan to open every job in the country to unlimited immigration? From the AP:

Major U.S. banks sought government permission to bring thousands of foreign workers into the country for high-paying jobs even as the system was melting down last year and Americans were getting laid off, according to an Associated Press review of visa applications.

The dozen banks now receiving the biggest rescue packages, totaling more than $150 billion, requested visas for more than 21,800 foreign workers over the past six years for positions that included senior vice presidents, corporate lawyers, junior investment analysts and human resources specialists. The average annual salary for those jobs was $90,721, nearly twice the median income for all American households.

As the economic collapse worsened last year — with huge numbers of bank employees laid off — the numbers of visas sought by the dozen banks in AP's analysis increased by nearly one-third, from 3,258 in the 2007 budget year to 4,163 in fiscal 2008.

Given pressures to cut costs in a recession, open immigration during an economic slowdown could actually result in accelerated immigration, as firms sought to discard expensive American workers and replace them with cheaper foreign workers. That also seems to be what Microsoft is trying to do in calling for removal of caps on H-1B visas; as the Business Week headline puts it "Microsoft: Layoffs for Some, Visas for Others; The software giant that has pushed for more H-1B visas faces tough questions as it lays off 5,000". And as Sen. Grassley has said with regard to the banks, we are paying for our own dispossession: "In this time of very, very high unemployment . . . and considering the help these banks are getting from the taxpayers, they're playing the American taxpayer for a sucker."