Wash. Post to the Less-Educated: Drop Dead

By Mark Krikorian on February 7, 2012

The Washington Post's editorial writers ought to read their own newspaper. Monday's lead editorial bemoaned the fact that having illegal aliens go to the "back of the line" is deceptive since there is no "line" for them:

Granted, Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney have different ideas of how the "line" would work. The president doesn't seem inclined to force unauthorized immigrants to leave the country before applying for legal status. Mr. Romney thinks it would be nice if they somehow "self deported," then lined up back home for legal re-entry to America. In the end, the distinction is meaningless – because there is no line, not even a relevant visa category, for millions of immigrants.

Here's why. A large majority of the 11 million illegal immigrants are unskilled or low-skilled Mexicans. Many of them have no relatives over age 18 who are either U.S. citizens or permanent residents in possession of green cards.

Of course, that's the point – our immigration system is designed to admit people based on family relationships and skills. (As an aside, the writer of this editorial is either clueless or dishonest in saying that the different ideas of Obama and Romney on how the "line" would work are meaningless – Obama wants all the illegals to get amnesty so they can wait in line for a change from one legal status to another, while Romney wants them to wait in line to get back in – which is the only "line" that matters.)

The editorial wants the illegals who are here to keep their jobs and for there to be increased admissions of unskilled workers in the future, both for permanent settlement and as "temporary" workers, because they do jobs that are "too dirty" for Americans or are "unsuited to their educational attainment."

It was inconvenient, then, that featured on today's front page is a report that "Low-skill workers struggling despite drop in joblessness":

Bean's predicament is not unlike that of many people who have a high school education or less. Not only were they hit especially hard by the recession but they have continued losing ground in the recovery that has followed.

By disproportionate numbers, these Americans have given up looking for work, making the nation's recovery appear better than it is. If the unemployment rate counted the 2.8 million people who want jobs but have stopped looking, it would sit at 9.9 percent rather than its current 8.3 percent. . . .

The number of Americans facing this predicament isn't small. Nearly a third of the nation's labor market has only a high school diploma. And more than one in 10 of these workers lost their jobs between late 2007 and early 2011, according to the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan think tank. About a third of those job losses occurred since the recovery began in mid-2009.

The news is worse for high school dropouts. One in five of them have lost their jobs since 2007, with about half of those losses occurring after the recession ended, the Urban Institute said. Overall, the unemployment rate for high school dropouts was 13.1 percent last month.

This is the very sector of the workforce the Post wants to flood with even more foreign workers! And that's on top of immigration policy having already flooded the workforce with unskilled workers; from 2000 to 2007, immigration increased the number of more-educated workers by between 2 and 4 percent, but it increased the number of high-school dropouts in the workforce by more than 14 percent. And immigrants accounted for more than 40 percent of adults in the labor force without a high school degree.

Even without a change in policy we're screwing our less-educated countrymen; Obama's de facto amnesty for non-violent illegal aliens has halted the decline in the illegal population that we saw in the two years before he took over, and we are legally importing an additional 100,000-plus disproportionately low-skilled foreign workers each month.

Today's paper had a further inconvenience for the Post editorial board's refined sensibilities. The lead story in the Metro section profiles Americans doing the very jobs that supposedly won't get done without immigrants. It's a report about how D.C. garbage men love their jobs and stay for decades, with only a few openings a year:

He's a trash collector. And in a city where good paying jobs are hard to come by for those without college degrees, that makes Queen and his colleagues an object of envy.

"It is a great job," said Queen, who's 64 and has no immediate plans to retire, "and a lot of people would love to have it."

You can almost hear the members of the editorial board saying, Pauline Kael-like, "How can that be? No one I know wants to be a garbage man!" Not only is this one of those dirty jobs that the Post's editors deem "unsuited" for American workers, but the work can, in the words of today's piece, "be back-breaking and potentially hazardous." The reason people vie for the jobs anyway? Good pay and benefits and hours. As a municipal job, garbage collection is less open to foreigners, so you have to attract workers the old-fashioned, market-based way, rather than giving your congressman bags of money in exchange for loopholes in the immigration laws. And as a result of the small foreign presence in garbage collection, it hasn't come to be perceived as an "immigrant job," unlike landscaping and roofing, which are hardly more pleasant occupations.

But if the Post editorial board got its way, a few years from now they'll be saying we just have to import more foreigners to collect our garbage because, obviously, no American would do such a dirty and "unsuitable" job.