Suppose Trump Could Create 1.2 Million Good Jobs with a Pen Stroke

By David North on December 23, 2019

Suppose the president could create 1.2 million good jobs — paying $50,000 to $100,000 and up each year for citizens and voters.

Suppose there would be no need to pass any laws or spend any of the taxpayers' money.

Suppose, right now, that the jobs would go to people in the fly-over states, like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, to people without college degrees, to unemployed coal miners, to soybean farmers, to small town merchants, and to evangelicals.

Or suppose, in the last administration, the jobs would have gone to big city minorities, Hispanics, gays, women, and to union members.

Don't you think, given the first set of beneficiaries that Trump would have done something about it, and given the second set, that Obama would have taken action? But the victims, as a group, do not match either of the descriptions above.

The roughly 1.2 million jobs I have in mind have been taken by under-paid foreign workers, and the group portrait of the victims is such that Trump, now, and Obama, then, cannot visualize, for different reasons, that the victims are, in fact, victims and that something should be done to help this American subpopulation.

Supposing no longer, I have just described how two successive administrations have done nothing to eliminate or even curtail the two huge foreign worker programs that deny good jobs — not vegetable harvesting jobs, good jobs — to about 1.2 million American citizens and voters. These are the 900,000 or so H-1B jobs, mostly in tech, and all for alien college grads, and the 300,000 or so new college alumni, all aliens, in the government-subsidized Optional Practical Training program.

Why has this happened?

I have not seen this suggested elsewhere, but I suspect that neither president, for different reasons, can identify with the victims, the citizen and green card college grads who have been shouldered aside by the two programs just identified.

Trump, though the holder of one Ivy League degree, rightfully thinks that most U.S. college grads are not his supporters, and Obama, holder of two Ivy League degrees, may have a hard time seeing a relatively well-off, largely white population as a group of victims. Further, Trump, who in his business life used nonimmigrant (and illegal) workers, can identify with the employers and Obama (who spent some of his early years in Asia) might identify with the largely Asian workforce.

Meanwhile, the H-1B program, though authorized by Congress, could be sharply curtailed by administrative action, and the OPT program, which has absolutely no congressional mandate, could be eliminated by the executive action; or be reduced to a fraction of its current self.

These reforms have not occurred, I argue, because the American people who lose out on these 1.2 million jobs are both hopelessly disorganized and they are invisible as well. Further, neither Republicans nor Democrats can see these 1.2 million people as victims. On the other hand, the employers involved are aided by an army of lobbyists, busily selling the concept of a "shortage" of high-tech workers.

One of the things needed is a dramatic leader of this group of victims, a Cesar Chavez, a Martin Luther King, or dating back a few years, a John L. Lewis (long the head of the United Mine Workers) or, further back, a Susan B. Anthony.

Then maybe our elected leaders would see what they had done to 1.2 million fellow citizens. Then, maybe, an American president would notice that, hey, these guys are not only victims, they are voters.