Lou Dobbs is like those stiff blowfish hanging from the ceilings of bars in Mexico. All puffed up and prickly — but he’s there, impossible to ignore. Dobbs is full of himself, and, like many journalists, he has thin skin and doesn’t think his brilliance should be questioned. But I love to hear him hammer home points he says the rest of the major media aren’t making. This former business reporter is happily skewering business on its hypocrisy over illegal workers.
He huffs and puffs about illegal immigrants and our pourous borders (he prefers the old term, “illegal aliens,” which he says even The New York Times used to use before the politically correct “undocumented immigrants” came into liberal vogue). He says the issue isn’t really about immigrants but about border security. And he makes you think.
Most provocatively, he calls the bill before Congress now the “amnesty for business” bill, and says business has benefited most from the whole mess, blithely hiring illegal workers while suppressing wages and pocketing tidy profits. And this boy delivers both verbal barrels. Rowdy journalism.
Here he is fulminating at the National Press Club Tuesday:
“We’re at a wonderful place in our history. Not only are you going to be paying for corporate America’s illegal labor program, in which they have over the course of the past 20 years brought in 12 to 20 million illegal aliens, my God, they’ve also managed to keep wages stagnant for the last 30.”
He says we need to look at the economic impact of illegal immigration, how the working class is taking it in the shorts while business takes home the profits — $100 billion in depressed wages from illegal immigrants, and $2.6 trillion in future retirement costs for those brought into this country in the next 30 years — costs that are being shifted to future taxpayers. In the main industries where illegals work — Construction, hospitality, leisure and landscaping industries (and meatpacking) — all have seen wages drop, quite nicely for the people who run the businesses. The people of the Business Roundtable and the Chamber of Commerce “want more illegal labor, more unskilled labor, and they don’t want to pay for it,” Dobbs says.
And here he is talking about how business scares people with the bogeyman of inflation — god forbid wages should go up, he says. “Ladies and gentlemen, the next time you hear somebody from that rapturous group of wonderful people, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or the Business Roundtable, talk to you about inflation, just say ‘Go to hell.'”
Dobbs uses too many numbers to be an effective populist or demagogue, but he can rile up a crowd by calling it like he sees it. I get tired of his pomposity and don’t always agree with him, but I cheer when I hear him take aim at some sacred cows. You go, Lou.