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I'm Brendan Loy, a 26-year-old graduate of USC and Notre Dame now living and working in Knoxville, Tennessee. My wife Becky and I are brand-new parents of a beautiful baby girl, born on New Year's Eve.

I'm a big-time sports fan, a politics, media & law junkie, an astronomy buff, a weather nerd, an Apple aficionado, a Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter fanatic, and an all-around dork. My blog is best-known for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina, but I blog about anything and everything that interests me.

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You got enchilada in my Kung Pao chicken

The former owner of a now defunct Chinese buffet in Knoxville has been sentenced to one year in federal prison for knowingly employing a staff of illegal Mexican immigrants at his establishment.

I'm torn about what to think about this, upon first glance.

Part of me thinks that it's certainly a reasonable response to a violation of existing law.  Then, I look at the defense strategy, which was likely the only real thing that the attorney could have argued in such a case.

"Everyone else does it, and the government doesn't do anything about it.  What's the big damn deal?"

Certainly, I feel as though our immigration laws aren't being enforced to the degree necessary and our borders aren't adequately protected from the influx of illegal immigrants.  While I don't feel a need to stem the tide of immigration to our country, I do believe that it is important to require/demand that our policies on immigration be followed.

However, a law not enforced is essentially a nullity.  It's similar in theory to real estate law, and the adverse possession of someone else's land.  If you build a fence over someone else's land, and they do nothing to remedy the situation within X number of years, then it's no longer their land, it's yours.

With our immigration laws, it would seem that a similar logic should apply.  When does the government have an affirmative obligation to start enforcing the laws on its books consistently in every such case?  When do (or should) they lose the right to do so if they fail to enforce those same laws?

How do you arbitrarily pick this particular guy to prosecute when there are hundreds or thousands of others out there doing the same thing?

I'm really torn about how to feel about this case, and would like to see what you all think.

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Comments

How do you arbitrarily pick this particular guy to prosecute when there are hundreds or thousands of others out there doing the same thing?

You gotta start somewhere. And no matter where you start, whomever is chosen as the first case is going to be able to make the same complaint.

The alternative is to not enforce the law. A bit hard to have a Nation of Laws if the law ain't being enforced.

While I might think that the gentlemen in question might have a valid appeal based on equal protection grounds. I also think that the best way to deal with the illegal immigration problem in this country is on the demand side. If you make it suck bad enough to get caught employing illegals people will stop doing it. If people don't employ illegals there they can't get jobs. If you can't get a job your reason for coming to this country illegally goes away and those here illegally would ultimately need to return home. But as long as it's not even a slap on wrist to employ them we will have an illegal immigration problem. So I say enforce the law.

I don't have a problem enforcing the law. However, as a matter of fairness and effectiveness, why aren't these people going after the home builders, food processing plants and major retailers who are employing hundreds or thousands of illegals? I mean, you throw some general managers for some of these places in the slammer, THEN you might have an impact on illegally hiring practices.


Set up the way for the employer to be able to check on the status of the employee, and then enforce the immigration laws strictly ...

The problem with Dane's approach is that, if the illegal migrant cannot et a legit job, they are likely to try to get their money some other way ... and that's Not A Good Thing ...

"The problem with Dane's approach is that, if the illegal migrant cannot et a legit job, they are likely to try to get their money some other way ..."

Such as stay at home and work there.

Arizona has just passed a law with draconian penalties for those who employ illegal aliens. The law goes into effect in January.

In a huge act of coincidence, it seems that Arizona's illegal immgrant population has begun to shrink in large numbers.

"However, a law not enforced is essentially a nullity. It's similar in theory to real estate law, and the adverse possession of someone else's land."

The analogy may apply but it breaks down when that "someone else" is the state. You can't take adverse possession of state land. They're funny that way.

I, like many, feel the penalties for employing illegals should be severe, as that is one of the best ways to stem the tide (outside of mining the border). I would suggest several years in jail, in fact, and heavy fines.

However, it's also pretty bad that one guy from one restaurant gets nailed, when probably every other restaurant in town was and is doing the same thing.

I think you need a warning period before you start doing this. The local authorities should say something like "we know we haven't been enforcing these laws, but the policy is going to change in three months and we will begin rigid enforcement."

This gives people some time to look for legit workers to replace the illegals. After that, let the chips fall.

Found you via the Instalanche. Interesting blog, good stuff. If this is your first Instalanche it might be disorienting at first. Then it starts to feel really good.

The prosecution could have gone after multiple defendants- none of whom could then complain that they were unfairly singled out.

This reminds me a bit of an old joke.

A man is driving down a highway. He's going over the speed limit, but he is in a big pack of cars cruising along at the same speed. Suddenly a police car pulls in behind him, lights and sirens blaring. So the driver pulls over to the side of the road. The office approaches and the driver gets a ticket as expected. As the cop is finishing the ticket however, the driver speaks up.

"Listen officer, I admit I was speeding. You had me dead to rights. My question is, why did you pull me over when everyone ELSE was speeding as well?"

The officer looks at him, adjusts his mirrored sunglasses and asks. "Sir, have you ever gone fishing?"

"Yeah, sure" the driver responds. "What does that have to do with anything?"

To which the cop replies "Have you ever caught ALL the fish?"

The downside to all of this is we will end up creating an environment where employers will be reluctant to hire Hispanics period. What message do we send to Latinos who are here legally when we create an environment that says, "You will never be welcomed here, even if you follow all the steps necessary to become a legal citizen - such as fighting in our wars."

I don't like illegal immigration and I certainly don't want to encourage people to cross the border and exploit the system. However, I don't want to live in a country that looks like 1962 Alabama, either.


If Congress decided to "put an end to highway fatalities" with a 15mph national speed limit, hardly anyone would obey the law because it's simply not consistent with the way we use automobiles. Our Jim Crow immigration laws, by simply not allowing a rational number of migrant workers to enter the US legally, is inconsistent with the laws of supply and demand.

But the nativists and anti-immigration populists have had their way, so I for one am looking forward to seeing them blanch in the face of the fruits of policies. I can't wait to see farmers and small construction contractors and moms and pops across the land frog-marched to prison by the thousands. Enforcement First!

yours/
peter.

Here's an example of what I am talking about...

http://www.9news.com/news/top-article.aspx?storyid=76418

...When dumbass kids start chanting "White Power" in a middle class classroom, the overheated rhetoric is getting out of hand.

"The downside to all of this is we will end up creating an environment where employers will be reluctant to hire Hispanics period."

That sounds a bit like hysteria. What is the reasoning behind this sentiment?

Peter-

Good point. I noticed the authorities in Knoxville went after an Asian immigrant to set their example. I wonder what people will think when white, Church going, salt of the Earth Bob the General Contractor goes to jail? If he ever goes to jail?

It's not nearly as hysterical as what you are hearing from the Lou Dobbs crowd. Deport 11 million people? REALLY? How would somebody do that?

As for my statement, the scenario goes like this. Most illegals use forged documents to get their jobs. Right now, the law says employers must ask new hires to provide social security cards and other proof of ID. The employers really have no way - legally - to know if those documents are legit or forged. And, since there is no cost-effective system for small employers to verify this - nor will there be - it is cheaper and easier for employers to simply not hire Hispanics of any kind and not run the risk of breaking the law.

Max, you statement that "employers really have no way - legally - to know if those documents are legit or forged" is BS. The system is called SSNVS and allows for use by phone or internet. Stop hyperventilating about employers just not hiring Hispanics.

"It's not nearly as hysterical as what you are hearing from the Lou Dobbs crowd. Deport 11 million people? REALLY? How would somebody do that?"

I don't subscribe to the 'we must deport them all, now!' stuff, but since you asked, Arizona has shown that many of the illegals will self-deport if there are no jobs for them.

"And, since there is no cost-effective system for small employers to verify this - nor will there be - it is cheaper and easier for employers to simply not hire Hispanics of any kind and not run the risk of breaking the law."


If people knowingly - KNOWINGLY - employ illegals, then they are breaking the law. If the illegals use phoney I.D.s, then I don't think it should be held against the owner.

Sorry, that was me at 12:01:50

Max, from your 9news story :

"..At the end of the discussion, one student inappropriately said "white power," two or three times. Most of the students in the class did not hear the comments. Contrary to media reports, there were no chants by more than one student.."

One dumbass kid says 'white power' and THAT is proof that 'this is getting out of hand'? I've seen plenty of stories of 'Latino power' and 'Black power' demonstrations over the years. In fact, in recent years there have been huge demonstrations for 'La Raza' (The Race). I think that is proof that there are dumbass racists on all sides, but not proof of much else.

"I for one am looking forward to seeing them blanch in the face of the fruits of policies. I can't wait to see farmers and small construction contractors and moms and pops across the land frog-marched to prison by the thousands. Enforcement First!"

Blanch in the face? On the contrary, this story makes me want to put on a party hat. No, there's no need to send thousands to prison. A few high-profile cases with serial offenders will do very nicely. As one commenter above pointed out, Arizona is merely about to do this and already their illegal population is shrinking dramatically.

The most obvious response to the "everybody does it" defense seems to be found in the last lines of the article:

"This is the second case prosecuted federally involving the staffing of Chinese restaurants by illegal immigrants. Similar probes by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency of other area businesses are ongoing, court records indicate."

It appears the government is trying to do something about this and not just singling out Chan. Still, it seems that Mr. Chan is a very small fish and such efforts might be better spent going after the companies that employ hundreds or thousands of illegals. On the other hand, those companies probably have the money to hire lawyers who can come up with a better defense, Hm?

I'm rather conflicted on this issue. If you're going to have a law it ought to be enforced evenhandedly. Those who knowingly hire illegals and exploit them should suffer the consequences. Then again, the Law of Supply and Demand, like the Law of Gravity, isn't subject to repeal and attempts to do so are doomed from the beginning.


No, there's no need to send thousands to prison. A few high-profile cases with serial offenders will do very nicely. As one commenter above pointed out, Arizona is merely about to do this and already their illegal population is shrinking dramatically.

And you base this prediction on what? The fact that the war on Mexican migrants has worked so well this far?

We've currently got over a million people in prison in the US for nonviolent drug "crimes," yet I can go into virtually any one of those prisons and buy drugs! Why? For the same reasons we will always be up to our necks in illegal immigrants for as long as we try to enforce these ridiculous quotas: the laws of supply and demand.

And as far as Arizona goes, big deal. So some Mexicans "self-deported" to Texas and North Carolina. Based on your "lets make an example of a few arbitrarily selected employers" idea, you don't seem to understand the nature of our current systems' failure. Last year the border patrol apprehended and processed an average of 3000 border jumpers a day, almost 1.2 million for the year, but the problem is that four times as many weren't apprehended. Our enforcement mechanisms are simply being overwhelmed by sheer numbers. And since no system is capable of anything other than incremental improvement, the black market will always have the opportunity to innovate as well.

Which brings us back to our friends the laws of supply and demand. Just as every kilo of cocaine seized drives up the price of every kilo not seized (and thus brings more producers into the market), every illegal we apprehend simply drives up the wages of the ones who get away, and tempts even more Mexican laborers to try a border jump. Congress can pass all the laws it wants to pass prohibiting border jumping and the hiring of those who come here illegally, and it will not change one iota the indisputable FACT that the US is simply out of workers. Think about that. We. Are. Out. Of. Workers. THIS is what's driving Mexicans to come to the US illegally, and just as with marijuana and cocaine, all the enforcement in the world will never stop the flow—ever.

yours/
peter.

It appears the government is trying to do something about this and not just singling out Chan. Still, it seems that Mr. Chan is a very small fish and such efforts might be better spent going after the companies that employ hundreds or thousands of illegals. On the other hand, those companies probably have the money to hire lawyers who can come up with a better defense, Hm?

They also have more money to throw at elected officials via lobbyists. When ICE drops the hammer, do you think they're going to do it to a mom & pop with 30 employees, or at the Tyson plant? And if they raid both, who's going to be believed when they state that they had no knowledge their workers were illegals, the Chinese immigrant working the kitchen or the senior VP in a Brooks Brothers suit?

There are too many people with too much money on both sides of the argument for illegal immigration reform to go anywhere. Sorta like drug policy, health care, campaign finance, tax reform....

And it's also ironic how the same "party hat" populists who scream that the government isn't enforcing our current immigration regime are the same ones saying we only have to partially enforce the laws for them to work.

Naturally, they're wrong on both counts.

It's kind of like how the same people who claim it's entirely possible for a 2000 mile border fence to keep migrant workers out of the US, but it's entirely impossible for 300 miles of levees to be shored up enough to protect New Orleans from twenty feet of storm surge.

yours/
peter.


It's funny how populists always like to vilify corporations and "big business," even if they're on the right-hand side of the political spectrum.

But the truth is the WalMarts and Hormels were the low-hanging fruit in the war on Mexican illegals, and they've already been busted. It's simply easier and cheaper for big business to pay what it takes to get legal employees.

The truth is that nowadays virtually all illegal Mexicans work for small businesses: farms, pickup truck contractors, mom and pop dry cleaners, etc. Busting them, like this poor restauranteur, won't result in fines, but rather them going out of business altogether and of course possibly prison. For trying to earn a living. Is this moral? Is this "the American Way"?

yours/
peter.

Whoa. "The truth is that nowadays virtually all illegal Mexicans work for small businesses: farms, pickup truck contractors, mom and pop dry cleaners, etc."

Link, please.

Problem I see...what happens when it's not some buffet owner but the Tyson chicken plant? Just who gets arrested? The CEO of Tyson? The plant manager? The entire Human Resources Department? Don't get me wrong, I like the idea but if buffet owner goes to jail while Tyson just pays a fine it's not gonna work. BTW I live in AZ and am not confident our new law will survive lawsuits and ever go into effect anyway.

Jay-

I think the term for what you're describing is "desuetude" -- when a law disappears through non-use, like adverse possession. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desuetude.

Cass Sunstein has advanced a version of desuetude rooted in Due Process / Equal Protection, which also seems to match what you're suggesting. http://ssrn.com/abstract=450160.

The minimum wage laws are a price support mechanism for illegals.

First of all, I doubt many of these people screaming that "but they're ILLEGAL--enforce the law" would be quite so sanguine if police started getting serious about enforcing ALL laws. Take a look at some of the ones you should be worried about: http://www.dumblaws.com and remember not to hum on Sundays in Cicero, Illinois. It's ILLEGAL.

Second, those same people will start screaming/blaming big business/the Bilderbergers when housing prices start to jump, their lawncare/childcare/maid prices start to hit the roof.

Third, sure we can absolutely enforce our immigration laws! We can build a fence on our border (hell, let's make it a wall), station border guards every 100 feet along our entire border... to the exclusion of every other pressing problem in the country and at the result of living in a de facto police state.

With an unemployment rate which is effectively zero in real terms, illegals are hardly displacing native workers. Or is there a Constitutionally protected right to a high-paying unskilled labor job of which the nativist complainers are being deprived?

And finally, if you get rid of welfare and public schools, I'm not sure I get the arguments of why an influx of illegals is a problem. Instead, let's get rid of the statist programs that cost me and my pocketbook, whether the recipients be immigrants (legal or illegal) or the result of centuries of layabouts.

Walk out of your house and throw a stone in any direction and you'll hit an illegal aleign. Of course, you'll then be arrested for assault and the illegal will sue the pants off of you.

The worship of government is the state religion, and all infractions of the law are sins. The people here screaming for punishment are just the Cotton Mathers of (dare I say "civil") society, reveling in the thought of sinners in the hands of an angry God. When someone who commits a civic sin, no matter how trivial, is punished, they consider it a blow struck in the great moral battle for civic righteousness, and a step toward the manifestation of their Utopian Heaven.

Before you dismiss this as hyperbole, I cordially invite you to draw the obvious parallels between established religion and established government. They both have their mythology, their rites, their holy writings, their temples, their priests, and their tithes for the Good Work of the Church.

Mark me down as a confirmed agnostic. The Sabbath... I mean laws... were made for men, not the other way around.

Maybe it isn't fair to selectively enforsce laws that haven't been prosecuted, but that's what Rudy did with broken windows in NYC and it seems to have worked. Maybe Voltaire had it right: it encourages the others.

There's a difference, in my mind, between a law that was not enforced and then is selectively enforced, and a law that was universally unenforced and is now being universally enforced. This falls in the latter category, and businesses have had more than a year to see the change coming.

A question I have been wanting to see discussed / blogged / editorialized / op-ed-ed:

Where are the Congressional hearings?

Congress can waste money on a case of investigating 8 legally released ("at the pleasure of") government employees.

They can hold hearings on who "outed" a blond bombshell who turned heads as she publically turned into Langley or wherever her CIA office was.

There are Congressional hearings at the drop of a hat ...

Where are the Congressional hearings on who bears the resposnsibility for not enforcing the immigration laws we have???

News Flash to Congress:

You have my permission to hold Congressional hearings on why your / our immigration laws have been so flagrently NOT enforced.

THEN talk to us about making laws to FIX the problems (after appropriate consequences) -- NOT to pass Orwellian laws which make illegal immigration not.

"Whoa. "The truth is that nowadays virtually all illegal Mexicans work for small businesses: farms, pickup truck contractors, mom and pop dry cleaners, etc."

Link, please."

Yeah, me too. Granted, I'm in an area where illegals are seasonal and not overwhelming, but in the summer the only ones I ever see are field hands employed by giant farmers. Any 1/2 hour drive in the countryside within 10 miles from my hometown from April to October will show you hundreds of these guys (and often their wives and families) out in the fields, employed by a "Mom & Pop" operation (I know some of the employers personally) that pulls down low-to-high six figures in their "little" business.

Not coincidentally, when I was going to college and working part-time at the local convenience store, these were the same people that came in and bought things (at unreal high prices) like chips and ice with foodstamps. They were also a lot of the same guys I would see every time I stopped in at the local watering hole.

None of that would bother me if I didn't always see the food stamps, and the fact that I routinely had to break the $50s and $100s they handed me.

Elsewhere:
"I wonder what people will think when white, Church going, salt of the Earth Bob the General Contractor goes to jail?"

I'll think it's a good start. Next go after poor Farmer Joe, whose 4 kids each have their own 4-wheeler and their own snowmobile, plus all the latest game consoles and a pool in the back yard. Then move on to Dry-cleaner-owner Jim, who has a house on the lake and drives a Corvette.

Many people don't seem to get it. Martin Luther King said he'd prefer it if we judged people on the content of their character instead of the color of their skin. Okay. Let's do that. Doctor King was a smart man.

Seems to me that a majority of the people on the pro-illegal-immigration side of this debate are too hung up on skin color. It's the breaking of the law, stupid. White, black, brown or purple, either whoever hires illegals should face the penalties defined by the law, or we should democratically rescind the laws.

We haven't rescinded them yet.

RKV-

If you go to the SSNVS site, you will see that you cannot legally use it to verify the legal status of the employee nor, for that matter, to see if the number matches the person. So, in other words, I stand by my original statement...

http://www.ssa.gov/employer/ssnvrestrict.htm

Everyone is holding Arizona up as an example. All Arizona is doing is pushing this problem onto another state. There needs to be a Federal response. Otherwise this is going to result in a hodge podge of legislation across the country with varying degrees of severity that will tie up the courts for years.

"And if they raid both, who's going to be believed when they state that they had no knowledge their workers were illegals, the Chinese immigrant working the kitchen or the senior VP in a Brooks Brothers suit?"

I've met senior executives in the poultry industry. They are are more into Joseph A Banks.

"The truth is that nowadays virtually all illegal Mexicans work for small businesses: farms, pickup truck contractors, mom and pop dry cleaners, etc."


Ever been to a Wal-Mart? Or a home construction site? Or a McDonald's?

Kerry> I personally would LOVE to see police getting serious about enforcing ALL the laws. In fairly short order people would start pushing to REMOVE some of the dumber laws from the books. Including the police, since they would be forced to spread themselves across the board, wasting time arresting people for whistling in wherever instead of catching burglers and rapists. Any maybe the politicians would think twice before passing another pointless and practically unenforcable "Save The Puppies And Kitties!" law.

Apparently, some Chinese restaurants are known for bringing over Chinese illegals and keeping them virtual prisoners.

If this guy couldn't get any Chinese illegals to work for his restaurant, he may have been _really_ bad.

You have to start somewhere.

I guess the question could be if the local law enforcement gave notice that they were going to start enforcing the law or not.

Otherwise, the extension of your argument would be that once a law is ignored, it can NEVER be inforced.

Just because police never before patrolled a stretch of highway, it seems you would want them to be able to do so when it becomes adventageous.

"Apparently, some Chinese restaurants are known for bringing over Chinese illegals and keeping them virtual prisoners."

Yeah. I saw Crash too.

Start enforcing the laws, get control of the border, THEN we can implement immigration reform to deal with a shortage of workers. I'm tired of paying for the healthcare and education of millions of illegals. Bring them in legally, make them pay their fair share, and all will be happy.

P.S. Stop importing poverty. It's absurd that doctors and engineers have to spend years standing in line while a bunch of landscapers who can't even speak a word of English can waltz on by.

Jordan-

There are nearly 50 million uninsured Americans you are paying for as well in higher premiums, Medicaid, etc. Why aren't you as upset about that?

One step at a time.

As a lawyer you do understand that "ignorance of the law is NO defense". Is justice being served?

When did lawyers ever CARE about justice? Until we begin to enforce the law and make it possible for the existing illlegals to self identify themselves and provide temporary working status for them we will enforce the law arbitrarily.

Still, "everyone else is doing it" is NO defense.

And that 50 million is leftwing boilerplate. Care to hazard a guess how many of those 50 million are perfectly healthy young individuals who don't need insurance?

"Tyson plant?"

Funny that you chose that particular example. Tyson did get hit about two years ago, and setteld with the government. Swift was hit earlier this year, and mangers were targets of the investigation. The real enforcement comes later - US citizen and legal alien workers suing Swift for depressing their wages by recourse to illegal labor, with a major element of their contention, use of illegal labor, proven by the federal governmemt.

Construction companies are coming under scrutiny leading to invsetigation, oftentimes ratted out by the unions. By the time this is all over, consumers are going to be paying a fair price for the (legal) labor that goes into the goods and services they consume. Horrors!

"Care to hazard a guess how many of those 50 million are perfectly healthy young individuals who don't need insurance?"

WTF? EVERYBODY needs insurance. Are you fucking immortal or something?

The local authorities should say something like "we know we haven't been enforcing these laws, but the policy is going to change in three months and we will begin rigid enforcement."

I skimmed over the comments, so excuse me if I am repeating something that was said, but the federal government basically did say this, a few weeks ago. The DHS regulation on "no-match" letters sounds like the warning signal that they will start enforcing the law now. Will they? well, not sure they have the manpower, even if they have the will, but I think DHS made it clear on August 10th that employers need to get their stuff in line before the rule goes into effect on September 14th. You can see the rule for yourself at the DHS website: http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/ice_safeharbor_no-match_finalrule_2007-08.pdf

Mad Max, employers get no-match letters from the feds, and this is how they know if an employee is perhaps illegal--or has typos in his records or whatever. Employers then need to follow-up on no match letters, and the new rule is very clear about what employers need to do to comply and avoid liability. How smooth will it be once the new rule goes into effect? We'll see in the coming months.

Commenting on the original posting:

I believe the issue is "selective prosecution", and I believe it is unConstitutional.

It is not a question of being unable to "catch all the fish". It is a question of prosecuting your enemies for illegal actions which you overlook among your friends. It has the insidious effect of turning law enforcement into a weapon that can be used by whomever happens to be driving the police car that day. It's a bad idea.

Deport 11 million people? REALLY? How would somebody do that?

One at a time, Max. One at a time.

We. Are. Out. Of. Workers.

Nope, sorry. Who do you think did jobs like fast food and lawn care before half of Mexico came up here? They're called high school and college students, and, by not having the opportunity to do crap jobs like that when they're young, they never build the work ethic that they'll need later in life.

With an unemployment rate which is effectively zero in real terms...

Whoa, back that bus up.

While the numbers the government reports are at a near-zero level, they're also disingenuous. They don't count people who stop looking for jobs. They don't count people who "retire" for lack of jobs, or are forced into retirement. They don't count people who are forced to take a lower position because nothing was available in their field. They definitely don't have anything to do with low-wage workers who are forced to work multiple jobs and in excess of 40 hours a week to survive.

The unemployment statistics that those in power love to tout are just that: statistics. And we all should know the Twain quote around these parts.

With an unemployment rate which is effectively zero in real terms...

Whoa, back that bus up.

While the numbers the government reports are at a near-zero level, they're also disingenuous. They don't count people who stop looking for jobs. They don't count people who "retire" for lack of jobs, or are forced into retirement. They don't count people who are forced to take a lower position because nothing was available in their field. They definitely don't have anything to do with low-wage workers who are forced to work multiple jobs and in excess of 40 hours a week to survive.

The unemployment statistics that those in power love to tout are just that: statistics. And we all should know the Twain quote around these parts.

Nope, sorry. Who do you think did jobs like fast food and lawn care before half of Mexico came up here? They're called high school and college students, and, by not having the opportunity to do crap jobs like that when they're young, they never build the work ethic that they'll need later in life.

No, I"M sorry, but you're not entitled to your own facts. Most minimum wage wage workers are still teenagers, and twenty years ago economists didn't even think it was possible to have unemployment rates as low as we have today. I don't know about Garland, but here in Austin the unemployment rate is about 2.6%, which is about half the rate my first economics textbook in 1984 claimed was full employment.

yours/
peter.


While the numbers the government reports are at a near-zero level, they're also disingenuous. They don't count people who stop looking for jobs. They don't count people who "retire" for lack of jobs, or are forced into retirement. They don't count people who are forced to take a lower position because nothing was available in their field. They definitely don't have anything to do with low-wage workers who are forced to work multiple jobs and in excess of 40 hours a week to survive.

These phenomena commonly mask significant unemployment during periods of relatively high unemployment like we had after 9/11, but during periods of low unemployment like we have today these phenomena are likewise at their lowest point—by definition, if you think about it.

yours/
peter.

Most minimum wage wage workers are still teenagers

Not in my neck of the woods, Peter. (I'll admit that it's been a long time since I've eaten in a fast-food place when I'm visiting Austin, since there are so many cool local places to dine.) But I can't think of a Mickey D's, Wendy's, etc. around here that's not populated by immigrants.

I also teach high-school-aged students, and they've been griping about the horrible local job market for a good five years now. (My favorite story on this subject is the kid who actually wanted to work at McDonald's, but all the applications were in Spanish!) Some of my students (clean-cut kids, no tattoos, etc.) have gone for over six months trying to find a job, and some of them eventually give up trying (which, as others have said, might well remove them from the statistics).

I tried to look up unemployment statistics in Garland, by the way, and the only place I could find any had them divided up by about 27 different ethnicities, and it's way too late tonight to do the math.

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