RAISE Act Targets Middle Class

POTUS45 issued his support for a bold plan to reduce legal immigration into the USA by 50%.

INSERT SCREAM HERE.

My instinctual rejection of the plan (because POTUS45 supports it) is part of my cultural bias. I am a liberal, educated female who tends to support Democratic candidates. The statements announcing POTUS45’s support for the plan were received in the context of my selection bias. I did not get my news from FOX and I’d already heard about it before receiving the daily email I get from info@mail.whitehouse.gov.*

I’ve always had trouble tying immigration to wage decline, although it’s been used to justify racism for hundreds of year, and to set minority against minority for centuries.

After my initial suspicious “ick” and grinding my teeth in revulsion (automatic response to the sound of his voice) I did what I always do. I researched and studied facts, statistics and science. Confirmation bias may have directed my initial sources, but it didn’t take long to uncover a trail of deep research into the root causes of wage decline. Whatever bias remains is statistically sound and well researched.

What is it about this proposal that raises my inner-survivalist hackles?

It’s not that I fear expulsion. Benjamin Franklin was a guest at my cousin’s wedding. We’ve been here a while. I do have friends who are not so lucky, and people I would befriend who will need a champion if this becomes law. It’s more than that. This bad idea is not merely racist and isolationist, it has some intended and terrible consequences for “my Country, ’tis of thee.”

More than being another version of Trump’s Xenophobic Wall, the RAISE act contains a dog whistle to corporation-baby royalty, the only people who will benefit from it.

It is the sheerest of nonsense to suggest that the real problem for low wage earners is that immigrants are causing their wages to drop. Although, to be fair – that’s only the suggestion that people are supposed to hear in the statement. The actual statement is that “real income” is dropping, which means “it feels like wages are dropping because costs for low wage earner households are rising and supports they would otherwise count on are decreasing.” It’s probably not explained for a reason.

Quoting the Economic Policy Institute’s 2015 report, wages have been intentionally and systematically suppressed by people like POTUS45, his family and friends. They do it to suck the money out of the hands of the people who do the work. The more they suck out, the richer they get. The richer they get, the easier it becomes to take more. In more academic terms:

“Wage stagnation for the vast majority was not created by abstract economic trends. Rather, wages were suppressed by policy choices made on behalf of those with the most income, wealth, and power. In the past few decades, the American economy generated lots of income and wealth that would have allowed substantial living standards gains for every family. The same is true looking forward: Overall income and wealth will continue to grow. The key economic policy question is whether we will adopt policies that enable everyone to participate in a shared prosperity, or whether the growth of income and wealth will continue to accrue excessively and disproportionately to the best-off 1 percent.”
Wage Stagnation in Nine Charts

Report • By Lawrence Mishel, Elise Gould, and Josh Bivens • January 6, 2015

The report went on to say that “workers have been producing far more than they receive in their paychecks and benefit packages from their employers.” The problem stems not from an influx of uneducated immigrants, as POTUS45 suggests, but from employer demands that worker productivity increase, while pay remains stagnant. In the time POTUS45 built his wealth, the hourly compensation of a typical (production/nonsupervisory) worker rose just 9 percent while productivity increased 74 percent. In the last decade, that same stagnation and disparity occurred in fields employing both college- and non-college-educated workers, as well as blue- and white-collar workers.

Leaving aside the alarming truth that women’s actual hourly wages are falling faster than men’s actual wages, and the range of disparity increasing ($1.00 difference in 1989, versus $4.00 difference now) there is a direct correlation between the increase in the disparity between CEO pay and worker pay, the increase in CEO pay and the decline in union membership. The line can be drawn all the way back through the past hundred year history of that movement.

The line for the percentage of income that goes to the top 10% (the bosses) starts at 40% in the 1920s and goes down to 30% at the heyday of unionization in the 1950s. At the same time, the line for number of union members goes from 11% to 33%. In the 1960s, the trend reverses, and by 2012, the top 10% was gathering 50% of the income and union membership had declined to where it started at 11%. The chart looks like they held a mirror up to the line, it’s that close to being the exact opposite.

What is interesting, is that, while Unions get a bad rap for representing the interests of their members to the detriment of other workers, the wage distribution reflected in the chart pertains to both union and non-union workers.

I don’t see anything in RAISE or any other policies supported by POTUS45 and his populist pro-blue-collar working class agenda that suggests Unionization is the most vital factor in restoring the economic well-being of the lower 99%. But it is.

So, if the point isn’t actually helping the low wage earning citizens of America do better, what could it be?

An interesting side note, on POTUS45’s purpose to “restore the sacred bonds of trust between America and its citizens,” I wonder if the DJT speech writers understand that “of the people, by the people” means “citizens” equals “America” and that it would be wrong to select “America” is to “citizen” as “corporation” is to “employee” on the PSAT?**

Hmmm. (Culturally biased statements intentionally omitted.)

_________________

Footnotes:

*I’m not a fan of this White House, but I was of the predecessor administration. I didn’t cancel my subscription to updates in January. When they started up again, I let them be. I read these daily missives under the “enemies closer” rubric.

**Psst. The correct choice is B, America is to citizen as corporation is to owner or stockholder.

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