Immigration Essay, Research Paper
Immigrants + Unemployment = Debt
(Pp. 267-268, Question # 1)
Robert B. Reich states that there are three groups of workers-routine producers, in-person servers, and symbolic analysts-and that their opportunities are decreasing. One of the reasons that these opportunities are decreasing is over population of the United States. According to Reich, the world’s population is increasing approximately 1,200 in one hour. Therefore, the population in the U.S. is growing as well. Currently, job opportunities are diminishing and with the population rising, the scarcity of employment opportunity is increasing. In certain ways, immigration can be likened to a domino effect. The United States in 1998 has a problem with immigration but this problem does not end there. Due to immigration, the increasing population leads to an increase in unemployment. Then the problem of unemployment turns to welfare problems; ultimately, the problems combined affect the national economy. As of October 8, 1998, the United States national debt is $5,534,495,650,216.57 (Internet). The United States should discover a solution to the problems we have now with the current population. Immigration involves more than just adding people; it means adding problems, dilemmas, and debt.
Reich’s writes about the different economic classes in the United States. He compares three different classes to boats by using a metaphor. According to Reich, these boats are doing one of three things: “one sinking rapidly, one sinking more slowly, and the third rising steadily” (254). The boat that is sinking rapidly consists of factory workers, farmers and other “routine producers” (254). In the mid-20th century, this class was compensated well for their work, although now, they seem to be sinking economically. The class that is sinking more slowly consists of “in-person servers” (259). This classification contains workers who are slowly being replaced with technological advances such as “automated tellers, computerized cashiers, automatic car washers, robotized vending machines, self-service gasoline pumps” (260). In the late 20th century, persons in the entertainment field are thriving off Americans who are willing to spend their money on entertainment and similar services. Reich identifies these providers as “symbolic analysts” (263). These people provide services to Americans ranging from sporting events to movies to music.
The boats theory is applicable to the United States situation. The lower class, which is sinking rapidly, consists of factory workers and farmers. This is not implying that factory workers and farmers are lower class jobs, but the wages and salaries are not as high as other occupations in the United States. The dilemmas accompanying these jobs are increasing. Daily, farmers compete with unpredictable weather conditions, which is out of their control. Even if the weather is predicted accurately, there is only so much a farmer can do to prevent damage. For example, the floods in 1993 damaged hundreds of farms that could not have been prevented by any measure. The farmers knew that the flood, eventually, would strike but they could only do so much to salvage their farms. The 1993 floods were responsible for 48 casualties, $12 billion in damage, while submerging 16,000 square miles of farmland (Internet). These floods forced many devastated farmers into bankruptcy and hopelessness.
The other workers in this class are factory workers, which is an occupation that is declining as quickly as farmers. Factory workers, especially if in a union, have gone on strikes to protest mistreatment of the workers. The strikes attempt to help the employee with trying to obtain better wages, salaries, job security and/or health plans. If the strike is not resolved quickly, the employees are losing money for weeks or months at a time. Wages of factory workers are decreasing because unemployed people are willing to work for lower wages. Especially with immigration increasing, factory owners hire people who will work for less. Many times, these people will be immigrants who are just happy to live in the United States and have jobs. According to the 1996 statistics on immigration, “the number of legal immigrants admitted in [Fiscal Year 1996] totaled 915,000″ (Internet).
Economist John Galbraith wrote a selection, “The Position of Poverty”, concerning the United States poverty situation. In this essay, he states that poverty is not cured simply by peoples’ income growing (244). John Galbraith states that “the poor get jobs more easily when the economy is expanding” (240). Galbraith’s statement may have been true, but nowadays, the economy is rarely expanding and jobs are becoming more difficult to find, no matter what economic status. He states “people are poverty-stricken when their income, even if adequate for survival, falls radically behind that of the community” (241). In this context, community is not one’s neighborhood but a larger community such as a city or large town.
The class that is sinking more slowly is the class that could become almost extinct in years to come. This class of “in-person” workers is being slowly but surely replaced. “Most in-person servers are paid at or just slightly above the minimum wage and many work only part-time . . . nor do they typically receive all the benefits (health care, life insurance, disability, and so forth)” (259). Technology finds ways to save companies’ money by using machines rather than humans. For example, “telephone operators” are being replaced by automated machines (260). Many department stores have automated machines call households to notify them that their catalogue order is ready for pick-up. This is just one of many advances occurring.
According to Reich, the class of symbolic analysts is rising steadily. Simply, they consist of people who provide entertainment. As long as there is money in the United States, this class will prosper. No matter what economic division an individual belongs to, that person desires entertainment and leisure. And symbolic analysts will be there to provide that service of entertainment and leisure. These services range from concerts to movies to comedy shows to professional sports competitions. Regardless of the ridiculous price these services cost, Americans will pay for these services.
There will always be different economic classes in the United States as long as democracy is the government. This style of government allows individuals to be in whatever economic class they choose. They choose their status by working hard to achieve their goals. For example, a high school basketball player can work hard to become a collegiate player, then a professional player (symbolic analyst). The player would have to practice many hours to get to the level of a professional, but if that is the goal of the teenager then he will sacrifice for that goal. The economy will not recover from the debts and deficits soon, for it will take an unpredictable number of years. The economy along with immigration prolongs the recovery time.