Monday, May 21, 2012

SB1070 And The Law Of Unintended Consequences

The other day, or maybe it was last week or even last month, I don't know, when it starts to get hot I get confused about time...anyway, somebody important, a businessman or something, said that SB1070 was hurting business, because all the cheap labor had disappeared. Well, yeah.

Arizona has run on cheap labor for as long as I can remember. Even before Taft-Hartley and the "right to work" laws (back in my construction days they were known as "right to starve") crippled unions, a living wage was unheard of in the agricultural industry. Itinerant produce workers, many of them Mexican nationals, moved from crop to crop and state to state, doing back breaking piecework from dawn until dusk. They worked so hard and for so little that it wasn't long before other businesses took notice. Construction, restaurants, lodging, landscaping--all wanted their share of cheap labor.

The math on this one is pretty simple, simple enough for even someone with an Arizona public school education to understand: Keeping wages down keeps profits up. Not having to pay any benefits and having a large, disposable, faceless workforce helps too. My God, the beauty of the unfettered "free market"! Pure Capitalism at work! Before outsourcing to China, India and everywhere else, was even a gleam in a businessman's eye, there were hundreds of thousands of  "illegals" willing to work for next to nothing in the Southwest.

Everything was fine in the Land of King Dollar until somebody scared the locals with lurid tales of headless corpses blanketing the Sonoran Desert. Be afraid, be very afraid! Somebody better do something! Enter the SB1070 crowd.

But in their efforts to be tough on illegals, the Rabid Right may have ultimately shot itself in the foot.

In all likelihood the most successful push-back on SB1070 won't come from the left, or from a basic sense of decency and humanity. And it certainly won't come from the Supreme Court.**

No, it will be from conservative Republican businessmen worried about their profits, because all the cheap labor has disappeared.

**As a rule of thumb, don't expect anything good to ever come from the Supreme Court as it is presently constituted.

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