NPR Hypes ‘Worker Shortage’

More Misinformation from the Media:

President-elect Donald Trump says he will double the nation’s growth rate during his time in office. That promise will be difficult to keep. . . . But right now, getting more people into the labor force is a challenge. For one thing, it means fighting a demographic tide. “We have a huge wave of baby-boom era people retiring,“ says Robert J. Gordon, an economist at Northwestern University. . . . “Right now, we’ve got a shortage of construction workers. We’ve got a shortage of long-distance truck drivers. We got a shortage of many kinds of skilled workers. . . .” Gordon says bringing immigrants into the workforce is the best way to deal with this mass retirement of baby boomers. But, Gordon points out, Trump says he will deport millions of immigrants. – Trump’s Immigration Plan Could Undermine Promise to Boost Economy, NPR, John Ydstie, 12/20/16.

Fact Check:  Here again is the old “worker shortage” line that mass immigration promoters so  tirelessly repeat. By doing so they ignore that America has a huge number of unemployed and semi-employed workers—a total significantly more than twice the official unemployment figure. A low-wage economy—one result of mass immigration—burdens American workers and causes many to drop out of the workforce altogether. This is particularly the case with blue collar occupations such as construction, where wages have declined since large numbers of illegal aliens entered that field, and in many instances displaced American workers.

Skilled Americans also face displacement and wage depression due to foreign workers. This is particularly true in tech fields where companies have recruited large numbers of foreign workers in order to pay lower wages than they would to Americans. The companies claim they can’t find qualified Americans for the jobs—a claim belied by the fact that a majority of Americans with degrees in tech and related fields don’t have jobs in those occupations.

If American employers need more workers, they should follow the principles of free enterprise and raise wages to attract sufficient numbers of American workers. Instead, they prefer to the policy of government intervention called mass immigration to ensure a steady supply of cheap labor.      

The large-scale retirement of older Americans may not be as large as Gordon envisions because many American seniors—in our present economic environment have no choice but to keep on working. In 2000, 13 percent of Americans of retirement age were employed. Today the total is nearly 20 percent. They, as other Americans, must compete with foreign workers.

Aside from the basic adequacy of an American workforce, another reason to dismiss the labor shortage pleading is that our economy now stands on the threshold of large-scale automation. Studies now predict that within twenty years or less as many as half of existing jobs may be done by robots and computers. The NPT article mentions a need for long-distance truck drivers. That need might well be met by driverless vehicles.      

Rather than facing a worker shortage in the near future, we may face a challenge of how to employ just our native-born workers.   


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