January 14, 2004

ImmigrANT Farm

Despite all the earnest discussion and debate generated by the Bush announcement to accomodate immigrant workers (there wasn’t enought there to even call it a proposal), don’t bet anything will come of it.

(Poppa Bush floated the same immigration concept –also around election time, I believe– and it just ended up going poof.)

The timing of Bush’s announcement couldn’t have been more impressive. (It was floated right before the State of the Union; the Iowa caucus; and Bush 43’s next-generation space initiative.) Years from now, if this immigration idea disappears into the ether like Poppa’s did, people will look back and see that this announcement served as the effective and symbolically elegant kick-off of the ’04 Bush re-election campaign. It must also be said that the politics of the proposal is equally impressive. The concept couldn’t have done a better job “splitting the middle” between conservative and liberal interests.

If the idea does manage to take hold, however, and does make it’s way through Congress, the concept actually serves a more ulterior aim of the Bush administration. More than anything else, it provides corporate employers (still greater) power to leverage immigrant labor to extract (still greater) wage and benefit concessions from the general work population.


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Michael Shaw
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