Bill Bennett pointedly asked Paul Ryan about the 700 pages that were inserted into the 2,009 page omnibus spending bill that expanded the foreign worker program.
Bennett asked, “Do you believe there are not enough Americans to fill these jobs?”
Ryan does not believe that there are enough workers. He seems to side with small business in his response, but neglects the individual who is unemployed and needs a job.
The reason that this was passed is because there was some seasonal surge jobs that they can’t find local workers to fill, like the seafood packaging industry in Chesapeake Bay. You have seafood season, you need people to package those things, to can them. In the North, we have the summer tourism industry. What it is is there’s seasonal industries where they can’t find local people to do the jobs: kids are already in college or things like that where you have a surge in workers.
Ryan explained that the provision was passed specifically “to help small business who cannot find labor when there’s a surge in demand for their labor like seafood processing, or tourism.”
Ryan warned, “The point is these businesses would have shut down without this and that’s what we didn’t want to see happen. We didn’t want to see businesses, who are seasonal, shut down because they couldn’t get the labor. That’s why this provision was passed in July.”
Wages are stagnant, the unemployed and discouraged are numerous, yet Ryan thinks there needs to be a surplus of foreign workers allowed in to help alleviate the seasonal strain.
Senator Jeff Sessions says that this claim is unsubstantiated.
The Economic Policy Institute has documented how, “wages were stagnant or declining for workers in all of the top 15 H-2B occupations between 2004 and 2014.”
Unemployment rates increased in all but one of the top 15 H-2B occupations between 2004 and 2014, and all 15 occupations averaged very high unemployment rates… Flat and declining wages coupled with such high unemployment rates over such a long period of time suggest a loose labor market—an over-supply of workers rather than an under-supply.
Seems like a refresher 101 Economics course is what is really needed.