Capitalism bites the carpenters in Vegas

Interesting story in the Washington Post today (click) about the demise of the construction industry in Vegas and what it’s doing to the carpenters there.

It’s an interesting story on the view it gives of carpenters in Vegas who, during the boom, were making Union Scale of $37.50 an hour (dunno if that includes benefits, probably does) and racking it up pretty well. Some describe living in gated communities, shopping at Tiffany’s, and buying Jags (albeit used.)

Of course, now they’re all out of work, and in the comment section there are a lot of people wailing about how illegal immigrants are stealing all the existing jobs and how unfair this all is and so on and so forth.

Which led me to put up the following comment:

all you folk screaming about illegals stealing your work — let’s pretend you are right (and you may be).

So, what to do? Who is forcing employers to hire those guys? Who puts a gun to their head? Who screams “You will hire illegals and pay them less and put americans out of work!”

No, don’t blame liberals. Most of those business owners/construction contractors, are good ol boy Americans, Conservative flag waving to the core. And THEY are hiring illegals, and sticking it to you, because it’s cheaper that way and like most conservatives these days, they firmly believe in capitalism when it pays them to.

And, guess what? In capitalism at it’s strongest, the lowest bidder gets the job. Got a problem with them hiring illegals (which, by the way, IS illegal), maybe you need to do something about these good old boy flag waving contractors.

No, wait, that would involve government intervention, and that would mean a bigger government. Can’t have that.

sorry guys, you lose.

Really, it is interesting — people scream for capitalism and free markets right up to the second that capitalism and free markets cost them their jobs. Suddenly they’re liberals screaming for protection.

Hard truth — we need some of both, but it is also true, as I say, that it is the freest of the free market capitalists who are hiring those cheap workers. You can say “well, unions are making life worse” but unions made it possible for a lot of carpenters (and others) to buy a lot of expensive junk, and if you are in the business of selling junk you may want to think twice about calling for union workers, federal workers and all the rest to have their pay cut.

Unions, remember, got their start making sure that workers got living wages in industries where a few people got stinking rich while the people who created that wealth by making stuff got the shaft. Business owners thought the idea of children working on assembly lines at half an adult’s pay was a really swell deal, and 6-day weeks, 10 and 12-hour days were only fair.

Five-day work weeks were socialistic. Living wages were a threat to America itself. Henry Ford’s idea that his workers should be able to buy the cars they made was radically extreme, if not downright socialistic, for his time. More typical was Andrew Carnagie, who hired federal troops shoot at his striking workers. We must coddle the rich because they create jobs although, how that theory jibes with the current employment situation, puzzles me.

Now, of course, it’s all about cutting spending. The pendulum has swung, workers have to take the wage they’re offered because that’s how it works, supply and demand.

I can’t wait for the screaming when House speaker-presumptive John Boehner gets his way and cuts $100 billion out of discretionary federal spending. Look around, folks, at how many companies in Utah’s defense-related industries depend on that discretionary spending to make their payrolls. A lot of Utah earmarks are defense-related, and we’ve already lost the earmarks, or so our congresspeople claim.

But don’t worry, it’s all OK because they’re going to balance the budget by cutting taxes by $800 billion. Spend 100 less, take in 800 less — that will work.

It’s like selling nickels for 4 cents each and making your profit on volume.

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3 Responses to Capitalism bites the carpenters in Vegas

  1. Charles Trentelman says:

    A friend on Facebook pointed out that there was a time workers were not powerless to defend their jobs against employers hiring low-pay, untrained workers who did shoddy work. They were called labor unions and, at their peak, had the power to protect jobs and work.

    Anti-union feelings in places like, well, utah, have always puzzled me — workers are defending the right of their employer to abuse them? Workers assume — despite all evidence to the contrary — that a benevolent employer will always keep their well-being at the top?

    More evidence, as if we needed it, that our education system, public and private, is turning out not people whose ability to study history and learn thereby is a bit lacking, to say the least.

  2. Mark Shenefelt says:

    If Boehner of the tears succeeds in cutting $100 billion in spending, which I doubt, the impacts of the cuts will be blamed on the liberals. Republicans are winning all of these confrontations and turning any result against the Democrats because the GOPers are masters of misdirection.

  3. Bugg says:

    Using your logic, everyone who enjoys the bounty of capitalism is a greedy, no-good conservative who deserves to have everything taken away from them and be replaced on their job by an illegal immigrant. They will consequently become a liberal and scream for government and union protection because those people don’t believe in buying expensive junk like ridiculously large houses or ridiculously over-priced luxury vehicles.

    Liberals and conservatives constantly name-calling and blaming each other for problems is as useless as putting lipstick on a pig.

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