President Trump: Shut Down the H-2B Visa Program!

November 21, 2017

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/business-owners-say-they-tried-to-stop-hidden-foreign-workforce-loophole-auto-plant/

Did you see the above-linked story this morning on “CBS This Morning?”  A CBS investigation found that employers are routinely abusing the H-2B visa program – the program that brings temporary workers into the U.S. for temporary or seasonal, non-agricultural work – for the sole purpose of undercutting Americans’ wages.  Watch the video and read the article.  I think you’ll be as disgusted as I was.

It is precisely this visa program, along with the H-1B visa program (a similar program that requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree), that employers use to bring in foreign labor when they whine that “we can’t find qualified workers.”  I’ve been railing about this sham program for years.  Finally, some companies who are being shut out of contracts by others using cheap, foreign labor are courageous enough to bring these abuses to light.

In this story, CBS tried to interview South Carolina’s Secretary of Commerce, who refused to speak with CBS about the allegations.  Undoubtedly, he works closely with the Chamber of Commerce who, in all its national, state and local forms encourages businesses to use foreign labor to hold down their costs.  I wish CBS would look into that angle of the story.

President Trump, You’ve often said that it’s time to put American workers first.  You’ve already called for an end to the “Diversity Visa” program that annually brings in 50,000 additional immigrants, above and beyond the maximum number of immigrants authorized under the other visa programs, for the purported purpose of encouraging immigration from countries that are not heavily represented among the U.S. population.  It’s the program under which the terrorist who recently conducted the truck attack in New York entered the U.S.  Good.  That visa program serves no other purpose than to further swell the pool of cheap foreign labor that employers use to hold down wages.  Now, in light of this CBS investigation, it’s time to put a halt to the H-2B visa program as well and dramatically scale back the H-1B visa program along with it.  It’s now clear that “the shortage of skilled workers” that employers constantly whine about is a total lie.  Do the right thing for American workers and shut down these visa programs!

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Trump on Trade with China: Media Misses the Point

November 10, 2017

http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/08/politics/donald-trump-xi-jinping-statement/index.html

As was widely reported yesterday morning, Trump emerged from two hours of a meeting with Chinese premier Xi Jinping and had this to say:

I don’t blame China. “After all, who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for benefit of their citizens? I give China great credit.”
The above-linked article goes on:
Instead of pointing the finger at Beijing for exacerbating trade disputes, Trump blamed past US administrations “for allowing this trade deficit to take place and to grow.”  It was a notable shift in tone from a President who was elected to office partly for his tough talk on holding other countries accountable for practices that disadvantage US workers.
Trump went on:
We want a vibrant trade relationship with China.  We also want a fair and reciprocal one. Today, I discussed with President Xi the chronic imbalance in our relationship as it pertains to trade and the concrete steps it will take to solve the problem of massive trade distortion.
A “notable shift in tone?”  Maybe a shift in tone, but the media is completely missing the not-so-subtle and huge shift in U.S. trade policy that this represents.  Previous presidents have chided China for unfair trade practices like currency manipulation, theft of intellectual property, subsidizing their exports, and manufacturing in sweat shops that also pollute with reckless abandon.  They used to put all of the onus on China for helping to correct our enormous trade imbalance.  The Chinese must have been rolling in the aisles with laughter when our trade negotiators left.
Not this time.  What Trump is saying is that the time has come for the U.S. to take the matter of restoring a balance of trade with China into our own hands.  Trump has been itching to begin levying tariffs on imports from countries that have large trade surpluses with the U.S. and, though he made no mention of tariffs in this speech, his vow to take matters into our own hands should send chills down the spine of Xi.  Restoring balance with China by slowing their exports with the use of tariffs would practically collapse the Chinese economy.
But so far it’s just talk.  What is Trump waiting for?  It seems clear that he’s biding his time with China in the hope that their help with reining in “Little Rocket Man” in North Korea will lead to his demise.  Probably a smart move but, if it doesn’t work by the time North Korea has the ability to put a nuke on an ICBM, the U.S. will have to act and the Chinese will lose whatever leverage holding the North Korean attack dog at bay has afforded them.
In the meantime, our trade deficit in manufactured goods grows worse.  Here’s the latest chart, gleaned from the trade data for September that was released on last Friday:  Manf’d Goods Balance of Trade.  Nothing has changed since Trump took office, and nothing will until he stops dithering with pointless negotiations and begins applying tariffs to these countries with bloated labor forces and emaciated markets.  My sense is that that time is growing nearer, but time will tell.