by Alex Gonzalez
“Some reasonable term ought to be allowed to enable aliens to get rid of foreign and acquire American attachments; to learn the principles and imbibe the spirit of our government; and to admit of a probability at least, of their feeling a real interest in our affairs –Alexander Hamilton.
Under pressure to woo Latino voters, especially Mexican-Americans, the Republican National Committee (RNC) created a “Hispanic Advisory” to advice Trump on issues important to Latino voters, including immigration. However, instead of proposing smart policies solution that could lead to practical discussions on the hot issue of immigration that is important to both Mexico and the U.S. and Latino voters, the “Hispanic Advisory” has been co-opted to support unrealistic plans such building the “wall” and temporary work status with no path to citizenship for Latino immigrants who make about 80% of all Latinos immigrants in the southwest.
But that is wrong, and so are all the GOP candidates who continue to deny the reality of immigration to pander to Trump base voters who oppose any type of immigration bill.
The problem for the “Hispanic Advisory” and the other GOP candidates is that Latino voters do want an immigration bill that includes an eventual path to citizenship and they, like most Americans, reject any “wall” because they know this is more pandering to anti-Latino anti immigrant base. Moreover, temporary status only, or “Guest Worker” bill, with no path to citizenship will be a dilution of American Spirit, Capitalism, Free market ideals, and put immigrants into a perpetual second-class indenture class of people. And that is un-American .
The members of this “advisory board” thinks that it is “impossible” now to pass an Immigration bill, and they are right. Politics have killed any hope of passing an immigration bill until possibly 2018. So they argue that the only eventual solution to this issue may be a Guest Worker bill without a path for citizenship. However, for those that argue the a “Guest Worker” bill for agricultural workers without a path to citizenship for “Dreamers” is the solution to the broken immigration system; but they are deceiving themselves, and only pandering to “angry politics,” and abandoning the American Spirit, Free Market and capitalist ideals that built this nation.
The idea that we can put a group a people in a perpetual state of servitude, or bondage, without a system to allow them to become full citizens is what Adam Smith and Max Webber would have called un-American.
Classical economists, found it impossible to understand politics without economics, or economics without politics. The two fields are different, but they are also intimately linked. Perhaps this is why some Republicans fear that if 11 million undocumented people were given a guest-worker path that would ultimately lead to a path citizenship, they will vote Democrat. But that is a fallacy because these are the same politicians that in 2006 opposed President W. Bush’s immigration Bill – a bill passed by a Republican Senate led by Sen. Bill Frist. So for these intransigent politicians, is not about Republican v. Democrat as much as it is about not granting these workers access to the system and to eventual political rights.
Many opponent also fear that “guest-workers”, with similar labor rights to citizens and Legal Permanent residents, will hike up wages. But this is also a fallacy. They seem to forget that it was innovation, a free labor force and competition, that made this county great. One of father of Capitalism theory, Adam Smith, understood that you cannot place a worker in bondage and expect innovation. Thus, a “rational” Capitalist economy requires that businesses and workers be free agents in order for industries to have free range on creativity for workers to compete and thereby foster innovation.
Adam Smith understood that while an efficient market would emerge from individual choices, those choices were framed by the political system in which they were made and…each dependent on the other for its existence. Naturally politics will be part and necessary for an immigration bill that fosters a good law for the land, and for businesses.
On the other hand, there are politicians who presume that the best way to keep wages low is by subjecting future foreign workers to a “Congressional” rule, or bondage (a Guest Worker) and even limiting legal immigration. But, placing a bondage on workers to protect “American workers and American wages,” deprives the market from innovation since businesses do not have to offer better working condition and innovation that normally comes through worker competitiveness.
Adam Smith’s, The Wealth of a Nation concept was very simple. Every man must be free to pursue his own interests and to compete with other men, as long no laws are violated. As each person pursues their own individual self-interests, they serve the interest of society. Also, neither government nor guilds should restrict the economic activities of the individuals. Freedom from government interference, economic self-interests creates a natural economic order which produces the positive results for the state, society, and the individuals—self-interest is beneficial for everybody, according to Smith.
More importantly, Smith believed that men have an innate moral compass, which restricts their selfish tendencies to be unfair in their business dealings simply because this would cause a conflict on any future dealings with the persons in their business dealings, thereby men adhered to a particular moral code of fairness. This was sufficient to replace any law created by man, in Smith’s concept of Theory of Moral Sentiments. As a result, when you are restricting guest-workers wage limits against a citizens, you are effectively altering economic growth and innovation with government interference. This also contradicts the natural laws that also operate in the market, competitions
Smith argued that within the set of natural laws of competitions consumers’ sovereignty creates competition that leads to self-regulation. The market is self-regulating depending on consumer demand and supply, bought and sold. The market is the principal regulator and it replaces government regulations. An efficient market produces good consumers who want goods, and competition is the Invisible Hand or the moral sentiment naturally regulating man. Therefore, the free market and competition is “King” in regulating wages base on supply and demand, not Congress.
Those who propose putting restrictions on guest-workers—as it relates to wages– argue that regulating labor wages is the solution, but that is BIG government – the opposite of limited government and free market solutions to economic woes. Thus, wage restrictions is an oxymoron argument since it lessens the ability for workers to be free to make choices. and thus, it discourage them from working hard.
And this argument is similar to Max Webber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Max Webber believed that for Protestants, the “calling” is not a condition in which an individual is born, but a strenuous and exiting enterprise to be chosen by himself. Business, considered a vice for many, takes sanctity in Calvinist theology, and “Labor is not merely an economic means: it is a spiritual end.” These religious views are essential to spring rational organizational labor.
Furthermore, Webber argued that Protestantism is important because it is a fervent positive religious ideal, “a calling”, and it was the catalyst to the development of western-style capitalism. Weber further states that the psychological conditions that made the development of capitalist societies possible were found in Protestantism because labor organizations were “rational.” Rationalism is a system that is not based on tradition but on a deliberate systematic adjustment of economics meant to attain the objective of economic profit. Webber believed that for Protestants, the “calling” is not a condition in which an individual is born, but a strenuous and existing enterprise to be chosen by himself. Business, therefore, considered a vice for many, takes sanctity in Calvinist theology, and “Labour (work) is not merely an economic means: it is a spiritual end.” These religious views are essential to spread a rational organizational labor.
But in order for this rational Protestant capitalistic system to work, both the workers and businesses need to be free agents, in which, both will seek to rationally pursue their best economic interest. That is a rational Protestant capitalist free market ideals that built this nation.
An institutionalized bondage – a Guest Worker bill – is anathema to free labor and the Spirit of Capitalism that both Smith and Webber saw as the engine of our economy and innovation. Let competition, Invisible Hand, be the ultimate regulator of wages.
True, many conservative Latinos in the southwest, especially Mexican-Americans, felt the “heat,” bigotry and anti-Mexican sentiment that has been promoted by Trump it’s a distorted manifestation of Republican values and they hoped that Trump would be defeated in November and that things will go back to normal, but that was a false assumption. Trumpism is here to stay and caving-in to the restrioninsts anti-Mexican political bigotry pushed by Donald Trump, and Ted Cruz, most likely will tarnish the image of the GOP with Latinos in the Southwest who are mostly Mexican American and embraced the Rio Grande family values message.
If these “Hispanics” truly believe in the “American Dream,” Free Enterprise, and the American Spirit, as they claim, they ought to know that the American Dream is a mantra of freedom, economic free market, and capitalism; not only memorized political speeches, or capitulation to bigotry. A wall and Guest Worker status are neither freedom, conservatism or “the American Dream.”
Alex Gonzalez is a political Analyst, Founder of Latino Public Policy Foundation (LPPF), and Political Director for Latinos Ready To Vote. Comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or @