July 12, 2024

NY Times: Yeah, OK, Wages Do Rise When Migration Falls

Vermont families are earning higher wages because migrants are not going to the northern state, says a New York Times article.

The lack of migrants pressures local CEOs to raise their existing workers’ output — and so the CEOs are raising productivity with new machines, training, and worksite reforms, the newspaper reported.

“At Burlington Bagel Bakery, a sign in the window advertises wages starting at $25 an hour,” says the lede paragraph in the November 12 article, which then lists ways in which CEOs help employees produce more wealth every hour:

[Central Vermont Medical Center] has teamed up with two local colleges on a program enabling hospital employees to train as nurses while working full time … Lake Champlain Chocolates, a high-end chocolate maker outside Burlington, has revamped its production schedule to reduce its reliance on seasonal help … New equipment [at Cabot Creamery] will package cheese slices automatically.

The link between wages and migration is routinely denied by pro-migration advocates who are paid by the investors who fully recognize their payoff from migration.

Many investors, banks, and CEOs prefer low-cost, low-wage immigration because it helps them create profits from low-productivity companies and their associated workforce of apartment-sharing, rental-spiking renters, and welfare-aided consumers.

“A Trumpian war on immigrants would … be an economic disaster,” said a November 13 article by Paul Krugman, an op-ed columnist at the New York Times:

Now, you might worry that less-educated immigrants will push down wages at the bottom, increasing income inequality. But the bottom line from decades of research on this topic is that this doesn’t seem to happen.

Back in low-migration Vermont, “employers are fighting over scarce workers, offering wage increases, signing bonuses and child care subsidies, alongside enticements such as free ski passes,” according to the November 12 New York Times article. For example, Cabot Creamery is recruiting employees with offers of “a defined-benefit pension plan, tuition reimbursement, and, of course, free cheese,” the article says.

Despite Krugman, even Biden’s deputies have admitted that migrants divert wealth from ordinary Americans towards CEOs and the stock market. The admission is buried in a pending regulation that is intended to speed more migrants into Americans’ workplaces. The draft “Asylum Officer Rule” says:

The impact on labor earnings developed above has the potential to include both distributional effects (which are transfers) and indirect benefits to employers … A portion of this compensation gain [for migrants] might be transferred to asylum applicants from others who are currently in the U.S. labor force … Companies may also benefit by not incurring opportunity costs associated with the next-best alternative to the immediate labor the asylum applicant would provide, such as having to pay existing workers to work overtime hours. To the extent that overtime pay could be reduced, some portion of this pay could be transferred from the workers to the companies.

Vermont’s federal legislators have been dragged towards a pro-migration stance by progressives and lobbyists. That shift can be seen in the career of Sen. Peter Welch and Sen. Bernie Saunders, who earlier slammed corporate demands for more migration:

Bernie Sanders, in 2015, responded with palpable disgust when @EzraKlein suggested the US had a moral obligation to adopt open borders. Bernie denounced that as a corporatist Koch plot to flood the country with cheap labor & harm American workers by lowering wages. pic.twitter.com/HtQ9q6Wr5e

— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 29, 2021

Outside Vermont, lobbyists have persuaded a growing number of states and cities to import cheap foreign workers for influential businesses who do not want to — or who cannot — raise productivity and wages for Americans.

These cheap labor/high profit policies are pushed with the novel claim that CEOs and investors somehow have a right to cheap employees, regardless of Americans’ right to bargain for work in a level and national labor market.

For example, in nearby Maine, officials are trying to import 75,000 more migrants for the wages and homes needed by Mainers. “This is a critical step for Maine’s economic future as we address our workforce shortage and support our communities and businesses,” Gov. Janet Mills (D) announced on August 2 as she created the office.

In South Bend, Ind., the local government organized a November 15 event to urge local employers to import foreign white-collar workers via the H-1B program:

If you live in or around South Bend, Indiana, you may want to show up to this event and voice your concerns with the local government that is planning to collude with businesses to fund the outsourcing of jobs, and the displacement of US workers. pic.twitter.com/uhU757meLH

— U.S. Tech Workers (@USTechWorkers) November 14, 2023

Many business groups are also lobbying Congress to further expand migration. But President Joe Biden’s open-borders policy has skewed the national economy against business in smaller states, including Vermont.

Wealthy coastal investors in California, Texas, New York, and Massachusetts have little need to invest in Vermont – or Alabama, Nebraska, Kentucky, Tennessee, or any other Heartland state. After all, Biden is subsidizing their coastal companies with a fresh-off-the-bus migration of cheap and compliant workers, apartment-sharing renters, and government-aided consumers.

It is also true that Vermont landlords and retailers do lose revenue from the missing migrants. In part, that revenue loss is offset for the state government by Vermont’s easier export of more products, such as cheese and chocolate, to U.S. customers in other states.

But Vermont is a state that was created to help its free citizens — not to serve as a northern colony for would-be CEOs and coastal investors.

Local politicians will forever face insistent and uncomfortable pressure from the state’s investors, landlords, and retailers for their hoped-for imported renters and consumers. For example, the New York Times described one advocacy group backed by Vermont’s Chamber of Commerce:

The Futures Project has set a goal of increasing the population to 802,000 by 2035, from fewer than 650,000 today. That would also help bring down Vermont’s median age to 40, from 42.7.

The “message has resonated with business leaders and state officials, but it has been a tougher sell with the population as a whole. A recent poll found that a plurality — but not a majority — of Vermonters supported increasing the population,” the New York Times added.

But there are more conventional ways to grow Vermont’s population.

In general, rising wages and affordable homes help bring in U.S. migrants and also encourage couples to have more children. “If we build [more housing, we will be] attracting more people into the state, more workers,” Gov. Phill Scott said

That wages-and-housing strategy is spotlighted — in reverse — just north of Vermont, where Canadians’ birth rate is crashing because Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is force-feeding Canada with roughly one million migrants per year. Canada’s growth-by-migration policy has spiked housing prices and interest rates — and flatlined wages — making it extremely difficult for young couples to afford homes.

Australia’s left-wing government has embraced the same force-feeding economic strategy with the same result for young Australians.

In the United States, home prices have also risen sharply amid Biden’s revival of President George H. Bush’s Extraction Migration economic strategy.

But in Vermont, the home of few migrants, “the winners are the workers,” the New York Times admitted.

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