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When Elites Slip Up and Say What They Really Think

 

While speaking before an audience of wealthy oligarchs in Dubai, George W. Bush opened his yap and told us what he really thought about illegal immigrants.

“Americans don’t want to pick cotton at 105 degrees, but there are people who want [to] put food on their family’s tables and are willing to do that. We ought to say thank you and welcome them.”

Gee, it’s almost as if he thinks illegal immigrants are just cheap menial laborers who can perform the work that is beneath him and his class. Although they may wrap it in sob-story rhetoric about compassion, or vacuous “we’re a nation of immigrant” platitudes, ultimately it’s about exploiting a source of cheap labor. (Leaving aside that a single operator in the air conditioned cab of a cotton harvester can pick more cotton in a day than a hundred indentured illegal servants.)

He’s not alone in this. This attitude is common among both Democrat and Republican elites. Bush’s successor described the role of illegal immigrants as mowing lawns and emptying bedpans. A Democrat candidate for the governorship of California similarly said that illegal immigrants were here to clean toilets and make up hotel rooms. A person who referred to illegal immigrants as “lettuce pickers” would be accused of using a racist slur; unless that person were Republican Senator John McCain defending cheap labor.

The people who have already secured their position at the top of the socio-economic hill are quite detached from the concerns of middle and working class Americans. No one in the Bush family is ever going to have to worry about losing out on a college placement because the Admissions Department prioritizes minorities. No one in the Bush family will ever lose out on a job opportunity because an illegal immigrant was willing to work for less. Nor are there any MS-13 cholos stalking the kind of neighborhoods where the Bushes live.

And what possible logic could there be behind insisting on importing tens of millions of unskilled third world laborers at a time when 30% of jobs are going to be replaced by automation unless the actual, literal goal is to create a permanent underclass?

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There are 56 comments.

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  1. Contributor

    This has consistently been George W Bush’s position on immigration. It was only hidden from those who weren’t paying attention.

    And no, acknowledging that American’s have a dramatically higher standard of living than poor immigrants isn’t the same thing as believing they are lesser humans.

    You can dislike W’s position on immigration without turning it into a cartoon.

    • #1
    • February 12, 2018 at 1:36 pm
    • 11 likes
  2. Member

    How out of touch can Bush be? He’s at least 60 years late with this anecdote.

    When I was a child (60s & 70s) , there was a lot of cotton raised around my home town. Everyone used mechanical cotton pickers — no one picked cotton by hand.

    • #2
    • February 12, 2018 at 1:42 pm
    • 13 likes
  3. Member

    Yah a man can pick cotton with a combine, but what about the farmer that can’t afford the loan to buy said equipment? He can hire a willing worker at a rate that both find agreeable and he can keep his farm. Why is that so wrong? If but for the immigrant that farmer would lose his farm and also become unemployed. So what job are the immigrants stealing? What risks creating an underclass is having a large population of people that can’t officially participate in society. If you legalize them the problem is solved.

    • #3
    • February 12, 2018 at 2:07 pm
    • Like
  4. Member

    He’s describing legal work visas under the Braceros program which liberals killed because they brought their families with them and educational facilities from farm to farm were not up to liberal standards. When we killed it, the same folks discovered they could still come and go so they did. Others discovered the magic and here we are. We could reinstate the program now that liberals have brought public schools down to meet bracero standards.

    • #4
    • February 12, 2018 at 2:12 pm
    • 9 likes
  5. Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    Yah a man can pick cotton with a combine, but what about the farmer that can’t afford the loan to buy said equipment? He can hire a willing worker at a rate that both find agreeable and he can keep his farm. Why is that so wrong? If but for the immigrant that farmer would lose his farm and also become unemployed. So what job are the immigrants stealing? What risks creating an underclass is having a large population of people that can’t officially participate in society. If you legalize them the problem is solved.

    People stopped picking cotton by hand because, even back when minimum wage was under $2/hr and didn’t apply to agricultural workers, anyway, it had already become uneconomical compared with the mechanical pickers.

    In other words, if a farmer can’t afford the cost of mechanical harvesting, he darn well can’t afford the cost of less efficient manual labor. This was true in the 1960’s and is much more true today, no matter how much immigration you allow, legal or otherwise.

    Generally speaking, the only time manual harvesting is economical is for fruits and such that are too easily damaged by a machine.

    Having said that, I agree that we should have legal immigration for however many low skilled foreign workers we need to pick said produce. Good luck arriving at a consensus for how many are needed, however.

    • #5
    • February 12, 2018 at 2:22 pm
    • 5 likes
  6. Member
    Victor Tango Kilo Post author

    Yah a man can pick cotton with a combine, but what about the farmer that can’t afford the loan to buy said equipment?

    He can rent it from a farm services company. In fact, they will provide the combine and the operator. And the cost will be based on the market and paid for out of the earnings from his cotton crop. And if his cotton plantation is so badly managed he depends on illegal labor, why is all of society obligated to subsidize him by providing the welfare, education, and health care for the families of the illegal workers he hires to undercut law-abiding Americans?

    • #6
    • February 12, 2018 at 2:23 pm
    • 21 likes
  7. Coolidge

    (ultimately) a large population of people that can’t officially participate in society. If you legalize them the problem is solved.

    Well, for one generation, or maybe two in a transition phase. But there was never any way that people coming for that initial work would be satisfied for their grandchildren to be trapped in the same condition. They, like everybody else, want their heirs to head for college and better jobs. Then what…import still more replacements?

    • #7
    • February 12, 2018 at 2:23 pm
    • 6 likes
  8. Member
    Victor Tango Kilo Post author

    If you legalize them the problem is solved.

    If you legalize them, you get California; a one-party socialist oligarchy.

    • #8
    • February 12, 2018 at 2:24 pm
    • 8 likes
  9. Member

    If a worker can’t support a family in the Pacific Northwest on minimum wage of $15 per hour, how can some one immigrate here and do farm work for less than that supposedly sub-par minimum wage?

    Do I have it wrong?

    • #9
    • February 12, 2018 at 3:04 pm
    • Like
  10. Member

    If you think that Americans are going to move to Fresno, El Centro, or the Sacramento Valley to work in the fields you’re living in a dream world. The only crop an American is going to harvest is pot in a basement under grow lights. It’s difficult enough to get them to join the military that provides their food and clothing.

    • #10
    • February 12, 2018 at 3:20 pm
    • 2 likes
  11. Member
    Victor Tango Kilo Post author

    Jules PA (View Comment):
    If a worker can’t support a family in the Pacific Northwest on minimum wage of $15 per hour, how can some one immigrate here and do farm work for less than that supposedly sub-par minimum wage?

    Do I have it wrong?

    Someone rents a two-bedroom house and 20-30 illegal workers live there; meanwhile, American workers unwilling to live the same way are attacked for making the country “globally non-competitive.”

    • #11
    • February 12, 2018 at 3:25 pm
    • 5 likes
  12. Member

    I don’t even know how to respond to that.

    • #12
    • February 12, 2018 at 3:32 pm
    • Like
  13. Member

    In junior and senior high I did farm labor on a vegetable farm. Very low wages — it was good that my parents provided housing, food, clothing etc. I could not have supported myself on the wages, but it did teach me to work, did teach me that I didn’t want to do THAT work for a lifetime, and I enjoyed the spending money. Today’s teenagers seldom get the same opportunity.

    • #13
    • February 12, 2018 at 3:43 pm
    • 6 likes
  14. Member

    The Bushes are so out of touch they thought the Jebster would be a viable candidate. They actually thought that Republicans (and some independents) would welcome a third member of the same immediate family as their President becoming the third consecutive Republican named Bush. I will forever call them the Bush Royals.

    Oh, and him being there is no coincidence. He’s there to help his family’s corrupt friends.

    • #14
    • February 12, 2018 at 4:08 pm
    • 4 likes
  15. Coolidge

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    If you think that Americans are going to move to Fresno, El Centro, or the Sacramento Valley to work in the fields you’re living in a dream world. The only crop an American is going to harvest is pot in a basement under grow lights. It’s difficult enough to get them to join the military that provides their food and clothing.

    Like @ekentgolding I did Ag labor in high school. That was a generation ago, but I believe detasseling was still going on when I was last in touch with OP High School. Spending money for teens is not that expensive to pay out.

    The military is completely different from hard labor jobs , even police work.

    • #15
    • February 12, 2018 at 4:26 pm
    • 2 likes
  16. Member

    E. Kent Golding (View Comment):
    In junior and senior high I did farm labor on a vegetable farm. Very low wages — it was good that my parents provided housing, food, clothing etc. I could not have supported myself on the wages, but it did teach me to work, did teach me that I didn’t want to do THAT work for a lifetime, and I enjoyed the spending money. Today’s teenagers seldom get the same opportunity.

    When I was in high school, Green Giant, the local big vegetable producer, offered good wages for anyone willing to go into the fields and pick peas. At the time, this had to be done by hand as these were fairly delicate (they might still need to be picked by hand). No one in my school would do the work. No one. It was considered beneath considering. Migrant workers ended up doing the work. So, like it or not, there might be truth in what Bush is saying. There might in fact be similar opportunities for today’s teenagers, but they might not deign to take such jobs.

    • #16
    • February 12, 2018 at 4:48 pm
    • 1 like
  17. Member

    Click on the link for an overview of farm workers.

    • #17
    • February 12, 2018 at 4:52 pm
    • Like
  18. Member

    W’s remarks are . . . clarifying.

    • #18
    • February 12, 2018 at 5:04 pm
    • 4 likes
  19. Member

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    There might in fact be similar opportunities for today’s teenagers, but they might not deign to take such jobs.

    Someone had to teach them that this work was beneath them.

    Someone needs to teach them those willing to do the work are now above them.

    • #19
    • February 12, 2018 at 5:06 pm
    • 11 likes
  20. Thatcher

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    There might in fact be similar opportunities for today’s teenagers, but they might not deign to take such jobs.

    Someone had to teach them that this work was beneath them.

    Someone needs to teach them those willing to do the work are now above them.

    They are taught that every day in schools everywhere. “Go to school so you don’t have to work!” *I have one foot on my soap box……must…..resist!

    • #20
    • February 12, 2018 at 5:54 pm
    • 8 likes
  21. Coolidge

    What I liked about ag labor is that I was rewarded for working harder & working smarter. I had a goal & if I could achieve it I got more money. I hated factory line work because I felt there was no way to improve. Sure I could work faster, but there was 0 chance of advancing or getting a bonus. Ag labor & similar work is great for the modern millenial – lots of exercise, basic job skills, working as a team, ability to innovate, etc.

    You may ask why I do not do ag labor now. Now I just do it on my own property.

    • #21
    • February 12, 2018 at 6:06 pm
    • 4 likes
  22. Member

    Concretevol (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    There might in fact be similar opportunities for today’s teenagers, but they might not deign to take such jobs.

    Someone had to teach them that this work was beneath them.

    Someone needs to teach them those willing to do the work are now above them.

    They are taught that every day in schools everywhere. “Go to school so you don’t have to work!” *I have one foot on my soap box……must…..resist!

    No no . . . please go on.

    • #22
    • February 12, 2018 at 6:11 pm
    • 3 likes
  23. Member
    Victor Tango Kilo Post author

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    There might in fact be similar opportunities for today’s teenagers, but they might not deign to take such jobs.

    Someone had to teach them that this work was beneath them.

    Someone needs to teach them those willing to do the work are now above them.

    If that’s the case, then that is a problem with our culture. Mass importation of Third World culture is not going to fix that.

    • #23
    • February 12, 2018 at 6:14 pm
    • 3 likes
  24. Member

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    There might in fact be similar opportunities for today’s teenagers, but they might not deign to take such jobs.

    Someone had to teach them that this work was beneath them.

    Someone needs to teach them those willing to do the work are now above them.

    Regardless of where the attitude comes from, it exists. It existed when I was in high school in the late 70s, and exists now, to gather from local businesses like Dairy Queen and Burger King, even in our little Midwestern town. Teenagers who want to work aren’t so easy to find. So, contra the OP, Bush’s statements might have more truth in them than he supposes.

    • #24
    • February 12, 2018 at 6:20 pm
    • 2 likes
  25. Member

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    There might in fact be similar opportunities for today’s teenagers, but they might not deign to take such jobs.

    Someone had to teach them that this work was beneath them.

    Someone needs to teach them those willing to do the work are now above them.

    If that’s the case, then that is a problem with our culture. Mass importation of Third World culture is not going to fix that.

    Oh, it’s definitely a problem with our culture.

    • #25
    • February 12, 2018 at 6:34 pm
    • 1 like
  26. Member

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    There might in fact be similar opportunities for today’s teenagers, but they might not deign to take such jobs.

    Someone had to teach them that this work was beneath them.

    Someone needs to teach them those willing to do the work are now above them.

    Regardless of where the attitude comes from, it exists. It existed when I was in high school in the late 70s, and exists now, to gather from local businesses like Dairy Queen and Burger King, even in our little Midwestern town. Teenagers who want to work aren’t so easy to find. So, contra the OP, Bush’s statements might have more truth in them than he supposes.

    But you’d hope he wouldn’t encourage that view.

    This is one reason I appreciate what Mike Rowe is doing with MikeRoweWorks.

    And my side job involves work on periodicals promoting careers in manufacturing and transportation.

    • #26
    • February 12, 2018 at 6:37 pm
    • 6 likes
  27. Member

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    Jules PA (View Comment):
    If a worker can’t support a family in the Pacific Northwest on minimum wage of $15 per hour, how can some one immigrate here and do farm work for less than that supposedly sub-par minimum wage?

    Do I have it wrong?

    Someone rents a two-bedroom house and 20-30 illegal workers live there; meanwhile, American workers unwilling to live the same way are attacked for making the country “globally non-competitive.”

    Hot cot is a term I’ve heard. Constant rotation of a shared bed between guys working different shifts. Been happening for years.

    • #27
    • February 13, 2018 at 5:15 am
    • 1 like
  28. Member

    Painter Jean (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin (View Comment):

    Painter Jean (View Comment):
    There might in fact be similar opportunities for today’s teenagers, but they might not deign to take such jobs.

    Someone had to teach them that this work was beneath them.

    Someone needs to teach them those willing to do the work are now above them.

    Regardless of where the attitude comes from, it exists. It existed when I was in high school in the late 70s, and exists now, to gather from local businesses like Dairy Queen and Burger King, even in our little Midwestern town. Teenagers who want to work aren’t so easy to find. So, contra the OP, Bush’s statements might have more truth in them than he supposes.

    Microeconomics to the rescue: raise the wage sufficiently. How many burgers does Burger King sell in an hour? How many burger sales will cover a $2 raise? It can be done without burgers suddenly costing $100 or even just $10.

    • #28
    • February 13, 2018 at 5:23 am
    • Like
  29. Member

    Eridemus (View Comment):

    (ultimately) a large population of people that can’t officially participate in society. If you legalize them the problem is solved.

    Well, for one generation, or maybe two in a transition phase. But there was never any way that people coming for that initial work would be satisfied for their grandchildren to be trapped in the same condition. They, like everybody else, want their heirs to head for college and better jobs. Then what…import still more replacements?

    Yep. That’s how Ponzi schemes work. The people who devise Ponzi schemes are evil. The people who believe in Ponzi schemes are stupid. Take your pick, or oppose the Ponzi scheme. Those are the choices.

    • #29
    • February 13, 2018 at 5:24 am
    • Like
  30. Member

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):
    Someone rents a two-bedroom house and 20-30 illegal workers live there; meanwhile, American workers unwilling to live the same way are attacked for making the country “globally non-competitive.”

    Building codes requiring working windows and occupancy codes capping the number of residents per x square feet came from studies of things like how many TB bacilli per cubic foot of air it took to have a good chance of transmitting the disease.

    • #30
    • February 13, 2018 at 5:48 am
    • 3 likes
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