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Monday, October 15, 2007

* RADIO RANT: Cheap Labor Through the Centuries

One of my local talk radio stations now has a new conservative radio talking head, a certain Bill Cunningham (yes, one "great American"). He was trying to be clever and ironic last night (10/14) in wondering aloud how our American economy ever "managed," from 1776 on, before the heavy 1990's influx of illegal labor. (Conclusion: we don't need 'em!) Of course, for almost a hundred years, we had—uh—SLAVES to help out w/ all that lowly menial labor. After that, we had waves of legal immigrants poor enough to willingly be degraded themselves as cogs in the capitalist machine until labor unions alleviated their plight to some extent. And hey, I've taught (legal-immigrant) ESL students who've told me horror stories of meat-packing plants: no, it ain't worth $20/hr. an hour to be disabled (i.e., one's hands) by the age of 40.

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