In the first quarter of 2007, before the recession hit, 144.7 million people over age 16 had jobs. In the first quarter of this year, only 142.2 million people have jobs, despite the population having grown by about 15 million. So, 15 million more people, but 2.5 million fewer jobs. There’s little question that we have a serious employment problem.
There are many different solutions offered. But what’s the Schumer-Rubio bill poised to do in response to this jobs crisis? Double the importation of “temporary” foreign workers! Immigration isn’t a natural phenomenon like the weather or, more to the point, having babies. It’s a government program that we can expand, downsize, or sunset as we, the sovereign American people, see fit. And the idea that this program would undertake to double foreign worker admissions, in addition to doubling regular permanent immigration, testifies to the serious disconnect on immigration between the political class and the public.
There’s a right-left element to the immigration debate, of course. But it’s more significantly a up-down issue, pitting a post-national elite vs. a patriotic public, just like in Europe. Republican operatives looking to rebrand the party aren’t going to get anywhere if their message to blue-collar and middling white-collar voters is: “You’re expendable”.