Are we restrictionists being a bit TOO theoretical with our economics?
“Dear Sir—While I agree with many of your thoughts and positions regarding immigration, I must take issue with your argument regarding ‘jobs Americans won’t do.’ You think that’s balderdash, but it is in fact that case that — in some regions anyway — many Americans, even poor and unemployed ones, just cannot be roused to work for a living even at a good wage. Immigrants fill the gaps these Americans create.
“A case in point is my father, who ran a gas station and car wash in rural [name of state] for decades. He struggled throughout that time to find even barely competent local people to staff his business. This was despite the fact that he offered better wages than most other local businesses in a town with rampant unemployment. Many would work for my father for a few weeks then just quit, irritated at the boss’s demand that they show up everyday on time and sober.
“My father never hired illegals but he did bring in immigrants on visas — mostly students from eastern Europe! — to help the business through the peak summer months. Other businessmen in the area had less scrupples and hired clearly illegal Mexicans. Yes, my father could probably have offered even higher wages but did need to make a profit himself.
“One factor as to why my father had such trouble with the locals was the widespread availability of illegal drugs in the area. Many of the locals liked to work until they had enough money to go out on crack cocaine binges at which point they would disappear. (Note: I’m not being racial here. These people were overwhelmingly white.)
“You can see why my Old Man eventually sold the business.”
[Derb] Vic Davis Hanson tells some similar story in Mexifornia.