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Reflections


It' Still About the Economy

by Ralph R. Reiland,
Professor of Free Enterprise at Robert Morris University
 

"Job Growth, but No Raises" was the editorial headline in The New York Times on November 8, four days after the midterm elections.

For many voters, "No Raises" was a good enough reason to take President Obama down a peg and give Republicans more governmental clout.
The U.S. employment report for October, released on November 7, showed "a steady-as-she-goes economy," stated the Times editorial. "And that is a problem, because for most Americans, more of the same is not good enough."
With a focus by President Obama on creating an economy that delivers a "fair share" to bottom and middle income groups, the Times editorial showed in clear numbers that during the six years of the Obama presidency the American economy has increasingly delivered the largest increases in income and wealth to the top.

"Since the recovery began in mid-2009," stated the Times, "inflation-adjusted figures show that the economy has grown by 12 percent; corporate profits, by 46 percent; and the broad stock market, by 92 percent. Median household income has contracted by 3 percent."
Emmanuel Saez, professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, reports that 95 percent of all the post-recession income growth in the United States, 2009 to 2012, went to the top 1 percent of income earners.

Economic growth generally increases workers' pay by increasing the demand for labor, "but growth is still too slow," stated the Times. "At the current pace, it will take until March 2018 for employment to return to its pre-recession level."

By then, President Obama's executive orders may have changed five million illegal immigrants into guest workers, potentially lowering the demand for American workers.

In contrast to his current position, "President Obama once declared that an influx of illegal immigrants would harm 'the wages of blue-collar Americans' and 'put strains on an already overburdened safety net,' " reports Neil Munro, White House correspondent for The Daily Caller.

"There's no denying that many blacks share the same anxieties as many whites about the wave of illegal immigration flooding our Southern border — a sense that what's happening now is fundamentally different from what has gone on before," wrote then-Senator Obama in his 2006 autobiography, The Audacity of Hope. "Not all these fears are irrational," said Obama.

Those earlier Obama positions are "the exact argument the president's critics have been making as he now rushes to announce a sweeping executive order that would give work permits to millions of illegal immigrants in the country," explains Munro.

"Native-born Americans suspect that it is they, and not the immigrant, who are being forced to adapt to social changes caused by migration," wrote Obama in 2006. "And if I'm honest with myself, I must admit that I'm not entirely immune to such nativist sentiments. When I see Mexican flags waved at pro-immigration demonstrations, I sometimes feel a flush of patriotic resentment. When I'm forced to use a translator to communicate with the guy fixing my car, I feel a certain frustration."

And now, President Obama via executive order is set to provide work permits to millions of illegal immigrants, "allowing them to compete," reports Munro, "against the very Americans — black, white, Latino and Asian — who he once said would be harmed by such a move."

Burying his focus about job losses and wage stagnation of American workers in order to clear a path to work for formerly-illegal immigrants, "Obama," writes Munro, "has repeatedly declared, 'It's the right thing to do.' "
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Ralph R. Reiland is an associate professor of economics and the B. Kenneth Simon professor of free enterprise at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh

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Ralph R. Reiland


Email: rrreiland@aol.com
Phone: 412-779-7583

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