Then Change Your Business Model

If you own a business and you can’t run it without hiring illegal, and therefore exploited labor, you probably need to figure out a new business model. I could do lots of things that are illegal in order to make more money, and to subsequently charge my customers less, thus contributing more to the economy. But that would be, you know, illegal.

This is the core of the problem here. Businesses that rely upon illegal workers need to change their model or be allowed to fail — and in a way that doesn’t decimate the economy. Not unlike Wall Street.

There’s something horribly wrong with our economy when so much of it relies upon illegal or exploited labor — be it here or in foreign lands shrink-wrapping Yaffa blocks for Walmart.

America is unique in that it’s always been a land that absorbs disadvantaged people from other places and gives them a square deal here. But somewhere along the line, we became a shopping mall and those disadvantaged people either have to stay where they are because we’ve sent the factories to them, or they sneak in. And whichever scenario is played out, they’re exploited so you and I can buy cheaper crap.

We have to do this, leaders and talkers say, or else businesses will fail and we’ll be paying more for cabbage. Southern plantation owners used to say the same thing. Somewhat different circumstances, but the excuses (and unapologetic lack or morality) were the same.

Whether it’s you and me at the grocery store or a steel mill owner in Phoenix, the question has to be asked: are cheap things and bigger profit margins worth selling out our values? A similar question has been asked over and over regarding health care. Is a lower tax rate worth a new 9/11 every month or a new bankruptcy every 30 seconds? Of course not.

Immigrants deserve a smoother path to becoming citizens. That’s what America is all about. American citizens deserve good jobs with living wages. And if that means our GDP drops a percentage or two, so be it. If that means America becomes browner, so be it.

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