*If you’re surprised that Donald Trump – despite his continuous crude comments and behavior – has garnered the political support of millions of Americans and leads republican presidential contenders in the polls, you haven’t connected the dots.
Trump has said what lots of people have thought but are afraid to say out loud. First he said most Mexicans in the United States are deported rapists here to do harm. And when journalist Jorge Ramos pressed Trump about his proposed immigration policy, Trump had him kicked out of the news conference; He insulted moderator Megyn Kelly insinuating she must have been on her menstrual period because of her assertive line of questioning during the first republican debate; Then he mocked New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski’s medical condition and denied it afterwards, even though it’s on video for all to see.
Obviously he undervalues the accomplishments of anyone who looks different from him, he insults anybody who defies the stereotypes assigned to them, and he’s willing to verbally destroy anyone who he perceives as a threat to his superiority complex. Apparently he’s the mouthpiece for a lot of people who don’t have the guts to say what he says: If they can’t lead you, they will not follow you; If they don’t earn more money than you, they refuse to make less money; and if they’re not the boss, they won’t be the subordinate. No matter how good you are, they believe it’s their birthright to be better.
Instead of posing legitimate solutions, Trump belittles his competition with personal insults. If he and the millions of people who probably would vote for him – but won’t admit it – had their way, Trump wouldn’t just sic the National Guard on illegal immigrants. He would have them deported along with their minor children born in the United States, which automatically grants them birthright citizenship under the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment. Even Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly (publicly) is against that idea, and he’s one of the most outspoken conservatives on television.
If people who agree with Trump’s ideology would stop blaming illegal immigration long enough to do an hour’s worth of research they might come up with a viable solution to America’s rising inflation and unemployment problems. Nobody has asked me, but if they did, here’s what I propose:
First, we should educate people about the importance of creating income-producing assets, that is having a job, owning real estate and businesses (selling products or services) or commodities that add to your income instead of creating debt that deletes your income. Business ownership also creates jobs for others which improves the economy and the rate of employment. Too many people depend on consumer loans, credit cards and government assistance. Trump, the business man, knows this. Trump, the politician wants to place the blame where it doesn’t belong.
Instead of blaming mostly Mexican migrant workers for the rising unemployment and cost of living in the United States, Americans should acknowledge their decision to outsource manufacturing and agricultural jobs because we undervalued them. The low-pay and lack of protective labor laws in these industries made them throw-away jobs – until we realized how much we had given away.
Now 75 percent of farm work in the United States is done by migrant workers of Mexican descent. Most of them are in the United States legally. Some of them are not. Regardless, they earn around $1,000 a month. It’s not a lot of money, but if your manufacturing job has been moved to another country because labor is cheaper there, now that $12,000 a year job you passed on earlier doesn’t look so undesirable.
So now you find yourself working at the local fast food restaurant earning minimum wage. You get on the ‘raise the minimum wage to $15/hour’ bandwagon, because that’s more money in your pocket, right? Maybe. The big picture looks more like this:
When you make more w-2 income you are required to pay more income tax. If the minimum wage goes up, other jobs that already pay $15/hour will be forced to increase their pay rates. So the cost of living will go up too. Owners of the fast food stores that will be required to pay employees more money will either reduce the quantity of a serving, raise the cost of food prices or both to make up for the increase in pay to employees. The price of a combo meal that costs $8 now, will then cost at least $10. Less people will be willing to pay two dollars more for the same thing they used to get for two dollars less. Less customers mean less revenue in the door of the restaurant. Less revenue means less money to pay your salary. To make a profit restaurant owners will be forced to reduce staff, which means layoffs. Then you’ll be back at square one: Wishing you would have gone to college for that degree that would have allowed you to get a better paying job, started your own business or both.
That’s what Trump did. And that what he teaches his children. Next week I’ll explain how progress in today’s free enterprise system has nothing to do with how much the minimum wage is.
Steffanie Rivers is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas, Texas metroplex. For comments, questions and inquiries, email her at [email protected].