“Some American Workers Can’t Cut It”? The Proper Response Is Work Not Whining

The Gang of Eight’s immigration “reform” bill is a disaster. There is no reason for a conservative, or even for a liberal to vote for that thing.

As a conservative, I hear generalizations about Mexican immigrants all the time, as well as stereotypes of immigrants from further south of the border.  Are there many Mexican immigrants here illegally? Yes. Do some take more from welfare than they contribute? Yes. Are all Mexican or other immigrants the same? Of course not.

So these stereotypes and generalizations are not always true. Yet they are used all the time. Recently another kind of stereotype was challenged. Here is what Ryan Lizza claimed in the New Yorker, as reproduced by Politico:

“‘There are American workers who, for lack of a better term, can’t cut it,’ a Rubio aide told me. ‘There shouldn’t be a presumption that every American worker is a star performer. There are people who just can’t get it, can’t do it, don’t want to do it. And so you can’t obviously discuss that publicly.’ In the end, the wage issue was settled to the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s satisfaction, and the Building and Construction Trades union won a cap on the number of visas for foreign construction workers.”

I have no idea if this quotation is accurately sourced or not. But what bothers me is that anyone who considers himself Conservative might regard this as a controversial statement.

As far as I’m concerned, there are people in every nation and of every tribe on the planet who “just can’t get it, can’t do it, don’t want to do it.” In addition to all the people who don’t have the talent to be “star performers” there are also people who simply don’t want to bother trying.  Also, there would be far more of such people except that they can’t get away with it. They can’t demand as much pay as they want to do as little work as they want. We all have to hustle. We have to sweat. We have to support not only ourselves but our spouses and children. Everyone operates under this constraint and it forces people to be productive.

I used to work as a portapottie servicer on a large construction project entirely dominated by union workers. As the guy who cleaned the commodes, I had to wash the graffiti off the walls. It was like having access to the campus intranet because the men would write messages to one another. They were obviously divided into two essential groups: those who worked as little as possible and demanded more benefits through their union, and those who were embarrassed by the bad job the others were doing and feared what would happen to union jobs if they didn’t shape up. The union bound them together in one lifeboat that was obviously sinking.

American workers who actually work for a living should not feel bound to the Americans who don’t. They shouldn’t feel any more respect for loafing Americans than they do for loafing Mexicans. Thus, they should also respect and honor hardworking Mexicans for the same reason they respect and honor fellow hardworking Americans.

It is not Rubio’s or anyone else’s job to sort our which American’s can “cut it.” They should leave employers free to hire the best employees they possibly can. That is the only way to find out who can “cut it” and it is the only way to get everyone, American or any other nationality, to try their best to do so.