The race riots in Milwaukee have underlined the catastrophic failure of President Barack Obama’s cheap-labor political policies, which have left African-Americans in the city even poorer in 2014 than in 2009.
Federal data shows the median household income for African-Americans in Milwaukee during June 2014 was $26,067, according to the federal government’s American Community Survey. Half the households earned more than that number, half earned less.
The 2014 median household income was 11.6 percent lower than 2009 income. That 2009 median income of $26,712 in pre-inflation 2009 dollars was equivalent to $29,474 in 2014 dollars.
So what forced down the median income of African-American households in Milwaukee by $2,764 between 2009 and 2014?
It wasn’t the Obama-backed government-inflated property bubble — because that recession officially ended in June 2009 after destroying roughly half the stored wealth of African-Americans in the United States. Nor was it a state-wide crash, because Wisconsin’s median household income fell only half as much — 4.6 percent — during the same period from 2009 to 2014.
Reporters covering the latest riots in Milwaukee do cite economic problems amid their focus on cops and protesters. According to the Los Angeles Times, there are just too few jobs for young blacks.
Reggie Moore, a black man from Sherman Park who was appointed by the mayor this year to lead the city’s Office of Violence Prevention, said he had been on the streets monitoring the protesters and teaming with pastors and community groups in an attempt to bring calm.
“What’s happening isn’t random,” he said. “Last year, we saw a spike in homicides. There is job loss. There are bad schools. There are a lot of teens in this neighborhood who feel like they aren’t getting their fair share.”
About 40% of Milwaukee’s 600,000 residents are black. That gives the city the largest black population in Wisconsin, including many families in which parents and grandparents migrated from the South in the 1960sfor factory jobs that quickly declined.
The poverty rate for blacks [in Milwaukee] is among the highest anywhere in the United States…
The Daily Beast noted racial tensions between unskilled blacks and immigrants amid the economic problems.
While issues such as unemployment, an underfunded education system, and “general poverty” play a significant role in the black community’s frustrations that spilled out on Saturday and Sunday nights, the genesis of much of the fervent anger goes back at least to the police killing of Dontre Hamilton in 2014 …
Mayes said the gas station went up in flames because of long-running feud between its owner and teens in the neighborhood. The owner fired a handgun at or near the teens just three weeks ago, according to Milwaukee police.
In another incident, a group of teens threw rocks through the window of the gas station, Mayes said. Milwaukee police confirmed that incident as well.
The owner is Indian, Mayes said. The neighborhood in which the gas station now sits destroyed is overwhelmingly black.
The simplest possibility is that African-American poverty might be rooted in a city-wide surplus of low-skilled workers amid an increasingly high-tech national economy.
Basic economics says that an over-supply of labor reduces wages, and that a greater demand for workers — dubbed a “tight labor market — forces up wages. For example, wages for African-Americans rose in the boom years of 1998 and 1999 when companies began competing for workers by offering higher salaries, regardless of race.
“Tight labour markets are the best social programme, as they force employers to hire and mentor inexperienced people in order to be adequately staffed,” said an Aug. 7 article by Harvard Professor Larry Summers, who served as Obama’s first economic director and as Secretary of the Treasury for President Bill Clinton. “Some years ago, I estimated that for each 1 per cent point increase in adult male employment, the employment of young black men rose 7 per cent … recent research confirms economic growth has an outsized benefit for younger people and minorities,” he wrote in an article for the London-based Financial Times.
— Lawrence H. Summers (@LHSummers) August 8, 2016
So does federal data show a tight or a loose labor market in Milwaukee?
A quick glance at the federal data does show a huge flow of low-skilled workers into the city — and the data shows that this supply of extra workers is being delivered by the federal government’s immigration policy.
That national policy annually imports roughly two million working-age migrants and foreign workers to compete against the four million Americans who turn 18 each year.
That policy is great for each wave of new, hard-working and risk-taking immigrants, nearly all of whom want to improve their lives, and to give their kids a chance to live in the peaceful U.S. neighborhoods, to attend decent U.S. schools, and get decent jobs in America’s economy. For example, roughly 300,000 migrants from Central America have been allowed to come across the U.S.-Mexican border since 2010.
But this continued two-for-four policy of artificially increasing the supply of labor also imposes a huge lifetime tax on the wages of Americans — white, black, brown, and immigrants too — while also providing a huge financial windfall to new immigrants, employers, vendors, shareholders, and Wall Street.
The process was highlighted in Milwaukee by the Palermo Pizza company, which filled roughly half the jobs at its 200-person factory with hard-working, low-paid Hispanic illegal immigrants. The workers were fired when they tried to unionize in 2012, despite some support from Obama’s deputies. “Esperanza Garza, a production line worker on strike, said she earned just $9.30 an hour after 10 years. She said the health insurance was hard to afford, many workers got hurt and managers often belittled workers,” said a report from The New York Times.
The company simply replaced the illegals with another low-wage crew of workers, including at least 28 migrants from Myanmar, or former Burma. Liberals have largely ignored the role of the migrants in keeping wages down and African-Americans out.
So how many extra workers has the immigration policy sent into Milwaukee? That answer is easy to measure because federal data tracks the number of “foreign born” workers in states and cities.
The immigrant population in Milwaukee city rose by 46 percent from 2000 to 2010, according to the American Immigration Council.
By 2009, there were 57,124 immigrants in the city of 603,000, so immigrants comprised 9.46 percent of the city’s 2009 population, says a pro-immigration, business-backed group. In 2014, after many illegals had gone home during the crash, immigrants comprised 9.8 percent of the city, and contributed 58,684 people to the city’s lower population of 598,078, according to census data.
But many migrants have U.S.-born working-age kids — ensuring that Hispanics comprised 15.1 percent of the population in 2009, while Asians comprised 3.3 percent, for a total of 18.4 percent. Five years later, Hispanics comprised 17.7 percent of the population, while Asians comprised 3.7 percent, for a total of 21.4 percent.
That’s a 16-percent growth from 2009 to 2014.
During the same period, African-Americans’ share of the city’s population rose from 37.5 percent to 39 percent, while whites’ share dropped fast, from 42 percent in 2009 to 37 percent in 2014.
The impact of immigrants is even greater in the job market because the immigrant population tends to be much younger than the native population. For example, immigration added 10,011 people aged 35-44 to Wisconsin from 2000 to 2010, while the state’s native-born population of similar-aged people declined by 57,062.
This younger skew also means that the immigrant population is also likely to contribute a greater share of kids over the next few years to the local labor force. For example, Hispanic and Asians kids comprised 20.4 percent of Milwaukee city school kids in 2000, but comprised 28 percent in 2010, not counting private schools.
By 2010, the number of kids in immigrant families amounted to 20 percent of the city’s child population, and 23 percent of kids lived in homes where a non-English language was spoken at home, according to a city education report. Similarly, the numbers of kids who have a poor grasp of English doubled from 5.5 percent in 2000 to 10.8 percent in 2010.
State-wide, Wisconsin’s immigrant population rose 40 percent from 2000 to 2013, up to 266,491 people, according to a business-backed pro-immigration group. The state’s immigrant population rose by nine percent from 2010 to 2014, up to 274,329 in 2014, according to another business-backed pro-immigration group.
All of that adds to an extraordinary change from 1990 when the Hispanic population of Wisconsin was only 93,000. It doubled to 193,000 in 2000, then 336,000 in 2010 and 345,000 in 2015, putting it close to the state’s black population of 435,000 in 2015.
During the same period, and amid many other disruptions — inflation, welfare expansions, oil shocks, the arrival of foreign auto companies, the free-trade departure of U.S. factories — the percentage of black men with jobs crashed.
In 1970, 73.3 percent of black men in Wisconsin were in the labor force, although nearly all were in poor jobs. That percentage was close to the state’s average of 76.8 percent. But the percentage of blacks in the workforce fell decade-by-decade to 56.7 percent in 2000, according to a Wisconsin study.
But President Barack Obama has his eyes on the political prize of progressive rule, not the pain of African-Americans’ poverty.
Obama’s welcome for migrants is rooted in his progressive view that Americans’ legal rights must be shared with all foreigners, regardless of their political beliefs, cultures, and impact on the Americans’ wages. In a November 2014 speech on immigration, for example, Obama told a Chicago audience that “there have been periods where the folks who were already [Americans] here suddenly say, ‘Well, I don’t want those folks,’ even though the only people who have the right to say that are some Native Americans.”
“Sometimes we get attached to our particular tribe, our particular race, our particular religion, and then we start treating other folks differently… that, sometimes, has been a bottleneck to how we think about immigration,” Obama said, shortly after he announced his Oval Office plan to award work-permits to roughly four million additional illegal immigrants, without any approval from Congress.
In turn, that globalist progressive view matches his political strategy of recruiting foreign migrants into the Democrats’ discordant coalition. Obama made his strategy clear in 2006, when he wrote in his autobiography that large-scale migration hurts the wages of African-Americans. “This huge influx of mostly low-skill workers provides some benefits to the economy as a whole… [but] it also threatens to depress further the wages of blue-collar Americans,” Obama admitted.
But those immigrants would help the Democratic Party, he wrote. “In my mind, at least, the fates of black and brown were to be perpetually intertwined, the cornerstone of a [Democratic] coalition that could help America live up to its [progressive] promise,” he wrote in The Audacity of Hope.
Obama’s combination of progressive ideology and strategy explains why he has allowed so many guest-workers and migrants, legal or not, into the United States.
The inflow includes 400,000 unskilled Central American migrants that he’s allowed into the country since 2010, plus work-permits given to almost 800,000 illegal immigrants since 2012, plus invites to 65,000 unskilled Syrian migrants to enter the country by October. He has also expanded the annual inflow of temporary “guest workers” from 700,000 per year to roughly 800,000 per year, and sharply reduced the repatriation of illegals caught in the United States.
Obama also offered a quasi-amnesty to four million resident illegals in November 2014, but was blocked by the courts. He also pushed for the 2013 immigration bill that would have added at least 33 million legal migrants to the nation of 310 million Americans by 2023.
In contrast, Donald Trump’s proposed immigration rollback-and-reform would reduce unemployment, drive up Americans’ wages, and reduce housing costs, according to a recent Moody’s study that claimed to be critical of his policies. The evidence from a similar policy adopted in Arizona shows it would also spur high-tech investment and boost productivity.
In his Aug. 16 speech in Milwaukee, Trump made a pitch to African-Americans and to other Americans, saying,
The Democratic Party has failed and betrayed the African-American community. Democratic crime policies, education policies, and economic policies have produced only more crime, more broken homes, and more poverty.
Let us look at the situation right here in Milwaukee, a city run by Democrats for decade after decade. Last year, killings in this city increased by 69 percent, plus another 634 victims of non-fatal shootings. 18-29-year-olds accounted for nearly half of the homicide victims. The poverty rate here is nearly double the national average. Almost 4 in 10 African-American men in Milwaukee between the ages of 25-54 do not have a job. Nearly four in 10 single mother households are living in poverty. 55 public schools in this city have been rated as failing to meet expectations, despite ten thousand dollars in funding per-pupil. There is only a 60% graduation rate, and it’s one of the worst public school systems in the country.
1 in 5 manufacturing jobs has disappeared in Milwaukee since we fully opened our markets to China, and many African-American neighborhoods have borne the brunt of this hit…
Here is what I am proposing.
First, on immigration. No community in this country has been hurt worse by Hillary Clinton’s immigration policies than the African-American community. Now she is proposing to print instant work permits for millions of illegal immigrants, taking jobs directly from low-income Americans. I will secure our border, protect our workers, and improve jobs and wages in your community. We will only invite people to join our country who share our tolerant values, who support our Constitution, and who love all of our people.
On trade, I am going to renegotiate NAFTA, stand up to China, withdraw from the TPP, and protect every last American job.
To every voter in Milwaukee, to every voter living in every inner city, or every forgotten stretch of our society, I am running to offer you a better future.
Or, as he put it in an earlier Tweet:
Hillary Clinton's open borders immigration policies will drive down wages for all Americans – and make everyone less safe.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2016