Water jugs

But no one is willing to work….


Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

When I was but a youngster in the public schools in Texas, my friends and I worked to make spending money. Yes, my wise old grandmother gave me an allowance, but it was only a quarter a week. A quarter! For pulling weeds, hanging out the laundry, drying the dishes, clearing the table, feeding the dog…. Well, alright, I won’t include feeding the dog since I enjoyed that. I loved Bosco! But even in 1966 a quarter a week wasn’t going to buy all the candy that an 11-year-old wanted to buy! Beginning in 1967 I didn’t get an allowance at all! (It was because I had a thriving typing business making $10-$40 a week.) However, I did get a really, really nice present upon graduation from high school!

Keep that in mind—grade school and high school students back in those days actually worked instead of sitting around playing video games, listening to tunes on iPods, watching movies on iPads, etc. My friends mowed lawns, washed cars, and worked as gas station attendants, grocery store clerks, and move ticket takers.

Fast forward to 1999 in San Diego.

I had just bought a 4,000-sf house on two acres of land. A large house on two acres of land in Southern California generally is pretty expensive. However, the house and property were a dump, inside and out. Two acres of weeds, a swimming pool and spa that looked like a Louisiana swamp, lots of deferred maintenance. I was going to landscape the property, renovate the swimming pool and spa, and remodel the house, inside and out.

Although I was capable of doing everything since I had renovated many properties before, there were things that I didn’t want to do, like plumbing and electrical; two acres of irrigation installation; and pulling two acres of weeds and cutting out all the laurel sumac and poison oak, both of which I am extremely allergic to. I ran ads in the San Diego Reader (a weekly), the San Diego Union-Tribune (daily), and the Daily Aztec (San Diego State University student paper).

Minimum wage at the time was $5.85/hour . I offered $15/hour for help. Guess how many calls I got? That’s right! Zero! I ran the ads for four weeks. This was late summer, early fall. Zip, zilch, nada. Not a single call.

I went to the Home Depot just a couple of miles away where workers hang out every morning hoping to get work for the day. Hired four workers for $10/hour and had all my work done in nine days! I paid them as 1099 contract employees since they could come and go as they pleased and work whenever they wanted to. Thus, they were responsible for their own taxes.

Was I stupid enough to not know that they most likely were “undocumented workers,” perhaps even “illegal aliens.” No. I knew. But I had work to do, and they were the only ones willing to do it. Thus, I’m not a big fan of people saying that illegal aliens are taking all the jobs in America. I believe they are only taking the jobs that Americans don’t want. I believe it’s the rich people who can buy themselves a green card to work in America who are taking all the jobs in America. Either that or exporting the jobs to foreign countries where labor is less expensive.

Professional basketball, to me, is a great example. Let’s take Steve Nash as an example. Nash was born in South Africa and currently has Canadian and British citizenship. He was given a basketball scholarship to Santa Clara University; that’s in California. He’s not an American yet has played professional basketball since 1996 for Phoenix, Dallas, and the L.A. Lakers. Annual earnings in the millions of dollars. One could argue that the people who go to see him play help provide jobs for ticket takers, refreshments, etc. I’m not buying it.

Recently I had a home inspection just feet from the border with Mexico. The United States fence was at the top of an extremely deep and wide canyon. It was an obvious entry point for Mexican nationals seeking work in America because there were trails leading up from the Mexican canyon and a tear in the fence. Not unusual by any stretch of the imagination. Look what I found on the U.S. side of the fence:

Water jugs

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Remember that this is just feet away from Mexico. Also, this area is a heavy industrial area, meaning that the businesses here probably depend on undocumented workers to get stuff done, just like I did fourteen years ago.

Those water jugs could have been left (and replenished) by concerned citizens who know that Mexican nationals come through the area and are probably thirsty after making the trek through the canyon. Or they could have been left by business owners who need the help of healthy people who are not dying of thirst. Or, they could have been left by Border Patrol agents so that they have water to drink while stationed there looking for undocumented workers entering the U.S. illegally.

I’m thinking it’s business owners, based solely on my own experience trying to find people to work.

Yes, undocumented workers from other countries are taking American jobs, but they are jobs that Americans don’t want, or jobs that the wealthy 1% don’t want to give to Americans. Until someone can convince me otherwise—and I’ve had a lot of experience in this realm since all my life and work has been spent near the border in Detroit, New England, Texas, and Southern California—I think the U.S. should allow the foreign nationals who are here to live and work here, AND PAY TAXES! If we have people willing to work these “menial, low-paying jobs,” whaddaya wanna bet that a bunch of jobs would return to America from China, Taiwan, and Korea?

Then, of the course, there’s the extra stress on our infrastructure— schools, roads, etc. THEY ALREADY ARE HERE PROVIDING THAT EXTRA STRESS! Make them pay taxes! The only way you can do that, though, is to allow them to live and work here without the threat of deportation!

That’s my opinion, and I’m sticking to it….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos


3 thoughts on “But no one is willing to work….

  1. philosophermouseofthehedge

    Here, so much is done on a cash basis. A lot in the shadow – even though it’s all pretty open for all here. Go with a flat sales tax on everything.
    I have family on old ranches near the border – it’s a little more dangerous now than you portray – for everyone involved.



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