And to Its Fabled Economy: Goodbye
to the City on the Hill
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
We shall be as a city
upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us.
America is being destroyed. Many Americans
are unaware, others are indifferent, and some intend it.
The destruction is across the
board: the political and constitutional system, the economy,
social institutions including the family itself, citizenship,
and the character and morality of the American people.
Those who rely on the Internet
for information are aware that the Bush regime has successfully
assaulted the separation of powers and civil liberty. Both Bush
and Cheney claim that they are not bound by laws that impinge
on their freedom of action or that interfere with their ideas
of the power of their offices. Bush has issued presidential
directives that permit him to make himself a dictator by declaring
a national emergency. Cheney asserts that his handling of secret
documents is not subject to oversight or investigation or bound
by a presidential order governing the protection of classified
The foundation of social organization--marriage,
family, and parental control over children--is disintegrating.
Mass unassimilated and illegal
immigration has destroyed the meaning of American citizenship
and forced large numbers of Americans into unemployment. For
example, Steve Camarota at the Center for Immigration Studies
reported on June 20 that state employment data show that in the
first six years of the 21st century 218,000 high school graduates
in the state of Georgia have been employment-displaced by immigrants.
Moreover, wages have stagnated, putting the lie to the claim
that there is a shortage of workers. If there were a labor shortage,
wages would be bid up and rising.
Many Americans are unconcerned
that the US government in behalf of an undeclared agenda has
invaded two countries, killed hundreds of thousands of foreign
civilians, produced 4 million Iraqi refugees, rejected the Geneva
Conventions and reverted to medieval torture dungeons. It does
not trouble them that their government blocked ceasefires and
UN resolutions so that Israel could bomb and murder Lebanese
civilians and destroy the country's infrastructure.
Americans, whose ethical behavior
toward others was once reinforced by having to look oneself in
the mirror, now have a different ethos.
Many cannot look themselves in the mirror unless they have pulled
a fast one and advanced themselves at someone else's expense.
It is not only crooked prosecutors, such as Michael Nifong,
who get their jollies from destroying their fellow citizens.
A google search will call up
enough information to make the case for these points many times
over. However, the destruction of the US economy, though far
advanced, is still largely unknown. It is to this subject that
For a number of years Charles
McMillion of MBG Information Services and I have documented from
BLS nonfarm payroll jobs data that the US economy in the 21st
century no longer creates net new jobs in tradable goods and
services. In the 21st century, job growth in "the world's
only superpower" has a definite third world flavor. US
job growth has been limited to domestic services that cannot
be moved offshore, such as waitresses and bartenders and health
and social services.
These are not jobs that comprise
ladders of upward mobility. Income inequality is worsening,
and education is no longer the answer.
The problem is that middle
class jobs, both in manufacturing and in professional occupations
such as engineering, are being offshored as corporations replace
their American workforces with foreigners. I have called jobs
offshoring "virtual immigration."
The latest bombshell is that
even those professional jobs that remain located in America are
not safe. There is a vast industry of immigration law firms
that enable American corporations to replace their American workers
with foreigners brought in on work visas.
For years Americans have been
told that work visas are only issued in cases where there are
no Americans with the necessary skills to fill the jobs. Americans
have been reassured that safeguards are in place to prevent US
companies from using the work visas to replace their American
employees with foreigners paid below the prevailing US wage.
Now, thanks to a video placed on "YouTube" by a US
law firm, Cohen & Grigsby, marketing its services, we now
know that it is easy for US companies to legally evade the "safeguards"
and to replace their American employees with lower paid foreigners.
The video shows Lawrence Lebowitz,
Vice President for Marketing for the law firm of Cohen &
Grigsby, together with a panel of the law firm's attorneys, explaining
to an audience of employers how to use loopholes in the laws
governing the work visas to hire foreign workers in place of
Americans. Lebowitz says, "our goal is clearly, not to
find a qualified and interested US worker."
Cohen & Grigsby's legal
experts describe the strategy for ensuring that no American firm
has to hire an American. The advertising requirements can be
met by advertising the job in obscure or ethnic newspapers in
locations where there are no likely job candidates. If a qualified
American candidate turns up, "have the manager of that specific
position step in and . . . go through the whole process to find
a legal basis to disqualify them for this position--in most cases
there doesn't seem to be a problem."
The "prevailing wage"
requirement is evaded, for example, by making the offered salary
and raises contingent on receipt of the green card, usually 3
or 4 years away, or by disguising the job by understating the
job requirements. For example, a job requiring an advanced degree
can be listed as requiring a bachelor's degree, but filled with
a foreigner with a higher degree. As the higher degree is not
listed as a job requirement, the employer is able to secure the
foreign employee below the prevailing wage.
University of California computer
science professor Norman Matloff has an excellent presentation
available at his online site about the lack of impediments to
the ability of US firms to replace their American employees with
foreigners. Matloff says to keep in mind that Cohen & Grigsby
"is NOT a rogue law firm." The advice provided by
Cohen & Grigsby is the standard advice given by the hoards
of immigration attorneys who are personally cleaning up by putting
Americans out of work.
Except for Lou Dobbs on CNN,
the US TV and print media have so far ignored the astounding
story. Where are the headlines: "US Jobs: No American Need
Chances are high that economists
will ignore the story also.
Economists have made fools of themselves with their hyped claims
that jobs offshoring is a great benefit to America and that any
attempt to stop it would bring hardship, failed companies, and
lost American jobs. When a profession gets egg all over its
face, it closes ranks and goes into denial.
Unlike the post-depression
generation of US economists, recent generations of economists
have been indoctrinated with confidence in business. They believe
that business knows best and that the free market will prevent
or correct any mistakes. Many economists today are well paid
shills for special interests. Others, simply careless, have assumed
that statistical measures of high rates of US productivity and
GDP growth were indications of the benefits that offshoring was
bringing to Americans.
Only a few economists, such
as myself and Charles McMillion, noticed the inconsistency between
alleged high rates of productivity and GDP growth on one hand
and stagnant real median incomes and rising income inequality
on the other. Somehow the US economy was having GDP and productivity
growth that was not showing up in growth in the incomes of Americans.
Thanks to economist Susan N.
Houseman and the March 22 issue of Business Week, we now know,
as I reported in the print edition of CounterPunch (June 1-15,
2007) and on online at vdare.com, that much of the growth in
US productivity and GDP was an illusion created by statistics
that mistakenly attributed productivity gains achieved abroad
to the US economy.
With the ladders of upward
mobility for Americans dismantled by offshoring and work visas,
with the very real problems in mortgage and housing markets,
with the very real stress put on the US dollar's reserve currency
role by Bush's trillion dollar war that is financed by foreigners,
with the downward revisions in US GDP and productivity growth
that are now mandatory, and with a variety of other problems
that I haven't the space to deal with, the fabled US economy
is a thing of the past.
Just like America's prestige.
Just like the world's goodwill toward America. Just like American
The eyes of all peoples are
still upon us, only for different reasons. Whom will we attack
next? When will we be bankrupt? What good is the American consumer
market when the mass of the people are employed in third world
jobs? How much longer will those trillions of dollars held by
foreign governments be worth anything? How long before Americans
will be knocking on European doors claiming political asylum.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury
in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the
Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of
National Review. He is coauthor of The
Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com