I have a friend who is a contractor. His crew consists almost completely of illegal aliens. He and I have had some arguments about the situation. He says the illegals work hard and are are competent (I agree) while (he claims) the local (American) workforce is not nearly as industrious or competent. This seems to be the standard mantra most employers who use illegal labor trot out.

But they miss a few things, I think.

First, illegals have so lowered the price of labor that to "compete" with them means Americans face the prospect of no-benefits 10-12 hour days (in the case of my friend's crew) hard labor for about $10 per hour. A Mexican peasant can live on this because his standard is the Third World, where in addition to living in hovels and at a level that by American standards would be considered abject poverty, the typical manual laborer is a crippled wreck by age 40.

I point out to my friend that the social costs of millions of physically ruined peasant laborers who had no economic value beyond the strength of their bodies (few have the education to do more after their bodies give out) will be transfered to him and me in the form of high taxes to pay for government health care for these people, Social Security, etc., for 30 or 40 years or more after they can no longer work.

He tells me with pride about how his use of illegals has helped him keep costs down. No doubt. He has simply transferred these costs to the community while maximizing his bottom line. For example, if he had an American worker, it would not be necessary for the county to provide Spanish interpreters at local offices (DMV, courts, etc.) or "ESL" instruction" in the schools. And if he paid an American worker a living wage, our taxes would be less needed to subsidize the education/health care given "free" to the children of illegals.

I personally would like to see punitive taxes levied on businesses that hire illegals - an amount that reflects the costs these illegals impose on the community.

If this were to be done, the "jobs that Americans won't do" would become economically viable again.

And we wouldn't need a horde of peasant Third Worlders to do them.