Of course the motel owners would rather hire Mexicans, and Salvadorans, and Colombians. They show up on time, they never complain, and they appreciate the slave wages.

And speaking of drugs…

The other pain-in-the-ass job seekers are recovering opioid abusers. The typical profile here is a guy who injured his back in the late ’90s, got legal prescriptions for the pain, became addicted to OxyContin back when it was cheap, then switched to synthetic heroin when the OxyContin prices went through the roof in the early 2000s. He’s been to the emergency room twice and been arrested for possession several times.

The good news is that he can get his life back on track by working at that new Amazon sorting center that’s going in out by the little municipal airport—except he’s ineligible to work there. Human Resources eliminates him right out of the gate just for filling out the application truthfully.

All the jobs we’re talking about—landscape worker, bakery assistant, fruit packer, gas station attendant, Uber driver, sewing machine operator—have one thing in common.

The only reason to take the job at all is money.

The jobs don’t lead to anything better. They’re not fun. The hours you spend doing the job are hours subtracted from the time you have on earth to enjoy yourself. These are the people who will go down to the payday loan office in the strip mall and borrow $400 so that they can buy diapers and baby food and toilet paper and then, two weeks from now when they get their $400 check, pay $60 in interest to the loan sharks.

They will do dirty work. They are so motivated to do dirty work that sometimes corporations move to cities that have a large population of people who hate their jobs. The Chamber of Commerce of Tulsa has a “people who hate their jobs” index in order to attract industry—and it’s working.

What’s really ironic is that the people who are trying to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour are the same people who say, “Mexicans will do jobs that Americans don’t want.”

Get rid of the illegal Mexicans and see how fast that wage goes up to $15 on its own, no government intervention needed.

But, of course, that would require caring about the single mom, the ex-con trying to straighten out his life, the lonely elderly guy who wants to go back to work, the diabetes patient who needs a wheelchair because of his swollen feet, and the guy who finally kicked drugs and needs to start over. That would require having a social conscience.



Columnists

Sign Up to Receive Our Latest Updates!

SIGN UP

Daily updates with TM’s latest