NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 19, 2005

Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) may do a lot of talking about his love for the little guy, but if two major proposals he has made in this Congress were to become law, it would be a disaster for the poorest American workers and a blow to American freedom, says Terence Jeffrey (

Some American workers would lose their jobs, while others would see their wages suppressed by the legalized mass importation of foreign workers who would be allowed into the United States precisely because they had agreed ahead of time to sell their labor here for less than an American would.

According to Jeffries:

  • Kennedy's first major proposal, which was narrowly defeated in the Senate in March, would have increased the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 an hour; that would have thrown some Americans off the bottom rung of the employment ladder.
  • His second proposal, introduced last week, would provide amnesty to illegal aliens while creating a permanent, ongoing guest-worker program to fill -- as a summary on Kennedy's Web site puts it -- "jobs that require few or no skills."

This would thrust the American employment ladder down into Mexico and other under-developed regions of the world, so that workers who are used to laboring for Third World wages could routinely, legally and in massive numbers climb into the U.S. job market and compete directly with American workers for pay and positions.

Kennedy's minimum-wage increase would have effectively cut demand for low-wage labor. His guest-worker program would increase supply. Both would cost jobs for the poorest Americans, says Jeffrey.

Source: Terence Jeffrey, "Guest-worker plan is un-American,", May 18, 2005.


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