Senator Chuck Grassley, you magnificent bastard, you and your cohorts make it way too easy to smack you about the bulbous forehead with the mighty hypocrite stick.
A little background first. A Pittsburgh law firm called Cohen & Grigsby was caught on YouTube detailing how they hire foreign employees through loopholes in the H-1B visa law, rather than seeking American employees. Why? To save money, of course. The Associated Press:
"The goal here of course is to meet the requirements, number one, but also do so as inexpensively as possible, keeping in mind our goal and our goal is clearly not to find a qualified and interested U.S. worker," Lawrence Lebowitz, the firm's vice president of marketing, told the audience in May.
Dastardly and inexcusable, since this firm practically admits to abusing the H-1B visa program. (Coincidentally, Senator Grassley introduced a bill in April which aims to close the loopholes in the H-1B law. If one chose to be conspiratorial about this, one might raise an eyebrow at the timing of this video leak story.)
But really, it's no different than the prevailing corporate mind-set here. A mind-set which Senator Grassley has repeatedly voted to support. More on that below.
The mind-set goes like so: hiring 'spensive, uppity American workers isn't good business sense when there exists a world of cheap, brown foreign labor to exploit; allowing wealthy CEOs to wade pantless in record profits... and Flomax. It's happening everywhere, and it's been enabled by the passage of NAFTA, GATT, and most recently CAFTA. America's borders are not unlike a gaping maw through which profitable corporations are encouraged to outsource their jobs overseas, and they're subsidized by your government to do so.
This thing called overseas outsourcing -- and not illegal immigration -- is the real crisis at our borders.
It's not so much the people coming in, it's the jobs going out.
It's one of many reasons why the middle class in America is rapidly fading away. From the much publicized exodus of GM in the 1980s to the more recent and less ballyhooed Hershey firings*, Ross Perot's prescient description of a giant sucking sound grows suckier by the damn day. At the time, we all thought it was just hilarious to hear a presidential candidate say the word "sucking" a lot. We should've paid more attention.
So on the sucking tip, enter Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. Upon hearing about the Cohen & Grigsby YouTube video, and after consulting with his colleague Senator Ted Stevens about how all those shrunken lawyers holed-up inside his computer machine survived being dumped through a series of tubes, he teamed up with several of his fellow anti-immigration Republicans and fired off a letter to the law firm:
"We would like you to please explain how this practice does not constitute outright discrimination based on nationality and why your firm so blatantly promotes this type of behavior."
Boiled down, Senator Grassley pitched a fit over this story because it involved foreign workers taking the place of American workers... on American soil. That last part is important. After all, he's one of the top gunners in the anti-immigration debate, so when he spots any sign of ferrnerrs coming in and taking American jobs, he lets-fly the frothy bud nipping. Ironically, however, he has no problem giving American jobs to ferrnerrs -- that is, when those ferrnerrs stay far, far away in their own labor lawless country.
I give you the Grassley voting record:
Voted YES on implementing CAFTA for Central America free-trade. (Jul 2005)
Voted YES on establishing free trade between US & Singapore. (Jul 2003)
Voted YES on establishing free trade between the US and Chile. (Jul 2003)
Voted YES on extending free trade to Andean nations. (May 2002)
Voted YES on granting normal trade relations status to Vietnam. (Oct 2001)
Voted YES on removing common goods from national security export rules. (Sep 2001)
Voted YES on permanent normal trade relations with China. (Sep 2000)
Rated 83% by CATO, indicating a pro-free trade voting record. (Dec 2002)
So while politically benefiting from his posture on the current anti-immigration debate, one could say he has -- how to be delicate about this -- a hard-on for sending American jobs overseas.
And it gets worse.
Senator Grassley voted NO on repealing government subsidies for corporations who eliminate American jobs in favor of foreign outsourcing. In other words, he voted to continue giving free money to corporations as a reward for hiring overseas employees instead of American ones. To put it a third way: Senator Grassley, in a sense, is paying American corporations to discriminate against American workers based on their nationality and, by proxy, their desire to earn a decent wage. To put it a fourth way: you're paying to lose your own job. To put it a fifth way: Fucked. Up.
In his letter to Cohen & Grigsby, Senator Grassley wrote, "Your firm's video advises employers how to hire only foreign labor, while making it nearly impossible for a qualified American worker to get the job."
Nice, since the senator voted YES on allowing more foreign workers into the country for farm jobs. No problems allowing cheaper foreign labor into Iowa. After all, he's from the corn capital of North America and he needs the support of corporate agri-businesses in order to keep his own job.
And it gets worse.
When you lose your job to overseas outsourcing, Senator Grassley helped to make your life a further waking nightmare by voting YES on the Bankruptcy Law. But I suppose he figures since you're out of work already, you'll have plenty of time for your federally mandated credit counseling sessions. On the bright side, you'll be home in time to watch all those credit card commercials during another one of Hannity's live telecasts from the Mexican border.
* The Hershey Co. recently announced the closing of their factories in Reading and Hershey, PA in preparation for opening candy factories in Mexico, India and China, where the Oompas are cheaper and less cranky about extravagances like overtime pay.