Patterico's Pontifications

4/21/2008

LA’s Third World Future

Filed under: Immigration — DRJ @ 6:36 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

According to this article in the Los Angeles Times, LA’s future may not be pretty:

“With baby boomers preparing to retire as the best educated and most skilled workforce in U.S. history, a growing chorus of demographers and labor experts is raising concerns that workers in California and the nation lack the critical skills needed to replace them.

In particular, experts say, the immigrant workers needed to fill many of the boomer jobs lack the English-language skills and basic educational levels to do so. Many immigrants are ill-equipped to fill California’s fastest-growing positions, including computer software engineers, registered nurses and customer service representatives, a new study by the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute found.”

The solution? The consensus is that “greater investments in public education, a renewed focus on vocational education and better job training are critical to California’s continued prosperity.” In other words, train the people that are already here. Good idea.

However, the real story is in the third through fifth paragraphs:

Immigrants — legal and illegal — already constitute almost half of the workers in Los Angeles County and are expected to account for nearly all of the growth in the nation’s working-age population by 2025 because native-born Americans are having fewer children. But the study, based largely on U.S. Census data, noted that 60% of the county’s immigrant workers struggle with English and one-third lack high school diplomas.

The looming mismatch in the skills employers need and those workers offer could jeopardize the future economic vitality of California and the nation, experts say. Los Angeles County, the largest immigrant metropolis with about 3.5 million foreign-born residents, is at the forefront of this demographic trend.

“The question is, are we going to be a 21st century city with shared prosperity, or a Third World city with an elite group on top and the majority at poverty or near poverty wages?” asked Ernesto Cortes Jr., Southwest regional director of the Industrial Areas Foundation, a leadership development organization. “Right now we’re headed toward becoming a Third World city. But we can change that.”

Some, like Dowell Myers, a USC urban planning and demography professor and author of the 2007 book “Immigrants and Boomers: Forging a New Social Contract for the Future of America,” expect immigrants to pay our old-age support programs:

“Even if you don’t like it, you have to ask the question: Who’s going to fill your jobs, buy your homes and pay the taxes for old-age support programs?” Myers said.”

That part might be hard to sell.

— DRJ

24 Responses to “LA’s Third World Future”

  1. Well, maybe we should index public employee pensions to the economy and then maybe the public schools will be for teaching kids instead of patronage.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  2. I read that article, too, and what they don’t say is that Cortez has a 30-year history of “organizing,” much like Obama, and is interested too in “shared” prosperity, not prosperity. He is basically a socialist (like Obama) and believes in equal outcomes, not equal opportunity.

    Mayor Villar is foisting more taxes on Angelenos to achieve that “shared” prosperity because most of those illegal workers do not pay taxes. That’s the new social compact, and why it’s Third World: the aristos pay to keep the poor enslaved class quiet while the jeffe builds his empire.

    Of course, the LAT sees it through rose colored glasses and refuses to admit any difference between illegal and legal immigrants or between free enterprise and a rigged system.

    Patricia (f56a97)

  3. …or a Third World city with an elite group on top and the majority at poverty or near poverty wages?

    Does he mean like the country of Mexico?

    The only way to prevent that occurring is to categorically reject the ideas of Calderon and the rest of the unsightly oligarchy that exploits the people of Mexico for their personal gain. For these murderous despots, “Open Borders” is shorthand for “Unimpeded Corruption”.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  4. Here’s what a Colorado lawmaker had to say about the newcomers.

    chas (3fb29b)

  5. chas #4…
    And he’s right.
    An anecdote from about 10-yrs ago here in L.A.Co.

    I would get lunch at a local BK most days, and found that the counter help spent a great deal of time explaining the menu to Spanish speakers. I suggested to the manager that he ask BK for some of the bi-lingual menu boards I had seen in a BK in another state. He did, and they were provided.

    The time explaining the menu did not improve perceptably; because, most of the Spanish speakers were illiterate in two languages, and still had to have the menu explained to them.

    This is the road SoCal has been on for 20-yrs.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  6. I work every day with workers compensation claims. The easy ones, that are clearly appropriate treatment, get cleared by nurses and I don’t see them. I see the questionable cases, either because the treatment is unusual or because fraud is suspected. What I do see is about 60% of the cases are Spanish speaking low skill workers. Of that group, most claim a second grade education in Mexico. They are illiterate in Spanish, let alone English. They can only work at manual labor, common laborers if men and assemblers or housekeeping if women. I see them get injured and many are on disability by the age of 40. They have no capacity for vocational rehabilitation because of their lack of language and education. I got into trouble for saying so once in a report although I was justifying more treatment for that reason.

    They will not be able to move up the ladder of opportunity and they are fundamentally different from those who came 30 years ago and did become middle class. Los Angeles will soon be even more of a Third World city than it is now.

    Mike K (86bddb)

  7. Mike K,

    Based on your comment, it doesn’t sound like they will be supporting us in our old age. It sounds like we will be supporting them from 40-on.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  8. Well, we could always return to the beauty of the natural existence of our Native American fore-bearers:
    Harsh, brutal, and short!

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  9. #8 Another Drew, well as a Native myself, I’m in complete agreement with you! Harsh, brutal, short… and with absolutely no chance for advancement!

    “Of course, the LAT sees it through rose colored glasses and refuses to admit any difference between illegal and legal immigrants or between free enterprise and a rigged system.”

    Until the lefty do-gooders who want everyone to come out equal in the end, fully admit there is a rather significant deal-breaker difference between illegal and legal immigrants, we will be forced to continue to watch the once golden state slide into a third world abyss.

    When I speak to Spanish speaking parents through an interpreter at our school and give the free Adult Ed ESL classes they almost always respond in one of two ways: angry/offended or say they don’t need to learn English.

    And because we have accomodated too many for too long, the sad fact is they are right, they don’t need to.

    Dana (a4fed2)

  10. It is rough living in country with movable borders.

    tyree (0d131f)

  11. That’s right, Dana. The designation “English learner” is a misnomer; most immigrants now have no desire or need to learn English.

    Patricia (f56a97)

  12. My daughter is a USC grad. She can tell you how dysfunctional LA government is. They can’t enforce the rental and housing ordinances, especially if the landlord is Hispanic. Also, she’s got story after story of how lame the court system is in serving papers on scofflaws.

    PCD (5c49b0)

  13. Most of our cities are already Third World. The poverty here in LA is astounding. Anyone who has done time in East LA, or certain pockets in every small town around here will tell you stories of ten or twelve people to a room, people sleeping in shifts, unbelieveably filthy living spaces, and unsupervised children running wild in neighborhoods during school hours. Everyone wants to pretend that this is a great land, the land of opportunity, a work hard and you will succeed country. The real story here is that poverty is approved, glorified, and explained in such a way as to blame whitey. I don’t have a solution. I think the rats have taken over the sinking ship.

    Howard Veit (cc8b85)

  14. “They can’t enforce the rental and housing ordinances, especially if the landlord is Hispanic.”

    Libertarian heaven.

    stef (6df5eb)

  15. “The question is, are we going to be a 21st century city with shared prosperity, or a Third World city with an elite group on top and the majority at poverty or near poverty wages?”

    Which party is in charge of LA?

    To get elected, Republicans depend upon an educated electorate that can support themselves and want the government to leave them alone.

    To get elected, Democrats depend upon an ignorant, impoverished electorate that relies upon the government for basic subsistence.

    Parties in power implement policies that keep them in power. Look at the current political structure in LA. That will tell you whether they implement policies leading to a 21st century city or a 3rd world city.

    Mark L (187c4a)

  16. Mark – I don’t know, when a city like New York gets fucked up and people get tired of the way things are running they seem to elect Republican mayors. I don’t think they have any confidence in democrat mayors to actually get tough stuff done.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  17. “To get elected, Republicans depend upon an educated electorate that can support themselves and want the government to leave them alone.

    To get elected, Democrats depend upon an ignorant, impoverished electorate that relies upon the government for basic subsistence.”

    Interesting theory, I wonder how a state’s educational achievement correlates with it being red or blue.

    stef (87fe55)

  18. Or perhaps it would be a better corrilation to see who runs education, and/or what direction it’s efforts lie in…

    Though your’s would be interesting to see as well…

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  19. Ed in CA…
    One more generation and we’ll look with envy upon educational attainment in LA & MS.
    The Ed System in CA is nothing more than a job system for underachieving college grads who could never survive in the private sector.
    It stopped being about education when Jerry Brown (then Gov, now AG) allowed collective bargaining in schools.
    It is interesting that the growth states are generally those that have Right-To-Work laws, and the #1 political goal of the unions is the repeal of Taft-Hartley and Landrum-Griffith in the next Congress with a Dem Pres to sign such repeal into law.
    When they say that CA is a harbinger of the future for the rest of the country, that isn’t always a positive.
    It was once, rarely now.

    Another Drew (f9dd2c)

  20. “Mike K,

    Based on your comment, it doesn’t sound like they will be supporting us in our old age. It sounds like we will be supporting them from 40-on.

    Comment by DRJ ”

    There have been some studies on that issue but, of course, they were attacked as political.

    My first wife taught elementary school in East LA in the 60s when I was a medical student there. The parents were so concerned about their kid’s education that she learned not to complain about the kid’s performance to the parents. The kid would come to school the next day black and blue. I don’t think they care as much now. A lot of it is the advcacy groups but there is also a new crop of illegals who have different culture.

    Mike K (86bddb)

  21. This puts those new California vacation commercials (“When can you start?”) in a fairly more ominus light…

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  22. Mike K – How many languages do they provide course instruction in as a primary language within the LA school systems now? Isn’t it great to live in such a multicultural society!

    daleyrocks (906622)

  23. And as long as L>A> welcomes illegal aleins in they will soon end up as a new mexico city

    krazy kagu (3067be)

  24. I think I read that there are about 167 languages. In her days teaching in East LA, the kids were expected to learn English and did so quickly. There is actually linguistic evidence that learning a language before the age of 10 is very easy and after that age, the learners will often have a persistent accent. We used to have kids of six acting as interpreters for parents in the clinics of LA County Hospital.

    She went back to teaching for a short time about 8 years ago and was appalled at the changes in the teachers. Long story but she said, if she were raising kids now, she would home school them. She was always a public school advocate. After our divorce, I put all the kids in private school.

    Mike K (611603)


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