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Poverty rise cause

Published: Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

I find it amazing that the Northwest Herald and almost all media can spend so much time discussing poverty without mentioning either the causes or the cure.

The major reasons for the increase in poverty were the radical changes in immigration and trade policies. During the period from 1950 to 1975, immigration rose from about 250,000 to 450,000 annually. At the same time, there was a mild labor shortage. The result was that average hourly wages adjusted for inflation rose 95 percent and Americans living in poverty declined 35 percent.

Then, the U.S. began importing the world’s poor while exporting middle class jobs. In the mid-1970s, immigration began to soar, reaching annual rates for legal and illegal immigrants of more than 1.5 million.  Since 1975, more than 60 million immigrants (including their subsequent children) poured into the U.S., the vast majority poor and uneducated. Simultaneously, millions of middle class jobs were sent overseas.

The predictable result was that hourly wages adjusted for inflation failed to increase for the past 39 years. Americans living in poverty soared from 25 million to more than 36 million. About two-thirds of the increase were Hispanics. Having a job no longer lifted millions of workers out of poverty.

The answers to poverty are obvious: reduce the flood of cheap labor by cutting immigration to 1960 levels (about 300,000 annually) and oppose trade agreements that continue the exodus of middle class jobs. 

Don’t expect the media to support either solution. Americans must demand Congress begin representing their interests.

Joseph Daleiden


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