Ammo Grrrll notes THE TRUMP ECONOMY IN THE HEARTLAND. She reports from flyover country:
This will be a purely anecdotal account. I am not an economist, nor do I play one on TV. For one thing, I’m not dead wrong most of the time, but that’s another story, lookin’ at YOU, Mr. Krugman.
As regular readers of this column know, I have spent more than half of July back in my hometown of Alexandria, Minnesota and have a week to go in August. I have been tending to issues around my elderly father’s recent fall. Remember last week when I thought I was getting out on “early release”? Haha. That didn’t happen. As I’ve quoted before, “Man plans; God laughs.” God, as you know, has a keen sense of humor. How else to explain the more absurd and comic aspects of human reproduction, for instance?
Not only did Daddy not quite make the goals to get sprung from rehab – YOU see how great you are doing at 93! – but we had a second tragedy in the family with the sudden death of my dear sister-in-law’s beloved mother. It is not easy to pull together a non-camo/t-shirt outfit appropriate for a Catholic funeral Mass, with only Walmart to choose from. Memo to self: at this stage of life, always carry a suitably somber black dress and heels wherever you go, even to the grocery store. Maybe just always wear one.
But back to my economic observations.
The little town of 6,000 souls I grew up in has more than doubled since I left, a fact that I sincerely hope is merely a happy coincidence. The downtown, which used to have dime stores and clothing stores, banks, hardware stores and four drugstores, one of which belonged to my father, is now mostly little tourist shops with antiques, knick-knacks and souvenirs. Everything else has spread out along the Highway, anchored on either side by Walmart and Target.
I have been back here countless times during various Administrations, and I have never seen anything like this: EVERY SINGLE BUSINESS – from Walmart to Target to Fleet Farm to Menard’s to every fast food joint – no, really EVERY one – has HELP WANTED signs out! Construction projects abound, with robust young men in the same color shirts sharing my hotel, going out to sites early in the morning. Clearly, local labor cannot begin to fill all the slots. The parking lot has vehicles from Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee, Illinois. Some, of course, could just be travelers like me, though leisure travelers do not tend to drive beat-up pickup trucks. I think there are many men who go where the work is.
What I suspect is happening is that the better-paying jobs are siphoning off the best, most-motivated workers, and the entry-level jobs are going begging. In any event, anyone who wanted a job could find one here.
Which brings up another sea change. At least a fourth of the employees in my hotel alone are African-American. And I’m not talking about housekeepers and janitors, who seem to be either white or Cambodian, but front-line desk personnel. When I grew up here, there was not one black person in the town. As I do my 10,000 daily steps in Walmart to get out of the humidity, I see many prosperous-looking Hispanic families and black families, and – it will follow as the day the night – intermarried families.
And isn’t that wonderful? Ah, that good old “invisible hand” of the capitalist marketplace. No need for quotas and regulations and Obama’s tedious scheme mandating that all housing meet rigorous quotas – just opportunity. If you build it, they will come. How great it will be for these working black families to escape the crime, the gangs and graffiti, the drugs and other pathologies, of bad neighborhoods to live in a small town environment. Real Hope and Change, not the false hope and blatant racism of “multicultural” quotas.
I have never seen a homeless person in Alexandria, which does not mean that none exist. The climate is hardly conducive to outdoor living and no way would the locals tolerate crapping in the street and discarded needles. But I was walking to my favorite restaurant and saw a young Mexican woman sitting on the grass directly in front of Taco Bell’s “Hungry for work?” sign. She had a neat, hand-lettered sign that said in English, “Please have mercy. I have three children. Anything will help. God bless.”
I stopped to talk with her. (Though I am far away, I can see Mr. AG slapping his forehead in dismay.) She had almost no English and my Spanish is only marginally better than her English. I pointed to the three closest fast-food places with giant “Help Wanted. All Shifts. All Positions!” signs. She said in the Spanglish we were trying to communicate in, “No tengo papers. Illegal.” Ah. I saw no evidence of any children in the vicinity, let alone three. She never indicated that the tykes were in cages in Nazi Trump’s Dreadful Children’s Zoos.
But I did wonder how in God’s name she got from Mexico all the way to Minnesota with three children, no papers, no money, no ability to speak the language – what in the world did she think would happen? And who wrote that sign for her? Definitely, she did not. I gave her a substantial sum of money, wished her “Vaya Con Dios” and hoped not to see her on the way back from the restaurant. I did not. In fact, I never saw her again. Maybe she was the Prophet Elijah and it was a test to see if I could show the mercy she had asked for.
And here we get to the crux of the issue of border security: I would bet there is not a single regular commenter who would be unwilling to help one, pathetic hard-luck case with a handout, a meal, some used clothes, something. It’s been proven time and again that conservatives are more compassionate than leftists, who are mostly generous with other people’s money. (Which is not to say that there are no generous liberals; of course, there are. I know many personally.) But can we, as a society, possibly support 25 million hard-luck cases? No, we clearly cannot.
And even if we could say, “Okay, just these 25 million and no more,” we would have to cut off all the chain migrants, the tens of millions more who would risk everything to get in on the NEXT “final” amnesty and freebies while they waited. Because there is ALWAYS a “next” amnesty. For the vile, lying scoundrels who reflexively cry “racism,” who assert that we don’t want anyone “darker than a latte,” hear me well. The issue is not what color our country will be, but whether or not we will have a country at all. Everyone with even half a brain knows that. No country in the history of the world that survived has been borderless.