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Our work ethic: A disturbing question

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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

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Sunday, July 7, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

A new study showing that all U.S. employment gains since 2000 have benefited immigrants, legal and illegal, while native-born workers' employment has fallen undercuts the Senate-passed immigration bill's “the nation needs more workers” rationale — and begs a disturbing question about nonworking Americans.

Based on U.S. Census Bureau information, the Center for Immigration Studies ( cis.org) reports that 22.4 million immigrants of working age held jobs as 2013 began, up 5.3 million from the start of 2000. Meanwhile, jobs held by native-born workers dropped by 1.3 million and the ranks of Americans entirely out of the labor force grew by almost 13 million.

Conventional wisdom credits immigrants seeking a foothold toward achieving the American dream for willingness to work hard in menial, dirty, even dangerous jobs that the native-born don't want to do. The new CIS study suggests more Americans than ever see such jobs as beneath them, begging this question:

What's wrong with the American worker?

The likely answer: That “beneath me” attitude has become all the more prevalent among Americans as their government has reduced incentives to work, thereby increasing incentives to rely on taxpayer-funded entitlements.

America doesn't need more immigrant workers. It needs more Americans who are willing to work as hard as immigrants — and prefer individual initiative, self-reliance and holding any job over dependency on the public dole.

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