Goodbye to the city upon a hill and to its fabled
By Paul Craig Roberts
“We shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people
are upon us.”
— John Winthrop
America is being destroyed. Many Americans are unaware, others
are indifferent, and some intend it. The destruction is across
the board: the political and constitutional system, the economy,
social institutions including the family itself, citizenship,
and the character and morality of the American people.
" -- -- Those who rely on the Internet for information are
aware that the Bush regime has successfully assaulted the
separation of powers and civil liberty. Both Bush and Cheney
claim that they are not bound by laws that impinge on their
freedom of action or that interfere with their ideas of the
power of their offices. Bush has issued presidential directives
that permit him to make himself a dictator by declaring a
national emergency. Cheney asserts that his handling of secret
documents is not subject to oversight or investigation or bound
by a presidential order governing the protection of classified
The foundation of social organization — marriage, family, and
parental control over children — is disintegrating.
Mass unassimilated and illegal immigration has destroyed the
meaning of American citizenship and forced large numbers of
Americans into unemployment. For example, Steve Camarota at the
Center for Immigration Studies reported on June 20 that state
employment data show that in the first six years of the 21st
century 218,000 high school graduates in the state of Georgia
have been employment- displaced by immigrants. [Employment Down
Among Natives In Georgia] Moreover, wages have stagnated,
putting the lie to the claim that there is a shortage of
workers. If there were a labor shortage, wages would be bid up
Many Americans are unconcerned that the US government in behalf
of an undeclared agenda has invaded two countries, killed
hundreds of thousands of foreign civilians, produced 4 million
Iraqi refugees, rejected the Geneva Conventions and reverted to
medieval torture dungeons. It does not trouble them that their
government blocked ceasefires and UN resolutions so that Israel
could bomb and murder Lebanese civilians and destroy the
Americans, whose ethical behavior toward others was once
reinforced by having to look oneself in the mirror, now have a
different ethos. Many cannot look themselves in the mirror
unless they have pulled a fast one and advanced themselves at
someone else’s expense. It is not only crooked prosecutors, such
as Michael Nifong, who get their jollies from destroying their
A Google search will call up enough information to make the case
for these points many times over. However, the destruction of
the US economy, though far advanced, is still largely unknown.
It is to this subject that we turn.
For a number of years Charles McMillion of MBG Information
Services and I have documented from BLS nonfarm payroll jobs
data that the US economy in the 21st century no longer creates
net new jobs in tradable goods and services. In the 21st
century, job growth in “the world’s only superpower” has a
definite third world flavor. US job growth has been limited to
domestic services that cannot be moved offshore, such as
waitresses and bartenders and health and social services.
These are not jobs that comprise ladders of upward mobility.
Income inequality is worsening, and education is no longer the
The problem is that middle class jobs, both in manufacturing and
in professional occupations such as engineering, are being
offshored as corporations replace their American workforces with
foreigners. I have called jobs offshoring “virtual immigration.”
The latest bombshell is that even those professional jobs that
remain located in America are not safe. There is a vast industry
of immigration law firms that enable American corporations to
replace their American workers with foreigners brought in on
For years Americans have been told that work visas are only
issued in cases where there are no Americans with the necessary
skills to fill the jobs. Americans have been reassured that
safeguards are in place to prevent US companies from using the
work visas to replace their American employees with foreigners
paid below the prevailing US wage. Now, thanks to a video placed
on “YouTube” by a US law firm, Cohen & Grigsby, marketing its
services, we now know that it is easy for US companies to
legally evade the “safeguards” and to replace their American
employees with lower paid foreigners.
The video shows Lawrence Lebowitz, [send him mail] vice
president for Marketing for the law firm of Cohen & Grigsby,
together with a panel of the law firm’s attorneys, explaining to
an audience of employers how to use loopholes in the laws
governing the work visas to hire foreign workers in place of
Americans. Lebowitz says, “our goal is clearly, not to find a
qualified and interested US worker.”
Cohen & Grigsby’s legal experts describe the strategy for
ensuring that no American firm has to hire an American. The
advertising requirements can be met by advertising the job in
obscure or ethnic newspapers in locations where there are no
likely job candidates. If a qualified American candidate turns
up, “have the manager of that specific position step in and . .
. go through the whole process to find a legal basis to
disqualify them for this position — in most cases there doesn’t
seem to be a problem.”
The “prevailing wage” requirement is evaded, for example, by
making the offered salary and raises contingent on receipt of
the green card, usually three or four years away, or by
disguising the job by understating the job requirements. For
example, a job requiring an advanced degree can be listed as
requiring a bachelor’s degree, but filled with a foreigner with
a higher degree. As the higher degree is not listed as a job
requirement, the employer is able to secure the foreign employee
below the prevailing wage.
University of California computer science professor Norman
Matloff has an excellent presentation available at his online
site about the lack of impediments to the ability of US firms to
replace their American employees with foreigners. Matloff says
to keep in mind that Cohen & Grigsby “is NOT a rogue law firm.”
The advice provided by Cohen & Grigsby is the standard advice
given by the hoards of immigration attorneys who are personally
cleaning up by putting Americans out of work.
Except for Lou Dobbs on CNN, the US TV and print media have so
far ignored the astounding story. Where are the headlines: “US
Jobs: No American Need Apply”?
Chances are high that economists will ignore the story also.
Economists have made fools of themselves with their hyped claims
that jobs offshoring is a great benefit to America and that any
attempt to stop it would bring hardship, failed companies, and
lost American jobs. When a profession gets egg all over its
face, it closes ranks and goes into denial.
Unlike the post-depression generation of US economists, recent
generations of economists have been indoctrinated with
confidence in business. They believe that business knows best
and that the free market will prevent or correct any mistakes.
Many economists today are well-paid shills for special
interests. Others, simply careless, have assumed that
statistical measures of high rates of US productivity and GDP
growth were indications of the benefits that offshoring was
bringing to Americans.
Only a few economists, such as myself and Charles McMillion,
noticed the inconsistency between alleged high rates of
productivity and GDP growth on one hand and stagnant real median
incomes and rising income inequality on the other. Somehow the
US economy was having GDP and productivity growth that was not
showing up in growth in the incomes of Americans.
Thanks to economist Susan N. Houseman and the March 22 issue of
Business Week, we now know, as I reported in the print edition
of CounterPunch (June 1-15, 2007) and online at VDARE.com and
Online Journal, that much of the growth in US productivity and
GDP was an illusion created by statistics that mistakenly
attributed productivity gains achieved abroad to the US economy.
With the ladders of upward mobility for Americans dismantled by
offshoring and work visas, with the very real problems in
mortgage and housing markets, with the very real stress put on
the US dollar’s reserve currency role by Bush’s trillion dollar
war that is financed by foreigners, with the downward revisions
in US GDP and productivity growth that are now mandatory, and
with a variety of other problems that I haven’t the space to
deal with, the fabled US economy is a thing of the past.
Just like America’s prestige. Just like the world’s goodwill
toward America. Just like American liberty.
The eyes of all peoples are still upon us, only for different
reasons. Whom will we attack next? When will we be bankrupt?
What good is the American consumer market when the mass of the
people are employed in third world jobs? How much longer will
those trillions of dollars held by foreign governments be worth
anything? How long before Americans will be knocking on European
doors claiming political asylum?
Roberts is an economist who has held numerous university
appointments and served as Assistant Secretary of the US
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