Sunday, July 5, 2015

Paulina Takes on The Donald

Paulina Vega vs. Donald Trump
When multi-billonare Donald Trump insulted Mexican immigrants during his Republican presidential candidacy announcement by branding them drug traffickers and rapists, he must have expected blowback from business and media. But he probably didn't expect criticism from the winner of the Miss Universe pageant, which Trump half owns, Colombian Paulina Vega.

“When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending the best,” Trump said. "They're sending people that have lots of problems and they're bringing those problems. They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they're telling us what we're getting."

But Vega dared to bite the hand that feeds her, calling Trump's comments "unjust and hurtful," but not renouncing her Miss Universe title. Vega argued that the Miss Universe pageant organization is independent of Trump. However, NBC television, which owns the other half, saw things differently, deciding to cut its business relations with Trump.

Trump replied by calling Vega a 'hypocrite.'

Vega and Trump in happier times.
Trump's insults of Mexican immigrants are absurd, of course. (And I bet that he used 'Mexican' as shorthand for Latin Americans in general.) While they include criminals, the overwhelming majority are hard-working people who are willing to do work which native-born Americans are not. And, I'd be willing to bet, that Trump's construction projects (many named after himself) employed many Mexican immigrants, whether directly or thru subcontractors.

Trump, whose mother immigrated to the U.S. from Scotland, has been accused of making racist and racially-charged comments about Hispanics and African Americans in the past, according to his Wikipedia entry.

On the other hand, Trump is correct that Vega is being hypocritical by keeping a crown awarded by a man whom she criticizes. Yet, her interest in not cutting short her year of fame and glamour, as superficial as it is, is understandable. Undoubtedly, she worked and dreamed for years about becoming a 'Miss.'

But if Vega did renounce the crown on a principled defense of Latin Americans, she'd gain a much more enduring fame than the crown itself can supply.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours


coolcoil said...

I take issue with your statement that immigrants do work that US citizens will not do. In fact, US citizens will do the work, just not at the very low compensation that immigrants will accept.

Even studies that claim that overall US income is increased by low wage immigration acknowledge that low-skill US citizens are hurt by low-skill immigration. The purported increase in income comes from upper middle class households that can now afford to hire domestic help (directly or indirectly) at low cost, which allows them to work more hours.

I'm in favor of immigration, but not uncontrolled immigration. Trump's comments went way too far, but others who claim that 99.99% population of illegal immigrants consist of law-abiding hard workers are just as far off. By allowing uncontrolled immigration, the US has made the country less safe and made life harder for those on the lowest rungs of society.

Miguel said...

Hi Coolcoil,

Thanks for your comment and good points. I guess that it's a judgement call. I lived in a poor Mississippi city with sky-high unemployment, and yet heard stories about Mexican immigrants working on nearby farms. I'm sure that those farmowners would have preferred to employ native-born Americans, and even paid them more because of language and to save immigration staus headaches, but evidently the Americans weren't interested even for those wages. Of course, if the farms/factories/slaughterhouses paid a lot more, then native-born Americans would line up for those jobs, but then their products would cost a lot more, too.

It's very true that cheap labor, whether in the form of immigrants, child labor or mechanization, presses down wages and enriches the plutocrats. But there are also strong arguments that immigrants, by generatng more GDP, opening new businesses, etc, strengthen the economy for everybody.

Another argument I'll throw out is that, if not for cheap immigrant labor, some jobs will be mechanized out of existence while others will be exported to cheap labor nations like China and Mexico.

But in the end I generally agree with your points about immigration, wages and profit.