GARDENA – Gemsifrizl Laxa, a 2-year Southern California resident shrugged his shoulders and muttered “laid-off” when asked what he does for a living. Upon further prompts, he said over his shoulder, “I worked as a Junior Project Engineer for two years. I am not a college graduate yet and I have no idea now how to finance the student loan. I only persevered for college anyway to get the job, but what does it matter now? I will probably just go back to Hawaii where my whole family lives. ” Such was the sentiment of this 24-year old immigrant.
When asked why he thinks he was laid off, he simply shrugged again and uttered, “Recession, no clue what brought it about. ” Lay-offs are not uncommon in this economic recession. In June 2010, the unemployment rate in Orange County, according to the Employment Development Department of the State of California, is 9. 5% This is a 3. 26% increase from May 2010 and this can be alarming given that June is when summer officially kicks in and tourists are expected to flock to Anaheim’s most famous attraction: Disney Land.
A further evaluation of the report shows that what was gained in extra jobs to prepare for the tourists is offset for what is lost in education (summer break). The figures are not looking well for residents and currently, there is no boom that is projected by any sector. Orange County is a glitzy town. It boasts of Disney Land and Knotsberry Farm just along Katella Drive, Hollywood is not a long drive and closer still is Universal Studios and the Staples Center. Tourists are easily coming and going, and the town is benefitting from them. The Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) can only be an ally in these times of economic recession.
However, there are some downsides, too. Southern California, where Orange County is, is very close to the borders of Mexico. Tijuana is just a couple of hour drive away, if not less and illegal aliens have ways of infiltrating the borders. In an interview with Barry Michaels, a 28 year old business owner, he said, “My neighbors are funny. You can see one house with seven parked cars. Those Mexicans know how to live in cramped places. I’m sure they can find plenty of blue-collar work here in Orange County, what with the wages they demand, it’s hard to compete. ”
The issue of illegal aliens will forever impact the economic conditions of any state within the USA. They compete for the already scarce employment supply and some employers may actually prefer them to the legal residents because with them, companies need not pay for the basic benefits and they can cut labor costs. What the employers must understand is that paying legal wages to residents provide some form of tax shield as it is a deductible business expense. Another issue with illegal aliens is that they clog up the Emergency Room and even make it inconvenient for American citizens who have a legitimate claim.
Illegal aliens cannot be turned away from the ER, doctors and hospitals cannot legally do it, and since illegal aliens can easily flee, the state is burdened with more costs for health care. This current US recession has cut deeply to millions of Americans across the country. Jobs have been lost, households have declared bankruptcy, factories have closed down and a lot of firms have transferred production to third world countries. Given the way the American economy impacts the world, even the global economy is affected by the crises in America.
The millions of professionals from developing countries who aspire to find a job in the US are left at an impasse: they are qualified in terms of education, they took all the right tests but no one is hiring. Goodbye American dream, goodbye green money. Javalino Lambert, a legal resident of Santa Ana, father of two kids (American citizens by birth), has been working as a computer technician for a popular telecommunications company since 2001 said, “I want to go back to the Philippines, truth be told. I constantly worry that I am going to get laid off and to be honest, the company has been doing a lot of lay-offs, even to the senior staff.
I made a bad move when I purchased my house 3 years ago, had I been ticked off about this recession, I would not have spent my entire family’s savings on this building. Now I cannot even sell it as I doubt it retains 50% of its market value. I think the reason for this recession is the many companies’ move to developing nations. ” The Lambert household is a typical California residence. The wife, Ms. Terry, is a physical therapist, who immigrated to America first before bringing her family with her. Their children are both below 10 years of age, and they call upon Mr.
Lambert’s mother and sister (both with visitor visa, both retirees with independent income) to take care of the kids in alternate. A visitor visa is valid for only 6 months so Mr. Lambert’s mother and sister can only stay 6 months (legally) each and not at the same time. Not only is the Lambert household deep in regret about this recession. The Brinkys are just about facing the same predicament. They dislike having bought a house in Norwalk prior to the recession. Now they hate the financing of the house that has depreciated by as much as 30% since they bought it four years ago.
An interview with Joy Brinky disclosed the following, “Yeah, it’s a shame that I have to pay a thousand dollars for this house every month. I mean, I work as a nursing assistant in a mental institution, I net about $1,300 a month after tax, but before everything else. How much is phone bill? How much is gas? I never have enough to buy my sixteen-year-old daughter her $110 UGG moccasins. Added to my trouble is the fact that the mental institution I am working for can easily replace me; God knows they have threatened often enough. I have not missed a day of work in two years for fear of replacement. Mr. Brinky seems cool and unaffected by the recession, “I do okay with my job. I’ve worked as the IT head of the same school for decades, so I’m okay. Others, however are not. It’s because of those damned companies opening factories in China and closing down their factories in America. Now we’re left with one, big ball of retail nation and China has got all of our employment. ” Two people now have accused globalization as the culprit for the recession and their theories make a lot of sense. However can US labor rates compete with those in China?
In the state of California, effective January 2008, the minimum wage is $8 per hour while Beijing’s increased labor rate is 960 Yuan or roughly, $0. 15 per hour. Note that Beijing affords its people higher income given that it is the city and the cost of living there is higher. Such rate gap cannot be ignored and no one can really blame companies for wanting to move their operations elsewhere. In this time of recession, the blame seems to be irrelevant. What is important is rising above it. Hopefully the government officials are conducting their research on how to bypass these crises.
Courtney from Study Moose
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