Harvesting Tourists In Maine

Posted: 27/04/2008 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,
Just like Maine’s agricultural crops, the tourism industry relies on seasonal labor too. And every year, the same old argument and whines arise from the tourist related industry. 2008 is starting out to be the same as every other year with the complaints about the Feds H2B visa program. An article in today’s Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel describes some of the problems involved in the seasonal trades we have here in Maine, and why they are important to everybody in the state, or so they’d like you to believe.

The program is capped to a maximum of 66,000 visas annually for seasonal workers, which means that the supply is cut pretty thin overall. But why does this continue to be such a problem? I did some online research into the problem, and a pretty consistent line of material spit out of the search engine. Every Spring, restaurants and hotels along the coast of Maine started crying about not having enough of a labor force to make ends meet. From March 1st to Memorial day there seems to be a steady stream of articles bringing attention to this terrible plight.

Terrible plight? Not one bit. Personally, I’d like to see the government do away with the H2B visa program. Why? The biggest reason is the huge burden the welfare system has become. Rising unemployment and numbers of people o the welfare rolls dictate that maybe we should back away from the accustomed method of paying people to sit around watching Oprah and Days of Our Lives, and get off their fat lazy butts and back to work. You can’t tell me that with all of the people scrounging for work, especially this year, that so and so’s bar and grill can’t find somebody to take orders or wash dishes.

I’d bet that if the state would require people on welfare and unemployment to take these temp jobs you’d see a lot of changes come around here in Maine. But the problem is that the Liberal Lefties prefer to have people dependent upon them for handouts, instead of learning to stand on their own two feet and becoming proud, industrious citizens.

A line in this particular article claims that……. “Tourism is the largest single contributor to Maine’s economy, generating more than $13 billion a year in sales and services and supplying roughly 176,000 jobs, according to the state’s tourism office.” Thirteen billion a year? Why are we having such budgetary problems with that kind of income? And that’s just the tourism industry alone. Those 176,000 jobs could very easily be filled by Maine residents if they really wanted to. After all, what did people do before the H2B program went into effect?

I don’t think you’ll find anybody actually admit that they hired illegal’s, but I’m sure some have, and maybe some still do. But think about it for a minute. How much payroll are we giving to people who will take that payroll away with them? Are we taking income away from Maine people by utilizing this program? If so, how much? And how much revenue is being drained from the state coffers by not putting our own unemployed, underemployed and welfare recipients to work in these temporary positions?

To rely on foreign workers to fill paying positions in the economy we have to deal with today is ridiculous. But even more ridiculous is the fact that the same issue comes up year after year. We know there are only 66,000 visas available on an annual basis. We know that most of the positions are taken up by states to the south of us. We know there is insufficient workers available from foreign sources every year. So why does Maine’s tourism industry keep relying on a labor source that is iffy at best? What is the incentive that keeps Maine’s employers doing the same things every year, even though we know it doesn’t work?

Has Maine’s tourist industry become Pavlov’s dog?

The workers are here in the state already. We don’t need the H2B visa program. I say let’s get together and find a way to overcome the barriers that are preventing us from lowering our unemployment rate, and decreasing the numbers of people receiving welfare from the taxpayers.Do we really need the program?


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