Tucker Carlson tackled part two of his new weekly segment, “American Men Are In Crisis,” Wednesday with a lively interview with author David Paul Kuhn on immigration, technology and the effect they have on men’s wages in America.
Carlson, a founder of The Daily Caller, pointed to how, historically, low wages among men have resulted in the fracturing of the nuclear family before diving into how these problems have only been exacerbated as “unintended consequences” of immigration policy and technological advances.
“Washington isn’t worried at all about this,” he stated. “Lawmakers and business leaders assure us those truck drivers will be just fine. They’ll find something else to do, something better, with higher pay. Maybe they will. But keep in mind that they said the same thing about manufacturing jobs thirty years ago.”
They’re invisible in Washington, yet they’re everywhere: Americans who’ve dropped out of the workforce. About seven million American men between the ages 25 to 54 no longer have jobs. That’s more than 10 percent of the entire prime-age male labor force in the United States. It’s a huge number. Most of those men, studies predict, will never return to work.
What happened? Some of the causes are well known. Competition from foreign manufacturers crushed our country’s industrial sector. China’s entry into the WTO alone destroyed more than two million American jobs. Automation is killing many more. A disproportionate number of these jobs are in traditionally male industries. Manufacturing. Agriculture. Logging. A 2016 McKinsey report found that quote, “90 percent of what welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers do” could be replaced by robots.
Jobs in which women are the majority tend to be far less vulnerable to automation. Three of the five fastest-growing professions are dominated by women.
The jobs that remain for men tend to pay less than the ones that disappeared. This is especially true for working class men, who unlike their female counterparts have seen their real wages fall over time. Part of the reason for that is mass immigration. More than a million new immigrants enter the U.S. every year legally. A large but unknown number come illegally. Most of them are low-skilled. All of them are looking for work.
These new arrivals compete primarily with the very Americans most likely to have lost their jobs. The effect is lower wages. It’s a matter of supply and demand. An over-abundance of anything makes it cheaper, and that goes for labor.
One study, conducted after the Mariel boatlift in Florida, found that Americans with lower education levels in Miami, the most vulnerable, saw their wages fall by 37 percent after the immigrants arrived.
Policymakers didn’t seem to notice. and they still don’t, probably because it doesn’t really affect them. If waves of immigrants from the third world were becoming lawyers and non-profit executives and members of congress, how long would the borders stay open?
Meanwhile, millions of American men now make less than their fathers did. That’s a tragedy, a betrayal of the American dream. But it’s also a recipe for societal collapse. When men’s wages decline, families fall apart. This fact is well known to researchers. It’s been the subject of many studies over decades, with consistent results. Yet it’s rarely noted in public. Here’s some of what we know.
One well-regarded study released last year found that when men’s wages fell relative to women’s, families didn’t form. According to the authors, a falling male wage reduced, quote, “the attractiveness of men as potential spouses, thus reducing fertility and especially marriage rages.”
Researchers also noted a dramatic increase in out of wedlock births when men made less. In the words of one of the authors, an economics professor at MIT, quote: “We see a decline in fertility, a decline in marriage, but a rise in the fraction of births that are disadvantaged, as a consequence the kids are living in pretty tough circumstances.”
Numerous academic studies have reached identical conclusions. Research from 2015 found that quote, “when a randomly chosen woman becomes more likely to earn more than a randomly chosen man, marriage rates decline.” Those who do marry report being less satisfied and are more likely to divorce.
Low male wages are a driving force in family dissolution, and that’s why affluent neighborhoods in which men make more have a higher proportion of married couples, and fewer divorces. The opposite is also true, and that leads to a cascade of social problems, which over time become a disaster. Men who make lower wages marry less and father more children out of wedlock. These children, growing up without fathers, tend to make lower wages themselves in later life.
For decades this was a universally-recognized pattern in inner cities: the cycle of poverty. Now the same destructive vortex is common in rural America. In both cases, the cause is the same: A lack of well-paying jobs for men.
What’s striking is how little notice these facts get from our policy makers have taken. Their overriding aim is to raise women’s wages to parity or above men’s. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. But these are complex questions with numerous and profound unintended consequences, so they deserve vigorous public debate. It’s notable that most women, the very population on whose behalf these policies are supposedly devised, strongly prefer to marry men who make more than they do.
What’s beyond debate is that Washington and corporate America aren’t thinking a lot about how to solve the male wage crisis. If anything, they’re exacerbating it. Lawmakers in both parties, for example, have heartily embraced self-driving vehicles and drone delivery of packages. It’s all impressive technology, but what would be the effect on employment? Has anyone asked that?
There are more than three million professional truck drivers in this country. It’s the most common job in the majority of states. More than 90 percent of drivers are men. Thanks to technology, many of them are about to lose their jobs. That’s a lot of unemployed Americans. That’s a lot of broken families.
Washington isn’t worried at all about this. Lawmakers and business leaders assure us those truck drivers will be just fine. They’ll find something else to do, something better, with higher pay. Maybe they will. But keep in mind that they said the same thing about manufacturing jobs thirty years ago.