At first glance, the Feb. 28 guest column on Wisconsin’s labor shortage by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce leader Kurt Bauer seems quite thorough. He highlights some of the issues our state faces, such as a declining birthrate, limited educational resources and our quality of life.
The labor shortage is the biggest challenge facing Wisconsin businesses and, thus, the Wisconsin economy. As a result, state business leaders …
But on further reflection, one wonders how many of these problems have actually been exacerbated by policy positions WMC has promoted in recent years. School funding, which enables the technical and academic instruction Bauer values, has been slashed to support generous corporate tax write-offs enacted by former Gov. Scott Walker and the Legislature. Our state’s quality of life, which Bauer cites as a means to attract new residents, has been compromised because we have abandoned regulations to preserve our natural environment in the pursuit of short-sighted, pro-business “reforms.”
But one of the most obvious remedies for our chronic labor shortage is not even mentioned: immigrants. We have always cherished our reputation as the land of opportunity, where hard work is rewarded and immigrants seeking a better life for themselves are valued, not shunned. But lately some leaders view immigration as a problem, and seek to minimize paths to citizenship for immigrant workers.
Which begs the question: If we turn our backs on our immigrant history that each of us is a part of, what sort of future awaits us?
Warren J. Gordon, Madison