Thomas Friedman has a thought provoking op-ed
in the New York Times. America is a melting pot of people from many cultures. We can all trace our ancestors to another country (save the Native Americans). Our ancestors came here for a better life if not for themselves for their children. They worked extremely hard and built the largest economy in the world. But have we lost some of that ambition and drive. Have we become to comfortable? When I was a teenager, I mowed our lawn and nine others. Today I have a young Hispanic man who mows our lawn. He probably mows at least nine others. I have had many discussions with business owners about this and many of us wonder if we are spoiling our children. I tend to believe we are.
Friedman references research by Vivek Wadhwa, a senior research associate at the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School, "more than half of Silicon Valley start-ups were founded by immigrants over the last decade. These immigrant-founded tech companies employed 450,000 workers and had sales of $52 billion in 2005, said Wadhwa in an essay published this week on BusinessWeek.com"
Friedman also references Shekhar Gupta, editor of The Express newspaper said, "All you need to do is grant visas to two million Indians, Chinese and Koreans. We will buy up all the subprime homes. We will work 18 hours a day to pay for them. We will immediately improve your savings rate — no Indian bank today has more than 2 percent nonperforming loans because not paying your mortgage is considered shameful here. And we will start new companies to create our own jobs and jobs for more Americans.”
Look at the reprographics industry. The most successful businessmen in an old industry were from Sri Lanka. They were not born in America and they did not grow up on this industry.
I do not believe the ultimate answer is to increase immigration, but this article highlights part of the problem. It is time for Americans to get back to our roots. Hard work and innovation. We need to focus less on consumption and more on investment and productivity.