When he’s talking to reporters, the chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisors says Americans will be better off if the president gets his top legislative goal — boosting the number of workers by boosting immigration.
But when he’s talking to his fellow economists about Americans’ low wages, Jason Furman turns 180 degrees — by pushing the contradictory goal of having a labor shortage, dubbed a “tighter labor market,” where employers have to compete for workers by offering higher wages.
The West Wing splits between the president and Furman, and between the two halves of Furman’s brain, is a gift for GOP reformers, such as Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who is pushing for a low-immigration, high-wage economic policy.
“The President’s top economic advisor has said we need a tighter labor market — a statement completely at odds with the Administration’s foremost legislative goal… [which is] an immigration plan that will dramatically surge the number of workers competing for jobs,” Sessions said in a statement to The Daily Caller. (RELATED: Sessions chides GOP donors, House leaders, journos on amnesty)
In numerous speeches, Obama has pressured and pleaded with House Republicans to back the Senate’s “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” rewrite. The Senate bill would provide amnesty for at least 10 million illegal immigrants, and roughly double the annual inflow of 1 million new immigrants and 650,000 guest-workers into the U.S. labor market.
That market is already glutted with millions of unemployed Americans — and four million American youths turn 18 each year.
But passage of an immigration bill that brings in more workers “has got to be a top priority,” Obama told Democratic legislators Feb. 14. “We’re going to have to keep on working on that.”
Simultaneously, Obama’s main 2014 campaign theme is the lack of economic opportunity for poor Americans, and the widening wealth gap between rich and poor.
“This is the defining challenge of our time: Making sure our economy works for every working American,” Obama declared in a Dec. 4 speech on opportunity, which was spurred by data showing that the top 1 percent snagged nearly all the extra wealth created in Obama’s tenure.
“Increasing inequality… challenges the very essence of who we are as a people,” said Obama, who is using the opportunity theme to urge voter support for interventionist government.