Tom Russell-Who's Gonna Build Your Wall (Updated 12/13/09)
A music video featuring Tom Russell singing his song, "Who's Gonna Build Your Wall" and the photography of David Burckhalter.
I am a daily avid reader of four winds and find the availability of news untold by the MSM essential to my understanding of my world.
That you have included the video,
"Who's gonna build your wall\" is quite a lapse of judgement, I am afraid.
My perspective is colored by the following: as a tradesman who had devoted some 25 years of his life to the drywall trade, the impact of illeagal immigration is very upclose and personal. For example, in 2000 my subcontract pay was 13 cents per square foot of properly installed drywall. One 4 X 12 foot sheet of 5/8\" weighing 135 pounds properly installed therefore would pay $6.24. In order to make $1000, one would have to lift and install 161 sheets having lifted 211735 pounds (over 10 tons) and having applied approximately 50 screws per sheet (8050 in all).
By 2003 the irreversable tide of illeagals had so impacted my trade that it became next to impossible to find any commercial jobs in drywall despite record breaking building (real estate bubble- remember). Those were the kinds of jobs that I used to take which put my daughter partially through college. I was forced to borrow the ballance of the funds from my mother to assure my daughter\'s education when this reality set in. By this time only residential drywall was viable to legal tradesmen. But the tide finally turned here and all that was left was remodelling, the least reliable and shortest form of drywall employment. As pay rates plummeted to match over supply the rates typically being paid were reversed to where I started in the trade in Florida when drywall paid $2-3 per sheet so that instead of earning $1000 for lifting 10 tons once again a man had to lift 30 tons for that same $1000.
The message in your video is false, proud American tradesmen earning $40 per hour through hard work and skill were replaced by gangs of 10, 20, and larger groups of illegals who so grossly underbid and flooded the construction sites that shoddy work became acceptable and the job of punchout man became the way to fix the errors of poorly installed drywall. If you find this unlikely, look at the quality of your apartments you live in if you live in a building built in the last 10 years. It is likely that you will see improperly coated screws, impoperly alligned corners, and often taped joints that are barely coated one time and painted over vs. the minimum 3 coats a tradesman would apply.
Yes, the video assigns blame to the \"fat cats\" who were and are dry wall contractors, construction firms, real estate developers all made immeasurably worse due to non existant immigration enforcement.
Most of what I have explained is easy to document. It is a simple exercise in following the money. It goes like this:
All job sites receive their drywall deliveries either from supply houses or from the drywall contractors. All jobs are bid based upon footage to install. There is a paper trail for materials and bids placed. In addition there is a paprer trail through IRS filings and workers compensation filings. Each drywall company is has its payroll audited every year to assure compliance with workers compensation. It would be a fairly easy task to detect the usage of illegals in this closed loop of material and income and personnel records. As an expert tradesman, it is a given that in order to earn a living an avarage tradesman must install 25-50 sheets per day to survive. No one can install much more than 100 sheets per day. If called upon in a legal setting my brother and I who have about 60 years drywall experience can demonstrate the extreme limits I an explainiong and would testify to these facts. I believe that, if the case could be brought that a massive class action lawsuit woul!
d result in at minimum housing being provided for now unemployed and even homeless ex drywallers who had the lack of foresght to spend their lives building homes for others, only to be screwed out of their livelihoods by an unholy alliance of greed on the part of builders and contractors under the sleeping eyes of government.
Ah, government. If it were simply a neutral player then market forces might have managed to keep the playing field level. Not so. It came to my attention that entire gangs of illeagels were empowered to take over federal construction projects through liberal SBA loans with favoritism in bids on federal construction jobs guaranteeing that these loans could be repaid. Such bid rigging made the independent drywaller a dinasaur.
The scale of this boondoggle dwarfs many and most of kinds of corruption you report upon. Immagine that if a class action for this were successfully pursued and that size of the amounts involved. It would easily dwarf that of the largest tobacco suits for example.The real estate and housing bubble was fueled via illegal acts, a RICO type conspiracy. Who was harmed? Honest tradesman and their families. Now that my daughter is in medical school and my drywall trade is only a distant memory and she already knows that when she had to take a waitressing job to have enough to eat after her financial aid had run out that she still will have to work and study 80 hours per week and no longer can count on her father to help her through it. She had spent her first summer after her freshman year installing drywall with her father to help make ends meet. If need be, she would build that wall, if there were any left to build. A hard job paying $40 per hour now is only available to an ille!
gal at %5 to $9 per hour if you can find one. I saw a report earlier on four winds that the lettuce pickers had returned to picking lettuce now that construction had bottomed out another that Mexican families had begun to need to support their children in the USA, a reversal of previous patterns. All I can say is that when you break the law there are consequences for everyone. I have had to deal with mine and the illeagals have to deal with theirs.
By the way, if you know of either a courageous or even just a greedy lawyer willing to try this mess have him contact me. This is only the tip of the iceberg.