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Op-Ed: Let’s Pay Nurses Minimum Wage!!

Every morning I wake up and thank God that we still have some Republicans in Congress. Representative John Shadegg (R) from Arizona, is one of those blessings. He has introduced a bill in Congress called the Nursing Reform Act of 2009. The bill calls for increasing work visas for foreign nurses (and their spouses). When passed, it will eliminate the nursing shortage!

This bill is great on so many levels. For one, everyone knows that healthcare is costing us an arm and a leg (pun intended). The biggest causes are obviously nurses and nursing unions. Nurses are way overpaid, but unfortunately the healthcare corporations have not been able to break the nursing unions because of the shortage of nurses. By bringing in lots of foreigners, they can flood the market with labor, break the unions, and get nursing salaries down to where they belong — somewhere around what retail pays. If only there weren’t that law capping the number of foreign nurses we allow in the country… As a side benefit, the bill allows for nurses’ spouses to get unrestricted work visas as well, so it will help bring down salaries in all sorts of other industries as well!

The true brilliance of this bill (thank you Mr. Shadegg!) is in the way it is written. It doesn’t bring them all in at once. It starts out with 50,000 new visas the first year, which is a low enough number that people will “buy it” and the bill can get passed. Supporters of the bill have had to go to great lengths to say that nursing salaries will be unchanged, which of course will be true at first. However, the genius in the bill (evil grin) is that the number of allowable visas automatically goes up 20% per year, so it will be 60,000 visas in year two, 72,000 visas in year three, 86,400 visas by year four, 103,680 by year five, and a whopping 124,416 by year six! The bill states that “According to the Department of Labor, the current national nursing shortage exceeds 126,000.” Therefore, the nursing shortage will be solved in about six short years, and healthcare companies can get back to earning the kind of money they deserve! Incidentally, this is just the approach that was so successful in cutting the salaries earned by information technology workers about 10 years ago. Corporate profits were getting impacted by high IT costs, so our brilliant Congress increased the number of H1-B visas, and companies were able to hire cheap workers from India and other places. Thank you, Congress! Later, many of these foreign workers returned to their homelands and brought the work with them. Now, corporate America doesn’t have to pay high salaries, and they don’t even have to look at the foreigners anymore — they can just write a little check to India. Bravo! Fortunately, information technology salaries have never rebounded to the levels where they were.

But I digress. Back to nursing. Let’s face it, nursing is difficult, degrading work. Nurses sometimes have to wipe feces, for Christ’s sake. We’re Americans and we’re better that that! We can certainly find some Indians, Filipinos, or Chinese to do that work, ridding self-respecting Americans of the need to perform that dirty job. The last 20 years have been a long road, but we’ve come a long way, baby. We’ve rid ourselves of the burden of almost all manufacturing jobs, call center jobs, and as mentioned earlier, many information technology jobs. Fortunately, we Americans don’t need to do those things anymore. This bill is the first step down the same glorious road for healthcare. It was recently reported that in 2009, over 6 million Americans will travel abroad for surgery (http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/03/27/india.medical.travel/index.html). Once these foreign nurses are fluent in “American-style healthcare,” many can return home to help proliferate cheap healthcare services to those Americans that can afford to fly overseas. Think of the opportunities this will create for the airline industry and the beloved industries that support the airline industry — like jet fuel suppliers and Boeing!

President Obama reportedly wants to solve the nursing shortage by training unemployed Americans for these jobs. As usual, that guy has it all bass-ackwards. First of all, we Americans are too good to be nurses. Second of all, it would be tough to train enough new nurses to break the unions and get nursing wages down to retail wage levels. Only India and China, with their billions of people, are capable of rapidly flooding the market with enough labor. Third, everyone knows that the millions of unemployed Americans are lazy, good-for-nothings that are not smart enough or good enough to be nurses. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be unemployed in the first place, right? Fourth, training Americans to be nurses is expensive. Why, in Mr. Shadegg’s home state of Arizona, the high unemployment rate and falling tax revenue have forced the state funded university (Arizona State), to cut its nursing program by 26% in terms of students accepted into the program (http://nursing.asu.edu/general/deans_welcome.htm). Let’s face it, with unemployment so high, we just can’t afford to train Americans to be nurses. Perhaps if we cut taxes on all of the oppressed wealthy Americans, we could afford to train more nurses…

Opponents of this bill will probably say that John Shadegg has sold out to the healthcare industry. I say, phooey! They will probably point out that In the campaign finance cycle for 2008, he received over $244,000 from the healthcare sector, over $168,000 of which was from healthcare political action committees (http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/industries.php?cycle=2008&cid=N00006425). That may be true, but Mr. Shadegg is a patriot! He would NEVER let campaign contributions influence the legislation he introduces or sway his vote in any way.

My only criticism of the bill is that it doesn’t go far enough. Perhaps it’s not too late. I would urge Mr. Shadegg to expand this legislation so that we bring in an additional 50,000 foreign doctors, 50,000 foreign dentists, 50,000 foreign lawyers, 50,000 foreign engineers, and 310 learned people for “government positions” (254 to take the Democratic congressional seats and 56 to take the Democratic Senate seats, ha ha ha!!!!!). Clearly, overpaid nurses are not the only problem we face as Americans. My fellow Americans, we must remember, what’s good for American corporations is good for America. We’ve come a long way, but there are still some high paying jobs that are held by Americans. With the help of patriots like Mr. Shadegg, we can fix that!

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Guest

Really when someone doesn’t know afterward its up to other viewers that they will
help, so here it occurs.

Craig
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Craig

Over the years I have been in contact with many doctors and nurses and its always a plus when I can understand them. Why not put our health and well being of ourselves and children in the hands of the lowest bidder. Its worked so far. (yeah right). THIS is another attack on our Middle class. The nurses are the backbone of our medical system. The LPNs and RNs get all the shit…pun intended. I am not a nurse or have anything to do with the medical field. But have had my share of contact with nurses due to injuries… Read more »

kaye
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kaye

the “opinion” is sharp and funny… the comments are just plain funny. how can people not understand that this is satire?! perhaps this says a lot about our education system… let’s do the same thing for teachers! (KIDDING!!)

jon
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jon

this article is not a republican or democratic way of thinking. it’s more like totalitarianism. maybe socialistic way of thinking. it only works in the head, but when applied they realized it has become a disaster.

henry
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henry

Whoever wrote this article must be a very selfish person that doesn’t consider what it’s like in the other person’s perspective. People like this is a cancer to this country. This is obviously the most despicable article i’ve ever read. He should go hang himself.

Excessive Persiration
Guest

Nursing is one of the best human services. Now it has become an earning profession.

kate
Guest
kate

Are you insane!!! There are millions of unemployed nurses out there virtually thousands who have repeatedly applied for jobs and cannot get one!!!!!! Nursing shortage my ass they simply do not want to spend money on hiring them, that is an excuse to cut back on costs and work the butts off the poor slave nurses in the hospital who have to run to keep up the pace of the slave requirements. It is hell being a nurse, most of them hate it with a passion. Look up I hate nursing it is so overcrowed there are virtually hundreds of… Read more »

art santos
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art santos

Good job with your satirical article Angry American. Unfortunately, and typically, nurses in general neither have much of sense of humor nor the sophistication to capture the power of satire in denouncing chronic social and political inequities for which the public have been desensitized or just don’t care.It is really pathetic to realize the large number of respondents that didn’t have enough interpretative skills to get the sharp ironic message of the article.

Emily
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Emily

Are you a moron? I am currently in Nursing school and busting my BUTT to provide the best quality care I could give to a patient. What do you do with your life? Why in the heck would I put myself through all the hard work to get paid just as much as someone who ONLY graduated in high school in retail?
I agree with Erica above me, I’m a republican and God knows most do not think like that. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Jake
Guest

It seems the nursing shortage is waning at the moment in this down economy. More nurses who were working part time are working more hours to make up for their spouses who may have lost jobs. When the economy comes back, the demand for nurses will increase and there will be another shortage = higher pay.

Thea BSN RN
Guest
Thea BSN RN

This is the worst blog I have ever read. Nurses don’t make enough already and you want to decrease our pay to minimum wage? You have no idea what we do and what we have to know to become nurses. The high cost of healthcare is not because of overpaid nurses because we are very underpaid and do most of the work. I have nothing against foreigners, but patient outcomes are based on what type of nursing care they get, and we must admit that there is more sickness over seas than it is in America, so I wonder what… Read more »

Fred
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Fred

Wow. Lot of dull-witted nurses out there. Back when I was in college, they made us read Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”. I guess the curriculum has been dumbed down since then and no one understands mordant satire anymore. Welcome to Idiocracy.

Dee
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Dee

Those of you that think the foreign nurse should come here, you just might get one for a nurse. I am not saying that all are like this, but I work with about 90% of foreign nurses and most of them work several jobs, then come to the night shift to work, but instead they sleep most of the night, chart about 4:30 am, hardly go in the room. Yes they have been reported by staff, patient and families, but we all want to be politically correct, so nothing happen. I want you to get one of these nurses to… Read more »

Sarah
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Sarah

Actually, your CNA (certified nurses assistant) is the one who will wipe your feces and give you a bedbath…. Do you actually know what an RN does? Go shadow one for a day, and then rewrite this article… The only reason there is a “shortage” is because care facilities are too cheap to hire adequate staff. Contrary to your opinion nurses aren’t the doctors uneducated “help”. Many of them don’t get paid near enough for the amount of continued education and skill that they have.

BxICURN
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BxICURN

Let the nurses quit and see how fast the patients crumble at a record rate. Some people have not one clue what doctors and nurses do.

byron long
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byron long

Can someone explain to me how you say a nurse is under or overpaid? Don’t you have ot compare the wages of other occupations? IF so, nurses have associate, bachlors, masters and phd’s in nursing. Also, most nurses I know get paid hourly. Around $25.00/ hour. About $50,000 a year. That’s totally, equal to other occupations with the same educaiton. Engineer, teacher, chemist, etc. However, alot of times you hear a nurse making 70, 80, 90 thousand a year. That’s because of overtime. Time and a half pay. IT’s true unions are for the workers and comand a higher wage.… Read more »