The New Version of Depression Apple Selling

by: Tim Iacono

Anyone who has lived in the southwestern part of the U.S. for any length of time over the past few decades will surely appreciate how grave the situation has become for some Americans when considering that the ranks of day laborers standing on street corners in the morning are no longer restricted to recent immigrants and illegal aliens.

It should be clear to even the most casual observer that the biggest busts have occurred in parts of the country where the biggest booms once flourished - that would be California, Nevada, and Arizona - where tales of woe are now spreading as fast as home prices rose back in the first half of the decade.

The poll to the right from a recent story in the Las Vegas Sun (hat tip EU) reflects the current state of affairs for 551 people in and around Sin City where many are now hoping that the wave of foreclosure sales - homes that once sold for $300,000 now flying off the shelf at around $100,000 - will somehow revive the city's economy to its mid-decade glory.

At this point, they'd probably be happy with simply getting back to a slightly larger fraction of the activity that was seen in the Nevada desert four or five years ago, economic statistics produced during those halcyon days likely to be seen only in history books for many, many years to come.

Anyway, it seems that the Smiths and the Joneses are joining the Rodriguezes and the Hernandezes outside of Home Depots.

To wit:

The new faces of day labor
U.S. citizens are joining immigrants in store parking lots

It sounds like a George Lopez joke.

“Times are so bad that I saw an Anglo day laborer standing outside Home Depot the other day.”

Except it’s true.

In the latest sign of the Las Vegas Valley’s economic free fall, U.S. citizens are starting to show up in the early mornings outside home improvement stores and plant nurseries across the Las Vegas Valley, jostling with illegal immigrants for a shot at a few hours of work.
IMAGE Experts say the slow-starting but seemingly inexorable trend is occurring nationwide.

“It’s the equivalent of selling apples in the Great Depression,” said Harley Shaiken, chairman of the Center for Latin American studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

But it is not only a sign of the times, they add. If the numbers of citizens among the day laborers in cities across the country continue to grow, it’s likely to increase the ire of followers of TV host Lou Dobbs and others who will see illegal immigrants as stealing food off the tables of the nation’s native-born or naturalized poor.

The whole thing is worth a look, the plight of "americanos" such as 50-year old Ken Buchanan (pictured above) doesn't appear to be all that uncommon around the country with the trend expected to continue for some time.