The national unemployment rate is 8.9 percent and even higher in places like
Nonetheless, former “NBC Nightly News” anchor Tom Brokaw did just that in the first part of a new series called “American Character.” The former anchor will travel U.S. Highway 50 from coast to coast to report on people struggling in this economy. On “Nightly News” May 27, Brokaw visited a crab picking house in
“Jack Brooks runs J.M. Clayton’s, one of the oldest crab processors in the area,” Brokaw said. “He’s got all the crabs he can handle. What he doesn’t have, even in this brutal economy, is enough workers to pick them.”
According to Brokaw, the
BROKAW: Jack, you’ve got 11-and-a-half percent unemployment in the county here. I would think you’d have people lined up out the door willing to help you pick.
BROOKS: I would think so, too.
BROKAW: Why not?
BROOKS: That's a good question. I don't know if it’s the seasonality of the business. Have a look, it’s tough work. We just had a job fair. We had seven companies participating in the job fair and we got eight applicants, eight applicants.
According to a couple of current employees, Brooks' troubles were a symptom of the current culture – that “young people” aren’t into work. But Brokaw’s segment argued the only solution was relaxing immigrant worker visa rules rather than making it more lucrative for employees to work for him in some way. No other view was expressed in the segment.
“With so few Americans willing to do this hard work, Brooks depends on seasonal workers, mostly from
Brokaw also interviewed Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., who has a track record of supporting relaxation of immigration laws across the board. According to Mikulski, she is championing this cause for businesses like Brooks’ crab picking house and others like it.
“I am fighting for a policy that says if you come into