Growler, I partially agree with you. But, the problem isn't an "addiction to cheap labor", it's a problem with overhead.
I posted the following in another forum in a discussion about a $20,000 bid to rewire someone's house. (I note that I'm an engineer in a private practice, not an electrician.)
I'm thinking about how long it takes to get the $20,000 to pay for that. I make a lot of money, but it would take me at least six months, probably well over a year, to net out $20,000 after taxes and living expenses. I'm no doubt slower than the pros, but I'd be way ahead of the game to take off a month and work full time doing the rewire myself.
If you have to finance the work, then add the interest on top of that. Instead of six months or a year, it's ??? I don't even want to think about it.
(I think there's a political commentary in here somewhere. Time was that you could work at your job for an hour, bring home the full amount of your pay, and use that to pay a professional to do an hour's work for you. Now that the government is "helping" us so much, you have to work a lot of hours just to hire someone to do a single hour's work.)
If I could work for an hour at what I do best, and bring home my full pay for that hour, and then use that money to pay for an hour of a pro's time, who can do the job faster and better than I can, it would be a no-brainer to hire the pro. But the reality is that after income tax, FICA, Worker's Comp, health insurance, liability insurance, disability insurance, employer's FICA "contribuition", etc., the translation from gross dollars it costs to have person "A" on the job to the net dollars that person "B", hired by person "A", ends up with in his pocket, is hugely less. Like maybe 20 cents on the dollar. Or even worse if you figure in California's Worker's Comp.
We need to get government off our backs so that our economy can once again function properly. We were able to do that just fine a 100 years ago--we should be able to do it now, too.
[This message has been edited by SolarPowered (edited 08-13-2005).]