Wednesday, February 23, 2005

and now, MY RANT (see previous post)

As a house painter, I spend every day in the Forest Heights subdivision. Builders are paying painting contractors the same prices to paint these $600,000 - $1,500,000 houses that they were paying five years ago. The builders are making their money, and you can bet that the painting contractors are making their money. It's the guys that actually paint the houses that are getting hurt.

You see, ten years ago, a new hire painters helper started out at about $8.00 per hour. If he worked out and turned out to be a good painter, he could make $10.00 - $12.00 within a few months. A good lead painter could make at least $14.00 per hour. Now, contractors hire a crew of Mexicans, and they are lucky if they make $8.00 per hour. The same thing goes on in almost all of the trades. Most of these homes are framed, sided, insulated, bricked, sheetrocked and painted by Mexicans. Russians usually do the tile & hardwood floors, interior trim & cabinetry.

These were all "living wage" jobs held by Americans living in the area. Now they are barely minimum wage jobs, and most of the money gets sent home to Mexico or Russia (or one of it's many former soviet neighbors). This is really hurting our economy. The Rich Builders are making their profit, and even the contractors make their money, but we have thousands of low income jobs, all in the name of "affordable housing" - wow, I just referred to a million dollar home as affordable.

And another thing. Who is buying these homes anyways? They are building hundreds of these homes in Southwest Portland every year. If our economy is so bad, where is the money coming from to buy these houses?

Kinda makes ya think.

No comments: