As December wound down, there was talk about closing the U.S. government again. And obviously that included all the U.S. embassies.
The embassies — and the consulates attached to them — issue visas for people from other countries to visit the United States.
And guess what? Those visitors create jobs.
Simple math: No visas=no visitors=fewer jobs for Americans. (That is so simple that even a math-phobic journalist can understand it.)
One of the best example of how visas=jobs comes from Brazil.
A Florida business group estimated that for every 82 visas issued to Brazilians, one job is created in Florida.
The State Department announced this past week that it is sending more foreign service officers to Brazil to handle the growing demand for visas. Last year the embassy and its three constituent consulates issued 820,000 visas. Also during 2010 the State Department said 1.2 million Brazilians visited the United States, contributing $6 billion to the U.S. economy. (Obviously there are a lot of Brazilians with multiple entry visas from previous years.)
If all the people who got visas in 2010 visited Florida, which they most likely did not because Las Vegas is also a popular spot for Brazilians, that means 100,000 jobs were created in Florida. But for the sake of argument, let’s say only half went to Florida. That is still 50,000 jobs. The other 50,000 jobs would be spread out over the rest of the country.
That is only Brazil.
Given the weak dollar, visitors from around the world find the U.S. a good value vacation spot. Each and every visitor from another country helps with the trade balance figures and creates jobs in the United States.
So why are we not seeing more reporting on the connection between government operations, international visitors, job creation and the impact on the economy in general? (It was up to AFP — a French news service — to carry the story about the visas in Brazil.)
Maybe if LOCAL reporters were to look at the impact international trade — including international visitors — has on the LOCAL economy, then maybe LOCAL news outlets would be providing important information to their LOCAL readers/viewers about the importance of a global economy and government operations. (Like how I made the bean counters happy? Got four “Local’s” in one sentence.)