I contacted a bunch of contractors last week and also posted to Bid Clerk. The house needs a new roof. Got the cash all lined up, ready to go. Doesn't matter if I keep the house or sell it, the roof needs to be taken care of. It has to be done now or during the next hurricane or big thunderstorm the house will be springing leaks.
A grand total of two contractors replied. In Houston at least it doesn't seem that small contractors are hurting for work.
I talked with a contractor who came out today. People complain about Mexicans taking jobs away from Americans. But I don't know of any Americans, whether they are black, white or native-born Hispanic, willing to work on roofs all day in south Texas during the summer. Close to the roof it has to be approaching 120 degrees up there. How much would you demand to do such a task? $30/hr? $40/hr? To re-roof my little 2-story crapbox will require 8 guys working over two days. If it wasn't for Mexicans getting paid $12/hr, there would be thousands of leaking roofs in places like Houston and San Antonio because homeowners couldn't afford to have their roofs replaced.
I do realize that my opinions about Mexicans puts me at odds with many of my readers. I've pointed out before that what we are seeing now is no different than what our great grandparents saw 100 years ago when we were swarmed with poor Italians desperate for work. Our great grandparents said the same thing about Italians that many of us are now saying about Mexicans. As a percentage of the total US population, new immigrant Italians represented a greater proportion of the total US population than Mexicans do today, and I think you'd be hard pressed to find anyone now who thinks Americans of Italian ancestry aren't anything but great Americans.
I'll repeat the words I've said here many times: We need people to do the shitty jobs that Americans refuse to do, and I'd rather these people be lusty Catholics who enjoy their drink, go to church and bring good food to our shores, rather than people who are ashamed of their women and cover them up and pretend that normal human urges are forbidden and then demand that people with these normal human urges be killed in a sick, primitive manner.