Free Markets, Free People


Speaking plainly about force

One of the most useful things I’ve learned about communication is the importance of stating things plainly and concretely.*  But thinking about that lesson frequently makes politics maddening.

Euphemisms are the health of politics.  If a government really wants to get away with murder, even secrecy can be less useful than making that particular murder sound unremarkable, justifiable, sensible, or even dutiful.

Many of us small-government folk are fond of saying that the state is force, and that’s true at the core, but it’s difficult to build a complex society on naked force.  There’s a strategic advantage in getting most people to cooperate most of the time without a fight, and a bigger advantage in securing cooperation even when you’re not applying immediate pressure.  It stands to reason that groups that incur less resistance when organizing the manpower and materiel for their ends are able to sustain violence better than less persuasive groups.

Every government today uses some mix of fear and consent to secure that advantage.  An afraid person may cooperate even when the odds of punishment seem remote, because of how the typical person handles fear under uncertainty; on the other hand, a person may at least tacitly consent to a course of action because of a vague belief that the things he values will benefit, and securing his consent for violence is easier if you’re not describing it in the kind of detail that might make him sympathetic to the target.  There’s a strategic imperative to coerce some while securing the consent of others by not calling coercion what it is.

This is all relevant to McQ’s recent post on collective action, but I’ve also been reminded of the power of plain speaking in the current debates political struggles over drugs and immigration.

The new Reason-Rupe poll did us a service by asking a few questions about marijuana in progressively greater detail. First, they asked, “Do you favor or oppose legalizing marijuana for recreational use?” It was close: 47% said yes and 49% said no.  This is in line with other recent polls: ABC News/Washington Post found 48% support and 50% opposition for “legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use,” and when Gallup asked, “Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?”, 48% said yes and 50% said no.

Gallup poll - Nov. 26-29, 2012

Then Reason-Rupe asked, “Some people argue the government should treat marijuana the same as alcohol. Do you agree or disagree?” The numbers jumped: 53% agreed, 45% disagreed.  Virtually the entire increase was from women: their support jumped from 42% in favor of legalization for recreational use (with 6% unsure) to 52% in favor of treating marijuana like alcohol (with 3% unsure).  Meanwhile, men barely budged, from 52% on the first question to 53% on the second.

Finally, the Reason-Rupe survey said, “As you may know, voters in Colorado and Washington made it legal to grow, sell and use marijuana for recreational purposes in those states. Marijuana is still illegal under federal law,” and then asked each respondent two out of three possible questions:

  1. “Should the federal government arrest people who SELL marijuana in states that have legalized it?”
  2. “Should the federal government arrest people who GROW marijuana in states that have legalized it?”
  3. “Should the federal government arrest people who USE marijuana in states that have legalized it?”

This time both sexes moved strongly away from drug enforcement.  64% opposed arresting sellers (32% supported), 68% opposed arresting growers (versus 29%), and 72% opposed arresting users (versus 24%).

(The Gallup poll asked a similar question: “As you may know, marijuana use is legal in some states. Do you think the federal government should take steps to enforce federal anti-marijuana laws in those states, or not?” At that level of abstraction, their opinions were much like the Reason-Rupe respondents on marijuana sellers: 64% said no, 34% yes.)

People might assume that “legalize for recreational use” is different from “treat the same as alcohol,” and there’s a certain political difference between thinking something should be legalized generally and thinking the federal government should not enforce its laws in states where a majority of voters disagree on the issue. Still, the support for current marijuana policy dwindled as the description of current policy, and of the targets of that policy, became more precise and relatable.

The same also seems to be true for immigration policy, although the wording of recent polls doesn’t make for easy comparisons.  Still, when three polls each gave three options, it’s worth noting that over the last couple of years “the government [should] send all illegal immigrants back to their home country” and “[the government should d]eport all illegal immigrants, no matter how long they have been in the U.S.” each attract 17-19% support while “illegal immigrants who are currently working in the U.S. […] should be required to leave their jobs and leave the U.S.” wins 24-38% support.  Again, we can’t make a direct comparison, because each poll’s other two options differ, but saying the government should “send back” or “deport” is harsher than the passive “should be required to leave the U.S.”  In concrete terms, all three are equivalent: police forces identify and arrest people, imprison them, and eventually forcibly remove them to a usually much less pleasant place, and maybe some people become so frightened of that process that they abandon their lives here – their homes, jobs, and relationships – rather than risk being forcibly stripped of them.

Guillermo Campos-Ojeda says goodbye to his wife Adela and daughter Paloma before boarding a deportation flight chartered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Advocates for less restrictive immigration policy frequently use a phrase like “deporting 11 million people” to convey how difficult and ugly that option would be.  It does have a way of drawing one’s mind to the logistical problems with addressing such a large population using only men with guns.

So their opponents who are still looking for a way to exclude 11 million people from the territory (having apparently exhausted all easier, mutually agreeable ways to coexist in the same place) suggest “securing the border” and requiring every employer and state agency to exclude unauthorized people from employment and, obviously, benefits.  What happens when those policies are described in terms of what’s physically required?  A partial list:

  • Building thousands of miles of barriers and hiring police forces to patrol them requires collecting and spending billions of dollars annually,
  • some number of people inevitably end up being scammed, arrested, hurt, or even killed trying to get past those barriers,
  • implementing “e-verify” requires taking money from (or otherwise punishing) every employer who refuses or fails to incur the cost of implementing the system,
  • and all of this requires a bureaucracy full of unionized public employees.

It sounds less messy than rounding people up, but it also sounds like quite a lot of complicated coercion to achieve smaller government or whatever it is you want.

Of course, that policy would make it marginally harder for everyone to do business, as not every business is computer-savvy and not every employee’s papers are in order; I’ll skip the long version of this story, but mine weren’t really in order until after I graduated from college, and my native California would have imposed a lengthy process costing several hundred dollars to fix them.

All of the above isn’t to say that violence is never appropriate in drug or immigration policy, though I do prefer to keep that violence to a minimum.  The point is that talking about policy in terms that cause us to dwell on the physical reality of it tends to make that discussion more fruitful and push back the inclination toward solving problems with coercion.  It may not always persuade people to be skeptical of government, but it’s a handy tool.

__

* Brevity also helps, but as you can see, I prefer thoroughness.  Follow me on Twitter at your own risk.

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96 Responses to Speaking plainly about force

  • Find an instance where amnesty has worked.
    Cite to a first-world nation that does not control its borders.
    Cite to another nation that accepts more legal immigrants than the U.S.

    • Why did you jump straight to amnesty?  That’s a specific type of pardon with implications about the immigrants’ rights and responsibilities going forward.  There are many other potential solutions, depending on your goals, between “deport” and “full amnesty.”

      Does “controlling a border” necessarily mean high walls and intensive surveillance, or can it mean that the transmission of people/goods/etc. is orderly and beneficial to whoever you consider relevant?  Because Texas had a pretty open border for a long time.

      And whether the policy is right or not has little to do with the U.S.’s ranking in absolute number of legal immigrants.  The U.S. is, after all, the third most populous country in the world, and the other rich countries are nowhere near as big.

      Wait, why am I talking to you?  You never respond directly to my arguments or attempt to reproduce them faithfully.  I’ll spend my time on commenters who actually care to grapple with my arguments.  You know, the arguments in the post above.

      • Yep.  Dodge, cower, and deflect.
        I expected no better from you.
        As to your “arguments”, a lot of people are lilly-livered cowards when it comes down to doing what is right…or not.
        Big revelation there…

      • “Why did you jump straight to amnesty?”

        Probably because talking about policy in terms of the reality of it tends to make the discussion more fruitful. It is, after all, important to state things plainly and concretely.

        • By the way, did I reproduce your arguments faithfully enough?

          • No.  Because, as I pointed out, not all policies short of “deport them all” are amnesty.  Look it up.

          • But I thought you wanted to talk about reality and state things plainly? In my book, letting lawbreakers keep the fruits of their lawbreaking  falls under the definition of amnesty.

            “2. a period during which a law is suspended to allow offenders to admit their crime without fear of prosecution”
            http://www.thefreedictionary.com/amnesty
            “2.
            Law. an act of forgiveness for past offenses, especially to a class of persons as a whole.

            3.
            a forgetting or overlooking of any past offense.”

            http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/amnesty

             

          • There’s a whole range of things – like fines, back taxes, higher taxes going forward, and a restriction on benefits for their families – that are certainly not amnesty but don’t involve mass deportation.

          • Gee, I wish I could get the same deal for robbing banks. I would be happy to pay a token fine in return for no jail time and getting to keep the money.
            And just what is the problem with deporting illegal aliens? If we can’t deport them all, just how many are we allowed to deport? Can we deport all we catch, or just some as-yet-to-be-determined portion? Is there a quota, like fish? Maybe keep enough to provide cheap labor for the bourgeoisie and send the rest back? Or maybe, just to be fair, not deport any at all.

          • There are a lot of problems with deporting nonviolent illegal immigrants, some of which I mentioned in my post above.  For another, it heavily limits the freedom of Americans to buy from and sell to whomever they please.  If you’d like more, here’s a good place to start (PDF).

            There are some policy goals for which deportation could be the most sensible solution, but that’s a short list.  If you think a particular fine or tax surcharge is too low, then put a number out there that you think would compensate natives for the net harm of immigration.  Would they have to pay 10% higher income taxes?  30%?  50%?  Or pay a lump-sum admission fee, or a security deposit?

            Or is there just no way to compensate Americans for the effrontery of having crossed a political boundary and done business with other Americans on mutually agreeable terms?

          • Americans?  really?

            Do THEY see themselves as Americans?

            Viva “meh-hee-co”.   I think not.   You okay with Reconquista?  Aztlan?  Hardly a joke.  You’ll be a lot less “American” in ‘Nuevo’ Mexico gringo. Course you can figure out where the new border will be and move north across it I guess.

            Is the post about force or an appeal for amnesty founded in financial principle?

          • looker, I think you misinterpreted what I said.  I think the Americans who “lose” from immigration could be easily compensated for whatever losses they incur when other Americans do business with immigrants.  I wasn’t making any claims about how many immigrants think of themselves as Americans (though I know Pew has done polling on that).

            This post is about how we talk about force, but apparently most commenters would prefer to talk about the immigration part of the post, which I’m willing to do – especially since it gives me a chance to talk explicitly about the use of force against immigrants and make that a little more concrete for people.

        • It can be painted in a very unflattering light, that is for certain.  I don’t like the idea of bus loads of families rounded up, even if they are illegal.

          Bound to be trouble in there some how, the opportunity for ruination and mayhem is too rife with potential, so now, I’m not in favor of coercive, armed, force for this because no good can come of it.

          I noted below at some point, I don’t WANT the non military branches of government to get to be really really good at that.

      • ” You know, the arguments in the post above.”

        What, the argument that enforcing immigration laws can be expensive and messy? Many laws are expensive and messy to enforce. It costs about $30,000 per year to incarcerate someone in the US. That doesn’t even count the costs of apprehension and courts,  so obviously it is too expensive to enforce any laws. It is evidently your opinion that enforcing immigration laws is not worth the price. Many of us disagree.

        “(having apparently exhausted all easier, mutually agreeable ways to coexist in the same place)”

        I guess that also explains things like WWi, WWii, etc. Cute, but don’t complain when others respond to you with similar snark and sarcasm.
         

        • Mexico certainly has some objections to ANYBODY foreign “coexisting in the same space”.  As does Germany, Great Britain, France, Sweden, etc.

        • The main point of the post wasn’t even about immigration, nor about drugs, but about being concrete about the details of policy.  I could apply it to any number of policies, including things as general as taxation, but I chose to apply it to two policies favored by otherwise small-government-talking people because it’s so common in advocacy for restricting freedom to suddenly make the targets into abstractions, and because I had recently seen polls that illustrated well my point about more concrete details of coercion making them less popular.

          Your line about world wars is a total non sequitur.  I think the case for war against Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany clearly survives the test of talking about it at a concrete level, and that kind of clear-eyed discussion could improve how we make the decision to launch future military actions.

          • “The main point of the post wasn’t even about immigration, nor about drugs, but about being concrete about the details of policy.”

            Perhaps you should have chosen a different title, then. And there is certainly not much concrete about wandering around writing generalities.
            “Your line about world wars is a total non sequitur.”
            As is the line I was mocking.
             

        • What always strikes me about these Slim Pick-ens posts is that he arrogates this high rational ground to himself, and stakes out an argument de jure that reinforces his pet positions (i.e., open borders).
          Where does he, for instance state CONCRETELY the poll where the sample was carefully instructed on the costs of illegal immigration BEFORE responding?
          Where is the one that polls AFTER the salient FACT that amnesty never works…anywhere it is tried?
          Where is the one showing support for SELF-DEPORTATION by more-or-less PASSIVE means (i.e., Arizona law) or scrupulous enforcement of employment sanctions AFTER the costs of doing NOTHING are laid bare?
          I missed those.

          • Indeed. In fact, I found this particular post rather Erpesque. Don’t forget the snide little lines about those that dare disagree.

      • “Does “controlling a border” necessarily mean high walls and intensive surveillance, or can it mean that the transmission of people/goods/etc. is orderly and beneficial to whoever you consider relevant?”

        Is there an argument there that I can grapple with? Frankly, it sounds like meaningless blather. The word ‘sophmoric’ comes to mind.
         

        • “Is there an argument there that I can grapple with?”

          I asked a question.  Either a person can answer it forthrightly or he can’t.  There’s nothing about the sentence you quoted that should defeat your reading comprehension.

          “Controlling a border” doesn’t tell the reader much, so get down to the details: is a “controlled” border one where few people cross and only at specific checkpoints like the Berlin Wall, or is it one where plenty of people can cross with little difficulty?  Does “control” mean the receiving country’s government knows everybody’s name, or does “control” mean the receiving country’s government spends years trying to get to know everyone before they can get through, or does “control” indicate that nothing too terrible is happening as a result of migration?

          The U.S. has two fairly weakly patrolled borders with Canada, and there’s very little harm done, and the U.S. has failed to prevent millions of people from crossing its southern border with debatable effects, so depending on what Rags meant by citing “a first world country that does not control its borders” I could cite the U.S. and we’d be no closer to understanding each other.  Instead I offered Texas as a clue.

          • The U.S. has two fairly weakly patrolled borders with Canada, and there’s very little harm done, and the U.S. has failed to prevent millions of people from crossing its southern border with debatable effects…

            Canada, contrary to Mexico (or Jamaica, mon) DOES have a functioning first-world government AND economy.  It is NOT largely controlled by narco-terrorists.  It is NOT hospitable to Ismalist terrorists.  See a distinction…!?!?!
            What is “debatable” about the effects of failing to control our Southern border.  Please speak plainly and concretely, contra the bullshit quoted above.

          • “Either a person can answer it forthrightly or he can’t.”

            It is impossible to answer a question like “… or can it mean that the transmission of people/goods/etc. is orderly and beneficial to whoever you consider relevant” in a forthright manner. It is too nebulous; the ‘or’ is meaningless.  “orderly and beneficial…” can include high walls…” . Of course it all depends on your definition of ‘forthright’, but my definition favors brevity, not the verbosity or lengthy explanations needed to ‘answer’ a question like that.
            ” “Controlling a border” doesn’t tell the reader much, ”
            About as much as the phrase ‘limited government’ which you seem to be fond of. And speaking of reader comprehension, let me help you there; most people think that ‘controlling the border’ means that only people and objects known to and authorized by the government are allowed to cross it.

            “The U.S. has two fairly weakly patrolled borders with Canada, and there’s very little harm done,”

            To you maybe. Those who live in the SW who don’t have a local emergency room because it had to close because of the expense of treating illegal aliens might disagree. Or the victims of MS13, or the Americans whose jobs have been lost to illegal aliens.
             

          • timactual,

            It’s not hard to answer my question forthrightly.  You just define what you mean by “control the border” and it’s done.  Like when you say this:

            most people think that ‘controlling the border’ means that only people and objects known to and authorized by the government are allowed to cross it.

            Well, in that case every First World country has become rich despite not controlling its borders.

            “The U.S. has two fairly weakly patrolled borders with Canada, and there’s very little harm done,”

            To you maybe. Those who live in the SW who don’t have a local emergency room because it had to close because of the expense of treating illegal aliens might disagree. Or the victims of MS13, or the Americans whose jobs have been lost to illegal aliens.

            Uh, Canadians are shutting down emergency rooms in the Southwest?

          • “Uh, Canadians are shutting down emergency rooms in the Southwest?”

            Cute. I am assuming you actually comprehended what I was trying to say.

            “Well, in that case every First World country has become rich despite not controlling its borders.”

            Even assuming that is true, which I do not, so what? And I would advise you to do some reading about current conditions in these First World countries. Particularly in regards to immigration, legal and illegal, and its financial and social costs.
             

          • Cute. I am assuming you actually comprehended what I was trying to say.

            Considering that what I said about the Canadian borders and what I said about the Mexican border after that were two different things, yes, I comprehended your mistake.

            “Well, in that case every First World country has become rich despite not controlling its borders.”

            Even assuming that is true, which I do not, so what? And I would advise you to do some reading about current conditions in these First World countries. Particularly in regards to immigration, legal and illegal, and its financial and social costs.

            You don’t have to assume, you just have to read some history to know that unauthorized immigration and smuggling aren’t recent inventions.  The United States has never had “control of its borders” if you stick with the definition that “only people and objects known to and authorized by the government are allowed to cross it,” and we managed to get rich anyway.

            I’ve done more than a little reading about current conditions in the First World.  I also grew up in the L.A. area (and my family still lives there) and traveled all over the Southwest as a kid.  We Americans are fabulously rich, and almost all of the complaints I hear from people here are truly “First World problems” compared to what people suffer when they’re stuck in the poorly ordered, unfree parts of the globe.

            So what, you ask? Well, I’ve conclusively answered Rags’s challenge to name a First World country that doesn’t control its borders. The answer is all of them, and it’s been that way since long before there was a First World.

        • We Americans are fabulously rich.   Amen.  We ARE, including a great many of us who think we are, or are classified as, relatively poor.

          The majority of us have not a single clue about it either.

          But I wouldn’t begin to stretch that to ‘no control of their borders’ as it were.   You will never, even under the Iron Curtain  game rules, have complete control of your border, and to make any argument, or attempt to is practically Reductio ad absurdum.   There are always smugglers, because there’s always something someone wants that is prohibited.

          That doesn’t mean you don’t have, or can’t have, a reasonable modicum of control over the influx of people into and out of your country.  We don’t HAVE such control.

          And the reasons are purely financial, these people aren’t ‘yearning to be free’, they’re yearning to make a buck.  And SO…..are the advertisers and product marketers who now blatantly and unashamedly pander to an illegal population right in front of everyone’s nose.   We advertise Mexican everything now, all over the place, in Spanish.  That was NOT the case 30 years ago.  Sure, the market was there man, but people weren’t so bold.  Again, back to my illegal drug producers, why aren’t we advertising products for meth lebs on billboards?

          Barney’s Beakers!  Be the best!  Buy Barney’s! (yeah I know, gangsta rap…sigh…)

          You know the reason.  I was told, over 10 years ago that there was ‘nothing wrong’ with the Spanish billboards that were starting to appear in the Dallas area, by a…you guessed it, Californian….where I was told, it had been going on for years.  Money to be made, by them, and by us.
          And now…great ain’t it?  working out real well.

          Shoot….that’s not a rational for a country that will continue to exist very long.   There has to be more to a country than the idea that we can all make a buck and promise not to try to harm one another in the process.
          And I point to Southern California as a place just most likely to be annexed by the resident Mexican population back to being part of Mexico in a reverse of Fremont in 1836.

          I agree with you, which was my original point, WE as a country have way more shit than we need and no time to spend on it because we’re so focused on trying to get hold of more.
          But it ain’t because we’ve always had a totally porous border.  A lot of those immigrants may like what they find here, and stay, and become awesome Americans… as generations did before.
          But they assimilated…and this time….that’s. not. happening.  and we’re letting our greed for money, or in the case of Baracky and his pals, POWER, make our decisions for us about whether or not that’s proper, or whether or not we should care and whether or not we’re willing to spend some of that fabulous wealth to slow the flood back down to something manageable in our best interest.
          We can rest assured if there was a danger the majority of these illegals looked like they were going to vote Republican we wouldn’t be having this discussion because they’d be rounding them up like they did poco Elian.

          We’re rich, but that isn’t how you want to spend the wealth?

           

          • looker, I’ll start with one of your last points:

            We can rest assured if there was a danger the majority of these illegals looked like they were going to vote Republican we wouldn’t be having this discussion because they’d be rounding them up like they did poco Elian.

            The Obama administration has overseen a record number of deportations and a huge increase in border enforcement.  We had over 75% more border patrol agents in 2011 than we did five years earlier, and they have drones now that cost hundreds of millions of dollars.  This bears on your other point:

            That doesn’t mean you don’t have, or can’t have, a reasonable modicum of control over the influx of people into and out of your country.  We don’t HAVE such control.

            Well, that brings the debate back around to what “a reasonable modicum of control” is.  If any of our current restrictions could be replaced by something less restrictive and more desirable, the right kind of “control” would be for the government to let more people in through the front door where we can get their name and ensure they’re not security threats.  That would also make it easier to separate the real threats from people who just think they can have a better life here.

            And the reasons are purely financial, these people aren’t ‘yearning to be free’, they’re yearning to make a buck.

            As Harun pointed out, a lot of immigrants from previous waves came here to make a buck too, but there’s nothing wrong with that!  Making a buck, if you’re not getting it through crime or a handout, requires one to serve others who consent to the transaction.  It’s honorable.  I wish more people could come here peaceably and make a living aboveboard.

            If you want more of the purely “yearning to breathe free” types, we could expand the number of political refugees we accept.

            A lot of those immigrants may like what they find here, and stay, and become awesome Americans… as generations did before. But they assimilated…and this time….that’s. not. happening.

            Well, it may not happening at quite the rate for Mexicans and Central Americans as happened for previous waves of immigrants, but it is happening.  It’s true that when there’s a large unassimilated population already it’s easier to avoid having to assimilate, but I’d still expect faster assimilation if they could live without the threat of deportation hanging over them, so that they didn’t have anything to fear from fully integrating civically and economically.

            I’m also under the impression that immigrants’ children assimilate quite well, if they arrive at a young enough age or especially if they’re born in the US.  I’m always open to new evidence, if you have data.

          • Ah, forgive my skepticism on the deportations Bryan, I’ve been consistently, daily, whoppingly, LIED to by this administration on nearly every subject that came up as newsworthy topics for discussion.

            I’m supposed to believe the deportations number, and I’m supposed to believe unemployment is 7.8% and that the drop in the GDP is a good thing caused by Republicans and that Obamacare will bring about reductions in health care costs for everyone, and that we’re cutting the deficit and spending and that, well, what difference does it make what REALLY happened that night in Benghazi….

            You don’t see the problem I might have here?

          • Did I mention believing President Deadeye Lefty Sureshot goes shooting all the time?

          • looker, I can understand having some methodological disagreements with BLS, but if you’re disbelieving a statistic that’s been more than a little awkward for a Democratic administration to explain, I’m not sure what I could possibly use as evidence to change your mind.

          • You can’t man, and that’s not your fault you know.   I can never tell what this administration is up to based on the number of lies they’re told and it’s too late to put the horse back in the barn for me.
            I view it as their poll numbers tell them we’re not all unified behind their plan, and they’re tossing out these numbers to salve those of us who object until such time as they are ready to drop the hammer and tell us to STFU because the deal is done.

            I’m just marking the boundary for you so you can see the property line, there’s nothing you can do to change where it lays  :)

      • Because Texas had a pretty open border for a long time.

        Yes, yes.  That will stand as a monument to “speaking plainly and concretely” forever in MY memory…
        Right up there with the TOTALLY unambiguous and CONCRETE…

        Does “controlling a border” necessarily mean high walls and intensive surveillance, or can it mean that the transmission of people/goods/etc. is orderly and beneficial to whoever you consider relevant?

        Glory…

        • You still haven’t defined “controlled border” so that I can cite a real-world example, but perhaps you’re unfamiliar with one of the more famous parts of U.S. immigration history, the Bracero program, which Texans found too restrictive; they lobbied to water it down and basically bypassed the program with an open borders policy to meet labor demand.

          • When did it become MY burden to define any-FLUCKING-thing?
            Perhaps I an NOT unfamiliar with anything you THINK you know something about.  PERHAPS I know VASTLY more than you do.  Certainly nothing here to show otherwise.
            The “Bracero” program was NOT an open borders program, you moron.  It WAS a de facto guest-worker program started by FDR.  It WAS decades ago, before the Reagan failed amnesty.
            Do you really know WTF you are talking about?  I’ve seen nothing to show that is true.

          • Before I am jumped by McQ, I have to retract “moron”.  Substitute “sanctimonious prig” instead.  Please.

          • This is why I stopped debating with you last time.  You don’t comprehend anything you’re reading, you just attack.

            Try re-reading my comment above.  I said Texans bypassed the Bracero program, not that the Bracero program was itself an open borders policy.  Good grief.

          • My point was…
            WTF does that have to do with ANYTHING we are discussing?!??
            Decades ago, Texas INITIALLY bypassed the Bracero program.  Did “open borders” mean anything LIKE what it does now?  Are you FLUCKING aware that people are born and die on the King Ranch, and never leave it?  Is Texas the U.S.???
            Why is THAT “one of the most famous parts of U.S. immigration history”?  Why not the expulsion of Mexicans in the ’30s?  What not “Operation Wetback”?
            You are SOOOOOOO selective in what you want to discuss!!!
            You sanctimonious prig.

          • You asked me to cite a first-world nation that doesn’t control its borders.  You didn’t define what you meant by that, so I brought up Texas (which fits a lot of Texans’ definitions of a “nation”), and later brought up the U.S.’s general lack of control over both its Canadian and Mexican borders, depending on how you define “control,” and sure enough you still haven’t defined it.  Whether open borders today resembles the open borders of yesteryear is a matter of policy.

            And yes, since the Bracero program was one of the most famous parts of U.S. immigration history, so was Texas’s massive exception to it; even after Texas did join the program, Texan farmers still bypassed it for years as demand dictated.  The expulsion of Mexicans you mentioned is part of why Texas had such a labor shortage at the start of World War II that they thought the Bracero program was too restrictive.

            Oh, and Rags: any more comments containing insults or personal attacks under one of my posts will be disemvoweled.  Same goes for “shouting” of any kind.  If you can’t act like a proper guest, you won’t be treated like one.

          • And yes, since the Bracero program was one of the most famous parts of U.S. immigration history, so was Texas’s massive exception to it; even after Texas did join the program, Texan farmers still bypassed it for years as demand dictated.

            Mr f yr CNCRT bll***.  Pt p yr srcs.
            Th ntr Brcr prgrm s stmtd t hv nvlvd LSS THN 200,000 ppl.  t NDD dcds g.
            N, *** hs THT t d wth YR rt BLL***…???
            Whr s yr pllng n th qustns I psd FTR ppl r tght th fcts?
            Yr “Shzm” mmnt hr s lk bsrvng tht ppl xpsd t NYT sb strs n ll’ kdds hvng t vst P t Fshkll r mr nclnd t mt t sft prsn sntncs.
            Dh.
            Pt thm n pssssn f th fct tht P s n th slmmr fr rpng stp-sstr, nd thy mght hrdn bt.
            Crps, y r trsm.
            nd, f y thnk y cn, BNSH m, y snctmns PRG.  LVE tstng yr prtnsns!!!!
            _____
            That’s better. — Bryan

          • I’m sr y fnd t SR.
            thrs wll jst fnd t cwrdl.

          • “You still haven’t defined “controlled border” so that I can cite a real-world example,”

            That’s a joke, right? Or do you think you are setting a trap so that you can pounce on us for advocating an evil and nasty Iron Curtain with mines, dogs, etc?

          • ” You don’t comprehend anything you’re reading, you just attack.”

            Oh, wow. Definitely Erby.

          • “any more comments containing insults or personal attacks”

            Does that include remarks about lack of reading comprehension?

          • “If you can’t act like a proper guest, you won’t be treated like one.”

            Is it still okay to call Erb et al. moron, etc, or does the censorship only apply to derogatory remarks about you?

          • timactual,

            Under my posts, don’t call anyone names.  If my comprehension of your posts is lacking, feel free to call me on it, because it means we’re getting nowhere.

          • Well, heh, removing the vowels….
            Sorry, that’s too funny guys.

            Is that not an application of force?   Coercion?
            you’ve rounded up Rag’s vowels and deported them?

            Is it working?

             

          • Question….Does Texas NOW have a labor shortage?

            Does the United States, in fact, have a labor shortage?

            am I missing something that I should be making current judgements on immigration and enforcement based on a situation that predates the Second World War?

            Why are we not discussing the 1st and 2nd Famine Irish of the 1840′s?

          • looker,

            Question….Does Texas NOW have a labor shortage? Does the United States, in fact, have a labor shortage?

            Good question.  The answer is yes: American companies, no doubt including some of those high-tech firms in Texas, now face a clear shortage of people with certain skills; they are finding that they can’t find people with the right skills to hire, and they’re lobbying to expand high-skill immigration.

            I’d also argue that Americans could find many efficient ways to employ less-skilled labor, and estimates of the effect on low-skilled natives’ income are small enough that natives could be compensated pretty easily through, say, a tax cut financed by an immigration tariff or higher taxes on immigrants’ income, or some other “keyhole solution” that directly addressed the harms associated with immigration.

          • “Under my posts, don’t call anyone names.”

            Ah, I see. Do I get to insult you discretely, with subtlety and indirection?
            For example, can I ask you if you would be more insulted by being called an Erb or a moron? Or are you the only one allowed to insult people in your posts?

          • timactual, rather than lay out explicit rules to cover every possible situation, I’ll offer you a warning like I offered one to Rags, and if you think I’m being unfair in my attempts to cut down on the trolling under my posts, you can always spend your time on something else.

          • Labor trail…

            Heh, I work for a company that pretended they couldn’t find any competent Americans to do IT.   They’re from South Africa originally.  Oddly enough they WERE able to find a great number of South Africans who could do the job nicely!
            Odd that, isn’t it?

            I’m not buying the skills aren’t here in the US, already, for these jobs, or that the population won’t do them.   It’s about the cash man, I’m old enough now where I know what I’ve seen and see.  I’ve worked with these guys, they’re not any better than Americans born that I’ve worked with, and in many cases, they are complete and utterly imported rubbish.  We don’t have to go abroad to hire idiots, we have them here.
            If they’d had to have labels from when I was a kid they’d be marked ‘made in Japan’.   That probably tells you I’m from the age when that phrase didn’t mean you just bought a Lexus.

    • Amnesty almost always works. You offer it and people take it.
      What you are talking about is not amnesty, but stopping illegal immigration after an amnesty or before it.
      Amnesty may provide some incentive for more illegal immigration, but I think we already have a lot of illegals here who are not here hoping for an amnesty.
      But, if you had an easier legal system and a work visa program, then that incentive would fall to the wayside.
      Analogy to a tax amnesty: if you lowered taxes to the same as in Switzerland, then there would be no incentive to hide your money, and thus no amnesties needed.

  • It wouldn’t take much prosecution to have employers begin to follow illegal immigration related black market labor laws followed.  Once that happened, they will ‘self-deport’ no matter how much Democrats roll their eyes at the term.  95% are here purely and completely for the money.  Once that dried up, they can be unemployed at home more easily than unemployed in another country.

    • The problem is that coming to America “for the money” is a fine reason. You don’t think Polish, Italians, and Irish all came here for just political freedom, do you? I mean, are we going to get down on a Chinese immigrant who comes to America legally because they feel they can do business more safely here without corrupt officials seizing their business? So, if the same impulse is behind illegal aliens, then we cannot begrudge them this.
      It should also be noted that some of those old-timey immigrants also self-deported. Many immigrants came, worked, and went home to retire. That kind of messes with the come to the New World vibe we have as our historical meme. (Don’t get me wrong, I like that meme.)
      I also think that if you force back taxes and a fine on the amnesty people, that many people who truly are just here for the money, will not take the deal.

      • coming to America “for the money” is a fine reason

        It sure is.

      • “then we cannot begrudge them this.”

        Why not? Since when does the desire for money excuse anyone from prosecution for breaking the law?

        • Well, that’s just the thing: a lot of people feel okay about the breaking of laws they consider stupid or wrong.  Some people even break the law on purpose just to draw attention to how wrong it is.

          • So are you an advocate of FOREIGN citizens coming in and making a point about our legal system by breaking our laws?

            How is that not what you’re argument just said?

          • egads….you’re?   oh dear.

            yes yes, honestly, I’m only NEARLY illiterate in the heat of a moment.

          • That’s not the motivation for most illegal immigrants, but sure, I don’t mind a foreigner engaging in some civil disobedience against laws I consider stupid or wrong.  Jose Antonio Vargas announced that he was an illegal immigrant, and I don’t mind him staying in the same country as I’m in.  I think Americans should be able to hire him, rent or sell him shelter, and sell goods and services to him.  I think he should continue to pay taxes while he’s here.

            If he starts coercing or defrauding others, I think armed men acting on my authority and funded by my tax dollars should fine or arrest him pretty much like they would any citizen who did the same, and forcibly remove him from the country if the offense is grievous enough.  I’m also fine with denying a range of welfare benefits to him and his family.

          • IS he paying taxes?  and don’t dodge to gas taxes, and sales taxes please.  Is he paying into the IRS on April 15th?
            Many like him are in fact getting a credit by filing on taxes they never had to pay.  The IRS admitted it last year to a tune that, if I recall correctly netted the pipers some billions of tax dollars in credit refunds.

            This is not meant as an insult, I detect you’re, (considering the site….) a larger L libertarian than I am (I admit only to leanings, I still wander the desert looking for…something).
            I can’t fault you for the argument that you don’t mind as it’s consistent with that philosophy.   Untidy I suppose, these discoveries I make about me.  I’m not completely open to letting others wander into and out of my country without let or leave on the premise that it’s all free.  It’s not.

            I say that because they are infringing on the ‘governmental’ rights of people who, in the current ordered system as we largely understand it, have ‘payed their dues’ in one way or another (if no other than their parents, or grand parents, or great grand parents, went through the dreary process of doing it legally.    It’s enshrined that any man (now woman) can become President of all the peoples of the United States (arguments about the current occupant aside…) but they must be BORN a citizen.

            Why is it then that the founders would have placed such a restriction on the job that we are so fond of saying “any man” can achieve if they didn’t care about the concept of borders, and legal citizenship.  The ultimate office for any citizen in our country, restricted ONLY to natural born citizens (presumably this leaves all the c-section children in the lurch….wither Caesar! ;)   )

            Merely a question, I get that you aren’t bothered by the idea they come, and go perhaps, at their leisure, flouting some of our laws.
            Not exactly laws that are intended to have political purpose, but for the moment…a reality. 
            I would prefer our citizens practice civil disobedience to make the points about our laws, not interlopers with no skin in the game other than their ability to make a fast buck.

          • And for a note for the record, the only law I will admit that I WILL consciously break, is a limit to the 2nd Amendment, until such time as the Amendment is rescinded directly.    Marijuana law is an excellent example in this case, I fully support legalization of this item (or the recension of it’s illegal status as I prefer to think of it….it has not ALWAYS been illegal in this country).  However until such time as it IS made legal I will avoid it’s purchase, production or use, though I disagree with the laws.

            I try not to break any I KNOW of, yes, including speeding (damned costly), even the ones I disagree with.  If you’re going to break laws it ought not to be casual, and it ought to be done with a purpose.  I can’t think of a better one that restrictions or attempted recension of my 2nd Amendment rights.

            You will understand then, why I disagree with the idea people ought to wander in and break our laws, even if that’s not their specific goal.  They ARE aware they are behaving illegally, in addition to knowing they are trying to make a buck.  I can successfully make the argument that so are the people selling crack cocaine and running meth labs.

            We have a system for changing the laws, we have it for a reason, it sometimes appears to be based on whims, I know, but the foundations are solid.

          • I actually don’t know if Vargas is paying full taxes, though I’d bet heavily that his employers (being prominent aboveboard organizations) were withholding income and payroll taxes from his paycheck.  If he’s not paying the full suite of taxes, then I agree he should.  I want their skin in the game.

            I’m not insulted by anything you said, but for the record I’m a fairly small-L libertarian, and I’ve consulted only for Republican candidates (except for one Conservative Party candidate, against a RINO).

          • Shoot man, I’m going to have to reduce the font size on MY L again if you’re small “L”   :)

            I don’t mind if these people become citizens Bryan, I just want them to follow the rules to do it.   I can’t tell you how it sometimes literlly chokes me up when someone who worked their asses off, and I appreciate a lot of these illegals really DO work their asses off, but when someone followed the rules, worked their assess off and steps up to the bar to tell others what a great opportunity America is, and what a privilege it is to be a citizen, and how it’s way way better than the sink holes they came from and how they’re PROUD to be a citizen.

            I can get behind these people.  I want their good parts, I want them to blend in, bring themselves, bring their ideas, their love.  I want them to leave their old countries behind just like my grandparents did to the point where you might guess they came from south of the border because of their pigment, but their kids sound like they came from Kansas City.  I never forget we’re a nation entirely composed of immigrants (the Natives having little nations of their own within our borders as they do…)

            I ain’t got much time for foreigners who come to my country by way of a tunnel and let me know in no uncertain terms that if the first right wind blew they think they could take it back and restore it to the glory that never was Mexico.

             

        • I don’t mind if these people become citizens Bryan, I just want them to follow the rules to do it.

          Well, how do you know the current rules aren’t so prohibitive and byzantine that they’re keeping out a lot of the kind of people you’d like to have in the US?  Is there any good reason to believe that the current seven-year process is ideal for maximizing immigrants with the attributes you appreciate?

          • As I work with, and have worked with over the last 30 years, some fairly respectable ‘foreigners’, all of whom went through the necessaries to become citizens, I don’t see the problem.  I’ve talked with them, asked about the process, they don’t much care for this fast path, snuck in the back door stuff.  It doesn’t help I tell them now they should have waded across the Rio Grande instead of bothering themselves with the paperwork.
            As my grandparents did it as well, again, I don’t see the problem.   It shouldn’t be taken lightly, giving up your citizenship to your homeland and taking on a new allegiance.  It’s not casual, it’s not just to make a buck.  A great many of the Irish, my background, came, and stayed, a large number came, worked, and ultimately went home.  Whatever the paperwork was at the time, most of them did it according to the studies I’ve read, whether that meant a longer process, or joining the cavalry to preserve the Onion and getting their asses shot off as pay.

            What makes these teaming masses different from Europeans Bryan?   Because they can walk across at low water instead of having to take a boat?  Because our southern border was long nothing more than a wet line in the sand?   Someone took it seriously, we fought over the damn thing, and paid a, at the time, hefty price for land that hadn’t exactly proved to be much more than desert inhabited by Indian tribes that the other Indians thought were whack jobs (except California of course….)

            I remain unpersuaded by financial arguments.  I remain unpersuaded by the Libertarian view that we should sorta do no harm and otherwise do our own thing.   That view requires pretty much the same human rewire that successful communism will take.  Different set of values at the end, but the rewire is analogous.   I like the concept, but it’s not workable until we re-wire people because we’re pains in the asses by nature.  We’re always about 2 bored meals away from flinging poo at the other monkeys in the neighborhood just for the entertainment value.

            I don’t fault the Mexicans for being proud of Mexico, I’m proud to be an ‘American’ where the term is perhaps arrogantly assumed to mean citizen of the United States.  Why would I fault them for being proud of Mexico?   I get that part.  I don’t want them to be proud of Mexico here in the US because they can’t make it, for whatever financial reasons, back home.  They figure they’ll just sort of all come north, collect a paycheck, flout more than just our border crossing laws in the process, use our infrastructure, and all illegally, knowingly, consciously and arrogantly enough that now that they have force of numbers they are DEMANDING it.

            Generally when you park 10 million of your people in someone else’s country, you come armed.   Numbers have their own special strength, armed or not.  You feel comfortable that all of them are here just to make a buck?

            If people can believe that Obama’s principles are based on Cloward-Piven, why should I believe less that a number of these people are here to work, sort of, within the system to overload it to achieve Aztlan? Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna’s revenge, and all that.  There are more illegal Mexican nationals in this country than there are citizens of any given one state of the lower 48 states.

            What would happen if they all, say, moved to….Delaware… to work and make a buck?  (purely hypothetical  I know, silly even  :) )
            but it goes back to my point about the numbers.  Too big to ignore, too big to hand wave aside.   Too damn many to just say, well, you’re here, we can’t kick you out, the beer’s in the fridge, leave me some room on the couch will ya?

             

          • And note…we paid the price for the land even though we were sitting, armed, occupying, THEIR capital, and pretty much in a position to do as we freaking well pleased.  We didn’t HAVE to pay them, we could have told them that was how it was going to go and they could lump it.

            Knowing with hindsight what has changed over about 170 years, I’m hardly surprised they think we grossly underpaid them for the property we acquired by traditional right of conquest.

            A messy little war that.

          • So you’ve talked to some of the people who went through the naturalization process.  So have I.  Have you talked to any of the people who went through the paperwork hell and were rejected for ridiculous, bureaucratically opaque, reasons?  The process has become ridiculously more complex since your ancestors arrived.

            Speaking of Europeans, all the same arguments were made against them that are being made against Hispanics today.  Natives panicked about Germans in St. Louis going to German-language schools, said those Catholics and Eastern Europeans would never assimilate and that they lacked American values.  We’ve had our panics in the past about ethnic fifth columns in wartime, and it’s always embarrassing how overblown that stuff was in hindsight.

            “Generally when you park 10 million of your people in someone else’s country, you come armed.”

            When who parks 10 million people?  There’s no centralized authority sending Mexicans and Cubans and Hondurans and Guatemalans and Argentinians (and Chinese, etc.) up to America.  Those people aren’t trained to fight, they’re mostly politically inactive, they don’t commit all that much crime, and they pretty much all come here on their own initiative to do jobs serving native-born Americans.  So yes, I feel comfortable with many of them being here to prosper.

            “There are more illegal Mexican nationals in this country than there are citizens of any given one state of the lower 48 states.”

            Uh, no… you should stop trusting whoever told you that stat.  California has 38 million people.  Even if all the illegal immigrants from all countries combined were “parked” in that state, it wouldn’t be a third of that population.

            Finally, nobody alive today has any memory of the Mexican-American War.  The price paid for the Southwest is a sunk cost and basically irrelevant to policy going forward.  As for what’s good for us living human beings of today and tomorrow, it’s not that big a deal for somebody to use infrastructure built by various American governments to do business with consenting Americans; if they pay any usage fees (like gas taxes to use our roads), then not only are there the considerable net gains from trade for native-born Americans, but the externalities are taken care of too.

          • Yes.  It’s not always sane, I understand.   It’s pencil pushing 9 to 5er’s, we both know how this happens.  Classic example for you, hard to top….my nephew, works for ICE, married a Mexican national he met in El Centro, have a son, early on, HE managed to screw up the paper work and for 6 months HIS wife and HIS son couldn’t get back in.  Fortunately enough her family is from the other side of the line, right there.
            If I’m lying I’m dyin.

            Older immigrants, the Irish weren’t ‘white’, the Germans didn’t speak english, entire towns in the middle of the country had signage nur auf deutsche, printed papers in German.  Eventually without a constant flow to reinforce it, it stops.  Is that what amnesty for 10 million MORE illegals will do?  Did it work when Reagan did it?  The promise to crack down on the border, the promise to crack down on hiring?  How did that movie end?  Happily ever after, hardly.  What are we going to title this version, “La Migra la segunde parte, This time, the gringos mean it!

            And no, it’s not a concerted effort, a planned effort, by the government of Mexico, I don’t pretend it is.   But what happens when you look around you and realize you outnumber the natives?   Ask the Mexicans who used to own Texas and California how that ended up working for them.  They recognized the problem pretty quickly and tried desperately to put a stop to it before the end result, what you see today, occurred.  And they failed.  You don’t think it can go the other way?  The world has changed so much?  People have changed so much?  There’s not a broken link with Mexico here, it’s reinforced, daily, in rotation even.  What we’re talking about does nothing to discourage that, and nothing to encourage assimilation.    My Pollyanna side hope is a bunch of these people will go home and say “wow, you know what they do in the US?  We could do that here!”.   But let’s get real.
             

          • No dude, no GRINGO’s remember we fought a war with Mexico, their sharper ones, they haven’t forgotten, we own half their country as a result, and it’s turned out to be damned nice to live in.  They kinda like what we’ve done with the place.

    • “95% are here purely and completely for the money”

      Exactly. Why they need a pathway to citizenship is beyond me. There is an alternative, though I don’t expect it to get much support from Democrats; resident alien. If you want to become a citizen, prove it by obeying the law and coming here legally.

      • No no, too much trouble that.  Much easier to swift across the border in the dead of night, move in with previous border shifters and do the jobs Americans “won’t do” for a paycheck that American’s can’t afford to make.

  • Immigration, not exactly pulled out of the non-substantive ether, to discuss the applications of government force.
    Obvious?  messy?   making the point about force and bringing a horror picture to the mind of anyone with half a percent of affection for the 4th Amendment?
    I doubt anyone here would favor a massive incursion house to house like we were clearing Fallujah to ’round up’ our wayward border crossers.  If you let Janet Reno run it, perhaps she’ll just work out a way to set fire to all of them in the process so we can save bus fare.  No, who the hell wants to see them rounded up like Elian Gonzales for Gawd’s sake?

    But the implication you came up with is there isn’t really a good alternative for a round up, at least that was my reading…..Perception is reality as we used to say.  Was this part really about the poll?

    Course you don’t have to be shy…if you like the idea of amnesty, just say so.  The picture you painted is nothing but gloomy in regards to either making them leave, or stopping them from getting in.  And no, certainly it ain’t gonna be free, and it is NEVER going to be pretty, and I’m damn sorry some relatively innocent, but illegal, people might be scammed or harmed in the process.
    My harm, your harm, is financial, and cultural, and long term, and hard to see, but perhaps better we should risk that than a current short term flashy news story on the various evils of coerced (by whatever means) deportation or forceful interdiction.   My watching my culture vanish under a slew of Spanish New World cast away cultures isn’t as fast, or attention grabbing.

    Better the long term harm to our country as we allow the millions of illegals to take up residence and bring along all those marvelous third world behavior patterns that make their own homelands such swell places that they are fleeing them.  I yearn to live in a state where I can’t tell if I’m living in the US or Mexico by the flags being waved and the languages being spoken.   Why I’ve finally even gotten used to being unable to read billboards in my native land!  It’s swell.  And of course I eagerly embrace the taxation I will undergo to assist them in their new land.  And I await the,…next round… of amnesty that will occur when the next 10 million finally trigger the weight limit on the illegal hopper that dumps them all into the citizenship fast path machine.

    One way or another, I’m going to pay, you’re going to pay.  I would rather pay to attempt to preserve some semblance of the country I grew up in rather than pay to allow it to become some third world annex for any geographically connected country that can’t solve it’s own civilization problems.

    If you don’t try SOME way to, as Voltaire said “encourager les autres”, they’re not going to stop sneaking in.  That IS going to have to be some form of force.   Get used to the idea, or just be about it efficiently and set up a bus service to Mexico city to avoid having them wander dangerously across our border on their quest for ‘illegal’ freedom of our land.


    Marijuana, well, you don’t seem to have a feeling on it….you stuck with the polling for that arguments for that.

    Notice a difference in what people picked to respond to?  :)

    Well, it IS a discussion, where would the fun be if you posted it and no one said anything?

  • Another note….interesting…

    I get a graph on marijuana, and a photo of, presumably, a loving and now being separated family for dealing with illegal immigration.

    Just….saying…..

    • I think this post should be retitled. Perhaps something like “Speaking Not of Plainly About, Tangentially, Force.

  • speaking plainly you could also ask “would you accept a pay cut to keep your job if an illegal immigrant offered to do it for less than you were currently being paid?”

    • Ouch…but the heart of the libertarian system is it not?  I mean, if they’ll do business cheaper than you and that’s amenable to the buyer…and they didn’t physically HARM you in the process.   As the mobster’s always say “nutin poisonal, it’s just bidness”

      I suspect the discussion here isn’t taking place between people who are suddenly going to be low ball bid by illegals any time soon.
      Hence, the comfort level with the financial argument that it’s all really kinda okay.   “Not my ox being gored” and all that.

      One way or another, legal citizens somewhere ARE paying the price, every day.

       

      • “One way or another, legal citizens somewhere ARE paying the price, every day.”

        Amen. But it’s mostly the proles, so it isn’t important.

    • You could, but if you used any mainstream estimate of the actual pay cut from immigration, it’d be a small matter that could easily be covered by a surtax or tariff on immigrants.

      Even mainstream academic critics of immigration like George Borjas find no long-term effect on overall wages from immigration.  For one group, high-school dropouts, he found that the total (not annual) long-run effect of 20 years of immigration was a 4.8% decrease in wages.  87% of Americans over the age of 25 are high school graduates, so it wouldn’t be all that hard to compensate the dropouts even if the 4.8% drop was the whole story.

      But it’s not.  This estimate didn’t take into account that when a lot of people with poor language skills enter the labor market, people with relatively better language skills (like native English speakers) start switching to less physical and more language-intensive jobs, so that the negative 4.8% effect ends up at -1.2%, or -0.3%, or +0.9%, according to a few different studies.

      And I haven’t even covered the effects of immigration on more educated people, or increasing returns to capital, or the benefits for Americans who own real estate, all of which (it stands to reason) increase the tax base that pays for all the infrastructure and police and health care and such.

      • “long-run effect of 20 years of immigration was a 4.8% decrease in wages.”

        For those that are fortunate enough to have jobs.

        So you want to establish a complicated program to enforce probably unconstitutional discriminatory taxation on one group and a new welfare scheme on another group. I know, we need to enlarge government in order to downsize it.

        ” This estimate didn’t take into account that when a lot of people with poor language skills enter the labor market, people with relatively better language skills (like native English speakers) start switching to less physical and more language-intensive jobs,”

        Perhaps you should familiarize yourself with that segment of the labor market. And where are these jobs they will switch to? Is this some kind of domino theory thing, where eventually everyone slides up to the 1%?

        • I don’t see why a fee or tariff couldn’t be structured to avoid any constitutional challenge; do you have any specific reason to believe such a thing would be impossible, or does it just sound wrong to you?

          The “welfare scheme,” insofar as it’s actually necessary to compensate the native poor, could be as simple as a tax cut, like expanding the EITC.

          Empirically, when physical skills become more plentiful relative to demand and language skills more scarce, specialization based on language skills does happen.  I already sent you a link that mentions this.  If you think you know the low-skill labor market better than economists like Giovanni Peri at NBER and UC Davis, feel free to present your evidence.

  • Love these Pick posts. It’s good to change it up sometimes. Most posts that get this many hits in it usually feature Erb lol
    That said, I disagree with him on this. My beef is that amnesty will add how many millions to the rolls, and we can’t afford it. More to the point, it’s adding millions more to the free sh*t coalition – the vast majority of these people will be takers – and we can’t have it. And I’m pretty sure that all high minded arguments and semantics aside, those are two points that cannot be rebutted (but I’d be open to listening)

    • Does make me think sometimes.  Novel.

    • Would you be cool with expanding immigration if those immigrants and their families had some mix of higher taxes/fees on them and reduced access to state benefits, so that the revenues came out ahead?  Because we could work that into legislation, it would be constitutional, and it wouldn’t be amnesty.

      • In theory, possibly so. In real life though, there’s no way it would ever pass. I can already hear Clinton and Pelosi screeching about second-class citizens etc etc.

      • I don’t mind them coming, I can’t reinforce that enough, I don’t object to their wanting to be citizens, I’ll take my chances that our crazy system will rub off on them once they’ve bought INTO the system.

        My objection is breaking the law, it’s not a meaningless pointless law to protect our borders and to control the influx.

      • But I stress, it has to be more than about the almighty dollar to me.

    • “Most posts that get this many hits in it usually feature Erb lol”

      True, but I actually think Erp is smarter. Hard to believe, I know.

  • Here’s the trick I think – citizenship isn’t about making a buck, that’s the first thing that comes to mind.   So if you want to talk worker program that’s a different story than amnesty, completely. We’re trying to solve the same problem, but to draw a dramatic analogy you have to admit while both means of solving a transportation problem, swimming isn’t flying.

    Smarter people than me think that encouraging self deportation by making it less lucrative to be here is probably a preferable approach to a porous border that, if we ARE enforcing, we’re clearly doing wrong, and reason to come in and set up shop.  So, do that by, frankly and honestly, whacking the hell out of people who HIRE illegals.  Dry up that corner of the job market for that.  Make hiring them prohibitive.  I know I’d rather see that than untidy round ups, I don’t want the government getting good and efficient at mass round ups….and I wouldn’t mind punishing people who profit from under the table labor on a large scale, yes, even if it changes MY prices.

    On the issue of laws broken, they flout more than our immigration laws, they flout our occupancy regulations, and vehicle capacity laws, leading to some absolutely horrendous and tragic accidents.  Truck drivers that aren’t CDL trained, bus drivers that aren’t legal, vehicles that don’t pass muster, driving without insurance, lowe accountability for misbehavior, gypsy existence that allows them to cut their stakes and grease their brogs for other parts less ‘hot’, and a network that readily permits it.   Then there’s the level of wolf that preys on these sheep, you don’t think they might branch out into preying on OUR citizens and legitimate businesses?

    And that troubles me – we’re bandying about the idea that lucrative work and profit is license to disregard laws – so, how does that teach the new arrivals that our country is any different than laying that $100.00 bill out on your driver’s license when you hand it over to the Federales who stopped you so they could get some money for lunch?   The Mexicans and people south of our borders in general are intimately familiar with many of the finer aspects of ready cash making the government look the other way.  How is what we’re teaching them any different?   American children grow up with this silly idea about laws and justice and all that stuff, many people south of us grow up knowing if you put cash in the right hands, a lot of laws seem to be far more flexible or even cease to exist until tomorrow or next week maybe.

    I’m not trying to tell you that doesn’t happen here, I’m pointing out that culturally we don’t teach our children through action that it’s the way one does business or enforces law.  We try and teach them different, enough believe in it to be horrified when they find out it’s not so, they even get angry about it sometimes and demand enforcement or change of laws.

    What happens when these assimilated children number in force to reasonably expect that government enforcement really IS done that way, that rich business or political party can buy exemption from laws, that they can be enforced at whim, or not, depending?  Perhaps we do pretend to ourselves that it’s otherwise here.   Would you prefer if we just stopped even bothering to teach the pretense and adopted the corrupt systems of government that look like ours on paper but function on the order of theirs because…that’s how it is jeffe, but it’s all good, because the cash is flowing, you know, and “no one is really harmed”.  So we can achieve the full status of Banana Republic?  You don’t think they’re learning that our system sounds good, but practical experience shows corruption works?

     

  • Oooh, you naughty boy. Don’t you know talking about social and cultural effects of massive immigration are not talked about in polite (or correct) society? That’s why the only answer you will get to those kinds of questions, if you get one at all, is something like “Societies throughout the ages have managed to cope……blah, blah…you bigoted teaparty wingnut”.

    You see, plain and concrete talk about the realities of mass illegal immigration does not include such frippery as social costs and things like increased welfare and healthcare costs.