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The Battle of the Borders
Posted by: McQ on Monday, March 27, 2006

Arnold King has a piece out on TCS which is a good distillation of the issues concerning our borders. And as I've been saying for quite some time (as have many others), it is this subject which will decide the '08 election in my opinion.

But to Kling:
Many people are eager to fight the Battle of the Borders. The idea is to prevent illegal immigration. In addition, what I might call the "new xenophobia" is eager to fight the Battle over Outsourcing and the Battle over Foreign Ownership. In my view, all of these battles represent misplaced priorities.

I believe that illegal immigrants bring relatively little economic benefit and cause relatively little economic harm. I believe that there are substitutes readily available for the work done by illegal immigrants. Legal residents could do some of the work. Other labor could be replaced by capital or by alternative production techniques. By the same token, because there are many substitutes available for unskilled labor, the salvation of American workers does not lie in immigration restrictions.

My prediction is that effective restrictions on illegal immigration would cause a shift in the location of unskilled labor, but not a meaningful long-term change in real wages. In the short run, wages for unskilled labor would rise in the United States. This would cause more manufacturing plants to relocate outside the United States, driving wages back down. Compared with the situation today, the net effect of immigration restrictions would be to shift some Mexican workers out of service work in America and into manufacturing work in Mexico. Within the United States, the reverse would happen: legal residents would lose manufacturing jobs more rapidly, and hang onto low-wage service jobs longer. I do not think that these economic effects are important.
I essentially agree with him when he says illegal immigrants bring little economic benefit. Most of what they earn goes home, to Mexico. I disagree with his assertion that they do little economic harm. The economic harm they do isn't just in the realm of jobs and wages. It is through the use of benefits and services for which they don't pay. And while these costs may not be that high on average and in relative terms, they've been absolutely crippling in some of the border areas of the US, especially in education and health care costs.

There are certainly many alternatives to the use of illegals in business. Right now, however, there is no incentive to develop or utilize them. Remember Robert Samuelson's illustration of the plight of the California tomato growers in the '60s who claimed that they'd be out of business if migrant workers were banned. Migrant workers were banned and technology, as an alternative, saved the day. But until they were forced to do so by the unavailability of cheap labor, there was no incentive to develop and use technology.

Lastly, I have to mostly agree with his point about an actual benefit to be seen by removing illegals. Manufacturing may indeed thin out some more and relocate in other countries. We've survived that before. As long as our productivity remains the highest or among the highest in the world, we'll retain some sort of manufacturing base. But the other side of that is marginal manufacturing operations may relocate to countries such as Mexico which would make staying home a viable choice for many Mexican workers. And as the business which support the expanding manufacturing base grow, more and more will stay home. To me that's a net positive.

Kling also addresses outsourcing (short version: tempest in a teapot) and foreign ownership.
The Dubai Port Controversy came and went so quickly that I made no contribution to the discussion. However, I would have been in favor of allowing the Dubai-based company to manage ports located on our shores.

More generally, economists on the left have fanned the flames of the new xenophobia by arguing that when people or governments in other countries invest heavily in American assets, this poses a danger to Americans. However, as I have tried to point out (and as George Mason economist Don Boudreaux keeps trying to explain), investment in productive assets in America is a good thing. We should not fret that we are piling up overseas debts. Rather, we should rejoice that we are piling up capital that raises our productivity.
On our Sunday podcast, Jon Henke discussed the positive aspects of "economic interconnectivity", saying the more the better. The more economic activity and connectivity we share with other countries, the less likely we are to see political action which may jeopardize those connections.

With Dubai we missed an opportunity to extend that theory.

Kling then discusses what he considers to be battles worth fighting. He says that perfect security along the borders would provide false security.
A strong border would provide, at best, a false sense of security. We could have a perfect fence along the border with Mexico and still suffer a major terror attack, even from legal citizens.

I am not saying that the security benefit of a fence would be zero. However, the benefit would be very low, and a reasonable guess is that the benefit would be far below the "opportunity cost" of deploying those resources on other security measures.
He's right, of course. Even a perfect fence (of which I'm not a fan) wouldn't promise perfect security. It is simply one of many ways to enter this country. However, it is an area which needs much improvement in terms of surveillance and stopping the flow of illegals at the level we now see them crossing the border. Such an improvement in those terms only aids in developing the security necessary along the borders to catch terrorist infiltrators who choose that venue to enter the US.
Higher priority should be attached to getting surveillance policy right. In my view, databases and statistical profiling (which ought to rely on characteristics more precise and specific than race or religion) are critical. This issue, which also is controversial, has much more significance for our ability to prevent terrorist attacks.
Again, he's right, but he's now battling an established culture which, on the whole, has rejected that approach and which would find itself at odds with such a proposal. So while I agree with his higher priority and even his approach, I have to wonder at the possiblity of it really coming to fruition.
The other major battle is the battle for hearts and minds in the Muslim world. My impression is that most Muslims are unwilling to commit themselves, either to moderation or to militancy. As long as militants are strong and occasionally successful, they will attract recruits and succeed at intimidating moderates. In order for moderation to have any chance, we need to inflict crushing defeats on the militants. We have to liquidate terrorist cells, overthrow pro-terrorist regimes (primarily Iran's), and stand up to Muslim threats to the values of liberty, including freedom of speech and women's rights.
This is a very hawkish approach that puts all the onus on us. In fact, the onus ought to be on muslims. However with no real heirarchy to which we can appeal, it's an incredibly difficult change to work. The approach Kling discusses may be the only approach left to us toward bringing about the committment he feels is necessary from the majority of muslims in order to defeat the radical portion of the Islam. If they won't commit on their own, Kling is arguing we have to push them in that direction.

Politically, at least in today's atmosphere, I don't think that approach has a chance. My guess is that sort of a campaign would not only be extraordinarily difficult (and unpopular domestically), but most likely misunderstood by the majority of muslims as a war on Islam (which is precisely how it is now being framed by the radicals). While it might be satisfying to many in the West, I'm not sure this approach would end up winning the hearts and minds of the muslim world which Kling sets as a high priority.

Kling concludes:
The Battle of the Borders is a distraction. In the context of an existential threat coming from militant Islam, Mexicans and other Hispanics seeking better opportunity in the United States are, at worst, a minor nuisance.
I disagree. While the threat from militant Islam is real and important, it doesn't just take place at the borders. But denying the necessity of improved border security, which may, by the way, significantly hamper the flow of illegals into this country, as not that imporant ignores a basic rule of combat. Enemies probe and exploit weak areas.

Secondly, the battle over the borders for security is different than the battle of borders over illegal immigration. I acknowledge we're looking for two different sets of people. But in both cases we're attempting to prevent entry. That makes the measures taken similar.

I can sympathize with Kling's point that one group is attempting to penetrate our security to do us harm while the other is pursuing an opportunity to make their life better. That's obviously true. But it has nothing to do with the results of their presense. It can also be argued that both groups do us harm, although the threat from the terrorist group is much more significant than that from the illegal immigrant group. While Kling may find illegals to be more of a nuisance than a problem and less of an impact economically than others may believe, there are Americans living in the border areas who's lives have been significantly impacted by the flow of illegals into their area both economically and culturally and who no longer feel as secure, safe or well-off as they once were.

One last point: as long as terrorist groups have the ability to infiltrate our nation through our borders, border security has to be given the highest priority. That means no one is allowed to slip in, regardless of their positive intentions.
 
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The more economic activity and connectivity we share with other countries, the less likely we are to see political action which may jeopardize those connections.
Umm, yeah. That argument was trotted out in the years prior to 1914 to show that large scale wars just weren’t going to happen any more.

Funny how that worked out.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
That argument was trotted out in the years prior to 1914 to show that large scale wars just weren’t going to happen any more.
I don’t think anyone would argue they "won’t" happen. It instead suggests they may be less likely to happen. I don’t see any problem with that premise.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Mark, you do not have the first clue what you are talking about. Have you ever actually read Norman Angell’s The Great Illusion? (Could you actually have put a name to that strawman you’re kicking around without me telling you?) I’m going to go out on a very short, sturdy limb and say the answer is "hell no", because if you had you’d have known that he made no such argument. The argument is that economic interconnectivity combined with the industrialization of warfare makes war between states futile. Both the winners and losers end up economically off than they started. And the tragic history of the early 20th century, far as could be from disproving Angell’s thesis, is frankly the ultimate vindication of it.

The trick lies in making people (especially governments) percieve the self-harming futility of fighting the growing interdependence. Thankfully we have plenty of historical evidence, though unfortunately certain people seem to have an unfortunate reluctance to learn from it.
 
Written By: Matt McIntosh
URL: http://catallarchy.net/blog/
The argument is that economic interconnectivity combined with the industrialization of warfare makes war between states futile. Both the winners and losers end up economically off than they started. And the tragic history of the early 20th century, far as could be from disproving Angell’s thesis, is frankly the ultimate vindication of it.
Well if warfare were about ECONOMICS you’d have a darn good start on this, but since its an act of VIOLENCE I’m not so sure. And was either the First or the Second World War Futile for the US? Having made the US the Hegemon in the World System it has benfited the US... So don’t know about making war futile.

And don’t be so snarky in your answers. Argumentum ad hominen actually is ILLOGICAL, as it presents no case, but merely derides the presenter. Technically much of what you wrote was FUTILE as it didn’t address the points raised by the previous writer, you merely insult him/her.

Certainly, in the history classes I took, it was bruited about that European intellectuals posited only short wars as economic interdependence made long wars "impossible" and certainly Cobden and the Manchester School of Economics believed Free Trade would end war, unless Waltz got in wrong in Man, State and War.

In short your summary response has serious technical and substantive short-comings, as well.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Whoops, that should be "winners and losers end up worse off than they started."

As to the original post:
The economic harm they do isn’t just in the realm of jobs and wages. It is through the use of benefits and services for which they don’t pay.
I see this asserted a lot, but is it actually true? A lot of illegals actually do end up paying income taxes, but (and this is the important part) most of them end up moving back to Mexico once they’ve made some money. You’d need to show that 1) what Mexican illegals pay as a group is significantly less than the average American in the same income bracket and that they take up at least as much welfare state resources as citizens do over the course of their lives. The fact that the majority of them don’t retire in the US to collect SS and Medicare is a huge factor suggesting to me that this is not the case.

My impression is that the ratio of what they pay in as a group compared to what they take out is probably not very different from the average American citizen in the lower couple of income quartiles, and that Kling is absolutely right that on net they probably do very little harm. But in any case this is not nearly as clear cut as you make it out to be.
 
Written By: Matt McIntosh
URL: http://catallarchy.net/blog/
Joe,

1. Fighting war isn’t futile, starting war is futile.

2. Yes, Waltz got it wrong, as with so many things. The Cobdenites and suchlike may or may not have been overoptimitic concerning people’s ability to understand basic economics, but I don’t think you’ll find a reference to anyone who seriously argued that major war could not happen again. As Bruce says, they argued that it would tend to discourage war, all other things being equal.

3. There was no ad hominem. Please learn what these words mean before you throw them around and hurt yourself. Ad hom is comitted when someone doubts or rejects a deduction based on the source. Saying Mark has no clue what he’s talking about is not ad hominem; it’s a statement based on evidence that he is hacking at a straw man, one which I’ve seen trotted out plenty of times. In order for it to be an ad hominem I would have to say something like "you a fool, therefore your argument is invalid" — except he didn’t actually make an argument, he made a historically innacurate statement, which I refuted on its factual merits. Here endeth the lesson.
 
Written By: Matt McIntosh
URL: http://catallarchy.net/blog/
Actually my point (1) above is wrong, it requires nuance: starting war between major powers is futile, but given the radical modern assymetries between a superpower like the US and small countries like Iraq, war can indeed be worth cost/benefit analysis because the wars are so easy to win.
 
Written By: Matt McIntosh
URL: http://catallarchy.net/blog/
...most of them end up moving back to Mexico once they’ve made some money.
That trend is changing now that "guest worker" programs and amnesty is being discussed. There is a belief that presence in this country will be important for either program. There is also a trend to conceive and deliver "anchor babies" which receive automatic citizenship and give the parents a claim to residency as well.
My impression is that the ratio of what they pay in as a group compared to what they take out is probably not very different from the average American citizen in the lower couple of income quartiles, and that Kling is absolutely right that on net they probably do very little harm. But in any case this is not nearly as clear cut as you make it out to be.
Samuelson claimed that on net we essentially imported poverty with illegal workers. Your claim that they’re not much different on average than the lower couple of quartiles of American citizens simply reenforces that claim. The bottom 50% pay a fraction of the income taxes (somewhere in the 5% range I believe) while consuming the bulk of the services cited.

11 million net service consumers do not constitute "little harm", even in relative terms. So I maintain my disagreement with Kling’s claim.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
No Matt you attacked your responder, that’s argumentum ad hominem...You’re a bright poster, now develop a little Humility and you’ll go far.

Illogical. If fighting them isn’t futile, ie., there are winners and losers, then starting them isn’t either. The party beginning the war maight emerge as a winner/system hegemon.
2. Yes, Waltz got it wrong, as with so many things. The Cobdenites and suchlike may or may not have been overoptimitic concerning people’s ability to understand basic economics, but I don’t think you’ll find a reference to anyone who seriously argued that major war could not happen again. As Bruce says, they argued that it would tend to discourage war, all other things being equal.
A little more evidence of Waltz "getting it wrong" please, actually I remember, I think, several quotes from Cobden in Waltz’s work that did make the assertion that Free Trade would bring Peace. Oh and I think that it IS safe to say that Cobden et. al were "over-optimistic".
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Do the illegals even care about this country outside of the money? When I see so many rallying with a MEXICAN flag, I have to wonder....and I wonder just what real damage having so many people who don’t owe this country even rudimentary allegience livng here does. Probably much more than you would think
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Bruce,

I’ll take your word for it on the changing trends, but I don’t think you understood my argument, which is probably my fault. If you’re willing to grant that in actuarial terms, the ratio of taxes paid to services taken for illegals as a group is no different than the ratio for the bottom 50% of Americans, then on net they can’t possibly be affecting the system much because the absolute amount that they both pay in and take out is significantly less than the average citizen in the bottom 50% (SS and Medicare making up the overwhelming bulk of that, which illegals very rarely end up collecting).

Also, Samuelson’s talk of "importing poverty" is classic example of rhetoric obscuring more than it illuminates. What’s actually going on is the reduction of poverty by allowing Mexicans to make money for themselves. The game is not zero-sum and in moral terms this is a net plus.

Joe,

No, you really don’t understand what ad homenim is: "An Ad Hominem is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument." Simply insulting someone, if that’s what you think I did, does not constitute an ad homenim.

If you notice, I’m perfectly capable of being humble and polite to people like Bruce when they’re not committing factual howlers, making transparently bogus arguments, or just generally spouting nonsense. Keep your arguments serious and we’ll get along just fine.
If fighting them isn’t futile, ie., there are winners and losers, then starting them isn’t either.
WTF? If Hitler attacks me it’s perfectly sensible for me to fight back, but that doesn’t make it a wise idea for him to attack me in the first place. History for the past 200 years has shown time and time again that even the putative winners in war end up economically worse off than they would have if they’d never started the war. Now granted there are what could be called "non-economic" reasons to fight a war (such as short-sighted, moronic nationalism), but the point is that if one is actually interested in one’s country prospering then starting war is futile.
actually I remember, I think, several quotes from Cobden in Waltz’s work that did make the assertion that Free Trade would bring Peace.
Then put your money where your mouth is. All the classical liberal economists agreed that trade would tend to encourage peace, but none of the important ones, so far as I know, ever said that it would absolutely guarentee it by itself. I’m willing to be wrong here, but you’ll have to do the work and show me.
 
Written By: Matt McIntosh
URL: http://catallarchy.net/blog/
Yes Matt in RETROSPECT it was foolish for Hitler to start his war, but that’s with hindsight... your statement shows it is logical to start a war, if it’s logical to fight one... it requries the correct weighing of evidence, but that is neither logical or not. So if it’s logical to fight it’s logical to start. In fact ahd Britain started the war in 1935 it might have been logical to not only fight but to start that war.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I’ll take your word for it on the changing trends, but I don’t think you understood my argument, which is probably my fault. If you’re willing to grant that in actuarial terms, the ratio of taxes paid to services taken for illegals as a group is no different than the ratio for the bottom 50% of Americans, then on net they can’t possibly be affecting the system much because the absolute amount that they both pay in and take out is significantly less than the average citizen in the bottom 50% (SS and Medicare making up the overwhelming bulk of that, which illegals very rarely end up collecting).
A) The vast majority of them don’t pay SS, so the fact they don’t collect it isn’t relevant. Every American who draws a check does (and that money goes to the general fund).

B) they don’t use Medicare, they use Medicaid and they use the services of emergency rooms at no cost to them. They also use state medicaid services (like here in GA its called "Peachcare").

C) they use educational services for their families without paying for them.

While they pay certain taxes (sales and fuel) they aren’t taxed for Medicare and Medicaid like all Americans who draw a paycheck are. And none of their pay is withheld based on their income. IOW, they are net consumers of service and infrastructure, much more so that low paid Americans.
Also, Samuelson’s talk of "importing poverty" is classic example of rhetoric obscuring more than it illuminates. What’s actually going on is the reduction of poverty by allowing Mexicans to make money for themselves. The game is not zero-sum and in moral terms this is a net plus.
That "net plus" can be accomplished in a different manner than it is now and not penalize others by making them pay for it. I pointed that out in the post:
Lastly, I have to mostly agree with his point about an actual benefit to be seen by removing illegals. Manufacturing may indeed thin out some more and relocate in other countries. We’ve survived that before. As long as our productivity remains the highest or among the highest in the world, we’ll retain some sort of manufacturing base. But the other side of that is marginal manufacturing operations may relocate to countries such as Mexico which would make staying home a viable choice for many Mexican workers. And as the business which support the expanding manufacturing base grow, more and more will stay home. To me that’s a net positive.
You don’t build a better Mexico in the US. You build it in Mexico. And one way to do that is outlined above and involves making Mexico doing the things necessary to provide a better standard of living vs. the citizens of the US paying for it.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Bruce,

There is no "paying into SS", there is only paying into the federal budget. All federal taxes go into the pool (despite what some people would like the public to think), so it’s largely pointless to partition off the taxes; just total paid in and total taken out matters.

I’m operating from the premise here, which I think is reasonable (though it would require empirical investigation) and which you seemed to at least be willing to grant for the sake of argument, that the taxes paid to services taken ratio for illegals as a group wasn’t very different from that of Americans in the bottom 50% as a group because they both pay less in and take less out over the course of their lives as a whole. This seems plausible to me because SS and Medicare make up such an overwhelmingly large portion of what the average American takes out of the system in his or her lifetime.)

My argument is that if this is true (which it may or may not be), then their economic effect on the system as a whole is not very significant as a simple matter of arithmetic. If it turns out to be false I’ll withdraw the argument, but at this point I don’t see anything conclusive.

As for your second point, I agree that the US should do what it can to encourage Mexico to develop. My point was just that Samuelson’s rhetoric about "importing poverty" was misleading.

I do have a question, though: would you be fine with a system where legal immigration was fairly easy and not very restricted (aside from basic screening for terrorists and criminals), but at a slightly higher level than total immigration is now? If so then we have no fundamental disagreement, since that’s what I would prefer. If not, why not? I’m just curious.
 
Written By: Matt McIntosh
URL: http://catallarchy.net/blog/
Sorry, I meant to add that illegal immigration was reduced to very low levels and replaced with the legal kind in my hypothetical above. What I’m getting at is whether it’s merely the "illegal" bit that you’re against or if the absolute number of immigrants mattered to you at all.
 
Written By: Matt McIntosh
URL: http://catallarchy.net/blog/
Enforce laws as existing to imprison 11 million offenders and their millions of American employers.

Or

Quasi-Legalise them in some form of Guest Worker program.

Or

Offer them amnesty.

Or

Do nothing.
 
Written By: Unaha-closp
URL: http://
It seems that the Minute Man project showed just what kind of solution is the most workable. Not more fences, not better databases, but more eyes for watching. The Minute Man members didn’t arrest or detain anybody, yet the flow of illegals slowed to a mere trickle in the areas where they were watching. The illegal border crossers deliberately stayed way from those areas.

More eyes on the border doesn’t solve the problem entirely, but it will go a lot further than other solutions. The more border that we watch, the less border there is for illegals to cross easily. When the crossing is more difficult, fewer will attempt it.
 
Written By: Doug Purdie
URL: http://www.onlybaseballmatters.com
Where is MKULTRA to tell us what racist bastages we are? Let me tell you, NOTHING is going to happen. No real reforms will be passed and the illegals will continue to non-assimilate. When we ask them in a few decades to help us pay for all the social security for the baby boomers they will revolt.
So kick back, relax, learn to speak Spainish, and have a corona. (or Dos Eqques)

Look on the bright side, at least we dont have to convert to Islam like the Euros will.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
There is no "paying into SS", there is only paying into the federal budget.
Uh, yeah, Matt, I understand that...but when you draw a paycheck, that deduction is for "Social Security", regardless of where it ends up. People paid in cash don’t have that deducted.
My argument is that if this is true (which it may or may not be), then their economic effect on the system as a whole is not very significant as a simple matter of arithmetic. If it turns out to be false I’ll withdraw the argument, but at this point I don’t see anything conclusive.
Again, if they draw a paycheck, they pay for SS and Medicare. Those are mandatory deductions. So at least some of the cost for future payment is paid up front.

Most illegals don’t draw a paycheck and thus don’t pay for either. However they use both the education system and the health care systems at no cost to them. They’re net consumers of services in most cases.
As for your second point, I agree that the US should do what it can to encourage Mexico to develop. My point was just that Samuelson’s rhetoric about "importing poverty" was misleading.
My point was I disagree that it’s misleading. And your point about where illegals fall in the quartiles (and I’d guess most are in the bottom quarter) seems to reinforce Samuelson’s point.

Poorer people have a tendency to use social services the most. As Samuelson points out:
Since 1980 the number of Hispanics with incomes below the government’s poverty line (about $19,300 in 2004 for a family of four) has risen 162 percent. Over the same period, the number of non-Hispanic whites in poverty rose 3 percent and the number of blacks, 9.5 percent.
The legal Hispanic population certainly isn’t responsible for those numbers.
Sorry, I meant to add that illegal immigration was reduced to very low levels and replaced with the legal kind in my hypothetical above. What I’m getting at is whether it’s merely the "illegal" bit that you’re against or if the absolute number of immigrants mattered to you at all.
It is illegal immigration I have a problem with and I’m very careful to make that distinction.

If immigrants are legal, then they are playing (and paying) by the same rules as everyone else. If the market will bear 11 million legal immigrants (or 15 million for that matter) I haven’t a problem in the world with it.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
First of all, we have reached this situation because
we haven’t been enforcing existing laws. We already have laws against hiring illeagals, guidlines to deport illeagals and enforcement agencies. What makes anybody think that by passing new laws that say pretty much what the old ones did will do anything to solve the problem. I will tell you this,
a decision has been made by the elites at the federal state and local level to radically transform America into a northern province of Mexico. The lower half of California has for all intents a purposes an outpost for Mexican infiltration. The same goes for parts of Arizona and New Mexico. If the flow of poorly educated low skilled migrants from Mexico continues what would America look like in 10, 20 or 30 years? It will balkanize America, we have seen from the protests
that these illeagals are demanding rights that that they are not entitled to. This can only lead to further balkinazation of the US. If current trends continue the US will be a majority Mexican descendant country by 2050 what is going to happen to the US if half of its citizens can’t speak english properly? These are very troubling times.

 
Written By: Radical Centrist
URL: http://
(note: I haven’t read through all the comments yet, and I’m in a hurry here, so if I’m repeating something or making little sense, my apologies)

I see a theme to the two sides of this, so I’ll see if we can lay it out on the table. It’s alternately claimed that illegal immigration has greater marginal cost or greater marginal benefit to society. If one accepts basic economic theory, it’s clear that lower-cost productivity increases the aggregate pie, but it’s equally possible that we pay for it in a roundabout way by subsidizing government services for that productivity. (which would not refute the idea that it "grows the pie"; it would merely address how it’s being paid for)

So, does anybody have any substantive academic research to indicate the answer to those questions? Is it a net positive or negative? If so, how much?

I know CATO has published stuff indicating that, when all is said and done, illegal immigrants actually contribute more in tax revenue than they take out — and Paul Krugman today said that research indicates there’s a small net economic positive. But I don’t know how objective that research is or what it accounts for.

So, can anybody settle it with objective, non-partisan cites?
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Where is MKULTRA to tell us what racist bastages we are? Let me tell you, NOTHING is going to happen. No real reforms will be passed and the illegals will continue to non-assimilate. When we ask them in a few decades to help us pay for all the social security for the baby boomers they will revolt.
Actually, as I have stated before many times, I am very anti-illegal immigration, probably more so than many wingers. For lots of reasons. Most of them have to do with my belief that illegal immigrants hurt the working poor the most in this country. This is not a left/right issue. It is not a race issue. (Illegal Mexican labor would probably be up in arms if 12 million Chinese were brought in to work for half of what they now make.) It is, as others have noted, a class issue. Those persons who are most in favor of allowing illegal immigrants in, or granting them some kind of status short of citizenship, like guest worker status, are those who are least directly threatened by competition from illegal immigration.

There are lots and lots and lots of people out there who share my point of view. The problem is that they don’t tend to be organized politically. (If they are organized politically, it is usually along religious/socio-cultural lines, not class lines.)

The smart move on the Dems part will be to do nothing at all. Let the anti-illegal immigrant half of the GOP battle it out with the Chamber of Commerce half. Indeed, if anything, it will be interesting to watch. That’s not to say that Dems won’t demagogue the issue. But there won’t be any meaningful movement on the issue.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
I know CATO has published stuff indicating that, when all is said and done, illegal immigrants actually contribute more in tax revenue than they take out — and Paul Krugman today said that research indicates there’s a small net economic positive. But I don’t know how objective that research is or what it accounts for
Is this the most important metric? Let’s say they do contribute more than they take out. But let’s say they also depress the average hourly wage of workers in the the lowest income quartlie? What then? Is that an argument for guest worker status? Or against it?

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
But let’s say they also depress the average hourly wage of workers in the the lowest income quartlie? What then?
The infusion of women into the labor pool in the past 50 years has also pushed down the buying power of labor — including among the poor. That’s an increased supply in a labor market does. Is that an argument for excluding women?

More to the point: if you’re concerned about poverty, why is your concern specific to the lowest US income earners? The illegal immigrants are also quite poor and working in the US goes a long way to solving that problem for them. Is this compassion for the poor a US-citizen specific sentiment? I didn’t take you for an economic nationalist.

I don’t really know what the best policy is. I haven’t made up my mind, though — natch — absent clear evidence of net negative externalities, I will tend towards preferring whatever policy means less intervention.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
:" starting war between major powers is futile"

"Yes Matt in RETROSPECT it was foolish for Hitler to start his war,"

I don’t know how you can determine absolutely if something is futile beforehand. As for Hitler being foolihs for starting a futile war, let us not forget that he was winning that futile war until he made some serious mistakes. Had he not made them, it is distinctly possible that he would have won. How futile would it have been then? And economics is irrelevant; his goals were not economic.

"it’s clear that lower-cost productivity increases the aggregate pie"

I disagree. Cheap nannies (remember "nannygate"?) and cheap lawn care for my neighbor don’t increase the aggregate pie. They may increase economic activity, but they contribute little if anything to the actual production of goods. And what productivity is increasing? Output/labor hr.? If so, output of what? Lawn clippings?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
xenophobia
Xenophobia??!? Pfft! Don’t be fooled; it’s about sovereignty.
 
Written By: coffee
URL: http://
More to the point: if you’re concerned about poverty, why is your concern specific to the lowest US income earners? The illegal immigrants are also quite poor and working in the US goes a long way to solving that problem for them. Is this compassion for the poor a US-citizen specific sentiment? I didn’t take you for an economic nationalist.
Yes. But not simply because I am concerned solely about American poor over the poot of other nations. Increasing the size of the labor pool leads to income stratification, i.e., the destruction of the middle class, which in turn leads to even more polarization, which in turn leads to civil strife, both between classes and within them. I see income and wage stratification as a threat to a society that has thrived because of the existence of a strong middle class. I have yet to hear a convincing argument that the introdcution of cheap immigrant labor is a good thing for the middle class. (Construction and meatpacking jobs are two good examples.) Sure they save a few cents on a head of lettuce - maybe - but they lose more when it comes to wages and taxes.
I don’t really know what the best policy is. I haven’t made up my mind, though — natch — absent clear evidence of net negative externalities, I will tend towards preferring whatever policy means less intervention.


By whom? The government? Then why not open the borders? That’s non-interventionist.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Illegal immigrants are essentially cutting in line. They are taking advantage of the physical proximity to the US and in the process displace other law abiding immigrants. They should wait for their turn like everyone else.
Minh-Duc, please continue to say it and say it louder than those illegals coming over.

My wife and all her family are US citizens of latin descent and they are absolutely against illegal aliens being here.

Note to politicians: don’t be fooled! VOTING US citizens of latin descent want you to uphold the sovereignty of the United States. Don’t listen to Bush as he cannot be re-elected but you can. However you will not be if you do not do the right thing: stop pandering to and kick the ILLEGALS out.
 
Written By: coffee
URL: http://
COFFEE I found that to be true living here in Houston. the latinos who are citizens are not in favor of more illegal immigration.
MKULTRA sorry I spoke too soon, you are right its not a left/right issue and you are further right to say nothing is going to be done about it.
I have no hope.
 
Written By: Kyle N
URL: http://
The issue is fairness. I am an immigrant. I waited two years in a miserable refugee camp before coming to the US.
Thank you Minh-Duc. I wish you nothing but success! And as coffee says, keep telling your story to any close enough to hear you.
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Minh-Duc,

Glad you made it. Being the husband of a former Canadian legal immigrant, I partially understand your frustration with line jumpers. However, I approach the problem from a different angle: make legal immigration less of a hassle.

It took three years, hundreds of dollars, and ridiculous amounts of time staring at the walls in an INS waiting room in San Antonio for her to be declared a legal resident. The byzantine and contradictory paperwork and the generally horrid customer service of the workers made it an even more unpleasant experience. In fact, our experience actually made me understand the impulse to line jump that much more.

Side note: I’m not one to bash government bureaucrats in general being one myself, but the INS folks were obtuse to a fault.
 
Written By: Jimmy
URL: http://

 
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