Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

More People = More Prosperity

Over at TCS Daily, Don Boudreaux punctures the argument that the United States can’t absorb any more immigrants.

Discussions - 37 Comments

Well, John, that’s quite the libertarian wet dream...’prove’ that tariffs are harmful while explaining away their benefits with an "open borders" argument. I always love it when college professors allow ideological blindness to override scientific rigor.

The problems with Bohanon and Van Cott’s argument are manifold. Here’s just the highlights:

1) Like all libertarians, these boys forget the social and political consequences of unlimited migration (you know, Hay Market Riots, muscled labor unionism, ethnic voting, incipient socialism, racial and ethnic strife). Little things like that.

2) Given that libertarians aren’t serious thinkers when it comes to politics and sociology, you’d think at least they’d get the economics right. But...ah, they don’t.

2a) Their whole argument depends on considering ’imported’ workers as just another form of import. No so...while these imported workers drive down wages (without doubt), they also spend their wages here, unlike other forms of imports where the capital goes over there. It’s called the multiplier effect...how could economists be this dumb. Imported labor competes with domestic labor, true, but it doesn’t eliminate your industrial base (like other imports do). Indeed, it boosts your industrialization.

2b) And why were all these people and all this investment coming into the United States. Far from mitigating the effects of tariffs, as these boys argue, the tariffs themselves were an important component of the migration and capital streams. We saw the same in the 1980s when Reagan threatened Japanese automakers...poof, we got American factories making Japanese cars (and of course we benefits much more with that arrangement).

3) Even more importantly, things really are different today. Our institutions insisted on assimilation in the past...not true today. Second, these raw immigrants were needed in our factories (encouraged by the tariffs). Where are the factories, John? What are supposed to do with all these millions of Mexican flag-waving immigrants when the Left radicalizes them in the second generation.

John, I’ll be honest, you make me angry. Libertarians are such mindless people, but I expect better from a college professor. Gee...I guess I’m funny that way.

Professor Boudreaux’s column is shallow stuff. I can’t see how it will convince anyone who isn’t already convinced. Uncontrolled immigration is a terrible problem, and looking at only the economic aspects, and only a few of them at that, is a complete waste of time.

You guys are reading too much into the article. There are many reasons to oppose illegal immigration, some of which overlap with reasons to restrict legal immigration. The article addresses only one of the overlapping reasons, our ability to absorb immigrants. the social and political consequences of unlimited migration are still very legitimate concerns and may, quite possibly, be definitive. the economics, the huge, bank rupturing, burden on the economy in taking in penniless immigrants is undeniable. Lack of assimilation is another very valid concern. Uncontrolled immigration is a terrible problem. The article does not deny that.

Now that I have defended the article, let me disagree with it. Anyone who says we have plenty of room to absorb more people, using, in part, the fact that we have more roads now, has never been in a Los Angeles traffic jam. Anyone who says we have more physicians now has never waited for hours in an emergency room. More teachers now? More students who can’t pass a high school exit exam now. 540 percent more police officers and 12 million criminals. Conquered most of the infectious diseases that were major killers in the past, only to have some of them rear their ugly heads again, brought in by illegal immigrants.

If I sound like a friggin’ lawyer, forgive me.

Uncle Guido, J.D.

Once again Dain has proven that in addition to being wrong he is also snide and vulgar.

niad (how clever) -- if by snide and vulgar you mean irritatingly CORRECT, I beg your pardon.

Like all libertarians...

libertarians aren’t serious thinkers..., you’d think at least they’d get the economics right. But...ah, they don’t....Their whole argument depends on.... Libertarians are such mindless people.

A person can take a perfectly winning argument and lose his audience by throwing in irrelevant opinions and straw men.

Dain, I really enjoy 90% of your comments. But...

For God’s sake man, my wife is a Libertarian. You take that back! Or I’ll... ... write something really nasty.

Well, OK, some libertarians are OK...some of the more open-minded ones who understand that the "market" really doesn’t solve all problems. If your wife is one of those, then I would except her from my comment. I’m not trying to pick a fight with everyone on that side of the debate...just the hardcore. After all, I wouldn’t want to offend my microscopic fan club :)

Now. If I can just get you to hold your nose and vote republican this fall....

By the way, comment # 6 was me in clever disguise.

Here’s a comment I like from another "mindless" libertarian.

I have to admit it--the revelation that I make Dain angry is the best news I’ve gotten all weekend.

Hmm...Robert Lawson...yet another college professor at another small university. His blog emotes, but it does not cogitate. Moreover, it puts every legitimate attempt at national protection (e.g., the Great Wall, Hadrian’s Wall, the Maginot Line, every farmer’s stone wall in Ireland) on the same moral plane with PRISONS. My God, I thought libertarians at least understood the concept of PROPERTY, and that sometimes it required protection.

As I’ve said before (maybe not here), Libertarians are radicals, not conservatives. They have as many non-viable concepts (e.g., the ascendency of the individual above all over concerns) as the Marxists, and they typically aren’t as smart as their leftist compatriots. If OUR movement can’t reeducate these folks then they must be purged...they are leading us into social cul de sacs (e.g., losing our manufacturing base, undercutting our cultural foundations by eviscerating legitimate governmental actions) from which we will not escape.

And John, if you enjoy making me angry then, by all means, proceed. Making you look like a dunderhead isn’t hard work...although a bit distasteful. I would much prefer discussing real conservative values and precepts.

If OUR movement can’t reeducate these folks then they must be purged

Da, comrade!

Mr. Stalin...don’t get so excited. By purged I simply meant "stop representing their point of view in policy statements." Hopefully they’ll go somewhere else. Gulags and firing squads I’ll leave to the radicals.

And I might add, "purge" is a perfectly fine English word that means simply "to push out." Only the Leftist media used "purge" as a euphemism for "murder." I of course meant it in its original (less violent) sense.

Funny how Libertarians use emotions like the Leftists to delegitimate their opponents.

Yeah, because only libertarians disagree with you and your bile. And you have NEVER used emotions to attack your opponents. Except, of course, in every comment you have written above. It’s funny how Dain always says something really crazy, and then blaims those spooky libertarians when someone points it out.

Actually, Dan, attacking libertarians is a rather new thing for me. I have only realized in the last few years how their philosophy plays into the hands of the Left.

And it’s true that I use emotions in my posting, but typically to shame people for ignoring evidence. Since emotion is all they seem to respond to (else they wouldn’t ignore history and other forms of evidence), I do use it. Absolutely...but not in the PC way that Mr. Stalin did. Liberals and Libertarians tend to use emotive words to gain moral highground...I use them to reassert reason (which I define as logic applied to empirical reality).

John Moser:

I read the blog comment you linked to and found it puzzling. Maybe you can answer this question, how much land around the border is government owned? It is my understanding that there is nothing special about borders, there is not some radical no-man’s land between the US and Mexico, just as there is not between a big city and its suburbs.

Assuming most land around the border is private, then it is obviously that illegal aliens are trespassing. I’ve read a few articles about ranches down there that have their water lines mangled, are robbed, and the people live in fear because of all the illegal immigrants that trespass onto their land.

How would you feel if you owned a piece of property, and everyday 100s of people walked through it vandelising various portions of it. This is illegal and wrong (and would seem to betray the property focused ethos of libertarianism). You ask the government to enforce its rule governing private property, land ownership, and it says it cannot because businesses need workers. Do you think you would accept this rationale? Do you think it is right that landowners along the borders have to accept trespassers, and the federal and state governments will do nothing to protect their land? It seems that your position asks landowners to bear a disproportionate cost to benefit the many....which does not seem to be a position that traditional libertarians would not endorse, but I might be wrong. Can you explain?

Maybe these land owners should bring a takings lawsuit against the federal government in order to try and shame it into action.

Well Dain. I have to agree with Dan on this one. I think I would trust the Libertarian ideas portrayed by Nobel Prize winning Economist Milton Friedman over your baseless rants.

So, Lincoln, I guess you agree with Professor Lawson that America (or any other nation, I guess) has sovereign right over its borders. How sad.

Go back to your sandbox...

Of course, I meant that Lawson suggests nations DON’T have sovereignty over their borders.

Fact:

Lincoln Hawk never said anything about borders. He was talking about believing Milton Friedman theories of economics over yours.

Fact:

Milton Friedman won a nobel Prize in Economics. Dain did not.

Fact:

F.A. Hayek also won a Nobel Prize and a Medal of Freedom (91). Again, Dain did not.

Fact:

These two books were best sellers.

Probable Fact:

Dain has never read these books so therefore thinks Howard Dean is smarter than both of them.

Assuming most land around the border is private, then it is obviously that illegal aliens are trespassing. I’ve read a few articles about ranches down there that have their water lines mangled, are robbed, and the people live in fear because of all the illegal immigrants that trespass onto their land.

This property issue is a red herring. It’s reminiscent of the arguments made by Prohibitionists in the 1920s--we need to crack down on alcohol because of all the organized crime it brings with it. Well, it wasn’t the alcohol that brought it, it was its illegality.

People from other countries want to come here. They’re willing to cross miles of barren desert, risking their lives, in order to do so. All the immigration laws in the world aren’t going to change that. And, in fact, I see this as a sign that we’re doing something right. Want to reduce illegal immigration? Want to protect the principle of private property? Liberalize the immigration laws. Tell people that as long as you don’t have a criminal record, you’re not on any "watch lists" as a suspected terrorist, and you’re not carrying any infectious diseases, you’re invited to cross the border legally, at official (publicly-owned) points along it. That’ll take care of 99 percent of the illegal immigration problem, and I have no problem with taking whatever security means are necessary to deal with the remaining 1 percent.

Sure, this won’t please those who worry about our volkische Kultur, but it’d be a lot more in line with our traditional ideals.

Factmaster...dain has forgotten more economics than you have ever learned. Guaranteed. Now here are some real facts:

1) We are arguing about far more than economics...my very first point in Comment 1

2) If there were a clear correlation between open borders and economic growth I’m sure the libertarians would quickly let us know. To my knowledge, no one has yet established that correlation.

3) And even if they could, they would also have to demonstrate that this positive effect of immigration would not be mitigated by 1) the higher birth rates of immigrants (fertility retards economic growth...it’s in the literature), 2) the negative economic influence of ethnic diversity (which HAS been established), 3) the higher costs of social services (again, established), and 4) the higher costs to fight epidemic disease (which immigrants always bring with them). There are many more similar arguments.

4) Against these facts the Libertarians have moral outrage and bogus economic theory. I’ll take my cues from reality, thank you.

P.S. Nobel prices are awarded for perceived contributions to theory, for the most part. It doesn’t mean the theories are necessarily correct. Appeals to authority (in this case, the Nobel committee) do not constitute evidence.

P.P.S. Others have won the Nobel Prize, such as Myrdal and Sen, who are clearly NOT libertarians. Should we consider their ideas "sacred" as well?

Fact:

If you equate the supply of legal labor with the demand for such willing labor, immigrants actually have a disincentive to come here illegally.

Fact:

If we allow immigrants the oppurtunity to come here legally to work through some sort of guest worker program it will raise the wealth and standard of living in Mexico. (Through remittances of wages back to their families in Mexico.)

Fact:

Mexico is a huge trading partner of the USA. A wealthier Mexico could and would purchase more US exports as their wealth increases.

Want to protect the principle of private property? Liberalize the immigration laws. Tell people that as long as you don’t have a criminal record, you’re not on any "watch lists" as a suspected terrorist, and you’re not carrying any infectious diseases, you’re invited to cross the border legally, at official (publicly-owned) points along it. That’ll take care of 99 percent of the illegal immigration problem, and I have no problem with taking whatever security means are necessary to deal with the remaining 1 percent.

Again, another stellar example of libertarian "thought" -- just eliminate the law and POOF!, no crime. It works for guns and drugs, after all, so why not immigration?

Again, it is clear that libertarians are not serious thinkers when it comes to political science or sociology. Myriad examples exist of REAL HARM from unregulated immigration (hey, just ask the American Indians!). The Welsh would sure like their country back, as would the Tibetans and the Zulus.

Hey, "factmaster," (sounds of derision), is that how it worked out for the Germans with their Turkish guest workers? They now have 2 million permanent Turkish residents, and if you think this is a happy situation then you’d better fix your "Fact O’ Matic" 100.1. It’s busted.

"Liberals and Libertarians tend to use emotive words to gain moral highground...I use them to reassert reason":

I’m sure Uncle Joe and your pals in the confederacy thought the same thing. But of course it sure sounds like "reason" when you are saying things like "demography is destiny," the Mexicans are a threat to my culture, etc. No, that’s not fearmongering at all. It’s just a rare species of "reasoning."

"dain has forgotten more economics than you have ever learned.": Well maybe Dain should try to remember more, because he obviously forgot everything BEFORE he went on this rant. I’m going with Milton Friedman over Dain and his invented "facts."

That’s the best you got, Dan? What facts did I "invent," exactly? As for demography causing cultural change...my God, history’s full of examples. If you can’t make a reasoned argument perhaps you should remain silent.

That’s funny. I suspect everyone reading this board wishes you would follow your own advice.

Everything I’ve said is reasoned...as for people wanting me gone, they have but to say so (I might even comply, depending on who asks).

Comment 24 by dain

Again, it is clear that libertarians are not serious thinkers when it comes to political science or sociology

Ok Dain. How about The Economic Costs to International Labor Restrictions by Jonathon Moses and Bjorn Letnes which you can find here. However, I am confident you will not read it.

Dain besides your "moral superiority" you have a problem realizing that this is not an issue that can be argued sufficiently over a blog. This is why I and other people have supplied sources for the rest of the readers to read so they can understand the issue better. BTW Dain, Milton Friedman has an entire section in his book dedicated to the Division of Labor.

If there were a clear correlation between open borders and economic growth I’m sure the libertarians would quickly let us know. To my knowledge, no one has yet established that correlation.

Once again, I am not a libertarian but here is a list of people and their work who would disagree.

Yet another article over at NRO.

the higher birth rates of immigrants (fertility retards economic growth...it’s in the literature),

Dain, are you serious with this? That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Man, the rest of us must be clueless. If only we had an example of a country that went from being several hundred thousand in population to.... oh I don’t know.... Let’s say roughly 300 million in a little over 200 years......... Hmmmmm. That is a tough one. If only there were such a case it might disprove your comment.

But that is not what this is about is it. You hate their "higher fertility" because you don’t want them to "spread". Is that about right?

As part of my new "polite" style, I won’t accuse of anything at this point. I will simply you.

Dain, are you serious with this? That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. Man, the rest of us must be clueless. If only we had an example of a country that went from being several hundred thousand in population to.... oh I don’t know.... Let’s say roughly 300 million in a little over 200 years......... Hmmmmm. That is a tough one. If only there were such a case it might disprove your comment.

High fertility does retard economic growth...it is in the literature. It’s not my fault you don’t know much of the research.

Larry Kudlow is a libertarian...his opinion isn’t relevant in my opinion.

The list from the World Bank you link to isn’t a list of people who agree with you. I encourage you to look at the titles of those papers before you post such nonsense.

I will read this paper you link to...but why don’t you cite the PUBLISHED paper? This is simply a draft, and an old one at that? Nonetheless, I’ll read it, and I’m sure it’s exactly what the authors admit it is...a bit of statistical speculation rooted in a serious of dumb assumptions.

Well, having perused this paper by Moses and Letnes, I conclude that there is no evidence that open borders improve economic growth. Aside from making completely unwarranted assumptions like full employment, broad homogeneity in labor productivity and the like, the major problem is the no costs where even considered (e.g., educating immigrant children, dealing with disease, dealing with ethnic strife, dealing with political shifts, etc.). Basically this is like calculating profits without entered overhead in the ledger. Useless.

The major problem, however, is the (unfortunately) common reduction of living, breathing human beings to mere components of production. These people bring a cultural context with them, a history, different tastes, and different skills. EVIDENCE of the beneficial effects of migration requires a lot more thought, proper research design, and the recognition of both costs and benefits. What Lincoln gave us here ain’t it.

US is absolutely right at its decision.
More immigrants = more terrorism

Its better late than never. Atleast they realised that they cannot absorb any more immigrants. Now hope they remain firm on their decision.

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