12-20-09, 10:59 AM #1
Analysis of the Effects of Immigration on the USA
Edward Schumacher-Matos is a respected journalist with 25 years' experience, who has been both an editor of the arch-conservative Wall Street Journal and a columnist for the Washington Post, the most liberal newspaper in the world that doesn't have a hammer and sickle on its masthead. In today's Post he presents a well-researched analysis of the short- and long-term effects of immigration in America. As he points out in his opening paragraph,You would think that with unemployment running at ten percent, economics would play a role in deciding how many immigrants to let into the country and what to do with the unauthorized ones here. Think again. What we have instead is the slugfest of name-calling, cynicism and hypocrisy that passes for policymaking in Washington these days.The Census Bureau has just reported that one in six workers in the country is foreign-born. That is the highest this figure has been since 1920 [the beginning of the "Roaring Twenties," a decade of unprecedented prosperity and liberal culture that would not be seen again for forty years--F.R.] and is the result of both legal and illegal immigration since 1965 [the "Sizzling Sixties"--F.R.], when restrictive quotas were dropped and a temporary worker program ended. The nearly 12 million unauthorized immigrants show little sign of leaving, and more than 100,000 immigrant workers continue to come into the country each month--legally. They arrive with permanent residency or temporary work visas, at levels determined years ago and with no regard for the nation's economic conditions.[This abstract is edited for concision and readability--F.R.] So, how much in fact do these immigrants contribute to unemployment, wages, the economy and taxes? There are no absolute, hard measures, but after hundreds of estimations using different methodologies, a consensus has grown among economists across the political spectrum that allows us safely to draw a few conclusions.
- Immigration generally has only a limited impact on unemployment immediately, and no impact at all in the long run.
- In the short term, immigration undercuts wages for low-skilled workers and some high-skilled ones, and its impact on the total taxes paid by Americans is probably slightly negative. This is offset by an equally slight positive impact on economic growth, leaving its overall effect neutral.
- The long-term benefits are considerable, especially by entrepreneurial immigrants with university degrees, but also by high-school dropouts who later move into the middle class. Only a distinct minority of the children of poor immigrants fail to move up and remain a fiscal burden.
- Census data show that unemployment among native-born Americans without a high-school diploma was 30%, and underemployment much higher. Although it's impossible to calculate their number, clearly some of these people are jobless because of competition from the legal and illegal immigrants. [While I surely sympathize with the millions of unemployed Americans who are simply unlucky, this is no place for people who don't have the self-discipline to complete their free (and ridiculously easy) K-12 education, for which we taxpayers pay $10K per year per child. As far as I'm concerned they should be encouraged to emigrate and make room for someone who appreciates the advantages of living here.--F.R.]
- Almost all of the anti-immigrant activists who present themselves as the champions of America's underclass, especially in Congress, are the same people who voted against the extension of unemployment benefits and who oppose social welfare safety nets, suggesting that hypocrisy is a major component of their politics.
- These hypocrites also deny the free-market principles that they claim to uphold on other issues. Labor is, after all, a service which follows the same economic principles as all other goods and services. The flow of labor is a form of international trade which, over time, increases productivity and surplus wealth for everyone.
- The issue is managing the issue of "over time," but the American economy has proven over and over again to be remarkably quickly able to absorb immigrants and reach a new, richer equilibrium.
- We need policymakers to stop their infighting and work on those balances.
12-20-09, 11:39 AM #2
There's a possibility that the economists - "across the political spectrum" - are all wrong, in their various assumptions underneath the projection that current immigrants will have a similar influence on the US economy as past immigrants.
That, for example, an economy building on a declining, stressed, and greatly degraded resource base will not behave toward human welfare as one built on a wealth of unexploited resources behaved.
If we have learned anything from the past few decades of US economic policy, it is that economic policy in the real world is possibly a field in which there is no real expertise - in which "experts" are not identifiable via credentials or even career. This, for example, is an extremely foolish premise on which to base actual laws and governmental policies:Labor is, after all, a service which follows the same economic principles as all other goods and services.Originally Posted by fraggle
So the implications of this struck me:Census data show that unemployment among native-born Americans without a high-school diploma was 30%, and underemployment much higher. Although it's impossible to calculate their number, clearly some of these people are jobless because of competition from the legal and illegal immigrants. [While I surely sympathize with the millions of unemployed Americans who are simply unlucky, this is no place for people who don't have the self-discipline to complete their free (and ridiculously easy) K-12 education, for which we taxpayers pay $10K per year per child.
And it is not "impossible to calculate their number" - not if anyone wishes to proclaim real world comprehension of the effects of immigration on American society in the future, or claim that we can "safely draw a few conclusions".
12-20-09, 01:01 PM #3
Equilibrium? At what cost to our social, economic and cultural system? And more importantly, who is to determine that cost and whether to do it or not?
Sorry, Fraggle, but that article is so biased that it's not worth the screen it's type on. Wanna' try another one that's less biased?
12-21-09, 01:07 AM #4
Living in California I can tell you that Illegal immigration has bankrupted our state. My local unemployment office is located in the same building as our Welfare and social services department. And over 90% of the people I see in there are illegals who can barely speak any english. Also, my local county hospital has been completely taken over by illegals. They treat more illegals than they do legal citizens. All they have to do is show up and apply for emergency medical and they're covered. I couldn't imagine all of the money our state would have if we didn't have to support so many illegals with Welfare and free Medical care.
12-25-09, 01:06 PM #5
As for the cause of our state's bankruptcy, you simply have to be joking. The public sector sucks off a frightening portion of the state's GDP, and increases every year come hell or high water. Even now, during the worst recession in years, rather than trying to find a way to drop the hammer on the civil "servants" who sit around all day and "administer" each other while making a net negative contribution to the economy, they're trying to figure out a way to borrow more money or simply steal it from the residents, a form of larceny more usually referred to by the euphemism "taxes." Where do you think the support for relegalizing marijuana is coming from? Do you really think the bureaucrats have any sympathy for sick people? They want to be able to tax it! This is the same reason FDR pushed the repeal of Prohibition: there was a Depression and they wanted to tax alcohol!
The teacher's union alone is responsible for a major portion of California's problems; they have browbeaten the voters into believing that teachers are somehow sacred and must be exempted from the laws of economics. Of course the real culprits in the twin problems of education--runaway costs and declining performance--are the "administrative" staff who are coming close to outnumbering the actual educators. This is the same problem that plagues the public and private health care sector: too many lawyers and administrators, not enough doctors and nurses.
Of course to the extent that illegal immigrants are an economic problem, why blame them for coming from a place where their children get no health care or education and very little food, to a place where the taxpayers continually elect leaders who give their money away to anyone who knows how to fill out the proper forms? Why do our foolish citizens support a government that has been nationalizing the economy since 1933 and in Eisenhower's era completely adopted the 1929 American Communist Party platform? They have taken over the charity, education, communication, transportation and energy sectors, with the result that they all barely work at all yet at the same time cost far too much.
I can't believe that Americans are clamoring to turn over our health care system to the same overpaid buffoons who brought us gridlock on the highways and university graduates who can't write a grammatically correct sentence or make change for a dollar without a calculator. Why blame the immigrants for a system that stopped working decades ago?
If the government were not handing out free goodies, do you suppose people might stop coming here to get them? I really can't feel too much of a grudge toward people who live on the wrong side of the border that represents the greatest disparity in standard of living between any two countries on earth, and want to live on the right side! Perhaps if we stop supporting bad governments in other countries because they're friendly to American business, or because they support our irrational and illegal war efforts, they might eventually end up with political and economic democracy. Mexico is the way it is largely because of us. Subversive American corporate and political influences helped prevent the PAN from winning an election until it was so old and institutionalized that it's hardly any different from the PRI.
In the meantime, stop talking like a Redneck. This planet is getting too small and crowded for us all to maintain our Stone Age tribal attitudes toward each other's communities. We're all in this together. If you lived the life of the average rural Mexican--through absolutely no fault of your own but merely because of where you were born--you'd sneak over the border too.
I wonder how many other readers find it amusing that you're blaming the immigrants for bankrupting our economy rather than the banks and the government?
The single characteristic of a man's life that has the overwhelmingly greatest correlation with his likelihood of being poor is THE COUNTRY HE LIVES IN. The best way to raise people out of poverty anywhere on earth is to allow them to migrate out of their dysfunctional despotic kleptocracies to one of the Western countries where they will be able to contribute to the economy and earn an honest living. If it takes a generation for their children to grow up and assimilate to the national culture--as every generation and every ethnicity of immigrants in this country has done for two hundred years, except for the current wave of Muslims who it's politically incorrect to criticize--big deal. History will go on for many more generations despite our petty problems.
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