ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

In Good Company With Kudlow

I have to say that this is an excellent article on NRO by Larry Kudlow:

Over the past fifteen years, according to the World Bank, China and India have surged ahead of Mexico and the gap is widening. Mexico has gone nowhere. And until Mexico’s economic malaise is cured, millions will continue to seek economic opportunity in the United States. Can you blame them?

As long as the American boom beckons, Mexicans in search of prosperity will continue to stream to this country. They have a strong incentive to do so. The only way to reduce illegal immigration, therefore, is to raise the unskilled H-2B visa level and bring it in line with job openings in the United States. This is the only feasible economic solution to the chronic problem of illegal immigration. The idea worked forty years ago with the successful Bracero program for farm workers. It can work again.

Today’s low visa limit of only 140,000 has caused illegal flows to skyrocket. This must be changed. Tamar Jacoby of the Manhattan Institute estimates that U.S. labor-market conditions can absorb about 400,000 Mexican immigrants per year. This would balance labor supply-and-demand conditions and illegal immigration would plummet.

You can build a fence, but desperate Mexicans in search of economic opportunity will climb over it or tunnel under it. This is the reality. And by the way, our H-1B visa program for skilled workers, now at only 65,000, should be unlimited. We need all the scientists and engineers we can get.

Once these immigrants get here they work hard. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Hispanic unemployment is only 5.5 percent, compared to 4.8 percent overall.

As for the claim that illegal workers don’t pay taxes, Princeton professor Douglas Massey estimates that roughly two-thirds of undocumented immigrants pay the FICA payroll tax. Overall, illegals have fed $7 billion to Social Security and $1.5 billion to Medicare. They are contributing to our wealth, not reducing it.

And what do they take from the system? According to Forbes magazine, only 10 percent of illegal Mexicans have sent a child to an American public school and just 5 percent have received food stamps or unemployment benefits. A U-Cal Davis study also shows that more immigrant workers leads to more economic growth. This is standard economics. Multiply an enlarged workforce times existing productivity and you get more economic growth.

But for some reason, immigration opponents can’t make this connection. They are blinded by fear-mongering, defeatism, and pessimism.

Colorado congressman Tom Tancredo calls illegal immigration “a scourge that threatens the very future of our nation.” Huh? That’s xenophobic nonsense. In economic terms the U.S. has never had it so good. Statistic after statistic says we’re booming, with 175,000 net new jobs created each month and record levels of Americans working. In fact, since the early Reagan 1980s, the U.S. economy has been booming almost uninterrupted, creating 44 million new jobs even during the takeoff of high immigration.

Exactly what are we so afraid of? As Center for Equal Opportunity chairman Linda Chavez has been pointing out, Hispanics are great entrepreneurs, small-business owners, and job creators. According to 2002 Census Bureau data, Hispanics are opening new businesses at a rate that’s three-times faster than the national average.

As a Reagan conservative, I believe in freedom and opportunity. Globalization is here to stay. Proper reform should combine stronger border security with higher visa levels and a path to citizenship. Yes, illegals should pay fines and go to the back of the citizenship line. Yes, employers must aggressively cooperate with the new rules. But compassion must coexist with free-economy principles and the rule of law.

Before he passed away, Pope John Paul II quoted Matthew 25:35: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” That is precisely the spirit America should seek when it comes to immigration reform.

Well put, Mr. Kudlow. I fear that this may result in a short-term political gain for the GOP (in terms of shoring up the base), but will have long-term consequences similar to that of Pete Wilson in California.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Comments (4)
Anonymous said...

if millions of uneducated, unskilled workers are the key to economic success, why isn't mexico an economic powerhouse? lets let in all the poor people, and care for them...I'm sure you don't mind having your taxes raised.

at the same time, we're 'caring' for 'poor undocumented workers' lets STICK IT to poor and uneducated americans!! its the AMERICAN WAY!!
Between 1980 and 2000, legal and illegal immigration reduced the average annual earnings of U.S.-born men by an estimated $1,700 or roughly 4 percent, according to research done in 2004 by George Borjas, economics professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

The situation was worse if one considers only the 10 million U.S.-born men who lack a high school degree. For them, the increased supply of workers depressed wages by 7.4 percent, he found.

but as long as businesses can reap more profit off the back of brown-skinned 'serfs' who cares.....we should bring back SLAVERY, so businesses can profit even more!!!

its all about THE MONEY!!

Anonymous said...

ps: you libs twisting the scripture to justify your position is laughable. You fail to recognize the difference between what the Bible says individuals should do, compared to what it says governments should do.

Ed said... to love it when people leave anonymous postings. Great Article.

St Wendeler said...

Not sure what "libs" anon is referring to... The logic behind the argument flies in the face of economic reality.

Ed - Thanks for the comment and this great post.

I have to say that I agree with you wholeheartedly.

I realize that I am in the minority of the right, but frankly... but, I've never been a fan of Patty-Patty Buke Buke (aka Pat Buchanan). On many issues, I'm a libertarian (ie classical liberal) at heart and this happens to be one of those issues...

One of the items mentioned by Kudlow (which I didn't provide in my excerpt) was the economic disappointment that is Vincente Fox. Elected to break the eternal corruption that is rampant throughout the Mexican economy, he has done essentially nothing.

I definitely think that we need to improve the Mexican economy before we see a decrease in illegal immigration. Unfortunately, that will take time and political courage from the Mexican politicos. I won't hold my breath.