Free market determines ideal level of immigration, not some DC bureaucrat

Carlson does get clobbered here by Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute.

h/t Robert Wenzel at EconomicPolicyJournal.  Be sure to check out the links and read the comments in his post.  They’re all quite good.

Some interesting facts from Nowrasteh.

14% of U.S. population is foreign born.  Interesting fact.

What’s the ideal level of immigration is determined by the free market, the free economy than by bureaucrats in Washington, DC.  He cites a few countries. Canada immigrant population is 20% of that country.  Australia’s immigrant population is 28% of their population, and Switzerland has over 30% foreign born.  So what’s the problem?  Rich countries like these have large rates of economic growth.  Whatever that magic number is it can’t be determined by the government.

A lot of people suffering in the US are not competing with immigrants directly.  It’s people competing indirectly with immigrants that are doing poorly. Never an economy in history that has done better with fewer people.

CARLSON:  We’re not importing software engineers.  So how do you explain the middle class poverty?

NOWRASTEH: But if you base it on the Personal Consumption Expenditures Index, the middle class is richer.  Number one country sending immigrants to us is China and India, not Mexico.  Hispanic immigration is now third tier; it’s east and south Asian.

NOWRASTEH:  We had more mass immigration in the 1990s.  High taxes and regulations are holding the economy back today not immigration.

The more immigrants, the faster the growth.  No economy in world history has done better with fewer people.  So, if you prefer a good standard of living, then you should not complain about immigration, legal or otherwise.  Why not complain about illegal immigration?  Because the reasons that form the basis of your complaint are wrong and based on poor economics and distortions.

So Carlson offers up the supply and demand law of economics of, say, sand. Nowrasteh explains that not only does supply of labor go up which can drive price in some sectors down, there is an increase in demand for more goods, effectively increasing productivity in all markets.  In this way, immigrants, legal and illegal, improve the economy.  Some will argue about culture.  What about our American culture?  Or our Christian culture?  Well, Mexicans are Christians, many of whom are Catholics.  But as Nowrasteh pointed out today’s larger immigration population is not Hispanics or Mexicans.  They’re from India and China.  So why do Mexicans continue to get the rap for the draining effect of the welfare system that conservatives protect religiously?

Immigrants, because they’re people, also increase demand when they come here.  So it’s not just an increase in supply, it’s also an increase in demand.

NOWRASTEH:  George Borjas at Harvard, who is the most famous skeptic of immigration benefits to the United States, it’s only Americans with less than a high school degree who see a negative effect from immigration, and they’re less than 10% of population.  Meanwhile the other 90% percent, including those in the middle class, see wage increases as a result of immigration.  Interesting.

American middle class is not competing against illegal immigrants.

CARLSON:  Don’t illegals consume more in public services than citizens?  Paying to subsidize big companies for cheap labor?

Nowrasteh explains that the law does not allow legal immigrants access to welfare benefits in the first 5 years that they’re here.  Illegal immigrants don’t have access to such benefits either.  Most studies that purport/report to show that count their family members born in the U.S. consuming the welfare benefits.  Under federal law, the Obama administration actually prosecuted states that accidentally gave welfare benefits to illegal immigrants to get their money back?

“Immigrants, legal and illegal, consume public goods and services, are a net cost” begs Carlson.

National Academy of Sciences study low skilled found their net fiscal impact is positive.  Immigrants pay more in taxes than they consume.  Remember, by law immigrants are not allowed welfare benefits in their first 5 years of residency in the country.  So there’s that.  Peer review says that immigrants about pay their own way.  Texas State report found that legal immigrants pay more in the tax coffers than they take out because of Texas low tax profile.

Your presence is an infringement upon my right not to pay for you even as a citizen. . . . that’s a great argument against the welfare state.  Free flow of  people across the border.

NOWRASTEH: We have significantly not stopped ever illegal immigration.

Immigrants on average a better fiscal impact on pay more on taxes than they consume in benefits.  Not true with European countries.  Immigrants with a green card you don’t have access to welfare for 5 years.

NOWRASTEH: Way to solve problem is to legalize folks, create path to citizenship, then cut a lot public services?



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