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June 03, 2013

"Conservative" Amnesty Supporter Jen Rubin: We Need Amnesty Because US Wages are "Artificially High"

Um, wow.

It is ironic that the right-wingers who argue against protectionism, against the minimum wage, against unions (which inflate wage rates) and against Obamacare want to keep domestic wages artificially high by restricting the labor market (e.g. keeping out immigrant workers). That effort is not only inconsistent with free market principles, but, according to stacks of research, it also is empirically dubious.


In sum, if you believe in free markets, you shouldn’t advocate artificially restricting the U.S. labor market and you should consider the market-driven behavior of a raft of industries. But then again, the anti-immigration forces believe many things that aren’t so. That is the prerogative I suppose, but they shouldn’t invoke Friedman when doing so, and lawmakers should understand what they are saying isn’t supported by evidence.

Rubin is one of the most dishonest supporters of amnesty out there (and on most things she writes about) but this is really something.

She links to some articles from Libertarian and liberal sources to back her claim but they don't say anything about US wages being high, artificially or otherwise. They make a dubious claim that flooding the market with millions of new legal workers won't drive down wages because...magic.

One of the articles she links to (they aren't "research" papers, just articles summing up the pro-amnesty case) came out in July of 2009. I sort of recall something happening in the interim....the economy crashed, unemployment skyrocketed and much personal wealth evaporated but I guess none of that changes anything.

Personally, I don't think wages are too high (nor should they be made higher by the government) but I also don't see anything wrong with favoring Americans over the rest of the world when it comes to competing for jobs in this country.

The idea that a country exists mainly or solely to create a libertarian dream of a perfect free market is nonsense. All countries favor their citizens over others in numerous ways and rightly so. I, and most conservative s I know and have read, don’t think the government should penalize people for freely using their capital across the globe but that’s not to say the government should be in the business of importing an unending supply of foreign workers to compete with citizens in the name of economic freedom or helping companies keep labor costs down.

No matter what Team Amnesty claims, when supply (workers) is high, price (wages) goes down.

While building her Libertarian straw man, Rubin sort of nods at but never admits something very important….you can’t have this idealized (and never actually implemented) international labor market while at the same time providing a massive welfare state. If you want to talk about unfettered access to the American labor market for everyone around the world, you also better be talking about excluding those new comers from access to any element of social spending (including schools and health care). This is simply not on the table.

As for the politics of this, it’s an awful place to be for anyone who is a Republican or a conservative. If you want to cement the idea in Americans that the GOP only cares about the “rich”, then place yourself at the head of the group demanding that US companies have an nearly unlimited supply of cheap workers to push up profits while dragging wages down. That’s the economics of amnesty and it stinks.

digg this
posted by DrewM. at 01:44 PM

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