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March 03, 2017

Fantastic Op-Ed The New York Times Actually Allowed to be Published: "The Immigration Debate We Need "

Trust me, you're gonna want to read the whole thing.

And yes, this is the debate we need to have. Including from Trump himself -- lay out the case reasonably and with all the facts. Don't rely on just emotion to carry you, or else people will assume that emotion is all you have, and so there's no logical, economic case to be made.

A taste. Then read the whole thing:

The Immigration Debate We Need

By GEORGE BORJAS

FEBRUARY 27, 2017

The first month of the Trump administration has already changed the direction of the immigration debate, with many more changes coming soon. So far, executive orders and deportations dominate the discussion. But the fight over how many refugees to admit or how best to vet those refugees obscures what the debate is really about.

Changes in social policy do not make everyone better off, and immigration policy is no exception.>b> I am a refugee, having fled Cuba as a child in 1962. Not only do I have great sympathy for the immigrant’s desire to build a better life, I am also living proof that immigration policy can benefit some people enormously.

But I am also an economist, and am very much aware of the many trade-offs involved. Inevitably, immigration does not improve everyone’s well-being. There are winners and losers, and we will need to choose among difficult options. The improved lives of the immigrants come at a price. How much of a price are the American people willing to pay, and exactly who will pay it?

This tension permeates the debate over immigration's effect on the labor market. Those who want more immigration claim that immigrants do jobs that native-born Americans do not want to do. But we all know that the price of gas goes down when the supply of oil goes up. The laws of supply and demand do not evaporate when we talk about the price of labor rather than the price of gas. By now, the well-documented abuses of the H-1B program, such as the Disney workers who had to train their foreign-born replacements, should have obliterated the notion that immigration does not harm competing native workers.

Over the past 30 years, a large fraction of immigrants, nearly a third, were high school dropouts, so the incumbent low-skill work force formed the core group of Americans who paid the price for the influx of millions of workers. Their wages fell as much as 6 percent. Those low-skill Americans included many native-born blacks and Hispanics, as well as earlier waves of immigrants.

But somebody's lower wage is somebody else's higher profit. The increase in the profitability of many employers enlarged the economic pie accruing to the entire native population by about $50 billion. So, as proponents of more immigration point out, immigration can increase the aggregate wealth of Americans. But they don't point out the trade-off involved: Workers in jobs sought by immigrants lose out.

They also don’t point out that low-skill immigration has a side effect that reduces that $50 billion increase in wealth. The National Academy of Sciences recently estimated the impact of immigration on government budgets. On a year-to-year basis, immigrant families, mostly because of their relatively low incomes and higher frequency of participating in government programs like subsidized health care, are a fiscal burden. A comparison of taxes paid and government spending on these families showed that immigrants created an annual fiscal shortfall of $43 billion to $299 billion.

Even the most conservative estimate of the fiscal shortfall wipes out much of the $50 billion increase in native wealth. Remarkably, the size of the native economic pie did not change much after immigration increased the number of workers by more than 15 percent. But the split of the pie certainly changed, giving far less to workers and much more to employers.

Like I said, read the whole thing. He then get into the former model of immigration -- based on the assumption of assimilation -- being replaced by a new model favoring keeping one's ethnic identity and remaining in ethnic enclaves.

He finished by noting this debate over real problems, real trade-offs, and actual economic pain experienced by the working class is chiefly answered by attacks of immigration skeptics as "racist."

He concludes:

But those accusations of racism reflect their effort to avoid a serious discussion of the trade-offs. The coming debate would be far more honest and politically transparent if we demanded a simple answer from those who disagree with "America First" proposals: Who are you rooting for?

Yes, this is precisely the debate we should be having, but can't, because the Democrat-Media Party blows up any discussion of these issues with cries of "Racism," and the President, while generally familiar with the contours of the argument, does not make these points with as much numerical and logical detail as he should.


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posted by Ace at 01:34 PM

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