Conservatives Don’t Really Like Free Markets
That is the conclusion I’ve come too. Now, of course, this doesn’t apply to all conservatives, but it sure does apply to those who are anti-(illegal-)immigration. How do I conclude this? Well this article at Reason pretty much sums it up for me.
The example in the article is pretty good.
If there are no jobs in Town A and lots of them in Town B, many residents of A will decamp for B. The same holds for countries. Mexicans making $15 a day have a huge incentive to go where they can make $15 an hour. Like water rolling downhill, they are naturally drawn to places where they will be better off.
This pretty much the dynamic when it comes to markets. I’d even go so far as to say that early on the wages in Town B would be higher than in Town A. And further, that as people moved from A to B, the wages in the latter would fall.
And as for stopping the flow, this was interesting,
Of course, we often alter or stop the flow of rivers by damming them. But damming people is harder, since they, unlike H20, have the means and the motive to outwit such efforts. Thus the paradox discovered by Princeton sociologist Douglas Massey: As we have increased our efforts to seal the Mexican border, migrants have been diverted to remote areas that are harder to patrol, so much so that the rate of apprehension has actually fallen.
Even if the border could miraculously be made airtight against trespassers, it would do nothing to stop foreigners from coming on tourist or student visas and then staying on after they are supposed to leave. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, as many as 45 percent of the foreigners here illegally arrived with the blessing of the law. Build a 2,000-mile fence, and more will come that way.
So, as I’ve noted, if you are really anti-illegal-immigration and if the above is true, then in the end you simply have to be anti-immigration. Because even parking a couple of Army divisions along the border with orders “shoot-to-kill” wouldn’t stop the flow. People would resort to alternate means like over-staying tourism and student visas. Sure, the flow would decrease in terms of illegal border crossing, but what if the flow increases due to tourist/student visas? I know, I know the answer is obvious, restrict those. But then again, you’d be restricting legal immigration.
And the economic arguments still apply if we made immigration to this country easier. People would still point to wages, social services, and other things that they consider “bad”. They wont assimilate, there goes our culture, wages will be drived down, “a dagger aimed at the heart of the middle class”, etc. Of course, most of these arguments were made sometime ago when the Irish, the Italians (can we say Tom Tancredo’s forebearers?), and others came here.
Then there are those who think that if we simply got rid of the jobs, killed the demand for cheap labor, why then we’d solve the problem. Kind of like we solved the drug problem…oh wait nevermind. But this isn’t a free market response either. In fact, it is exactly the opposite. In this scenario every employment decision has to recieve a government seal of approval. Does that sound nice? It is setting the precedent where the government says, “Yea or nay,” to any and all employment decisions. And one thing I’ve noticed about the government when you give them a little bit of power, the people in government seek to use it “new and interesting ways.” Think of the Kelo v. City of New London decision. The government in New London looked for a new way to use the power of eminent domain and won. How about SWAT units and “no-knock” raids? Heck, the government has pushed so hard on this one that the difference between knock-and-announce and no-knock are distinctions with no practical difference. Is this really the kind of thing we want the government doing? Scrutinizing and giving a thumbs-up/thumbs-down to each and every employment decision?
Even if the government was benevolent and never did anything to trample the rights of its citizens (query: why would we need a Bill of Rights with such a government?) consider the sheer size of the economy. There are over 150 million people in the civilian labor force. Each month there can up to two hundred thousand new jobs. Such a proposition would strike me as a major impediment to employment and thus economic growth. Talk about cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.
In practice, as a small-scale pilot program begun in 1997, the verification system has proven fallible. Randel Johnson, vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, recently testified before Congress that the databases “are not always up-to-date, there is a high error rate in determining work authorization, and the program is incapable of capturing identity fraud.” The Society for Human Resource Management estimates the new system will increase the administrative burden on employers tenfold.
But you see, it is all so simple. We just got to stop those Mexicans from getting jobs.
And one thing I find amusing is the position of people like Michelle Malkin. On the one hand she wants the government to do all it can to stop immigration. But on the other hand she seems to delight in pointing out the failures of government. Which is it? Is government a competent and thorough entity that does its job really well, or is it actually just as prone to failure, and maybe more so, as the rest of us? I usually go with the latter. After all, how often do bureaucrats get fired or a bureaucracy get shut down? Firms in the market place will shut down, so I’d argue that there is probably more incentive to get it right the first time with private firms than with the government.