Less Immigration = More Taxes?

Goalpost-shifting alert: Restrictionist weathervane Mickey Kaus reluctantly points out that -- contra the last 15 years of anti-immigration hysteria -- the ongoing reduction in the number of immigrants, legal and illegal, will probably amount to a net negative on the solvency of the welfare state:

to the extent the current immigration debate unexpectedly chases FICA-paying illegal immigrants away, and discourages admitting more legal immigrants, mightn't it by the same token make Social Security less solvent than currently projected? ... kf's solutions: a) If the number of illegals actually falls dramatically, that's what will make it possible to eventually get public support for a reasonable increase in quotas for legals; b) Find other ways to make the system solvent--like reducing the benefits of the affluent. If we have to raise taxes or cut benefits a bit more to make up for controlling the borders, it's worth it.

If Kaus genuinely thinks that his border-wall bedfellows will a) develop an overnight enthusiasm for legal immigrants, or b) enthusiastically back an entitlement cut that even Republicans barely bother talking about anymore, then I suspect he's in for a disappointment. But the more interesting tell here is that unless restrictionists unexpectedly develop a complicated starve-the-beast scenario, they're going to have to eventually ditch the whole illegals-are-sucking-the-welfare-teat argument for more traditional phobias, particularly as Boomers retire and Mexico runs out of Mexicans.

For a great rundown of how illegal immigration affects government largesse, scroll down to Shikha Dalmia's contribution to reason's excellent August/September 2006 cover package. Excerpt:

But immigrants aren't flocking to the United States to mooch off the government. According to a study by the Urban Institute, the 1996 welfare reform effort dramatically reduced the use of welfare by undocumented immigrant households, exactly as intended. Another important development happened in 1996: The Internal Revenue Service began issuing identification numbers to enable illegal immigrants who don't have Social Security numbers to file tax returns.

One might have imagined that people earning meager wages and fearing deportation would take a pass on the IRS's scheme. Not so. Each year close to 8 million of the 12 million or so illegal aliens in the country file personal income tax returns using the alternative numbers, contributing billions of dollars to federal coffers.

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  • ||

    to the extent the current immigration debate unexpectedly chases FICA-paying illegal immigrants away, and discourages admitting more legal immigrants, mightn't it by the same token make Social Security less solvent than currently projected?

  • ||

    to the extent the current immigration debate unexpectedly chases FICA-paying illegal immigrants away, and discourages admitting more legal immigrants, mightn't it by the same token make Social Security less solvent than currently projected?

    Unexpectedly? Un-fucking-expectedly? Mickey Kaus, I dub thee, Moron.

    I have got to start using preview. I'm feeling like a dumbshit today.

  • ||

    Unofficial Reason wiki: immigration page.

  • ||

    Seeing as the anti-illegal immigration crowd is also the crowd that bitches the most about legal immigrants*, Kaus is going on a limb. He's just trying to create an out for himself. Give him a month and he'll be back to his reconquista fantasies.

    Off topic, why is Kaus taken so seriously by the blogosphere? He has the annoying habit**, used most often in sports journalism, of using a single data point to signify a trend. He also exhibits the Slate habit of being contrarian for the sake of being contrarian than for any leit reason.

    *Check out the Corner sometime when the anti-immigration immigrant show warms up.

    ** Which is often wrong

  • ||

    As a self-employed American, I hope like hell there is a big batch of illegal immigrants using (and contributing to) my Social Security number.

  • ||

    Yeah, srsly, what do you think employers DO will all of those fake Social Security numbers?

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    One might have imagined that people earning meager wages and fearing deportation would take a pass on the IRS's scheme. Not so. Each year close to 8 million of the 12 million or so illegal aliens in the country file personal income tax returns using the alternative numbers, contributing billions of dollars to federal coffers.

    More than ever, I admire the scapegoated immigrants whose good deeds for America are constantly punished.

  • Kolohe||

    I forget, is one supposed to agree with thoreau or MikeP on these things?

  • Kolohe||

    Mo, good job. The only thing you failed to do there was reference another post by yourself [ ed. That's not the only thing!]

  • ||

    We'd see a decline in our tax bills, at the federal, state and local level. Ending the massive ESL debacle would save local districts millions of dollars each year alone.

    Our own citizens would be employed more, and not only paying taxes, but spending their earnings in their communities, creating more jobs, rather than billions being funnelled out of the country in remittances.

    More illegals use welfare in many states than citizens do. The costs there would decline, especially health care and housing subsidies would shrink. There are many other examples that can be stated where expenditures would be lessened and lowered taxes would result.

  • .||

    Jenny --

    How much would it cost to enforce immigration laws sufficiently enough to actually reduce the number of illegal immigrants? You have to come up with a way to stop people from crossing a massive border that would cost less than whatever illegal immigration costs us now for what you are saying to make sense.

    It seems like it would be much easier, and better, to allow anyone to come here to work, pay taxes, etc, that is not, say, a criminal/fugitive/terrorist.

    Also, don't discount the economic growth, and wealth for every citizen, that comes with cheaper labor. We wouldn't be where we are today without cheap foreign labor and cheap immigrant labor.

  • VM||

    Call Jenny at 867-5309 and explain to her why she's a class A#1 loon.

  • ||

    Where's the stats. Taxes paid - benefits received.

    I find it hard to believe that a low income earner pays more in taxes then they receive in benefits - infrastructure, schools, health, etc.

    I don't have kids and I'm paying more in property tax then the rent for a two bedroom apartment on my block.

    Yeah legal low income US residents use resources as well. So? How does adding more benefit me?

  • ||

    Our own citizens would be employed more,

    What, is the 40 hours a week that employed citizens work not enough? You would send them out into the fields after their higher paying day jobs to pick strawberries under the lights?

    Low skilled immigrants don't just do the jobs Americans won't do: They do the jobs Americans shouldn't do because Americans should spend their time doing higher valued work. That is the greatest contribution of immigrants to the US economy.

    and not only paying taxes, but spending their earnings in their communities, creating more jobs, rather than billions being funnelled out of the country in remittances.

    Rather than following the little green pieces of paper, which have no choice but to return to the US economy in time, you would do well to follow the goods and services actually produced and consumed and the production and consumption surpluses that result.

  • Alice Bowie||

    P Brooks

    ...so do i

  • Alice Bowie||

    Dear Jenny,

    U r a Simple Simon

    Ur facts u unfounded...and (as most anti-immigrants) would not be affected by some mexicans mowing lawns and bussing tables.

    Ur just a bigot.

  • ||

    VM if that song starts running around in my head ... Let's just say, it won't be pretty.

  • .||

    "Where's the stats. Taxes paid - benefits received.

    I find it hard to believe that a low income earner pays more in taxes then they receive in benefits - infrastructure, schools, health, etc.

    I don't have kids and I'm paying more in property tax then the rent for a two bedroom apartment on my block.

    Yeah legal low income US residents use resources as well. So? How does adding more benefit me?"

    The increased overall economic production of our country (as a product of both having a larger workforce and having people to do the crappy jobs thus allowing better educated people to do jobs requiring a higher education) results in more stuff overall in the country. Not only is there more stuff, its cheaper because immigrants from Mexico tend to be more willing to work for a lower wage than, say, I would.

    Seriously, illegal immigration benefits the middle and upper classes to a great extent. If there were no quotas, it would benefit those people (myself included) to an even greater extent.

  • Alice Bowie||

    What many of u don't understand is that LOCAL Schools are PAID for by LOCAL PROPERTY TAXes

    Home owners PAY property TAXES....

    Property Owners PASS DOWN the property taxes to RENTERS.

    ILLEGAL Aliens PAY RENT. There is NO MEXICAN Discount on RENT. They R, infact PAYING for the Schools

  • ||

    ...You would send them out into the fields after their higher paying day jobs to pick strawberries under the lights?

    Low skilled immigrants don't just do the jobs Americans won't do: They do the jobs Americans shouldn't do because Americans should spend their time doing higher valued work. That is the greatest contribution of immigrants to the US economy.



    Inventing a machine that can pick strawberries would be "higher valued work" but its not going to happen with an abundance of cheap labor. I'm not disagreeing with you but if all immigrants disappear tomorrow we would find a way to replace the work they perform - most likely through technology.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Tim,

    Somebody would have to operate the stawberry picker, and u would need a robotic bus boy, and we already have mechanical dishwashers.

    Mexicans are a good thing.

    Don't believe the hype from the bigoted (ANTI-IMMIGRANTs).

  • TLB||

    ~~ Libertarian Alert ~~

    In addition to the phobic Mickster, I've also spotted another mean-spirited phobic: DavidKennedy, Professor of AmericanHistory at StanfordUniversity.

  • VM||

    867-5309.

    Not Pretty
    Not Pretty.
    Not Pretty. At All

    [ducks. runs off]

  • ||

    billions being funnelled out of the country in remittances.

    This is one of those things which annoys the living shit out of me; those "billions" were earned through a willing exchange of labor for money. If you sell me a car in a transaction in which you (the willing seller) and I (the willing buyer) have freely agreed on an exchange value, you have no right to tell me where I may drive the car, and I have no right to tell you where you may spend the money.

    Good grief.

  • ||

    I'm not disagreeing with you but if all immigrants disappear tomorrow we would find a way to replace the work they perform - most likely through technology.

    And it would, almost tautologically, be more expensive. Otherwise it would be done now.

    An order of magnitude more jobs disappear today due to automation than to immigration, so I don't worry about the incentives to automate. If and when strawberry picking can be done by machines, it will be. And if that circumstance was forced onto the market by mandated limitations on labor, then the economy will be worse off as a result.

  • ||

    "...ILLEGAL Aliens PAY RENT. There is NO MEXICAN Discount on RENT. They R, infact PAYING for the Schools..."

    um...

    You might have missed the part where I said I pay as much in property taxes a month as someone renting a two bedroom in my neighborhood.

    ex.

    My property tax:
    $500

    Two bedroom rent:
    $500

    1. the total of their rent doesn't go to property tax.

    2. most of them have kids (meaning they use the service)

    3. I don't have kids.

    So I pay more for a service I don't use then people who do use it. That's it. Pretty simple.
    it gets even uglier when vouchers are in play.

  • Kolohe||

    Ah, it is indeed 'I agree with MikeP.' (Sorry thoreau)

    Excecpt for this blurb:

    Low skilled immigrants don't just do the jobs Americans won't do: They do the jobs Americans shouldn't do because Americans should spend their time doing higher valued work.

    Maybe I am reading too much into the choice of words and/or sentence structure, but I have a problem with the rhetoric of "shouldn't do" There is no labor that should be beneath anyone.

    Now, labor should be paid what its worth, and people should seek to maximize productivity (e.g. though technology and education) to improve the value of their labor. But, to think that there's some intrinsic value granted by your place of birth is no different than saying that some intrinsic value granted by your family's social status at the time of your birth.

  • ||

    "The increased overall economic production of our country (as a product of both having a larger workforce and having people to do the crappy jobs thus allowing better..."

    I've heard this before. Is our economy in good shape now? Haven't record numbers of immigrants been coming into the country since the 80's? Have individual earnings gone up?

  • ||

    Maybe I am reading too much into the choice of words and/or sentence structure, but I have a problem with the rhetoric of "shouldn't do" There is no labor that should be beneath anyone.

    I completely agree. As an individual, you should be doing the job you want to do.

    I was making a rhetorical play on "won't do" with a statement about what an economy should want in general and what should drive whatever public policy the government tries to foist upon it.

  • .||

    "I've heard this before. Is our economy in good shape now? Haven't record numbers of immigrants been coming into the country since the 80's? Have individual earnings gone up?"

    Maybe salaries haven't really increased relative to inflation, but, when using inflation adjusted dollars, you can buy more nicer stuff today than you could in 1980 with the same amount of money.

    So, in effect, people are wealthier.

    As for our economy right now, its been up and down during the Bush Administration, but it hasn't been bad. Economies don't do what was going on during the 90s forever. Since you use the economy of today as some sort of a point (I think?), was the boom of the 90s related to immigration as well?

  • ||

    "So, in effect, people are wealthier."

    So some goods are cheaper. Is this due to immigration or increased productivity through automation?

    tangent...
    One thing I haven't gotten an answer about is what happens to the working class when everything is automated? Well I have heard "then they'll learn new skills"- get real. Of course over time this will happen but my guess is it will be over generations.

  • .||

    I don't know. Do you? How does that justify not letting people come here?

    Also, not some goods. I think pretty much everything is cheaper than it was in 1980.

  • ||

    Well I have heard "then they'll learn new skills"- get real. Of course over time this will happen but my guess is it will be over generations.

    Uh, it takes months, sometimes years, to learn new skills. Certainly not generations.

  • ||

    "...ILLEGAL Aliens PAY RENT. There is NO MEXICAN Discount on RENT. They R, infact PAYING for the Schools..."

    um...

    You might have missed the part where I said I pay as much in property taxes a month as someone renting a two bedroom in my neighborhood.

    ex.

    My property tax:
    $500

    Two bedroom rent:
    $500


    If this bothers you so much, buy a smaller house. Rent does include property tax.

  • ||

    "...Uh, it takes months, sometimes years, to learn new skills. Certainly not generations."

    OK, I get it, a constantly moving target. Education doesn't take months. The new skills referred (in general) to when taking about automation are mental skills, meaning education.

    So a family where no one has a high school diploma is going to start churning out college graduates in months or a few years? Also factor in peoples ability to plan for the unfamiliar, such as automation being implemented at a faster and faster rate.

  • ||

    "If this bothers you so much, buy a smaller house. "

    How about we do away with property tax and make people pay for their own kids?

    I love that response. So I have to constantly make changes in how I live my life in order to support other people's wants.


    "Rent does include property tax."

    I said "the total of their rent doesn't go to property tax."

    Meaning their total rent equals what I pay in property tax thus highlighting the disparity of contributions.

  • Joseph||

    "ILLEGAL Aliens PAY RENT. There is NO MEXICAN Discount on RENT. They R, infact PAYING for the Schools"

    Alice Bowie is RIGHT ON!!

    I can't wait for the election to be over so these hillbillies will go away and stop spreading their hate messages. GO AWAY HILLBILLIES!!

  • ||

    Stupendous Man -

    2 BR apartment for $500? Where the hell do you live? In Detroit $500 gets you a studio if you're not in a rat and crime infested slum. Housing prices here are significantly lower thann the national average.

  • ||

    So a family where no one has a high school diploma is going to start churning out college graduates in months or a few years?

    College graduate = skills. Wow! I'm unskilled. Fixed any weapons systems lately? Written any O&M manuals for production machinery? Managed any technical libraries? I could go on.

    You're not sounding unskilled, you're sounding stupid.

    But then, I haven't been to college, so I'm probably talking out my ass.

  • ||

    ILLEGAL Aliens PAY RENT. There is NO MEXICAN Discount on RENT. They R, infact PAYING for the Schools

    Most landlords charge higher rent to illegals based on the fact that they could bail without credit repercussions. I know, because I... know a guy who works with illegals, and uh, this guy... had to help find an apartment for some dudes one time.

  • ||

    You know your property taxes pay for more than just schools. It pays for your roads and police protection. It costs a lot more to build a road to a single unit home than it does to a multi unit apartment building. Same goes with police resources.

    Not to mention, you do benefit from good schools. the quality of local public school is directly correlated to your home value. If all of the sudden local schools sucked and you were relieved of your property tax burden, you would lose more money from home value than you gain from property taxes.

  • ||

    I've grown immune to the name calling, and no longer get frustrated by the economic illiteracy (hint - trade is a perfect substitute for illegal immigration when the later is used to produce textiles in LA or strawberries in Oxnard and no externalities].

    But really, the BS about ITIN's (taxpayer nubmers) and the supposed goodness of the illegal immigrants in filing taxes is too much. A few minutes googling revealed that (1) 8-12 million ITIN's are the total numbers issued as I figure it, that doesn't mean that that many illegals file each year (2) as near as I can make out, ITINs are issued to both legal and illegal residents. That includes high value foreign businessmen who conduct business in the US of A and finally (3) those filing with ITIN's are eligible for refunds

    Here are some anecdotal stories (typical for the source, the LA Times) note the refunds being paid -- hmm, EITC anyone. Note the trivial amounts of SSN being paid. Anyone thinking that a $15/hr janitor with three kids in public schools is paying their way is on crack.

    ===
    http://www.icirr.org/stories/taxday.htm
    ===

    The IRS, which has issued more than 9.2 million tax identification numbers since 1996, does not ask whether immigrants are legal. [That's issued numbers, not illegals filing taxes]
    ....
    Inside the office last week, Carmelo Santiago Hernandez signed his tax return and learned he would receive a $15 refund. Hernandez, an illegal immigrant, arrived from Mexico four years ago and works as a janitor. Last year, he said he earned just over $11,000. He paid about $700 toward Social Security and $160 to Medicare.

    Hernandez, 28, decided to apply for an ITIN and file taxes after an uncle suggested it might increase his chances to become a legal resident someday. "You never lose hope," said Hernandez, who is married with three children.

    Others say they are bound by a sense of duty.

    Luis Vazquez, 26, was paid under the table as a day laborer most of last year. Last week, he arrived at H&R Block with documentation that he had earned about $3,500 - not much, he said, but he still wanted to comply with tax laws. He didn't have the means to pay the government anything, so he was relieved to discover he was owed a refund: $4. [under the table means no SSN guys]

    "I want to do things how they should be done," said Vazquez, who crossed the border two years ago. "I'm here. The least I can do is demonstrate that I have good intentions … that I came to work."

    Unlike Hernandez and Vazquez, who both filed for the first time this year, Santa Cruz, a dishwasher, has been filing tax returns for nearly a decade. He earned about $11,600 last year, paying roughly $720 toward Social Security and $170 to Medicare. He claimed his three children here as dependents and will receive a refund of about $890.

  • ||

    "College graduate = skills. Wow! I'm unskilled"

    I was referring to skills required for a post industrial society. It has been stated many, many times right here on reason that when the blue collar jobs go away people will need to update their skill set, mainly through higher education. I didn't say only higher education. I haven't finished school- plan to go back. I work in a computer R&D lab. Where I've taught myself coding, infrastructure as well as become a public speaker. I don't mean to toot my own horn but I don't think this would be a path most people would be successful pursuing. Again, what the hell! I'm pretty sure I've seen you on threads that have discussed this with nary a complaint from you. Of course I could be remembering incorrectly.

    I didn't mean to hit a nerve. Anyway you don't sound unskilled you just sound like a jackass.

  • ||

    "...2 BR apartment for $500? Where the hell do you live?..."

    Humboldt Park, Chicago. Lively place.

    I could be out of touch it might have gone up in the last year or so although I doubt it with the current housing market. New condo's are sitting vacant on my block. Oh, they're not very nice places.

  • ||

    "...You know your property taxes pay for more than just schools"

    Yep, my bill is itemized.

    The schools already suck.

  • Kolohe||

    So a family where no one has a high school diploma is going to start churning out college graduates in months or a few years?

    *Anecdote Alert*

    A Korean immigrant and his wife, who, by their age and english ability, came over to america with nothing and no education shortly after their civil war, operated a small run down take out place in prolefeed's neck of the woods, and basically worked 12 hours a day, including most Sundays, for the last fifteen or so years

    Their eldest daughter just started at Harvard a year or two ago.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Lour Dobbs and all of the rest of those anti-immigrants are a bunch of idiots.

    No account is taken for:

    1. Rent paid by illegals are (pass-thru) contributions toward property taxes.

    2. Disposable income of EMPLOYERS that hire illegals

    3. Disposable income of the CONSUMERs that use products and services rendered by illegals.

  • ||

    "1. Rent paid by illegals are (pass-thru) contributions toward property taxes."

    I haven't heard people dispute the fact that property taxes are paid by renters. In my post I said that the amount paid is less then the services consumed.

  • Alice Bowie||

    I'm just talking in general...Louie Dobbs is a BOOB

  • ||

    I see.

    Yes, he is kind of a boob

  • Kolohe||

    In my post I said that the amount paid is less then the services consumed.

    Most of property taxes collected = most of source of each districts school funding, agreed?

    And, some people are paying less than the per capita spent than education, agreed? (I think I heard somewhere that about 50% of property owners pay less than the median level of property taxes in most communities)

    So, are you saying is that the only thing holding back our schools from generating an endless supply of Socratic Einsteinian Mozarts are immigrants? (either legal or illegal?) Or for that matter, poor people?

  • ||

    Criminals did NOT build America; Citizens and LEGAL immigrants built it. Illegal Aliens and Immigration is NOT the same thing. 80% of the American people want an end to anarchy! This is NOT a Democrat, Republican, Independent issue. It's an American Issue.

    Illegal aliens are criminals, those who hire them are criminals and those who aid-and-abet them are criminals.

    Illegal aliens in America have NO rights. We are required by law to arrest and prosecute, deport them. (Title 8 U.S. Code) To report illegal aliens call the DHS National Hotline 1 866 DHS 2ICE. (1-866-347-2523)

    No, matter your political party affiliation, and setting aside your thoughts on issues. We all need to remember what it is to be an American Citizen. We need to make sure our elected representatives obey their Oath of Office and keep their Oath of Allegiance. See http://tinyurl.com/2znnvl Know whom you are voting for.

  • ||

    Criminals did NOT build America; Citizens and LEGAL immigrants built it.

    Since for 310 of the 400 years of American history virtually anyone who could make it to the continent was allowed in, I find the importance you place on legality of immigrants misplaced.

    Illegal aliens in America have NO rights.

    This statement shows so little regard to the notion of rights and even to the US Constitution that it is beneath contempt.

  • ||

    To report illegal aliens call the DHS National Hotline 1 866 DHS 2ICE. (1-866-347-2523)

    That's 1-800-HRTLESS, or alternately 1-800-BASTARD.

    Seriously, without a rational immigration policy that recognizes our economy requires millions of unskilled and low skilled willing workers, the illegals will keep coming and the employers will still be hiring them.

  • ||

    Illegal aliens in America have NO rights.

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,

    Didya miss that part of civics class, Dr Cole?

  • ||

    Sham article. If we boot the invaders, cut off their source of income (self deportation) we'll cut our tax rate. No more anchor babies and ILLEGAL NINO's to educate will mean, for one, less taxes needed for education (dumbing down in today's U.S. schools), less dollars for Emergency room medical care... WTF is this buffoon getting to? Nothing that makes logical sense!

  • ||

    If we boot the invaders, cut off their source of income (self deportation) we'll cut our tax rate. No more anchor babies and ILLEGAL NINO's to educate will mean, for one, less taxes needed for education (dumbing down in today's U.S. schools), less dollars for Emergency room medical care...

    However, if we legalize immigration, then many if not most of the immigrants won't feel the need to bring their families since they will work seasonally for a few years and then not come back.

    Same result you appear to seek... But actually achievable without the egregious abuse of individuals and society that enforcing the present immigration regime would require.

    On the other hand, given shifting demographics and what the government chooses to owe the most expensive entitlement recipients, the US may regret watching these young people and their children go back to their home countries.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Criminals did NOT build America; Citizens and LEGAL immigrants built it.

    What do u call SLAVERY? Or r u goin 2 use the technicality that slavery was legal then?

    llegal Aliens and Immigration is NOT the same thing.

    Actually, to most anti-immigrant bigots...u r correct...the reality is Lou Dobbs and the rest of the bigots believe the equation should look like this Illegal Aliens = MEXICAN


    U C Dr Coles,

    When a RUSSIAN Man is here illegally, he's a hardworking, anti-commi guy just looking to get the American Dream.

    When a Mexican/African Man is here illegally, he's a no good SPICK/NIGGER that needs to go back to where he came from...and that's how u really feel

  • Clemsonuee||

    Criminal's didn't build America?

    Georgia was a colony filled with criminals.

    John Paul Jones came to America while hiding from a crime.

    My ancestors were kicked out of all the finer countries in Europe.

    Heck the very founding of our nation was considered a criminal act. Treason I think is the word they use.

    I have no obligation to help support immoral laws. I will not help prosecute a person whose crime is a desire to make a better life.

    To put it another way I think if a law is wrong then a person breaking it is not a criminal.

    I could quote Civil Disobedience here but I doubt it would get me anywhere.

  • ||

    The anti-illegal crowd moans the most about legal immigration. That's a fact. Some just have their heads in their butts so they deny it.
    FAIR, the Minutemen, NumbersUSA, Tom Tancredo, CIS, etc, are All for a drastic decrease or even ban on legal immigration. To these right-wing idiotic commenters that's apparently an invalid point to make.

  • ||

    When I was a kid, just as the massive influx of legal and illegal immigrants started getting going, California's sales tax was 5 1/2 percent. Now, its 7 1/2 plus county sales tax.

    Strange thing is, I don't see Antonio Villaraigosa or Fabian Nuñez rushing to cut taxes or government. You open borders libertarians will be hoist by your own petard.

  • llnnv||

    "criminals didn't build America".

    Um, if that means bank robbers, or shop-lifters sure.
    But workers built America regardless of their immigration status. Even undocumented workers are workers more than anything else. Some just don't want to see it that way because they hate them so much. Everyone knows that hate clouds judgement.

  • ||

    "...And, some people are paying less than the per capita spent than education, agreed?"

    Yes.

    "So, are you saying is that the only thing holding back our schools from generating an endless supply of Socratic Einsteinian Mozarts are immigrants? (either legal or illegal?) Or for that matter, poor people?"

    No, I don't know where you got that impression.
    My point is immigrants are, in general, low wage earners. If this is true then immigrant parents, in general, receive more education then they pay for. More immigrants equals more low wage earners with kids in need of education
    which makes my taxes going up yet again. Illegal immigrants pay taxes, this is true, but not close to what someone in the middle income bracket does.

    Even if more people create a larger economy not everything experiences the same buoyancy. Most free market advocates offer endless streams of statements but have little to say about the nitty gritty. How long does a change take, what would derail a change, what does the starting point need to look like, etc.

    In the case of immigrants helping our economy grow I'm inclined to believe this does in fact happen. But economies aren't quantum particles- they don't just flip into a new energy state. There are growing pains when changes occur. Don't the new comers have an ethical responsibility to those already here who will face the most turmoil? One issue is the fact that those already here are in many cases subsidizing the new comers. The argument (at least on this site) always puts the onus on the existing citizens.

  • Kolohe||

    Stupendousman-

    Your argument is one against urbanization. Which is a valid point of view, especially in exurbs and obviously related to immigration in the macro sense.

    But in US history we have had massive external (i.e New York, San Fransico) and internal (i.e. Chicago and Detroit, and more recently cities in the South and West) migrations of low skilled workers to growing cities and while their was social turmoil, it was a net benefit in both the economic and social spheres. It was the post -WW2 exodous of many of the same people to the South and California that caused the Rust Belt to economically collapse.

    And I know this ain't the libertarian line, but I actually believe in state support for education. And I think the proper framework is its not the parents working in whatever low-skill job that are consumers of education, its their children.

    Lastly, and I know this is b.s. first principles argument that may not have any macroeconomic validity but:
    assume then that no or at least fewer low-skilled workers were arriving in your town. Would this not drive up the cost of labor, and consequently some other, non-tax expenses? I understand that government is a notorious inefficient transmitter of value, so this relationship is not even close to monotonic, but the dynamic is there.

  • ||

    (Attention: flame bait ahead)

    Current system is OK: if you sneak in, you live your life in the shadows, and work for shit pay in awful conditions. But your children will be princes.

    Worked for my family; I can't point to any grandparent with "papers." Grampop worked 2 jobs most of his life, paid his taxes and kept his lawn mowed. The kids graduated high school and went into retail. The grandkids are now in the financial and medical professions. When he passed away, Grandmom was left with enough $$ that (combined with Social Security) enabled her to live modestly for the next 18 years.

    My family has contributed to the economic health and social stability of the neighborhoods we lived in. Has the economy changed so much that this path doesn't exist anymore? Have the people coming over the border changed so much?

  • ||

    Even undocumented workers are workers more than anything else.

    No, they are consumers, voters, family people, human beings. People aren't just workers, the nation isn't just a giant day-labor site.

    What I really wish is that we could separate. Those of us that want a demographically stable country to somewhere, and those of you who want open-borders, high 'growth', free wheeling somewhere else. I've no doubt that after a decade or so, you guys would start migrating into the low immigration country. Indeed we have something like that now -- SoCal is so saturated that Mexican's move elsewhere and of course the native-born are leaving in droves. Yeah I know, 'regulation' 'high taxes' -- well those things are a consequence of immigration either directly (the taxes) or indirectly (much of the solid native-born working class, the counterweight to Bobos, has been driven out of California.)

  • ||

    Yeah I know, 'regulation' 'high taxes' -- well those things are a consequence of immigration either directly (the taxes) or indirectly (much of the solid native-born working class, the counterweight to Bobos, has been driven out of California.)

    I think you should consider the possibility that what is going on in Southern California is that it has become such a desirable place to live that wealthier people -- your "Bobos", I suppose -- outbid the solid native-born working class for the square footage. As a result, it is no longer economical to have factory jobs there and the economy becomes one of high valued labor only. Immigrants move to California to take the remaining service jobs that the solid native-born working class leave behind because the immigrants are willing to live in fewer square feet.

  • ||

    As a result, it is no longer economical to have factory jobs there and the economy becomes one of high valued labor only.

    That would make it hard to explain why LA -- a modern, 21st century city whose economy should be based primarily on information and entertainment, has a textile industry. Reason, cheap workforce (immigrants) owners who want the social benefits America provides (like really Higher Ed.) these tend to be Koreans, Israelis. Either way, the industry doesn't benefit native-born.

    And yes, California is pleasant for the wealthy, what with the army of servants available, and the gate-guarded communities, and their ability to manipulate the political process for their advantage. Hmmm, does that sound familiar -- perhaps much like Mexico?

  • ||

    That would make it hard to explain why LA -- a modern, 21st century city whose economy should be based primarily on information and entertainment, has a textile industry.

    Isn't it somewhat telling that the LA industry you named is one of the lowest paying industries? Were it not for immigrants, those factories would simply shut down. They could not afford to pay what most workers with American expectations would need to live there.

    In no way should this be seen as immigrants' chasing middle class natives out. Wealthier natives and their higher paying jobs are chasing middle class natives out.

    Should there a concern about the increasingly bimodal distribution of the population in desirable cities? Perhaps. Does it represent an argument against immigration? No.

  • ||

    Isn't it somewhat telling that the LA industry you named is one of the lowest paying industries? Were it not for immigrants, those factories would simply shut down.

    Actually, many wouldn't have been built/established in the first place (they are relatively new). Its the vast supply of labor (in subsidized households), plus the benefits paid at public expense to the owners (Koreas get their kids into UCLA or Berk) that drives this.

    But the factories' presences leads to negative impacts on the quality of life, from schools to emergency rooms to traffic. I'd make the case they increase taxes and rents/mortgages. So the native-born leave, trying to find somewhere more like they grew up, somewhere with lower tax burdens, somewhere they can afford a decent house at American-style densities. They leave the state. I don't think they should have to.

  • ||

    The likely alternative to those factories providing jobs for people willing to work at textile industry wages in an extremely expensive locale is having nothing there providing jobs for nobody.

    I have no idea what one would do to keep people there if they would rather live somewhere more affordable. ...Certainly nothing that would pass free society muster.

  • ||

    The likely alternative to those factories providing jobs for people willing to work at textile industry wages in an extremely expensive locale is having nothing there providing jobs for nobody.

    Mike, you just don't get it. The factories are there because open borders has caused a tremendous 'reserve army of the unemployed'. Just check out street corners around 'Home Depot' and any 'automated' LA Carwash. So, we have 'cheap labor' in SoCal, which of course is partially subsidized by (1) free school for the kidies (2) free school lunches for the kidies (3) pro-rated HUD grants for the US born children (4) emergency room centric healthcare (5) additional spending on infrastructure and on and on.

    There should be no textile factories in LA -- they should be in Korea or Mexico. Only a de facto open borders policy, coupled with subsidies, makes it economical to have a textile factory in LA. No factory, or bust the factory owners for employing illegals the people go back home, i.e. Mexico, the US taxpayer doesn't foot the bill, and quality of life goes up for US citizens.

  • ||

    No factory, or bust the factory owners for employing illegals the people go back home, i.e. Mexico, the US taxpayer doesn't foot the bill, and quality of life goes up for US citizens.

    That may or may not be true. But closing those factories certainly won't stop working class flight from expensive cities.

  • ||

    MikeP,

    It think what MY is saying has been said over the course of this debate here. Open borders can't work without an extreme reduction in handouts- be they educational, health related, or SS benefits for new immigrants. The ground has to be prepared for such a radical policy. Arguing the ethics of such a move is moot until it's realistic to do so. When it is I'm guessing there won't be nearly as much fuss with free movement.

    Another (I think) huge issue is infrastructure. The roads and other public works in large cities are at the breaking point. Take Chicago for example- rush hour starts at 7:00am stops at about 10:00am then starts up again at 2:30pm and goes till 8:00pm. It's farking ridiculous. There are fiscal as well as space issues that
    would hinder expanding or building new roads. Whenever someone pshaws my concerns of a large increase of population I think back to the 1.5 hrs it took me to commute 11 miles. Both ways.

    Of course I guess it's a matter of how you see an economy. I see it as a large Rube Goldberg contraption and it seems that you see it as an emergent system.

  • ||

    Nice to have a reasoned discussion on this topic without the usual namecalling.

  • ||

    Agreed!

  • ||

    Of course I guess it's a matter of how you see an economy. I see it as a large Rube Goldberg contraption and it seems that you see it as an emergent system.

    I wouldn't say I see the economy as an emergent system with something of its own intelligence. But I do see it as a complex system where aggregate metrics of good and bad are strongly related to local metrics of good and bad. Thus the voluntary actions and associations of individuals to improve their own lots improve the collective lot as well.

    I agree that government provided services throw a wrench into that relationship. However, I believe that government services are only a problem for immigration when they are provided on an individual basis to targeted persons -- e.g., welfare, medicaid -- and not when they are provided on a collective basis for collective reasons -- e.g., public schools, infrastructure.

    It is the former, not the latter, that would actually be an undesirable draw to immigrants under open borders. And the 1996 welfare reforms pretty much made immigrants ineligible for them.

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