Finally, the Republican National Committee has come up with a solution to chronic joblessness on President Obama’s watch. And it is simple, elegant and brilliant. In fact, so simple, so elegant, and so brilliant that only a genius like illegal alien-baiter Kris Kobach, the notorious author of Arizona’s SB 1070, your-papers-please law, could come up with it. So what is the plan?
Ready? Hold on to your passports: Remove An Illegal Alien Today. Yes. That’s right. It’s easy.
Explained Kobach to the 100-plus gathering of RNC representatives – who dutifully incorporated the plan in the draft party platform: “If you really want to create a job tomorrow, you can remove an illegal alien today…That is the way to open up jobs very quickly for U.S. citizen workers and lawfully admitted alien workers.”
The platform committee also overwhelmingly voted to add language proposed by Kobach calling for the completion of a border fence, the end of in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, an end to sanctuary cities, and support for national E-Verify. In other words, every illegal-busting idea they could think of instead of one that would really work: Relaxing the borders or, at least, implementing a generous guest worker program.
But if I understand the deep economic logic behind the deportation plan, it is essentially this: the fewer people you have in the country, the more job options there are for people already here. If that’s the case, why just stop at deporting illegals. Why not also include in the RNC platform a plan to scrap the biggest source of job competition: Human reproduction. How ‘bout adopting a one-child policy -- a la China? After all, childbirth is the primary form of immigration, the primary way that new people come into the country. Imagine how much future unemployment we could cut.
But the late and great Julian Simon pointed out the fallacy in this line of argument way back when. Here’s what he said:
One reason that unemployment is not caused is that potential immigrants have considerable awareness of labor-market conditions in the U.S., and tend not to come if there is little demand for their skills. Also, immigrants tend to be varied in their skills and therefore do not have a disproportionate impact on a few industries.
At the same time, immigrants increase demand for labor across the range of occupations, because immigrants consume goods as well as produce them. This point is crucial, but too little understood. Immigrants not only take jobs, they make jobs. Immigrants create new jobs indirectly with their spending, and they also create new jobs directly with new businesses, which they are more likely than natives to start. A Canadian government survey found that almost 5 per cent of 2,037 immigrants surveyed had started their own businesses within the first three years in Canada. Not only did they employ themselves, they employed others, “creating” a total of 606 jobs. Expressed as a proportion of the 2,037 total immigrants, roughly 30 per cent as many jobs were created from scratch as total jobs were held by immigrants. Furthermore, these numbers surely rose after the three-year study period.
In other words, as I noted in my recent column, GOP’s Economic Illiteracy on Immigration: “New workers are not mouths that should be regretted because they eat, but hands and brains that should be welcomed because they grow the economic pie.”
Perhaps along with Ayn Rand, Paul Ryan could require his fellow GOPers to read some Simon too.
Update: The headline was modified to more accurately reflect the text after legitimate reader objections. (The original headline was: The Cure For GOP's Economic Illiteracy: More Julian Simon, Less Ayn Rand.)