Immigration Enforcement As an Anti-Obesity Measure

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A new argument against immigration: Those foreigners are making us fat. Or so reasons economist Alfred Tella, who argues that Americans would be getting more exercise if they didn't have cheap Mexican laborers to do their yard and house work. Note that the same argument would apply to any modern convenience that makes life less physically demanding, including dishwashers, gas lawn mowers, robot vacuum cleaners, remote controls, and automobiles. The basic idea is that making life harder will make it better. And this is a judgment that Tella wants to forcibly impose on middle-class Americans by making it prohibitively expensive to hire help.

I'm surprised Tella did not mention all the illegal immigrants who work in restaurants, making tasty, fattening food more affordable. Yet another reason to seal the border.

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  1. I wonder how the good economist would explain away all the fat people who’ve never had servants or lawn boys.

  2. The fact that this joker could both be labeled an “economist”, as well as get published in a widely-read paper, is unbelievably depressing.

    I wonder if I could get published if I called myself an “economist” and wrote an op-ed arguing that we could both get reduce obesity and reduce our dependence on foreign oil at the same time, if we all gave up our cars and walked everywhere.

    Fuck, it’s the same stupid rationale, why not, WashTimes?

    The fact that idiots like this are let out of the asylum is bad enough—the fact that their nonsense gets published is absurd. I bet this jerkass also has much to say supporting the broken window fallacy.

  3. I go to restaurants all the time. However, I make it a point to park very far away.

  4. To the extent Americans adjusted their lifestyle to a reduction in the supply of immigrant labor by doing more household tasks, obesity would decline and health would improve.

    Quite doubtful, since poor people are far more likely to be fat than are rich people.

  5. As the CDC and medical researchers tell us, obesity increases the risk of many diseases and adverse health conditions, including hypertension, diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, respiratory problems, and some cancers. Obesity is also reported to cause complications of pregnancy, bladder control problems, psychological disorders, and premature death.

    So it’s not just the obesity that illegal immigration causes!

    …of course, by that logic, doesn’t keeping illegal child care workers out of the market make parents more likely to use television as a baby sitter? …and doesn’t that make children more likely to get involved with drugs? Indeed, by that logic, can’t we argue that the anti-immigrant lobby is working to corrupt America’s children?

  6. A steady diet that includes Mexican refried beans will help even the most monstrous among us drop a dress size or two. Plus, you know, they’re “good for your heart.”

  7. And what about the old days? When gardners were all Japanese? See! The real problem isn’t the exercise it’s just that smoked fish and rice aren’t as fattening as refried beans cooked in lard, checharrones, or greasy tacos.

    And what is it about gardners anyway? Race and ethnicity is irrelevant. Country of origin is irrelevant. There has to be one of Bailey’s genetic components that dictates that every gardner will prune any given shrub into the shape of a beach ball or a perfect frikkin square. When finished, they rake out all the mulch and haul it off to the dump.

  8. Jacob Sullum,

    Ever read Cowen’s More Work For Mother?

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