The Migration Package Deal

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Megan McArdle is still against a guest worker program:

What will we do with pregnant guest workers? For three to six months, at least, they won't be working. They'll need health care; who will provide it? Will we force companies to provide their guest workers health care, which will make them uneconomical compared to other low-skilled labor, or will the taxpayer foot the bill? Do we ship them home? Do we rewrite our constitution to exclude their babies from citizenship.

That's one troubling question. Here's another: do we let the guest workers date and marry American citizens, as they will? Because if we do, we'll find a lot of our guests have become permanent members of the household.

These are hard questions, so I'm going to avoid them. Economist Lant Pritchett answers them better than I can in an interview in the February issue of reason, but he also recognizes that the details of any such plan don't matter nearly as much as most of us think they do.

Here's why: Citizenships are club memberships you happen to be born with. Some clubs, like the Norway club, have truly awesome benefits. Others, like the Malawi club, offer next to none. Membership in each club is kept limited by club members, who understandably worry about the drain on resources that new members might represent. Wishing the U.S. would extend more memberships in 2008 isn't going to get you very far.

Conceptually, for whatever reason, most of us are in a place where we think labor market access and citizenships ought to be bundled. A Malawian can't come work here, we think, without the promise of a club membership, which is nearly impossible to get. This is an incredibly damaging assumption for two reasons: (1) memberships are essentially fixed in wealthy democratic societies (2) uneven labor market access is a major cause of global inequality. Decoupling the two leads to massive gains, as we see in Singapore, without the need to up memberships.

Here's another way to think about it: Clubs have positive duties toward their members, including those of the welfare state. But the negative duty not to harm outsiders exists prior to clubs, and denying people the ability to cooperate with one another violates their rights in a very basic way. Our current policy is one of coercively preventing cooperation. In saying "we can't let people into this country unless we confer upon them all the rights and duties of citizenship," you are saying that we need to violate their right to move freely and cooperate unless we can give them welfare benefits. But that's backwards.

This is why humanitarian economists can be enthusiastic about even a tiny guest worker program; the bundling of labor market access and citizenship is an obvious obstacle to global prosperity. Establishing the two as distinct matters.

So will we send home pregnant guest workers? I hope not, but maybe. Will we force companies to provide health insurance for young, healthy people who come here wanting to work? Probably. Will we allow guest workers to marry Americans? I don't see why not. But none of these concerns comes close to justifying a system that locks people into poverty and out of our labor markets based on conditions of birth.

NEXT: The Assassination of Benazir Bhutto

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  1. How about open borders? Too radical?

  2. “Package deal”? Where have I heard that recently?

    🙂

  3. Will we allow guest workers to marry Americans? I don’t see why not.

    I’d’ve worded the question the opposite way: “Will we allow Americans to marry guest workers?”, mainly because I’d then enjoy watching the squirming of the pro-American patriots trying to explain why they’d refuse to let their countrymen marry the love of their life.

  4. Why would anyone with a brain prefer illegal migrants to guest workers?

  5. But the negative duty not to harm outsiders exists prior to clubs, and denying people the ability to cooperate with one another violates their rights in a very basic way.

    So – where should I have the fruit salad delivered?

    Oy!

  6. Why would anyone with a brain prefer illegal migrants to guest workers?

    Availability? When the number of illegal immigrants you can hire is “infinite” while the number of available guest workers is “zero,” I can see how hiring a flesh-and-blood employee would be preferable to dreaming of an imaginary one.

  7. Why would anyone with a brain prefer illegal migrants to guest workers?

    Not saying they have a brain, but these are the people who harbor fantasies of 20-foot-tall concrete ramparts along every inch of the border.

  8. Not saying they have a brain, but these are the people who harbor fantasies of 20-foot-tall concrete ramparts along every inch of the border.

    Let’s ask today’s Germans what they think of the idea. They have such lovely cold war memories of border walls.

  9. btw – her name is spelled McArdle.

  10. Thanks Pig!

  11. Citizenship is nothing like a club, unless of course you mean a club that you can’t opt out of with forced/coerced membership dues.

  12. These are hard questions, so I’m going to avoid them.

    Not the best way to convey you have anything intelligent to say.

  13. The girl from Annie?

  14. Kerry-

    I guess I see the point that a guest worker program is a lesser evil compared to simply not letting people in. I would say this, though: A guest worker program should allow guest workers to change jobs, and they should be able to quit their current job and live off savings until they find a new one. They shouldn’t have to get a new job on the same day in order to retain their visa.

    Without that element of mobility, guest workers will be hostages to their employers. And that has all sorts of bad implications. Indeed, it might even be worse than illegal immigration. An illegal immigrant might not have much bargaining power in the marketplace, but since the INS doesn’t know who he is they won’t be dragging him away if he decides to look for a new job. A guest worker, OTOH, will be on the radar and unable to shop around.

  15. But the negative duty not to harm outsiders exists prior to clubs, and denying people the ability to cooperate with one another violates their rights in a very basic way.

    If there is going to be a quest worker program instead of increased citizenship quotas, then this is a good rule of thumb.

  16. “These are hard questions, so I’m going to avoid them.”

    Say what?!

    “Will we force companies to provide their guest workers health care, which will make them uneconomical compared to other low-skilled labor, or will the taxpayer foot the bill?”

    As consumers have to foot the bill for the difference in labor costs, I can see how it might behoove most of us if the taxpayers footed the bill. …especially considering how much of the tax bill is paid by a small group at the top.

    In a perfect world, there wouldn’t be any taxpayer funded health care. Of course, this isn’t a perfect world, and the woefully imperfect solution of denying health care based on the recipient’s national origin would seem to suggest that being born in the United States entitles someone to free health care. …a suggestion that makes me want to retch.

    BTW, isn’t there some kind of prohibition against the government discriminating against people because of their national origin?

  17. As part of the free health care the illegals get, maybe we should include a complimentary D&C when they come over the border?

    I’d prefer open borders with no state freebies, myself.

  18. If you’re all hell-bent on increasing labor mobility, why have “guest worker” programs at all? Why not just negotiate treaties that provide for reciprocal migration rights, and a basic set of legal, property and economic rights between the countries effected?

    If folks from other countries have a “right” (a dubious proposition in itself) to seek employment in the US, why wouldn’t US citizens equally have the right to do the same in other countries? And if that’s the case, wouldn’t it be the US government’s responsibility to attempt to secure those rights for it’s citizens as well?

  19. First, she didn’t actually dodge the question. She joked about dodging the question, but then she cited a reference for the answers.

    Second, to Pig Mannix: I hear this complaint about reciprocity all the time from people who want very strict limits on immigration. Are you really that hell-bent on working in Mexico?

  20. Why does anyone care what Megan McArdle thinks about anything?

    She reminds me of a “learned horse” from a 19th Century carnival.Wow!, she can count and add and subtract! You take away the “horse” part and it’s like …So what?

  21. Second, to Pig Mannix: I hear this complaint about reciprocity all the time from people who want very strict limits on immigration. Are you really that hell-bent on working in Mexico?

    No, but I wouldn’t mind retiring there. And whether or not I’d personally work there, there are certainly people who would want to.

    But you still avoided the question, so we’ll try again – if migration to other countries is a “right”, why should it apply only to foreign nationals, but not to US citizens? And since when is the business of a nation’s government to secure the rights of non-citizens, while neglecting to do the same for it’s own citizens?

  22. In saying “we can’t let people into this country unless we confer upon them all the rights and duties of citizenship,” you are saying that we need to violate their right to move freely and cooperate unless we can give them welfare benefits. But that’s backwards.

    You are exactly correct here.

    Another way to look at it is that individual rights are fundamental while citizenship is derivative. The rights to migrate and labor are among those inalienable rights that governments are instituted to secure. But citizenship is a pragmatic institution designed primarily to deal with issues of national sovereignty and international law and secondarily to deal with the selection of the government’s constitution and officials.

    Free migration for any who want to work temporarily or permanently in the US should be the normal state of affairs. The question is whether and how to offer citizenship to immigrant workers. A happy medium needs to be found, and that medium will necessarily be pragmatic. I’m not terribly concerned. As far as I can tell, the US has done a pretty good job of handing out citizenship so far in its history.

  23. And since when is the business of a nation’s government to secure the rights of non-citizens, while neglecting to do the same for it’s own citizens?

    I take it you don’t believe in unilateral free trade either.

  24. I take it you don’t believe in unilateral free trade either.

    No. “Unilateral free trade” is an oxymoron. If only one partner has the ability to choose freely, then by definition it’s not free trade.

    And you didn’t answer the question, either.

  25. if migration to other countries is a “right”, why should it apply only to foreign nationals, but not to US citizens?

    I think the Mexicans would do well to allow greater labor mobility and greater participation in their economy by foreigners. However, since I don’t vote for Mexico’s government I focus my attention on the policies of my government, and I think my government would also do well to allow greater labor mobility, allow greater economic participation by foreigners (for the mutual benefit of all parties to the transaction), and respect the right of American businessmen to hire people whom they wish to hire regardless of nationality. I think America’s government would do well to allow these things irrespective of what other governments do. If another government doesn’t want to take these steps toward a more dynamic economy, that’s their loss, and I see no reason why we should follow their lead.

  26. Ken Shultz wanted to know, “isn’t there some kind of prohibition against the government discriminating against people because of their national origin?”

    If that were so, then no visitor, legal or illegal, could ever be deported.

    There is this: …nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. (Fourteenth Amendment, Section 1).

    That applies to States and, by derivation, to localities; it does not apply to Feds. Still, it would seem to invalidate a whole lot of local prohibitions against renting to illegals, etc.

    I’m a seer; I see a future court decision — very flowery language that boils down to “the Constitution couldn’t mean what it actually says, because we have such a great need for it not to.”

  27. I agree with MikeP.

    No, really…

    Not giving full citizenship to everybody worked pretty damn well for the Romans. One of the many factors contributing to the fall of Western Rome was that they started offering full citizenship to everybody, which kind of screwed up their whole societal structure…

  28. What benefits do I gain by being a citizen? I can think of only one: The privilege to vote. That’s all I can think of. Even legal residents can get welfare and social security, so I don’t even have the benefit of members-only largesse.

    I think that’s why many people come here illegally, there’s just no point in migrating legally.

  29. I’m not sure Kerry was joking about not answering the hard questions. If so, it was lost on me.

  30. Kerry Howley: I think about this with my brain. I realize that’s probably difficult for you, so can I suggest finding some really smart people who can help you figure these things out? You might have to pay them a few bucks, but at least you won’t embarrass yourself so much.

    Those smart people will clue you in to what’s called “The Left” and “The Democratic Party”. They’ll push for “guests” to become voters in order to obtain power. In fact, those smart people can point out to Howley that that’s what the Dems are doing now.

    So, even under the best libertarian/crypto-corporatist scheme, those who have power will compare the libertarian scheme to SouthAfrica in order to give them voting rights. They might even threaten violence in our streets without such rights. And, the MexicanGovernment won’t just be satisfied with getting money out of the deal, they’ll want power. They’ve even explicitly stated that they’re going to be using U.S. nonprofits to push their agenda inside the U.S.

    The bottom line is the Howley, McArdle, and MattY have absolutely no clue about this issue. But, at least they’re helping discredit themselves and their publications, so we’ve got that upside.

  31. “Package deal”? Where have I heard that recently?

    Wide Stance Larry Craig?

  32. If another government doesn’t want to take these steps toward a more dynamic economy, that’s their loss, and I see no reason why we should follow their lead.

    All very nice, but the proposition here is that migration is a “right”.

    That being the case, is it not the responsibility of the US government to be securing the rights of it’s citizens?

    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, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men

    –Declaration of Independence

  33. Taxtix-

    I’m much more familiar with middle to late Republic Rome (hence the name), but my impression was that Western Rome in the Middle to Late Empire relied too heavily on non-citizen soldiers. Is that impression completely incorrect? Was it that they were offering citizenship to the inhabitants of the fringes of the Empire and then sticking them in the army before they were truly part of the civitas?

  34. it was lost on me

    Not the best way to convey that you have anything intelligent to say, xy!

    I respond to the questions line by line in the last paragraph, though I’m sure quite a few people will have jumped ship by then. It’s a long post.

  35. Isn’t it that the soldiers prior to that had to be land owners? That was relaxed and all were encouraged to be soldiers, with land given to them for serving. This land was often the spoils of war. The problem was that the soldiers became more faithful to the general that started this practice than to the state.

  36. “But none of these concerns comes close to justifying a system that locks people into poverty and out of our labor markets based on conditions of birth.”

    That is a facinating and probably unintentionally revealing comment. If a nation cannot control its borders, then how is it a nation in any sense of the word? The right to control entry and access is fundemental to the concept of the nation. Although Howley probably doesn’t realize it and if she did wouldn’t admit it, what she is really arguing against is the concept of a nation. Liberals want a world government and libertarians want a world market. But the idea that there is such a thing as the United States that is exceptional and worth sacrificing for goes away.

    I really think that is going to be the political split and conflict in the 21st century. It will be the conflict between nationalists like me who believe in the country and concept of national sovereignty and transnationalists like Howley whose loyalties lie in either the market or in the case of left wingers, transnational organizations like the UN.

  37. Sulla,

    I’m not totally sure about the military, but I know they often waved the citizenship carrot to put an easy end to slave riots and provincial revolts, especially when the army became stretched to thinly.

    This lead to an overpopulation in the cities when these new “citizens” also had their land taken to appease unruly patricians, who were growing out of control as well. They simply showed up at the gates and requested their citizenship bread…

    However, this occurred more in the areas closer to Rome. Out toward the border, you’re right, they were pressing newly conquered peoples into military service. But one can go on and on, as there were throngs of reasons for the empire’s decline…

  38. EDIT: when these new “citizens” also had their land taken to appease unruly patricians the citizen soldiers “brotherben” is talking about

    Sorry, I think I got two different eras confused. It’s been a while…

  39. Taktix,

    I think the current view of the fall of Rome in the west is to equate it to something like the fall of the Soviet Union. The central authority of Rome went away and the local authorities steped in to take its place. European culture did not decline so much as it’s horizons shrunk. The world elite class that existed under Rome that allowed say Augustine in the 4th Century to communicate freely with his colleges in Milan went away. Things became much more local and less cosmopolitan. But, culture and learning did not disapear during the dark ages as we are lead to believe in school.

  40. However, this occurred more in the areas closer to Rome. Out toward the border, you’re right, they were pressing newly conquered peoples into military service. But one can go on and on, as there were throngs of reasons for the empire’s decline…

    The problem is that Rome has become a scrying glass for subsequent Western civilizations attempting to read their own fates. As much as we have in common with the Romans, the differences are greater, and it’s probably best if we stop drawing crude parallels.

  41. All very nice, but the proposition here is that migration is a “right”.

    Yes, it is a fundamental human right.

    That being the case, is it not the responsibility of the US government to be securing the rights of it’s citizens?

    Absolutely, I would agree that the US government ought to be trying to open up other countries to free migration for US citizens. But this is not an argument for reciprocity – it’s an argument that other governments ought to do what’s morally right as well.

    For example, imagine another country has some clearly immoral law – say lashing a woman who is seen associating with a man who isn’t her husband – and a US citizen ends up running afoul of that law in that country and is so sentenced. I would certainly hope the US government would bring all the pressure it could on that country to prevent such barbarism. However, it is also clear that the US would not be justified or acting morally to tell that other country that until it changes its laws we will impose the same punishment on women of that country when they are in US.

    Reciprocity is not the measure of human rights. I would think such a notion is obvious.

  42. I think the most wrong thing in the parade of shame that is McArdle’s post is this little nugget:

    Cultures have some right to preserve themselves

    First of all, that wrongly treats a “culture” as some kind of entity with the ability to make decisions instead of as the sum of the biases of all the individual participants. That’s just foolish collectivism. Secondly, if you interpret it with what I think is a correct perspective on what a culture is (that is, the sum of the actions/biases/preferences of some arbitrary group of people), it implies that people have some right to preserve their biases.

    That seems pretty ridiculous: people have a right to be left alone, but no positive right to have their preference for English road signs and bland, midwestern food preserved by keeping millions of brown people destitute poor. Some dude named Jose moving in across the street, opening a Taqueria and having a quincenera for his daughter doesn’t exactly violate anybody’s property rights or the NAP, so I’m having a real problem coming up with exactly what the problem is. I also don’t think it matters if Jose opens his own Taqueria or works in a shoe factory or whatever, since when does trying to better one’s station in the world make one some kind of deplorable criminal?

  43. Isn’t it that the soldiers prior to that had to be land owners? That was relaxed and all were encouraged to be soldiers, with land given to them for serving. This land was often the spoils of war. The problem was that the soldiers became more faithful to the general that started this practice than to the state.

    Again, I’m more familiar with the middle to late Republic, but that sounds more like the reforms instituted by Gaius Marius in 107 B.C. In response to the threat of invasion by the “Germanic” tribes, he did away with land ownership requirements, allowing Roman citizens of the lower classes (the “head count”) to enlist. This did have an effect on the soldiers because it allowed the generals to promise land to them. A general could use that promise of land to create greater loyalty. It was this loyalty that allowed the next few generations of generals (Marius, Sulla, Pompey and Julius Caesar, among others) to create a cult of personality and exceed the powers of the office of Consul and/or Dictator. However, you could also argue that it was the instrangience of the Senate to grant the land that led to soldiers viewing land as a gift from the general who “fought” the Senate to ensure that his “boys” got their just reward, instead of a payment from the State to thank its citizens for their loyal service. So, by the end of the Western empire, soldiers had not been required to own land for almost six hundred years.

  44. “That seems pretty ridiculous: people have a right to be left alone, but no positive right to have their preference for English road signs and bland, midwestern food preserved by keeping millions of brown people destitute poor. ”

    That assumes that the people in the midwest minding their own business are somehow responsible for keeping “millions of brown people poor”. What a bunch of leftist horseshit that is. What is keeping people poor is their own ignorance and fucked up governments. We have nothing to do with it. Further, why is it that people here are somehow obliged to give up their quality of life so that other people can escape their own disfunctional countries rather than fix them. Migrationists like Howley and you are nothing but dupes for assholes like Carlos Slim. YOu take the starving masses and in return they get to run their countries in the ground and steal millions with no consiqences because if anyone doesn’t like it they just leave and come here. We are not doing the world any favors by taking in its poor. The sollution is to fix the countries from which these people come.

  45. Yes, it is a fundamental human right.

    I would tend to agree that no person should be forced to live in a particular place, so I think I agree that the right to leave is a fundamental right. IOW, the local authorities should not be able to force you to stay.

    However, this is not the same as saying that you should have the right to go anywhere you want. I’m not sure I’m willing to accept that extension of the right to leave. The right to exclude is the fundamental property right, for example, that would seem inconsistent with a universal human right to go anywhere you want.

    The degree to which the right to exclude scales up from individual property owners to collectives like governments is a contentious issue on this board, but I’m not yet convinced that governments should have no controls over their borders whatsoever.

  46. “However, this is not the same as saying that you should have the right to go anywhere you want. I’m not sure I’m willing to accept that extension of the right to leave. The right to exclude is the fundamental property right, for example, that would seem inconsistent with a universal human right to go anywhere you want.”

    RC it is a fundemental sovereign right of nations. People like Howley don’t beleive in the nation state anymore. If you don’t beleive in the concept of a national sovereignty, then the US has no more right to prevent someone from Mexico or Norway moving here than Maryland has a right to keep someone from California moving there.

  47. I respond to the questions line by line in the last paragraph, though I’m sure quite a few people will have jumped ship by then. It’s a long post.

    YOWZA! Did that sting a little, x,y?

    Kerry,
    It’s also a great post.

  48. John – If you’re definition of “Quality of life” is “not living next door to somebody who’s brown and speaks Spanish” you’re even more pathetic than I’d presumed. Exactly how are they “stealing millions” by participating in the free exchange of labor for money? I wasn’t aware that willing exchaning one’s labor for pay was a form of theft, please enlighten the class on your new theories of property, I’m sure they’re quite intriguing.

    It’s also pretty cute that you still think we can “fix” other countries by keeping people from leaving them. Man, that sure worked out for East Germany didn’t it? How’s that whole “keep people in Cuba for prosperity’s sake” thing coming along?

    As to how it’s the midwest’s fault? By voting for politicians who want to do whatever is needed to keep poor people from other countries out so that ignorant bigots won’t have to suffer through listening to Tejano music during block parties and eating the occasional tamale. That’s how. And you, John, you’re a piece of work: You complain about illegals because they “break our laws” and you complain about proposals to make sure people don’t have to break laws to come here and work. I’m starting to think there’s more going on with you John. I’ll give you a hint: it starts with R and rhymes with bassist.

  49. EDIT: YOUR definition. Jesus fuck, learn to spell Tim.

  50. EDIT II: willingly exchanging

  51. “I’ll give you a hint: it starts with R and rhymes with bassist.”

    um…

    I’ll take “outer planets” for three hundred, please.

  52. Yes, it is a fundamental human right.

    Really? From where is it derived, and in what nation on earth has it ever been recognized?

  53. Well, if somebody finds a private employer who’s willing to hire him, a private landlord who’s willing to rent to him, and a private store that’s willing to sell him food, I’m pretty sure that government stepping in and trying to stop that violates all sorts of fundamental rights from a libertarian perspective.

  54. VM- The answer is: I orbit the sun and recently lost my stature as a real planet. I was, in fact, built by a kindly old man in his woodshop then placed into orbit. Disney named a dog after me.

  55. That assumes that the people in the midwest minding their own business are somehow responsible for keeping “millions of brown people poor”. What a bunch of leftist horseshit that is. What is keeping people poor is their own ignorance and fucked up governments.

    If you view “the people” as a faceless, amorphous mass, then you are probably right, although I would be more likely to blame a broader base of institutions than simply the government. However, with reference to some specific individuals, US immigration policy _is_ helping to keep them poor by preventing them from coming to this country and taking higher-paying jobs.

    Further, why is it that people here are somehow obliged to give up their quality of life so that other people can escape their own disfunctional countries rather than fix them.

    No one is asking you to give up your quality of life. How is my hiring a Guatalmalan immigrant to mow my hard interfering with your quality of life?

    YOu take the starving masses and in return they get to run their countries in the ground and steal millions with no conseqences because if anyone doesn’t like it they just leave and come here. We are not doing the world any favors by taking in its poor.

    But we are doing ourselves a favor. We’ve always taken the world’s poor, and done it to our own benefit.

  56. RC it is a fundemental sovereign right of nations.

    Sure, and the Confederate States of America thought slavery was a right of sovereignty. Could the CSA’s sovereignty rights trump the individual humans it wished to hold as slaves?

    Obviously not. Fundamental human rights trump whatever “rights” you wish to assign to a government. Governments (e.g. states) are creations of man and cannot be created to take away that which is fundamental to the individual (i.e. the only true rights are individual rights).

  57. mow my hard

    Mow my YARD, dammit, YARD.

  58. Really? From where is it derived

    Well, it is fundamental so you shouldn’t have to derive it from anything. What is the opposite – that you can be forcibly contained in a prescribed area by other people? That seems pretty fundamentally wrong on its face. But, you can derive it from freedom of association if you must. I should be free to associate with whomever I wish – and that includes working for, hiring, selling to, buying from, renting from or to, etc., etc. In order from that freedom of association to mean anything the people in question must be free to move about (and yes, that still leaves the right of a property owner to exclude the individual from property he actually owns).

  59. Timothy,

    First person to call the other one racist is generally the loser of the argument. Too bad you are not smart enough to argue on your own terms and have to resort to name calling. Keep working at it though, maybe someday you will get better and be a little smarter than you are today.

    Quality of life has nothing to do with the color of the people but the number of people. I don’t want to live in a country of a billion or 500 million. There are too many people here now. If you had open borders, that is what we would have.

    Further, if all things were equal and the US had the same welfare state as Mexico, which is to say no welfare state, then open borders would be ideal. But that is not the case and the welfare state is not going away.

    As far as economically, this country should have immigration, but it needs the right kind of immigration. It is a myth that the US has always been a dumping ground for unskilled labor. The waves of immigrants who came here in the 19th century were highly skilled for their time. They were tradesman and farmers who filled a need. We need immigration of the world’s best and brightest, not the worlds uneducated and desperate. The influx of unskilled labor is a net looser for everyone but the unskilled.

    ” Low Levels of Education Create Deficit. The findings of this study show that the primary reason illegal households create a fiscal deficit at the federal level is that their much lower levels of education result in low incomes and tax payments that are only 28 percent that of other households. Thus, even though the costs they impose are estimated to be only 46 percent those of other households on average, there remains a significant net deficit. Whether one considers their use of services low is a matter of perspective. Because illegals are not even supposed to be in the country, many Americans are angered by the fact that they receive any services at all. This is especially true of transfers to households like food stamps or cash payments from the Child Tax Credit. Although many Americans are upset about their use of public services, there is little evidence that illegals come to America to take advantage of public benefits. Most illegal aliens come for jobs, and the vast majority are in fact employed. But low levels of education mean they unavoidably create large costs for taxpayers. ”

    http://www.cis.org/articles/2004/fiscalconclusion.html

    We have every right as a country to determine who moves here. If the Pakistani PHD engineer wants to come here, I say come on in. 100 million low skilled workers who can barely make minimum wage, no thank you. Further, the influx of cheap labor makes labor cheaper in relation to capital. This lowers productivity and overall wealth. More expensive labor means more investment in capital and higher productivity and higher wages and standard of living.

  60. Brian Courts,

    If you can’t control your borders than you are not a country anymore. To equate controlling borders to slavery is so histrionic and ignorant it boggles the mind.

    Further, why don’t you try to assert these rights in Mexico sometime? See how long it is before they kick you out. I actually would support amnesty if the Mexican government would agree to take any American who wanted to move there as a citizen with full rights. Mexico is a nice country. The influx of Americans would totally change the corrupt political culture and make it more like here. All for the better. Of course, the Mexicans would never do that because it would take the elites out of power.

  61. Brian Courts,

    I see what you are saying and it is not an unreasonable position. I just disagree with it. But, you ought to admit that the consiquences of that which is that there is no such thing as a nation state and that no one in the US has any right to claim that their interests are any more important than anyone else’s interest. It is world market rather than world government. No thank you.

  62. I respond to the questions line by line in the last paragraph, though I’m sure quite a few people will have jumped ship by then. It’s a long post.

    YOWZA! Did that sting a little, x,y?

    Not at all. I didn’t argue or suggest Kerry had nothing to say. Just that starting her post that way isn’t the best way to convey she has anything intelligent to say. Her rejoinder misses the mark.

    As to Ms. Howley’s snark: I read the post several times. It’s not clear to me you were kidding at the outset. Also, I’m not the only one who thought so (see Ken Shultz’s post at 1:05 p.m.).

  63. Timothy:

    youranus.

    right?

    good.

    I’ll take Heckscher-Ohlin for $100

  64. We need immigration of the world’s best and brightest, not the worlds uneducated and desperate.

    I suppose we should rub away that “Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free” statement from the Statue of Liberty and replace it with John’s asinine statement above in italics…

  65. Why is it assine TAktix, because you don’t like it? Why don’t we let in the entire Shia population of Iraq then? And how about the entire population of the West Bank while we are at it. My guess is that a very large portion of those two populations would like nothing better than a visa to the US. If borders should be open, they ought to be open no? Does immigration mean open borders or just Mexican the amoral corporate right can exploit?

  66. To equate controlling borders to slavery is so histrionic and ignorant it boggles the mind.

    I didn’t equate those two. The point of the analogy was to show that individual rights trump a nation’s “rights”. Not understanding how analogies work is so ignorant it boggles the mind.

  67. Who cares what the Statue of Liberty says, doesn’t say, or should say. The question is if it’s moral to restrict human movement based upon where one is born.

  68. No making stupid and histrionic analgies is stupid Brian. But again, your position is not unreasonable, just unrealistic. But you ought to at least have the intellectual honesty to admit its consiquences, which is namely the death of national sovereignty as we know it and with it the end of the United States in anything but name.

  69. John,

    We should let anyone in who wants to come. Period. Once here, if any one of them (or a group of them) start infringing on my individual rights, then bang them over the head.

  70. John,

    Sometimes a spade is a spade. And I’ll just keep in mind that “leftist horseshit” and “Migrationists like Howley and you are dupes” don’t count as namecalling. I’ll keep that in mind, and then I’ll be sure to take my netiquette lessons from you, Eric Dondero, and Billy Beck III.

    The waves of immigrants who came here in the 19th century were highly skilled for their time. They were tradesman and farmers who filled a need.

    So you’re saying that the people who come here to work currently don’t fill a need? There’s no need for them, the people who employ them just do so for no productive reason at all? Just on a whim then? And you think the potato famine only displaced merchants, hatters, cobblers? I’m sure only the upper crust were displaced by the potato famine, I’m sure that’s exactly who got on crowded ships for a three week journey across the Atlantic. C’mon, haven’t you seen Gangs of New York?

    Also, why the fuck am I arguing with you? That’s joe’s job. JOE! I’ve immigrated to your place in H&R and I’m arguing with John. I’ve displaced you, dude, and now I’m doing it for free and like taking your healthcare and stuff! You’d better come hit me with a tire iron before I open up a taqueria!

  71. “We should let anyone in who wants to come. Period. Once here, if any one of them (or a group of them) start infringing on my individual rights, then bang them over the head.”

    What if they come here and say they want to have a completly different culture and government? They live here to don’t they? What if they don’t agree with the concept of individual rights? Who says they have to play by your rules? They have a right to come here, they ought to also then have a right to determine how things are done.

  72. because I’d then enjoy watching the squirming of the pro-American patriots trying to explain why they’d refuse to let their countrymen marry the love of their life.

    Well, many of them have had lots of practice lately telling gays the same thing. I don’t think they’d sweat it.

  73. John,

    Your history is so unreal, I don’t even know where to begin in correcting you. How ’bout we start with JamesTown in 1607 and work our way forward?

  74. Why, John! I do believe that you have hit upon the weakness of democracy!

  75. “So you’re saying that the people who come here to work currently don’t fill a need? There’s no need for them, the people who employ them just do so for no productive reason at all? Just on a whim then? And you think the potato famine only displaced merchants, hatters, cobblers? I’m sure only the upper crust were displaced by the potato famine, I’m sure that’s exactly who got on crowded ships for a three week journey across the Atlantic. C’mon, haven’t you seen Gangs of New York?”

    I actually read history books as opposed to getting it from Hollywood. The Irish were not the ignorent rubes portrayed by the Engish establishment. They were farmers and did have skills. Moreover, there was an entire continent to fill. This is not the 19th Century. Yes, illegal immigration does fill a need in some sense. They allow employers to avoid investing in capital and rely on cheap labor. That has economic consiquences, not all of which are good or benificial to the people who live here.

    It is probably true that if you count the entire population of the world in the aggregate, unrestrained immigration is an overall good. If, however, you count just the people who already live in the US, it is not an overall good.

  76. Well, it is fundamental so you shouldn’t have to derive it from anything.

    If it’s so fundamental, how is it that so many centuries of civilization have passed with nobody besides a few prodigies like you recognizing it as such?

    Wishing for a pony for Christmas does not make a pony for Christmas a fundamental right. Sorry.

  77. They have a right to come here, they ought to also then have a right to determine how things are done.

    So if I come into your house, I can tell you what to do?

  78. Yes, John the Irish were farmers, of a sort. Generations before, prior to the enclosure movement in Ireland. And, just so you know, the farming practices of Ireland, and in fact, most of the US, were not what you would call “skilled.”

  79. It is probably true that if you count the entire population of the world in the aggregate, unrestrained immigration is an overall good. If, however, you count just the people who already live in the US, it is not an overall good.

    And here, ladies and gentlemen, is where John admits that he thinks millions upon millions of people should be denied opportunity because they did not have the good luck to be born in the US. This is where John admits that he is a jingoist and a bigot. There it is, John, there it is: in order for the US to remain “on top” you’d damn millions to a life of destitute poverty all the while not understanding that free trade in labor raises the boats the same way that free trade in goods does. Your world view disgusts and preturbs me.

  80. “John,

    Your history is so unreal, I don’t even know where to begin in correcting you. How ’bout we start with JamesTown in 1607 and work our way forward?”

    Let’s start with that dumbass. Jamestown was a corporation that sent urban people to a wilderness. They had lots of skills but not the right ones. I defy you to show me one source that describes the colonists at Jamestown as unskilled. That is just not true. Try again.

    “On October 1, 1608, a company of settlers arrived aboard the English vessel Mary and Margaret with the Second Supply. The journey took roughly three months. The company recruited these as skilled craftsmen and industry specialists: soap-ash, glass, lumber milling (wainscot, clapboard, and ‘deal’ – planks, especially soft wood planks) and naval stores (pitch, turpentine, and tar). Among these additional settlers were eight “Dutch-men” ( consisted of unnamed craftsmen and three who were probably the wood-mill-men–Adam, Franz and Samuel) “Dutch-men” probably meaning German or German-speakers), and Polish craftsmen, who had been hired by the Virginia Company of London’s leaders to help develop manufacture profitable export products. There has been debate about the nationality of the specific craftsmen, and both the Germans and Poles claim the glassmaker for one of their own, but the evidence is insufficient.[6] Ethnicity is further complicated by the fact that the German minority in Royal Prussia lived under Polish control during this period.

    William Volday/Wilhelm Waldi, a Swiss German mineral prospector, was also among those who arrived in 1608. His mission was seeking a silver reservoir that was believed to be within the proximity of Jamestown.[7] Some of the settlers were artisans who built a glass furnace which became the first factory in America. Additional craftsmen produced soap, pitch, and wood building supplies. Among all of these were the first made-in-America products to be exported to Europe.[8] However, despite all these efforts, profits from exports were not sufficient to meet the expenses and expectations of the investors back in England, and no silver or gold had been discovered, as earlier hoped.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamestown,_Virginia

  81. “There it is, John, there it is: in order for the US to remain “on top” you’d damn millions to a life of destitute poverty all the while not understanding that free trade in labor raises the boats the same way that free trade in goods does. Your world view disgusts and preturbs me.”

    That is because you are an idiot Timothy. It is called national sovereignty. The people of this country have a right to do what is best for them in the same way the people of Mexico have a right to pass laws and do what they feel is best for them. The government of Mexico doesn’t owe Americans anything and the government of the US doesn’t owe Mexicans anything. It is not nor should it be our duty to save the world.

  82. “So if I come into your house, I can tell you what to do?”

    If you can’t tell me to leave it is not your house, it is our house.

  83. x,y:

    Not even a little?
    How about if I tell you that I got that she was joking on the first read? Maybe that stings a bit?
    No?

    C’mere! SMACK!

  84. I’m sure only the upper crust were displaced by the potato famine, I’m sure that’s exactly who got on crowded ships for a three week journey across the Atlantic

    Timothy,

    In John’s world, white folks are automatically skilled laborers…

  85. OoooOOO, the great Wiki has spoken, all tremble in fear.

    “Upon his return to England, Smithn – always eager for new adventures – joined
    the expedition that founded the Jamestown colony in 1607. An iron-willed
    disciplinarian, he tried almost single-handedly to keep a quarrelsome, inept, and
    frequently dissatisfied party intact. In his reports to his superiors Smith deplored the
    lack of skilled labor, complaining that too many of the colonists were “gentlemen”
    who found “not English cities, nor such fair houses, nor at their own wishes any of
    their accustomed dainties, with feather beds and down pillows, taverns and alehouses
    in every breathing place . . . For the country was to them a misery, a ruin, a death, a
    hell.””

    excerpted from the introduction to The True Travels,
    Adventures, and Observations of Captain John Smith (1630).

  86. I’m an idiot because I don’t see a reason to value your welfare more than the welfare of a Pakistani because you were born here and speak the same language? Nice to know. I’ll keep that in mind while I’m not drooling on myself and banging my head into the wall repeatedly screaming about my helmet.

    I mean, I wish I could be an enlightened xenophobic jingoist like you, but I’m just far too stupid I’m afraid. Woe is me, for I cannot see the light! Woe is me! Where’s my helmet? French fried potaters!

  87. John,

    A silk weaver in a land of no silk is definitely not skilled labour in any meaningful sense. Furthermore, being able to make a kick-ass carne asada most certainly is skilled labour.

  88. “If, however, you count just the people who already live in the US, it is not an overall good.”

    what the fuck does that even mean?

    confirmation bias much you weak-kneed pencil fucker?

  89. Smith deplored the
    lack of skilled labor, complaining that too many of the colonists were “gentlemen”
    who found “not English cities, nor such fair houses, nor at their own wishes any of
    their accustomed dainties, with feather beds and down pillows, taverns and alehouses
    in every breathing place . . . For the country was to them a misery, a ruin, a death, a
    hell.””

    You are misinterpreting it. Lack of skills meant the “right skills”. Yeah they were city people who had no idea how to live in the wilderness, but they were not unskilled. They had skills, just not the right ones. The Jamestown collonists were not the poor and desparate of England.

  90. Here’s another: do we let the guest workers date and marry American citizens, as they will? Because if we do, we’ll find a lot of our guests have become permanent members of the household.

    It’s clear that Megan McArdle doesn’t know anybody who has recently married and had to go through the legal immigration process.

    Marriage no longer means guaranteed citizenship.

    I have a Canadian friend who is a)going to college in the US b)married to a US citizen and his only saving grace was that she is on Social Security for a disability. If it weren’t for that, he would have been a “no-go”.

    Let me repeat that again, he is healthy, young, motivated, getting an education, paying his own way working above board and paying taxes, from a first world country, married to a US Citizen and he would have been deported had she not been on the US dole.
    You of course realize, that since they are now married his income prevents her from receiving “public assistance”.

  91. VM,

    It means this. If you allow everyone in the world to come into the US, the US will be a hell of a lot less livable than it is now. Markets equalize themselves. Lets say you opened up the border to Mexico. People will migrate from Mexico to the US until the two standards of living are equal. BAsically, the wages in the US will go down and the ones in Mexico will rise until you hit some kind of equalibrium. That is great if you are Mexican. If you are an AMerican, that kind of sucks because the equalibrium is below what what you have now.

    Elitist fucks like Timothy, who would never live in a neighborhood inhabited by immigrants or have any contact with them beyond using them as underpaid slaves, expect average people in this country to sacrifice their standard of living in return for helping out everyone else and call them racist when they voice any objection.

  92. I suppose we should rub away that “Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free” statement from the Statue of Liberty and replace it with John’s asinine statement above in italics…

    I wasn’t aware that the laws and public policy were made in this country by posting inspirational slogans on statues.

    If that is the case, how about I just put a statue of lady liberty on my front lawn wielding a baseball bat, with a plaque that says “G’wan! Get the fuck outta here!”, and we’ll just call it even?

  93. gah!!!!!!! froth froth spittle spittle.

    ahem.

    *prints out and heads to Stevo’s bunk*

  94. Not at first John. Though again, I must say that being a silversmith in 1608 Jamestown most decidedly is unskilled for the purposes of Jamestown. Secondly, since you’re such a history buff, I’m sure you have a dog-eared and annotated copy of American Slavery American Freedom right beside you. Okay, pick it up and read the several hundred pages describing endentured servitude. Those are some pretty skilled laborers, huh, I mean the street trash of London and Liverpool and all. Then, read some more, how skilled in tobacco planting were the first Africans bought off the Dutch in 1619?

    I read Smith’s comments perfectly correctly, it is you that would put a database admin on a desert island with you because he is “skilled” and leave behind a Pacific Islander, because he is unskilled.

  95. “If that is the case, how about I just put a statue of lady liberty on my front lawn wielding a baseball bat, with a plaque that says “G’wan! Get the fuck outta here!”, and we’ll just call it even?”

    only if at least one breast is exposed.

    (sorry for double)

  96. Lets say you opened up the border to Mexico. People will migrate from Mexico to the US until the two standards of living are equal. BAsically, the wages in the US will go down and the ones in Mexico will rise until you hit some kind of equalibrium. That is great if you are Mexican. If you are an AMerican, that kind of sucks because the equalibrium is below what what you have now.

    In other words, Mssr. Moose, ZERO SUM GAME!!!

  97. Trade isn’t like osmosis, John, but I shouldn’t expect you’d get it. I can point you in the direction of a number of good books on trade, but you can’t read, so it’d be like giving a stand mixer to a chimpanzee: amusing, but ultimately pointless.

  98. ZEROSUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    *hysterically runs around in circle, screaming wildly*

  99. *gets out tranquilizer gun*

    Here we go again…

  100. Er, I may be missing something, but isn’t the real concern being expressed by McArdle that if we register folks, we WILL have to deport them, whereas in the current system it is a practical impossibility?

    Isn’t the argument that because of the ambiguity of the illegal immigrant – that they are accepted in certain roles like farming and utterly unacceptable in public conversations, we are more permissive than we would actually be if we knew exactly what everyone’s status is?

    I have to admit, I have these concerns. When you create the guest worker option, you create an object to contrast against the background of the illegal immigrant. If it turns out not to be preferable to be a guest worker (i.e. you lose your competitive advantage), we will have only created a backlash. If it turns out that guest workers ‘abuse’ the system by getting married and becoming involved formally in US culture and don’t want to go home, we will have created a backlash.

    Maybe I’m paranoid, but somehow I like the notion that there is no practical way for lonewacko to get his way right now. It is impossible to come up with the enforcement resources he wants. It is impossible police the border the way he wants unless we create a Great Southern Army. It just can’t be done no matter how much he screams about it. By way of contrast, who becomes the target of his ire when a bunch of people register and can be found?

  101. Lets say you opened up the border to Mexico. People will migrate from Mexico to the US until the two standards of living are equal. BAsically, the wages in the US will go down and the ones in Mexico will rise until you hit some kind of equalibrium.

    This assumes that economics is a zero-sum game, an old Marxist saw that has long been disproven.

  102. MARKUSEN ET AL:
    INTERNATIONAL TRADE. THEORY AND EVIDENCE.
    MCGRAW HILL.
    ISBN 007040447X

    PEMBERTON AND RAU
    MATHEMATICS FOR ECONOMISTS.
    MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY PRESS
    ISBN 0719033411

    ASYMPTOTIC VARIANCE ANALYSIS!!!! ASYMPTOTIC VARIANCE ANALYSIS!!!!ASYMPTOTIC VARIANCE ANALYSIS!!!!ASYMPTOTIC VARIANCE ANALYSIS!!!!ASYMPTOTIC VARIANCE ANALYSIS!!!!ASYMPTOTIC VARIANCE ANALYSIS!!!!ASYMPTOTIC VARIANCE ANALYSIS!!!!

  103. Those are pretty good books, I really like the Markusen one a lot, VM. I haven’t read the Pemberton/Rau book, but have heard it’s quite good. It came highly suggested by a prof of mine.

  104. Also, VM, why did you give the chimp the stand mixer?

  105. You are misinterpreting it. Lack of skills meant the “right skills”. Yeah they were city people who had no idea how to live in the wilderness, but they were not unskilled. They had skills, just not the right ones. The Jamestown collonists were not the poor and desparate of England.

    No, but the Jamestown colonists were a small minority of the English migration to the new world. By far the largest group were the so-called Scots-Irish, who were, in their skillsets probably largely comparable to the Mexican farmer of today.

  106. If it’s so fundamental, how is it that so many centuries of civilization have passed with nobody besides a few prodigies like you recognizing it as such?

    Well, putting aside your unnecessary dickweedishness in that response you’re going to be hard pressed to find any fundamental freedom which hasn’t been ignored, suppressed or unrecognized throughout thousands of years of civilization. Let’s take just one: freedom of speech (or do you deny that is fundamental as well?). The vast majority of civilizations have not recognized any such fundamental right and have violently opposed many who sought to employ it. If that is really your standard, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find many fundamental rights that have a long history of recognition by civilization. In fact, quite the contrary, civilizations have a long history of, if anything, not recognizing fundamental rights. So, are you really sure you want to rely on history as your guide in this area?

  107. I’m getting some great visuals from this thread:

    The statue in Pig Mannix’s front yard, complete with a rusted out Chevy Nova on blocks, patchy lawn, chain link fence along the sidewalk. (Look for Cook County Assessor’s pix of Phoenix, IL)

    The chimp trying over and over to make a decent mango margarita, finally hurling the blender against the wall in rage (I pictured a blender, not a mixer)

    John’s monitor dripping with spit and mucus

    VM running around screaming, flapping his arms, while Timothy aims the trank gun, firing, missing, firing again, missing again…

    Youranus…uh, never mind.

  108. Pemberton Rau is a good one for the basics. Dixit’s “Optimization in Economic Theory” (Oxford Press. 0198772106 is aother goodie.

    Gave the chimp the sand mixer to distract him from the tray of glass dildos.

    “They had skills, just not the right ones”
    you mean they sailed a bunch of liberal arts students over there?

  109. Highnumber –

    actually it’s spit, mucus, fecal matter, and a little blood. Similar to what’s smeared on his left wrist…
    (sorry for the double)

  110. Ahh, Mssr. Moose, you wound me to the core. Liberal Arts skills are always applicable.

  111. VM – Man, optimization problems are so fucking sweet. I love them, I want to give hugs to optimization problems and prance with them next to a tranquil woodland stream. Of course, my math ain’t what it used to be, so they might try to drown me in the stream and then run off with a bear or something, but that’s okay, I love them anyway.

    Must…read…more…books.

  112. Gin – totally!

    Timothy – woo hoo! Envelope theorem for all!
    [booing]

    Hamiltonians for some. LaGrangians for others.

  113. This article is just rubbish.

    But the negative duty not to harm outsiders exists prior to clubs, and denying people the ability to cooperate with one another violates their rights in a very basic way.

    Clubs have every right to make sure members don’t give away communal goods for their own benefit. We don’t live in a libertarian paradise, government is involved in almost every transaction that we have. In practice most of the low skill immigrants who immigrate to the US use more government services than they pay in taxes. Doesn’t that matter?

    Also in the real world, there are *billions* of poor people. We could double the population of the US with immigrants and there would still be *billions* of poor people. If you take away US citizen’s collective say in their lives, by saying anyone has the right to live in the US, they di

  114. VM – Hamiltonian sounds suspiciously like the cursed physics! I will have none of that, sir!

  115. I meant to finish by saying,
    .., they will disinvest in their communities and country. It will be everyone for themselves.

  116. “This assumes that economics is a zero-sum game, an old Marxist saw that has long been disproven.”

    That doesn’t mean it is a zero sum game at all. Just because there are losers in a particular transaction, doesn’t mean that it is a zero sum game. Mass immigration is great if you run say a chicken farm. It is not so great if you are a high school educated native. It creates economic displacement and winners and losers. As BP correctly points out, people have a right to have a collective say over their lives. People here have rights as well. It is not just a question of someone else’s rights to move here.

  117. hamiltonian for continuous time dynamic optimization. think: solvling the Ramsey model or Arrow-Romer or the other macro growth models……

  118. So, are you really sure you want to rely on history as your guide in this area?

    Let’s put it this way – I’m probably on firmer ground relying on history than you are yanking unheard of rights out of your ass.

    By your standard, what can’t be declared a fundamental right?

    Waitin’ for my pony……which hasn’t historically been recognized as a fundamental right, either…..

  119. No, it’s a question of you valuing the welfare of poorly educated Americans over the welfare of poorly educated foreigners because you think where a person born was important.

    Also, the wage effects of immigration are unclear at best.

    Card.

    A review of a Borjas (et al) paper. That paper essentially says, “Immigration is one factor, but certainly not the only one, there are others.”

    Another NBER working paper, on border enforcement.

    Not that it will matter to you John, you’ve got a lobbying organization in your corner. NBER’s aggression will not stand, man!

  120. “Here’s another: do we let the guest workers date and marry American citizens, as they will? Because if we do, we’ll find a lot of our guests have become permanent members of the household.”

    This is looking at it all ass backwards. Do not deprive us of the bounty that is Latin America!

    I swear, if I find out somebody in the government is actively discouraging latin beauties from dating American men, I’ll start the revolution all by myself.

    …and no, I’m not screwing the maid!

  121. VM – MACRO IS VOODOO! 🙂

    Seriously, though, that makes sense. I just did a lot more micro optimization stuff in school (trade, game theory, public choice, tax, that kind of thing).

  122. This could be the house

    (Sorry, Pig Mannix. My imagination is running wild.)

  123. People here have rights as well. It is not just a question of someone else’s rights to move here.

    You’re right, it’s ecomonic protectionism, which is a morally bankrupt philosophy as well. If you’re a carpenter, it may benefit you if the city council passes a law preventing more carpenters from being licensed – as your competition goes down, your pay stands to go up. But the law artificially distorts the market, and benefits the politically connected at the expense of the less powerful. This is the kind of thing that is an anethema to libertarians. You seem to be thinking that Americans have a right to have a protected labor market. I’m not sure where you get this right from, but it’s what you’re positing.

    Unions do the same thing – distort the labor market to protect the economic interests of the politically connected, but I doubt you’re very pro-union. Odd that you can’t see that your philosophy simply makes the United States one big labor union.

  124. Timothy –

    no kidding. I prefer to stick to Health and I/O and stuff like that. but the macro class was tons of fun! did you get to do Solow, Ramsey, Rebelo, Jones, etc in Macro?

    Highnumber – hier is the haus…

  125. I swear, if I find out somebody in the government is actively discouraging latin beauties from dating American men, I’ll start the revolution all by myself.

    And let’s not forget the Eastern European women.

    Or the Asian women.

    Or the Arab and Persian women.

    Single men of America, unite for open borders!

  126. As BP correctly points out, people have a right to have a collective say over their lives.

    True, but libertarians believe that collective actions should be limited by individual rights. In other words, there are something things that the collective simply can’t do to the individual, no matter the interest of the collective. One of the things that libertarians view as a fundamental right is the right for individuals to exchange goods or services as they see fit. To say, trade money for socks, or labor for food. The collective has no right to say “you can trade with this person but not that one” or “you can make this exchange, but not that one.” This is the root of libertarian positions on things like prositution and economic relations with Cuba. You know this already, and as long as you neglect to deal with this principle directly, you’re not going to be able to say very much that’s meaningful to a libertarian.

  127. VM – I got mostly RBC and Monetarism, and my adv. macro theory class didn’t have a book so I kind of don’t remember all of the primary readings. I know we did some Solow, and some IS/LM, and a lot of RBC stuff, but it’s been awhile and I don’t really remember too much of it.

  128. Who’s RBC, Timothy? I know it wasn’t the Austrians.

    Was it, hmmm

    Keynesian?

    Dirty bastard, now go take a shower.

  129. John | December 27, 2007, 3:35pm | #
    I actually read history books as opposed to getting it from Hollywood. They were farmers and did have skills. Moreover, there was an entire continent to fill. This is not the 19th Century.

    Do you also read current periodicals John?

    US Land Area:9,161,923 sq km
    US Population:301,139,947
    US Population Density:32/sq km

    Germany Land Area: 349,223 sq km
    Germany Population:82,400,996
    Germany Population Density:235/sq km

    UK Land Area:241,590 sq km
    UK Population:60,776,238
    UK Population Density:251/sq km

    I could be wrong here, but it looks to me like there is still an entire continent to fill.

  130. (Sorry, Pig Mannix. My imagination is running wild.)

    Ouch! I’ll admit I should probably trim the hedge a little more often… but things haven’t quite come to that yet!

  131. GinSlinger – Well, Austrian Business Cycle Theory is different than Real Business Cycle theory of the sort that grew up in the 1980s. I want to say it was mostly Robert Lucas’s stuff and that of Prescott.

  132. There are too many people here now.

    And thus we come to the root of the nativist argument: a misanthropic longing to stop the clock once one has attained one’s desired station in life and wants to deny the same opportunity to anyone else.

    I live in a neighborhood inhabited primarily by immigrants, who generally work hard, raise families, and stay out of trouble. They don’t give the impression of being “underpaid slaves”. Does that make me an “elitist fuck”?

  133. You might get your Business Cycle from the movies, but I get mine from books.

    Get it? “Lucas”

    HAH!

  134. Let’s put it this way – I’m probably on firmer ground relying on history than you are yanking unheard of rights out of your ass.

    Well, no you really aren’t. I’ve addressed the issue you raised – historical recognition – which doesn’t really exist for pretty much any right, which refutes your attempted insult in the previous post and you can only reply with more of the same? Further, I offered a derivation, if you must have one, from freedom of association but rather than debate the merits you just ignore it so as to continue your childish responses. Why don’t you try explaining what is and isn’t a fundamental right – is it only what the government says it is?

    Perhaps you, like other supposed free-market supporters around here, just go all statist / collectivist only when the issue involves people born on the other side of some arbitrary line. Suddenly we all need the wisdom of the government to tell us who we can and cannot associate with, but those bastards better not tell me what I can do with my property or tell me which doctor I can see… how convenient. With such flexible principles, that seem to bend in suspicious congruence with your self-interest, I think it is clear that you don’t have much room to whine about anybody pulling stuff out of his ass.

  135. that’s right, Timothy.

    And Gin- New Keynesian econ is a big component in the “salt water” programs on the coasts (MIT, etc), but it’s not to be confused with the politicized conceptualization of Keynesianism that you think of hier… (Bernanke, Mankiw, Akerlof – that approach is the identification of market imperfections and nominal rigidities). That old Keynesian stuff, Freedman’s Monetarism, etc. are mainly there as building blocks (just as you often learn the classical model, too).

    (Actually – Post Keynesian and Austrian actually do share quite a bit in common, such as “unknowledge”.)

    Prescott is a RBC guy – they assume output is always at the natural level and movements or fluctuations in output come from things like technological progress. It’s heartily criticized (negative fluctuation is technology backtracking????). they also don’t think changes in money have an effect on output (empirically shown to be the opposite). It has some good analytical techniques that really can be helpful when looking at other “schools” of macro…

    ABC theory. there’s some “solid” work. /sarcasm. [ducks]

  136. You could even say that ABC theory is golden. Although, realisitically, probably not as “easy” as (Fed Chairs) 1-2-3.

    Keynesianism and straight Friedman are there as a way to understand what’s happening in the neoclassical theory that’s pretty much the standard these days. Unless you go to NYU, then it’s REAL Keynesianism: inflate your way out of a depression, fuck the long run…it’s crazy talk. I keed, I keed.

  137. But you go to NYU to have Prof Greene teach you econometrics!!!!
    (his book, “Econometrics” is the bible)

    yay!!!!!!!!!

  138. Hey, Moose,

    One of the depts I’m applying to is Harvard and have even considered cognating in econ. They do pretty good stuff there that’s not econometric? ‘Course with Emma Rothschild as an advisor, I might never need step foot in an ec01 class.

  139. AW KRAP. Premature posting, again today. ARGH!!!!!!

    Anyhoooo, some of the posts on this thread really caused the WTF meter to go haywire!!!

    OMG!OMG!OMG! Gin – that’s awesome!!!! check out Prof McCloskey (hier) for another angle on econ history.

    i’ll email yoooooo!

  140. Moose – That’s true, but then you suffer the dirty stink of Keynesianism! It’s dirty! I can read his book without getting dirty!

  141. Yeah Moose, I’m familiar with his/her work (too cruel?). And her work on rhetoric is actually been a bit of a starting point for my own. Unfortunately, there are very few good depts in my sub-field/specialty and I couldn’t justify going there.

    You familiar with Niall Ferguson‘s work? A bit conservative in some of his ideas, but I like his square model.

  142. I made this argument the other day and will repeat it:
    Even most libertarians I know seem to give their family much preferential treatment. It’s not that they hate other people or think them inferior, they just feel this connection to their family. They won’t just let anyone walk in their house, getting the benefits and such. They don’t hate them, they just have these preferences for the way things are.

    Many Americans can project this feeling outside their family to their community, and then even to their nation. (This is why I can give a shit about the state of, say, Mt. Rushmore, even though I don’t live near there or own any property rights nearby.) And they don’t think people should just be able to walk in, get the benefits of the “family” and ultimately change the family willy-nilly. Especially if that walk-in brings higher than average social pathologies to your home…

  143. I made this argument the other day and will repeat it

    I notice you left out religion, race, and sexual orientation — as well as eye color, hair color, handedness, and a host of others — as characteristics that “many Americans” can project their familial feelings to.

    Why?

  144. Lets say you opened up the border to Mexico. People will migrate from Mexico to the US until the two standards of living are equal. BAsically, the wages in the US will go down and the ones in Mexico will rise until you hit some kind of equalibrium.

    That explains why wages in Connecticut are equal to wages in Mississippi as well as equal to wages in Puerto Rico.

  145. Even most libertarians I know seem to give their family much preferential treatment. It’s not that they hate other people or think them inferior, they just feel this connection to their family.

    Of course, because we know our family, we interact with them, we know their character and have some kind of history with them. This is not much different from saying I give preferential treatment to my friends – I know them, there is something about what I know that makes me like them etc. This says nothing whatsoever about the treatment of complete strangers, much less governmental treatment of complete strangers. If you say I prefer a stranger born in Missouri to one born in Mexico for no other reason than that, even though that is your right, I think it’s essentially racist. It’s no different in my mind to preferring a white stranger to a black stranger. In those cases you have no reason to offer such preference other than the arbitrary classification of birth place or skin color. To equate that with preferring one’s family or friends is completely inapt even if it weren’t confusing personal action with state action.

    Further, if you wish to say that a community can extend the preference for family and friends to prevent someone born in Mexico from being part of it, then you must distinguish on some principled grounds how that is different from a community wishing to exclude blacks. That means you must offer a principled difference between the categories “black” and “Mexican” in such a way as to render excluding one wrong while excluding the other acceptable. If you can’t offer such a distinction, then when you justify your desire to exclude Mexicans you are justifying another’s desire to exclude blacks.

    So which one is it – can you offer a meaningful difference between the neighborhood, state, nation, etc., that wants to exclude blacks from the one that wants to exclude Mexicans (or limit them to some acceptable number) or do you admit that excluding one is the same as excluding the other?

  146. “I notice you left out religion, race, and sexual orientation — as well as eye color, hair color, handedness, and a host of others — as characteristics that “many Americans” can project their familial feelings to.”

    Actually, I did not mention any characterstics upon which the preferential treatment was based on. The only one was “being part of said community.” Members of the community have an admittedly irrational preference to other members, a feeling they are all in it together. And while they don’t hate or think inferior others, they also won’t just willy-nilly admit them.

  147. “That means you must offer a principled difference between the categories “black” and “Mexican” in such a way as to render excluding one wrong while excluding the other acceptable.”

    Blacks that are citizens are part of the American community. They are part of the family. Mexicans are not. That was easy…

    “This says nothing whatsoever about the treatment of complete strangers, much less governmental treatment of complete strangers.”

    But that is the point, most people in this nation don’t see the guy in Missouri and the guy in Mexico as equally “complete strangers.” We see the guy in Missouri as a fellow American, a member of our nation and culture. I realize libertarians don’t see that. But they don’t see a lot of things…

    If your family is white (you happened to be born into a white family) you prefer white folks over black folks EVERY DAY. You racist you ;).

  148. You might think that, just as in a family of four siblings it is wrong for the mother to arbitrarily prefer one to the other three but still ok for her to prefer any sibling to a non-family member, it is wrong for there to be racial/ethnic/etc distinctions between members of the American community while still thinking it OK to prefer our own by turning away some strangers from squatting on our lawn…

  149. Blacks that are citizens are part of the American community. They are part of the family. Mexicans are not

    Before the end of slavery, blacks were not citizens – In Dread Scott the Supreme Court declared that could not be citizens. Was it ok (not legally, morally) to exclude them then? Are you really going to hang such an important moral distinction on the government declaration of “citizenship”? I mean how circular is that? Government (community, neighborhood, etc.) wishes to exclude group A – government declares group A to be “non-citizens”. Problem solved.

    Also, in the time of Jim Crow, black were most certainly not consider part of many neighborhood’s and state’s “family” – was it ok to exclude them then?

    That was easy…

    Not really. Try again.

  150. If your family is white (you happened to be born into a white family) you prefer white folks over black folks EVERY DAY. You racist you ;).

    Yes, I realize you were joking, but in my post I said “If you say I prefer a stranger born in Missouri to one born in Mexico for no other reason than that” … with the implication that the same qualification applied in the following sentence about preferring whites to blacks. I only point this out because it gets brought up a lot – there is nothing wrong with preferring individual A who happens to be white to individual B who happens to be black if you have a reason for that preference – maybe person A is your sister. But if you prefer person A to person B simply because of color then yes, that would be racist.

  151. I see Brian Courts has made essentially the same argument, but since I typed it, I’ll post it…

    Blacks that are citizens are part of the American community. They are part of the family. Mexicans are not. That was easy…

    In 1855, Mexicans could come and go across the national border at will, and did. The vast majority of blacks in the US at that time were slaves.

    Similarly, through 1924 and well beyond, no immigration controls were applied at the Mexican border because of the reliance on seasonal migrant labor in the southwest. Meanwhile, the freedoms of black citizens in the US were being more and more limited by governments at every level.

    You apparently see nothing wrong with whatever happens to be the boundaries that separate who is in the “national” “community” “family” from who is not. How do you justify this belief?

  152. Ugh, yeah I hate corrections but some made in the haste of being busy are too egregious not to correct – that is “Dred Scott”

  153. “I only point this out because it gets brought up a lot – there is nothing wrong with preferring individual A who happens to be white to individual B who happens to be black if you have a reason for that preference – maybe person A is your sister. But if you prefer person A to person B simply because of color then yes, that would be racist.”

    Uhh, yeah. The reason for my preference is the guy in Missouri is an American, part of my family.

    “Before the end of slavery, blacks were not citizens – In Dread Scott the Supreme Court declared that could not be citizens.”

    No problem here, I, like many Americans at the time, thought the Supreme Court wrong. Maybe a court has declared that my adopted nephew is not “legally” part of my family. I know this is not the case though. He is.

  154. “You apparently see nothing wrong with whatever happens to be the boundaries that separate who is in the “national” “community” “family” from who is not. How do you justify this belief?”

    How do you justify your second cousin from getting preferntial treatment from you?

  155. How do you justify your second cousin from getting preferntial treatment from you?

    Because I choose to give my second cousin preferential treatment. But I do not need to justify how I treat people in my private affairs.

    It is using the authority of the government to enforce a notion of “family” that not only runs directly against the principle of inalienable individual rights, but also appears to have no rational or objective bounds, that needs justification. Do you have one that doesn’t amount to “might makes right”?

  156. If I think “America” is my family then yes, who gets let in and is given preferential treatment (citizenship with all its rights) is a family affair, just like your preference for your second cousin, isn’t it? Again, I realize many libertarians do not abstract at that high of level, but many of us do.

  157. Just like you, and your family, have say over you, and your families, property, Americans have say over American property. We can make decisions on who we want to come live in our “house.”

  158. What if I have family in Mexico?

  159. Just like you, and your family, have say over you, and your families, property, Americans have say over American property. We can make decisions on who we want to come live in our “house.”

    Just what is this “American property” you speak of? I don’t think anyone is debating whether foreigners have the unequivocal right to work on BLM lands or air force bases or the like. Pro-free migration people are claiming that foreigners have the right to work on private property for private businesses and live on private property in private homes.

    The government should have no more say over who lives or is employed in those private arenas than they have over speech or religion in those private arenas.

  160. No problem here, I, like many Americans at the time, thought the Supreme Court wrong. Maybe a court has declared that my adopted nephew is not “legally” part of my family. I know this is not the case though. He is.

    You were alive then? Christ, that must be a record.

    What you keep skirting around is that these divisions, unlike friends and family, are largely arbitrary. We don’t choose our family. We choose our friends from among our acquaintances. But the vast majority of humanity exists for us only as an abstraction. Why should I feel more for a man I have never met who was born in El Paso than one who was born in Juarez?

  161. Many individuals own property in what we call the United States of America, but the entire property of the USA belongs, in some respect, to all Americans (we can make the laws that pertain to all those property owners, even the “libertarian coercive laws” like tresspassing or murder). This land, is “our land.”

  162. “What you keep skirting around is that these divisions, unlike friends and family, are largely arbitrary.”

    Holy shit, family is not largely arbitrary? You mean you chose your family after extensive interviews?

  163. …the entire property of the USA belongs, in some respect, to all Americans…

    Hey, hey, hey! One injustice at a time, partner!

  164. If I think “America” is my family then yes, who gets let in and is given preferential treatment (citizenship with all its rights) is a family affair, just like your preference for your second cousin, isn’t it? Again, I realize many libertarians do not abstract at that high of level, but many of us do.

    Lizards think of nothing but themselves, to the point that many will eat their own young. Social mammals and almost all humans can form a close relationship with their family or pack. Most humans, again, can extend that relationship to more abstract groups – all people of their race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, etc.

    It’s a rare human being, like Albert Schweitzer, who can extend this boundry to to include all of humanity into his family, but in general, we do not call such people “incapable of abstraction.” We call them enlightened.

  165. If some army comes and lands on “your” property many Americans who do not own that property will come and fight to get them off it.

    It’s because while we recognize you, within our system, “own” your land, that it is also “American soil” and that you are a “fellow American” whom we will fight for, even if we do not personally know you…

  166. So you’ll die to protect my house, but you won’t let me hire my Mexican cousin?
    You’re a weird dude.

  167. Holy shit, family is not largely arbitrary? You mean you chose your family after extensive interviews?

    “Chosen” is not the opposite of “arbitrary.”

  168. It’s because while we recognize you, within our system, “own” your land, that it is also “American soil” and that you are a “fellow American” whom we will fight for, even if we do not personally know you…

    They could fight for me as a fellow American or not, but I would expect them to be there because my tax money pays their salary. If it was all about feelings, soldiers and sailors would work for free.

  169. “You familiar with Niall Ferguson’s work? A bit conservative in some of his ideas, but I like his square model.”

    do not know, but thank you for the introduction. Most Womby!

    W.r.t. Prof McCloskey- she’s a really cool person and talks about both halves of her life very openly. and has a great sense of humor!!

    there’s some neat work on linguistics and economics (on immigration, for example) – “money variety of language” and on game theory with persuasion and language in action (pragmatics). That’s really cool, too!! Hell, Michael Porter is at Harvard, so that’s great, period! 🙂

    “Again, I realize many libertarians do not abstract at that high of level, but many of us do.”

    many = ??? many do, many don’t. great.

    how is that a “high level”, besides that “many” is a difficult number to reach when counting?

    High – oh yeah? not as strange as… something else!

  170. Many individuals own property in what we call the United States of America, but the entire property of the USA belongs, in some respect, to all Americans (we can make the laws that pertain to all those property owners, even the “libertarian coercive laws” like tresspassing or murder).

    Why again do you or a majority of Americans get to decide who I can have on my property or in my house?

    And just what are the limitations on this authority?

  171. “They could fight for me as a fellow American or not, but I would expect them to be there because my tax money pays their salary. If it was all about feelings, soldiers and sailors would work for free.”
    WTF? The Police take care of people who call who actually pay no taxes. All the time. So do firemen or rescue squads.

    Even homeless people with no income are protected by our police.

    Not Mexican homeless folks, by our police.

  172. “Why again do you or a majority of Americans get to decide who I can have on my property or in my house?”

    Why can a majority of Americans decide that we will provide police protection to those who violate your property? Maybe we should leave you to defend it yourself (an interesting proposition when you are 80).

  173. WTF? The Police take care of people who call who actually pay no taxes. All the time. So do firemen or rescue squads.

    Even homeless people with no income are protected by our police.

    The police are interesting in that they really have a dual role. The protect individuals and property, but they also act as a mechanism of governmental control of the same. One can argue that with the poor, and especially the homeless, the latter is much more the case.

    Not Mexican homeless folks, by our police.

    I won’t argue that in practice boundaries, borders and nations are very real things. But I will say that determining the value of one human being relative to another by such measures is not a practice to be endorsed or encouraged.

  174. Why can a majority of Americans decide that we will provide police protection to those who violate your property?

    What is Latin for “non sequitur” again?

    Maybe we should leave you to defend it yourself (an interesting proposition when you are 80).

    The anarchist thread is two doors down to your right. You will find that many there think that this is hardly a threat.

  175. But, seriously, since you seem to think that the fact that government protects property within its dominion is an argument for legislated discrimination against those born elsewhere…

    The argument is completely circular. The government chooses whom it protects. As it happens, government dominion is based on territory. Therefore, government protection accrues to residents of the territory.

    What does this say about freedom of travel, labor, residence, or association?

  176. JasonL says: Maybe I’m paranoid, but somehow I like the notion that there is no practical way for lonewacko to get his way right now. It is impossible to come up with the enforcement resources he wants.

    You don’t understand my position. Unlike many others, I realize this is a war of HeartsAndMinds, and I know that it’s actually pretty easy to get what I want. The only problem is finding people to go out and do that, but I’m sure I can find some volunteers next year.

    The corporatists at Reason might consider job retraining.

  177. “Just what is this “American property” you speak of?”

    Oh, about 1/3 of the land in the country and trillions of dollars worth of infrastructure, for starters? Anyone who receives citizenship dilutes my share of everything the American people collectively own. We have the right to decide who gets a share and who does not.

    That being said, let’s double the number of new citizens we bring in each year, have lots of guest workers, nail anyone who comes here illegally or facillitates such activity, and get rid of the absurd loophole that allow anyone whose mother can sneak across the line to be automatically granted citizenship. No other important nation has such a ridiculous policy, and neither should we.

  178. Blacks that are citizens are part of the American community. They are part of the family. Mexicans are not.

    I have a Malaysian friend who is every bit as “American” as you or I. I’m sure many of us who place more importance on the individual than on the tribe can say the same for a close Mexican/Russian/Bangladeshi/whatever acquaintance.

    The reason for my preference is the guy in Missouri is an American, part of my family.

    I’ll try not to take that as creepy as it sounds and just offer up the observation that there *may* be certain special situations when Americans are my “family”–such as when travelling abroad and having a friendly chat with some American strangers, or after an event such as 9/11 that has national repercussions, but as a general rule? No. Americans are not my “family” simply because they’re Americans.

  179. I swear, if I find out somebody in the government is actively discouraging latin beauties from dating American men, I’ll start the revolution all by myself.

    Fuckin’ A, I’ll back you up on that. In fact, I think all young women from all over the world should be welcomed to our country under a guest dater program. Any American male who disagrees should have his citizenship declared null and void for not being red-blooded enough.

  180. Oh, about 1/3 of the land in the country and trillions of dollars worth of infrastructure, for starters? Anyone who receives citizenship dilutes my share of everything the American people collectively own. We have the right to decide who gets a share and who does not.

    This hardly is the “American property” that Mr. Nice Guy was talking about.

    And if you’d read the anchor post or the long thread of comments, you’d know that the topic is whether and how you can dissociate migration and residence from citizenship.

    I certainly have little attachment to a “share” in US government assets that I can neither monetize nor have any effective control over, but I would agree with you that the citizens of the US are who get to decide how and when a denizen becomes a citizen and acquires his “share”.

    But that is a question only tangentially and pragmatically related to the question of whether the US should or rightly must allow him to reside, associate, and work in the US regardless of his citizenship.

  181. I trying to understand the particulars of the arguments I see here, and I’m still fuzzy on where exactly there is a problem in most cases.

    Libertarians are broadly concerned that illegal immigration creates a class of people without substantial rights – who can be institutionally abused. My own view here is that illegal immigration is better than more restricted borders pretty much across the board.

    People like wacko, and I’ll be generous here by leaving out the more outlandish Mexican government aspects of his position, seem to feel that there is an Us against Them war of culture, wherein hispanics are involved in some sort of coordinated conspiracy to ‘take over’ the US. This view of things is so improbable to me it almost doesn’t bear mentioning. People make decisions to cross largely based on economic opportunity, not to ‘take our stuff’.

    Some people seem concerned about The Rules. This is the ‘but they are breaking the law!’ argument. Again, I shrug. I jay-walk all the time. I’ve been known to drive faster than posted speeds, too. They are breaking a law that prevents them from being economically productive. How much can that possibly matter?

    I understand the concern about strains on welfare programs, but the evidence is muddy at best about how bad this problem really is. Given the thankfully low level of welfare transfers in this country, I can see maybe that localities may be strained even if the nation as a whole benefits from the presence of under the radar immigrants. It seems to me a case can be made for national transfers to reimburse those states for their losses. Overall, though, I don’t really understand the position that an educated illegal immigrant working in your country is a bad thing.

    There are people concerned about law enforcement being unable to locate people. As a libertarian, I again struggle with the cost benefit analysis. I’m willing to live with the risk.

    All in all, it just baffles me that this is an issue. I can go with a guest worker system, but it seems to me that the system as is doesn’t have an overwhelming downside. Immigration reform isn’t anywhere on the top 20 issues I can think of, except to the extent that people are so worried about it they propose stupid, abusive, expensive remedies.

  182. Jason, I tend to agree but I do tend to worry a bit about the “breaking the law” aspect.

    It’s mostly for the same reason that I worry about illegality in the context of the Drug War.

    First, having unreasonable, and ultimately unenforceable, laws muddies the reasons for having laws in the first place.

    Second, it leads to law enforcement and other government assets being badly misallocated. For my part, I would prefer to see people employed to process aplications to expedite the admission of immigrants than to see them used to block their movement.

  183. having unreasonable, and ultimately unenforceable, laws muddies the reasons for having laws in the first place

    One man’s unreasonable law is another man’s law that isn’t draconian enough. Hence, a stalemate.

  184. I know, Rhywun, sadly, I know only too well.

  185. I live in a neighborhood inhabited primarily by immigrants, who generally work hard, raise families, and stay out of trouble. They don’t give the impression of being “underpaid slaves”. Does that make me an “elitist fuck”?

    no.

    it makes you one of the few people who understands the topic from the position of reality on the ground, as opposed to endlessly bickering about theoretical positions from which to argue about good/bad of teh immigrationists

    i swear i am so sick of politics

  186. JasonL | December 28, 2007, 9:23am | #

    … Immigration reform isn’t anywhere on the top 20 issues I can think of, except to the extent that people are so worried about it they propose stupid, abusive, expensive remedies.

    And there, as they say, is the rub.

    Well put Jason. This is one of those election-year boogeymen that will likely churn up some monumentally stupid policy simply for the purpose of winning votes from the vast number of middle americans who have virtually no impact from immigration policy in any case.

    This is how ‘the war on drugs’ started. This is your brain. this is your brain on carne asada. Ole.

    the people i know who seem to be the most intelligent about immigration policies are NYC cabbies. Ranging from native to fresh off the boat. (finding a native NY cabbie is like actually getting pizza from an italian. 1 in 100) In fact, id be willing to hand over most national policy decisions to a cabal of cab drivers. They tend to be pretty patient, diplomatic, and realistic types after a few years of the shit. I get a lot of my best foreign affairs analysis from these guys. Who better to ask about the impact of Bhutto’s assasination than a recent pakistani emigre? I learned about satus quo in Haiti last night on the way home. These guys are like a 24/7 Council on Foreign Relations, and you only have to tip like $2 for international goodwill.

  187. Mr. Nice Guy | December 27, 2007, 7:37pm | #

    Uhh, yeah. The reason for my preference is the guy in Missouri is an American, part of my family

    You do know that like every person who read this line heard…

    “da da ding dung ding dung ding dung derng…”

    a la dueling banjos.

    You got a pretty mouth there friend. This IS the Show Me State. Let me show you something.

    Once i was in Murfreesboro TN with a college friend who was of some vague sicilian extraction (aka Half Eggplant according to dennis hopper)

    He went into a gas station with a sign that said “owned by White Christians” to pay for the gas. He didnt come out. I went in to look for him and he was surrounded by a bunch of bubbas in overalls squinting at him. I asked what the problem was, and they said, “what in the hell IS he?”

    Yeah, that American brotherly love is something special.

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